The Self-Care after Rape series is a set of tips and tricks from a small group of survivors.

 

So on recent controversy,

So a group of individuals chose to get upset over something one of the mods said in a recent ask. I was going to make an academic post about exclusivity, supposed ‘gold star’ status, and identity politics, but nah. especially after seeing how people are going about this. The people who are pissed aren’t going to change their minds and considering how they’ve conducted themselves- I’m glad to have them far away from me.

The ask in question said this:

I identify as bisexual and have for about 3 years (I’m 17) but I after I was raped I told some people I was a lesbian because i was so repulsed by men. What do I do now? Date boys and be a liar? Date girls to avoid conflict but also risk being disowned by my parents and everyone else (since I live in the Bible belt)?

So, the cool thing about sexuality is that it can change, so you may have told people you were a lesbian before, but you’re allowed to change how you identify. You can tell them you’re bisexual, or you can say nothing at all. You do not need to justify your sexuality to anyone. If you want to, you can also identify as a lesbian who dates boys on occasion, (yes, this is a thing and you can still be a lesbian). It’s really up to you. Pick the label you feel best describes you, or make your own label. Date who you want to date. Dating boys does not make you a liar, it just means your preferences have changed over time. As far as dating girls goes, that’s a decision only you can make. Yes, it might lead to them disowning you, and that’s something important to keep in mind. You can choose to date girls secretly for now, at least until you’re an adult and not reliant on your parents. Or you can wait to date girls until you’re independent.  It’s completely up to you. No matter what you decide, your sexuality is valid. And if it continues to change over time, that’s valid too. You do you. Take care of yourself.

Wishing you the very best,

Now let me start out by saying this. There are people pissed off because apparently the answer to the question was only ‘supporting people if they fuck men’ if you took that away from an ask that literally started with ‘I am a bisexual’ I’m just going to need you to get away from SCaR period. Though, I would like to acknowledge that there are bisexuals who have nothing to do with men. and also that dating and having sex should not be conflated.

The person was asking if they were bad for saying they were a lesbian because they honestly thought they were at the time- but now realizing they aren’t and wanting to date men.

SCaR is not responsible for what you choose to misinterpret.

Secondly, if you ever think it is appropriate to call someone, especially a person of color, a breeder- I’m going to need you to straight up delete your blog. It’s gross. it’s sexist. it’s racist. you’re gross. don’t do that.

Thirdly, if you think that SCaR is a blog ‘for girls’ you can go ahead and unfollow cause lemme tell ya something.

SCaR is a blog for survivors who respect other survivors by not being gross people who call other people breeders.

SCaR is not gender exclusive, SCaR is founded by a non-woman, and you should get the -hello operator- away from me if you think that shit is going to fly here.

Fourthly,  you do not call another survivor a rape apologist because they don’t support gold star politics. if you think that recognizing that some lesbians have dated men in the past makes them a rape apologist- you can go away.

A non-straight person recognizing that sometimes people do things and realize ‘eh I was right all along this wasn’t for me’ or someone deciding ‘I’m going to be with this person because it feels right despite the rest of the time never even wanting to look at the ‘opposite’ sex’ is the same thing as men who refuse to accept that lesbians don’t want anything to do with them- you need to pause and rethink for a second. There is a huge difference between telling someone ‘your identity is okay’ and ‘I should be able to fuck you no matter what your identity is’.

and if you think for two fucking seconds that it’s acceptable to send threats into my inbox again- you need to reevaluate who’s the bad guy here.

So lemme reiterate, 

SCaR does not support identity politics. If you have a problem with that- leave.

SCaR will not allow you to send gross messages to its mod. If you have a problem with that- grow up.

SCaR is a blog for all genders and all sexualities and has never once even slightly suggested that you have to sleep with men to be acceptable considering it  has more than once- stated that not sleeping with anyone is okay.  If you have a problem with lesbians who sometimes choose to date men despite not being sexually attracted to them, I suggest you take it up with them, and not lash out on my mods. Mostly though I suggest you.. grow up.

