Rape. Trigger warnings.
Rape can happen to anyone, despite their gender, sexuality, race or any other factor. It’s easy to blame the victim in the case where they’ve been raped as this does unfortunately happen.
To begin with, I’ll define what rape actually is, rape happens if someone forces themselves onto you despite you stating you didn’t want any physical contact with them, this could be a subtle no to a forceful one, either one is valid. If you’ve said no to sex or foreplay and the other person continues, it’s classed as sexual assault or rape depending on what happens. There’s no grey area here, no means no.
Over the years, I’ve heard a number of individuals blame themselves for being raped, maybe if they had done things differently, wore something different, hadn’t met up with him/her, all of which can be very strong thoughts, however, none of these are reasons for rape. None whatsoever.
If person A forced you to eat something you didn’t want to eat, you’d blame the person A for not listening and continuing to pressurise you into eating that food. It’s a different scenario however the principle remains the same – no means no.
If you decide to have sex and then change your mind (which you have every right to do), the sexual intercourse should stop too, if you’re still pressurised into continuing to have sex despite stating you no longer wish to have sex, that too is classed as rape.
Rape can mentally and physically affect men and women in different ways, some may feel ashamed of their bodies, feel dirty, unclean, blame their bodies. Mentally it tends to be self-torture for some, because either fully or to some degree you hold yourself accountable for the rape happening, you should have done something different, not been there, wore something else, yet none of those would have made a difference because it was not and is not in any way shape or form your fault.
Rape happens because the abuser has serious issues of control and needing to feel powerful, the rape itself wasn’t about you, it was about them needing to feel better about themselves and unfortunately, this was the method they found. It doesn’t in any way shape or form justify raping anyone, they have a responsibility to sort themselves out in the right way.
I’ve had a number of clients try and understand why someone would rape anyone, having this understanding won’t help you in terms of your recovery, whatever the reasons behind their behaviour it never justifies raping anyone. The bottom line is that it was their behaviour which impacted you. Realising it was never about you, might help you to come to terms with no longer blaming yourself or holding yourself accountable for what happened because it was not because of you.
What can also happen when someone is raped is the involuntary body sensations which happen whilst your being raped. What this means if your body reacts to touch by creating good feelings, you could be left confused about why the rape was making your body respond in a particular way when you didn’t want to have sex. This is a natural body response to touch, for example, if you’re a male is being raped, despite you not wanting to have sex, because of the touch sensations of the other person, you may find you have an erection. Which can lead to you to feeling shame and or guilt for feeling a particular way whilst being raped. This is just your body naturally responding to touch, it doesn’t mean that you wanted to have sex, it just means your body was reacting in a natural way to touch. The feelings of shame and or guilt, arise from holding yourself or your body accountable for the rape happening when this isn’t the case.