Sometimes romantic and sexual orientations differ. Sometimes people go their entire life and the people they like looks like this ( 99% same gender) but they still have to deal with that possible ????? and if you can’t be supportive of spectrum folks who are confused or who are trying to fuss out the details without demanding that they drop an identity label that they’ve found comfort in- once again, you need to take a look in the mirror and reconsider who the bad guy is.

Anon will stay off for a few more days thanks to the individual who thought it was okay to send a threat and the ones who thought it was okay to call bun a breeder. 

Anonymous asked
So before the rape I had been questioning my gender identity. Sometimes I felt like I was really a man with a vagina, but most of the time I just felt like a woman who likes being manly or something inbetween. After the rape, I started to feel weird about my genitalia, which is something I never experienced before, and I started to fantasize about being a man and engaging in gay sex. Now some days I feel like I want to be a man, and then others I'm happy being (cont.)

a woman. Some days I want to hide my breasts and curves, sometimes I want to flaunt them. Some days I feel like if I wasn’t a woman I wouldn’t have gotten raped, most days I feel like it wouldn’t have made a difference. Is it wrong to feel this way? Is there something wrong with me?

—————

The thing with gender identity is…

Like if you only want to not be a woman because you don’t want to get hurt- that is probably less a trans/questioning thing- and more just.. wishful thinking? jealousy of people who don’t have to live with this kind of fear? things like that.

A lot of survivors feel weird about their genitals. I know a cis survivor who if it were an option- would ‘look like a barbie down there’. But they’re still cis, by their own admission. Same with wanting to hide curves. 

There are other people that they were already gender questioning and then trauma feelings got mixed in and intensify it. There are others that knew they were trans before the trauma, or who just.. happened to figure it out afterwards- but it had nothing to do with trauma feelings.

Trauma feelings are hard.

Gender feelings are hard.

You aren’t wrong or messed up for feeling confusion in regards to them.

Also know that man and woman aren’t you’re only options. Like… I’m legally intersex (meaning I had non-normative junk at birth, though a doctor did play god and it’s… decently normative now. I used to be a lot more self conscious about it but I just don’t have the energy to be these days.) but I also ID as non-binary. There are plenty of people who do. and depending on where you’re from/your cultural heritage- there may be other options available to you from that.  there are people who id as genderqueer and agender or genderfluid.

Gender is complicated. Trauma is complicated.

You aren’t wrong for your relationship with your body or with your past.

but if it’s just trying to… men get raped too. and trans folks have really high assault rates. It’s very possible that you aren’t trans and like I said- you just want safety. and that before it was just curiosity. 

You’re the only person that can know. I suggest you hang out in some transgender friendly spaces- either in person or on the net.  and especially transgender survivor spaces. and just.. know you don’t have to know right now. there’s nothing wrong with being questioning. and if at the end of the day you realize ‘I’m cis after all’ that’s okay. and if you realize otherwise- that’s okay too.

Take care of yourself, okay?

Anonymous asked
My relationship with my best friend has deteriorated, and I feel like it's my fault because of my depression and anxiety. I feel like she and my boyfriend have a stronger friendship, and it hurts me. It makes me feel jealous and lonely, and I'm so ashamed to admit that, this is the only time I've expressed it. Is this an overreaction on my part?

Child abuse tw
Rape tw

The short answer is no.

We talk about this a lot on SCaR. Whatever you are feeling is valid. There is literally no such thing as an invalid emotion.

But that doesn’t mean you just have to sit with it. You can address it. This will be hard, but can you sit down with each of them individually, tell them how you’re feeling, and ask for their thoughts about the situation? If you’re feeling anxious about doing this, I would suggest looking at the DBT activity DEAR MAN. I’d link you, but I’m mobile. It’s super easy to google. Any time I have to have a difficult conversation, that’s the method I use. It’s super helpful.

You can also go to another friend and role play the conversation. In my experience, the trick is to avoid accusations and focus on how you’re feeling. And another super important thing is that you stay strictly on topic. No “last week you said this thing that hurt me,” no “sometimes you get angry when I….”

I wish you super good luck, and you can always come back and talk to us.

-M

What Happens After Men Get Raped in America [TW: Rape, Sexual Assault, Rape Culture, Rape Enablism, Rape Apologism, Victim Blaming, Victim Shaming, Graphic Content]

thepoliticalfreakshow:

The following story features interviews and material that address sexual violence and its effect on victims.

It’s highly likely that you know a man who has endured sexual violence. But you probably don’t know it yet, and might never know. 

One in 6 American men will encounter sexual abuse at some point in their lives. According toMaleSurvivor, a nonprofit that helps male survivors of sexual assault heal, after a man is raped, he doesn’t tell anyone for, on average, 20 years. When he finally does, his courage is often met with derision, confusion, dismissal and even disbelief.

That makes it all the more important for people to understand how they can support of male survivors, if and when they decide to share their story.

When men share their stories of enduring sexual violence and rape, they are likely to hear remarks such as, “That can’t happen to a man.” These reactions, often rooted in ignorance rather than malice, contribute to doubt, shame, revictimization and depression. They often impede the survivor from seeking the much-needed professional help integral to the healing process.

In order to truly understand how to be supportive, one should search no further than the voices of men who’ve endured such painful, dehumanizing experiences.

Mic spoke with male survivors of sexual assault to solicit their recommendations for how friends and family members of victims can be supportive allies in the healing process. Their stories are multidimensional. They include assaults perpetrated by people from all walks of life, including men, women, strangers, family members, priests, friends and teachers. Some were assaulted as children, others as adults. They are sharing their stories in order to create a more compassionate and understanding climate for male survivors of sexual violence.

image

Image Credit: Associated Press

Believing without blaming.

It’s crucial to recognize that many of the things commonly said to male sexual assault survivors are things that we should probably never say.

Charlie, 66, from Boston, said victim blaming, accidental or otherwise, commonly crops up for male survivors.

"Were you drunk? Were you on drugs? Were you flirting with her the night before?" are some of the irrelevant questions that may shift the accountability away from the perpetrator. Expressing disbelief may be an act of sympathy, but this common reaction makes disclosure particularly difficult for survivors. It can even belittle what they’ve experienced.

Jeff, 51, from Indiana, told Mic via email that some people have refused to believe what happened and respond with a blunt: “No you weren’t.” Jeff was told that the priestwho sexually assaulted him “would never do that. He’s a good man, and a priest too.”

In some cases, the perpetrator is not someone who you would expect. It could even be someone you respect, which could make it difficult to listen to the survivor’s account of what happened. 

Don’t question the victim’s sexuality.

Some men get questions about their sexuality. Gregg, 50, from Michigan, said he’s been asked about his sexual orientation, asked whether the perpetrator was a woman or a man and if his experience with sexual violence makes him attracted to both sexes. These questions are all irrelevant. A man’s sexual orientation does not invite assault, nor does the assault alter his sexual orientation.  

And for the men who were assaulted by women, some of them are told that they should be grateful. Jarrod, 47, from Oklahoma, said guys often respond, “Man, I wish that I had an older woman to teach me about sex when I was that age.” But the “hot for teacher” trope, entrenched in pop culture through references as Van Halen’s hit “Hot for Teacher,” inaccurately regards the incident as “sex” when it indeed was rape, ignoring the emotional trauma that often results from an adult woman taking advantage of an adolescent male.

Throw out stereotypes.

Perhaps one of the most troubling reactions, especially within broader conversations about a culture that often falters on issues of sexual violence, is when some survivors are told that men can’t be raped, or that sexual assault is a “woman’s issue.”

Chris Anderson, executive director for MaleSurvivor, told Mic via email that many responses to his story of survival have included statements like “Stop trying to make this about you,” and “A real man would have defended himself.” But these reactions only work to ensure that rape of men remains a silent epidemic, preventing many survivors from being comfortable enough to disclose what happened to them.

While many common reactions to male sexual assault survivors seem like appropriate responses to a devastating revelation, many of them are, instead, counterproductive.

Let him tell you his way.

Byron, 56, from Florida, said that just because he’s comfortable telling that story does not mean he’s comfortable answering a lot of questions about it.

"I’m comfortable telling people what I’m prepared to disclose, but not to relive the details of the experience," he said. When the person is ready to tell you, Byron said, the details will emerge.

Even prematurely affixing labels to men who share their stories isn’t the best idea, according to some survivors.

Peter Pollard, director of communications and professional relations for 1in6, an organization supporting male sexual violence survivors, said via email that it’s important to avoid labels, even if they seem validating.

"Many men may not be ready to identify as a ‘victim,’ a ‘survivor,’ or someone who has experienced trauma," Pollard said, adding that it’s best to let the person define their experience and their story in the way that they feel most comfortable.

Emphasizing active listening and empathy.

Even though it’s important to allow survivors to tell their experience in a way that works best for them, hearing it can put the listener in a potentially powerful position to help them on the path to recovery.

"Believing someone validates the pain they are carrying, and lets them know they are not alone," Anderson said, a sentiment echoed by other survivors who spoke with Mic.

Through active listening, survivors are positioned to feel the compassion and empathy that they desire and very much need from supportive friends and family members.

Ed, 38, from North Carolina, said one of the most positive responses he ever heard was simply, “I can’t understand what you are going through, because I never have, but I will be there and support you as you go through.” But, to be clear, another survivor added that even if you actually have experienced something similar, everybody’s story is different and it’s impossible to understand exactly what the survivor went through.

While actively listening and being compassionate is an exercise of empathy, it’s helpful to provide survivors with the resources and information to seek professional help. No one should force a survivor to seek treatment, however, as everyone’s pathway to recovery is unique and should be tailored to their individual needs.

So if a male survivor approaches you with their story, listen to him. Don’t grill him, don’t blame him and definitely don’t berate him. Offer your support only if you are genuinely prepared to be an active part of what will be a difficult, uphill healing process.

Hopefully, with the care and understanding of people in their support system, he will come to recognize that what happened to him was not his fault, that he’s not alone and that there is hope for recovery.

If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault and is male-identified, below are resources for referral.

MaleSurvivor Discussion Forum

MaleSurvivor “Seeds” of Hope document

1in6 Finding Help

RAINN Local Crisis Centers

Source: Jack Fischl for Mic

We have been asked to tag things like the most recent posts as ‘off blog responses’ if they are a thing you would not like to see on your dash, you can blacklist/savior that.

also to people who have the audacity to say that I should be nice and calmly react to someone who literally made a fart joke.. reallllllly. like if it had not included the ‘gas coming out of your mouth’ and any of the rest of the post even slightly implied what they misread- maybe. but no. Literally the next sentence extrapolated on the fact that it was based on ‘some people don’t get PTSD after  they go through trauma’ rather than what they chose to jump down my throat on. 

I am only responsible for what I say, not for what people misunderstand. 

Anonymous asked
i didn't start showing signs of ptsd until months after my assault when i started a new relationship but my new gf told me what happened to me was my fault. does ptsd generally have a big social/lack of support aspect as a cause or trigger?

selfcareafterrape:

appropriately-inappropriate:

selfcareafterrape:

It could have been just that you were in shock/numbed out- and that it was just.. a trigger period to have it rebrought back up.

but straight up- period… a lack of social support/negative out lash is actually… those things can help /cause/ the PTSD. Not everyone gets PTSD from trauma- but one of the biggest clue in’s is whether or not they have positive social support.

So it definitely makes sense that symptoms would come out or get worse at times like that.

Excuse me?

"Not everyone gets PTSD from trauma- but one of the biggest clue in’s is whether or not they have positive social support."

What the fuck are you talking about? Do you have gas and that’s why noises are coming out your ass?

The expanded form of PTSD is Post TRAUMATIC Stress Disorder. It’s in the fucking name.

The ONLY possible way an individual can acquire PTSD is through experiencing a trauma. Otherwise, it’s Acute Stress Disorder, or Chronic Stress Disorder.

But don’t go spreading bullshit about an already misunderstood disease. We have enough bullshit to deal with, without this kind of “anyone can have PTSD if they feel all bummed and triggery”.

The fuck is this.

I am only responsible for what I said- not for you massive misunderstanding.

Not everyone gets PTSD from trauma.

As in, not everyone who goes through trauma gets PTSD.

I literally do not have time to deal with people who throwing hissy fits because they choose to misread shit.

What was being said is that one of the factors in whether or not someone gets PTSD after experiencing a trauma is whether or not they have social and emotional support after their traumas. People who go through something and have a strong support group have been proven to be way less likely to ever develop PTSD.

-Lori

Anonymous asked
i didn't start showing signs of ptsd until months after my assault when i started a new relationship but my new gf told me what happened to me was my fault. does ptsd generally have a big social/lack of support aspect as a cause or trigger?

appropriately-inappropriate:

selfcareafterrape:

It could have been just that you were in shock/numbed out- and that it was just.. a trigger period to have it rebrought back up.

but straight up- period… a lack of social support/negative out lash is actually… those things can help /cause/ the PTSD. Not everyone gets PTSD from trauma- but one of the biggest clue in’s is whether or not they have positive social support.

So it definitely makes sense that symptoms would come out or get worse at times like that.

Excuse me?

"Not everyone gets PTSD from trauma- but one of the biggest clue in’s is whether or not they have positive social support."

What the fuck are you talking about? Do you have gas and that’s why noises are coming out your ass?

The expanded form of PTSD is Post TRAUMATIC Stress Disorder. It’s in the fucking name.

The ONLY possible way an individual can acquire PTSD is through experiencing a trauma. Otherwise, it’s Acute Stress Disorder, or Chronic Stress Disorder.

But don’t go spreading bullshit about an already misunderstood disease. We have enough bullshit to deal with, without this kind of “anyone can have PTSD if they feel all bummed and triggery”.

The fuck is this.

I am only responsible for what I said- not for you massive misunderstanding.

Not everyone gets PTSD from trauma.

As in, not everyone who goes through trauma gets PTSD.

I literally do not have time to deal with people who throwing hissy fits because they choose to misread shit.

Anonymous asked
i didn't start showing signs of ptsd until months after my assault when i started a new relationship but my new gf told me what happened to me was my fault. does ptsd generally have a big social/lack of support aspect as a cause or trigger?

appropriately-inappropriate:

selfcareafterrape:

It could have been just that you were in shock/numbed out- and that it was just.. a trigger period to have it rebrought back up.

but straight up- period… a lack of social support/negative out lash is actually… those things can help /cause/ the PTSD. Not everyone gets PTSD from trauma- but one of the biggest clue in’s is whether or not they have positive social support.

So it definitely makes sense that symptoms would come out or get worse at times like that.

Excuse me?

"Not everyone gets PTSD from trauma- but one of the biggest clue in’s is whether or not they have positive social support."

What the fuck are you talking about? Do you have gas and that’s why noises are coming out your ass?

The expanded form of PTSD is Post TRAUMATIC Stress Disorder. It’s in the fucking name.

The ONLY possible way an individual can acquire PTSD is through experiencing a trauma. Otherwise, it’s Acute Stress Disorder, or Chronic Stress Disorder.

But don’t go spreading bullshit about an already misunderstood disease. We have enough bullshit to deal with, without this kind of “anyone can have PTSD if they feel all bummed and triggery”.

The fuck is this.

I think you misunderstood this post. Trauma is required for a diagnosis of PTSD, BUT not everyone who is traumatized will develop PTSD. The reason for this is how the support system reacts to your experiences (well, not the only reason). What was intended in the post was looking at contextual risk factors for developing PTSD post-trauma.

Like, perhaps you should try to understand the context before you explode. That might be good. I don’t know… Like there is some valuable shit in this post that you’re dismissing because you’re pissed off that it wasn’t worded perfectly?? I’m not even sure why all the rage. I’m so tempted to be infantilizing, but I’m just gonna say again… please try to think of the context of these comments before coming here and spewing rage at people who actually haven’t stepped out of bounds.

Additionally, you are incorrect about acute stress disorder. It, too, requires trauma for a diagnosis. The difference is time of onset. Acute stress disorder requires immediate onset of symptoms. If those symptoms have not gone into remission within a certain period, the diagnosis is often changed to PTSD.

Take care.

-M

Anonymous asked
i didn't start showing signs of ptsd until months after my assault when i started a new relationship but my new gf told me what happened to me was my fault. does ptsd generally have a big social/lack of support aspect as a cause or trigger?

selfcareafterrape:

It could have been just that you were in shock/numbed out- and that it was just.. a trigger period to have it rebrought back up.

but straight up- period… a lack of social support/negative out lash is actually… those things can help /cause/ the PTSD. Not everyone gets PTSD from trauma- but one of the biggest clue in’s is whether or not they have positive social support.

So it definitely makes sense that symptoms would come out or get worse at times like that.

Additionally, a delayed response is required for the diagnosis of PTSD. Acute stress disorder is when it happens immediately. However, if your symptoms extend past this period, the diagnosis is changed to PTSD.

Late response is super common and can be triggered by so many things, including social response.

Anonymous asked
do you have any advice for a rape & abuse survivor who's dating somebody who has never experienced any of those things? I love my partner & feel very cared for by them generally, but sometimes it's like we just hit this wall. they just don't understand where I'm coming from or what to do. & so they do what they think is best & it can be really hurtful, like when they leave me alone to "give me space" & I feel abandoned. I try to talk to them about things, & they're receptive to it, but (cont'd)

(dating anon cont’d), but sometimes I feel like they’re just trying to appease me. like they don’t really care what I’m feeling. they don’t ask what I’m feeling or how to help. they just apologize & then get quiet. I know they’re more reserved but it stresses me out not knowing what they’re thinking of me. I feel judged & scared. I hate having so many things that bother me, & having to explain with each one why. I feel like I’m getting redundant & tiresome.

It can feel redundant and tiresome to have to keep explaining why we respond the way we do, especially when our partners may feel responsible. Have you outright told your partner, “hey, when you say X, leave me alone to ‘give me space’, etc, it feels like you’re abandoning me/don’t trying to brush me off etc.”?  They may not be totally aware of how they are making you feel and feel like they are taking the course of action that will be least likely to upset you. So many partners of survivors sort of walk on eggshells in fear of triggering us—largely because they don’t know how to help us. It is part of our job as a partner to them to be self aware enough to know what we need and to communicate that to them when we are ready. Tell them what you being triggered looks like, how you handle it, what your tools and self care are, how they can get involved. Making a point a to go to your partner for comfort when triggered and incorporate them into your healing is not only helpful for you, but for them and your overall relationship. It helps them feel valued, but also less in the dark about how to work with and help you. If they feel that empowerment, they may be less afraid to stick around and be with you in those super triggering situations. I know it can be hard, but knowing and communicating what you need to them will be a huge help. Unfortunately, our partners are not mind readers.

Maybe you guys can try to sit down together and work out some new tools and coping skills, read some resources together and find out, as a couple, how you need cared for and supported. RAINN has an online hotline that can be used by both survivors and their partners. Pandora’s Project also has great resources for friends, family, and partners of survivors.  Maybe checking out stuff together can help?

I hope this has been of some use to you and I wish you guys the best of luck. You deserve a safe, helpful, fulfilling partnership. 

Take Care,

Lori