The Self-Care after Rape series is a set of tips and tricks from a small group of survivors.
Digital rape refers to the nonconsensual penetration with fingers. It is also sometimes used for any non-penis forced penetration.
It’s often overlooked or downplayed because ‘the person doing it can’t get pleasure from it’ which ignores the fact that rape is not about sex, it is about power.
Digital rape is still trauma. It is not ‘lesser’ rape. It is not easier to cope with than having been through what society more traditionally views as rape.
It is the duty of the party taking things to the next step- to check in for some kind of consent first. There are so many different ways to go about checking in for consent like
'How far do you want to go?'
'What would you like me to do next?'/'Whats next?'
or even ‘I’d like it if you ___’
'Would you like it if I ____?'
'Can we _____'
or saying something like ‘I’d really like to_____’ and waiting to see if they give some sort of confirmation verbal or otherwise.
If you’re switching activities- it’s time to check in.
Remember if your partner stops meeting you half way- it’s time to check in. They may just be anxious or show their excitement in a different way.. but it’s better to check in than risk it.
Another note about digital rape and reporting: there can be evidence of it. While it wouldn’t be more “traditional” forms of evidence from assault, there could be evidence of trauma and force down there, such as tearing, any bleeding, swelling, etc. So evidence can exist, and if your abuser told you otherwise, it’s quite possible that they’re wrong.
I literally just came off hiatus for this shit-
take a seat. now.
Digital rape? is rape.
Digital rape is rape with the digits aka the fingers and/or object penetration. It makes up the vast majority of non piv rapes.
You are the one who is not in the know and I invite you to either educate yourself or fuck off before you shit on other survivors like this.
TW: victim blaming, mention of rape, invalidation of survivors, mention of paedophilia, incest.
For those of you who don’t know about it, the Outreau Trial was a criminal trial in the North of France, on counts of sexual abuse against numerous children. There was an appeal trial that revealed some of the adults who had been convicted were, in fact, innocent, because the children had been coerced into telling lies. One of those innocent people committed suicide in prison. The trials resulted in a huge national outrage in France, it was all over the media, and people questioned how such a thing could happen.
Hey! That is actually a very difficult question to answer. It is, indeed, very invalidating when people use that trial as evidence that you shouldn’t trust children or value their word.
First, I like to remind people that, no matter how many innocent adults were tried and held in prison for no apparent reason, the children WERE, in fact, validated as victims of sexual assault, rape, paedophilia, and procuring.They WERE the victims of horrifying acts, and those people - now adults - ARE survivors. This being stated as an introduction, I tell people that saying children aren’t to be trusted because “Outreau and all” is reinforcing the idea that a child isn’t to be believed - at all. And therefore, it is participating in a sort of criminal stream of idea in which whatever the child says, it’s not to be valued, so why the hell would abusers refrain from doing what they’re doing?
I get quite provocative when people say such things to me - irony is also one of my ways of dealing with it. You might hear me say “why the hell did I bother reporting my father if you think my word isn’t to be trusted? With people like you, I totally get why he thought he could get away with raping me unconscious”.
If I feel like educating people… I’ll probably say something like: keep in mind that, for centuries, children have been the victims of sexual assaults and it’s been a huge taboo in our societies. Up until 1989, there was no proper law in France to protect those children. After years of turning a blind eye to all that those children were going through, social workers, psychologists, doctors, judges must have felt hugely guilty, because they had witnessed things for years and years and never did anything about them. For many years, children were seen as unreliable. Who would believe a child?
You know, I like Catherine BOnnet’s take on the question. She says that every questioning of the child’s word is part of the pro-abuser movement that “insiduously influences many social workers and doctors, trying to make us believe children are all sick, twisted liars” (the idea is hers, the words are my own).
The problem is, we’re now acting as if children were always telling the whole truth. Just like, back in the 70s, we used to act as if children were always telling lies. There is no way of knowing if a child is telling the truth or not, simply because the “truth” has many layers and it is never totally definite. Would you be able to tell your whole life story without forgetting things? Can you look into the prism of your life and swear to God you are not biased with your own issues and your own suffering? It really is difficult to tell truth from lies. That doesn’t mean you have to assume a child is necessarily telling lies.There is NO REASON to invalidate a child’s suffering. There is no reason to doubt them. Again (yes, I did quite a lot of research on the question when it was all over the media), I read some social worker or other said that common sense would have us understand that a child cannot imagine such sexual acts between adult and child, as were described during the enquiry. It really is important to be aware of the fact that the judiciary truth has slowly but surely been replaced by the media’s truth - that those children were so unhappy, so unbalanced, they had to be a degenerate generation capable of everything and anything, then corroborating the idea that unhappy children cannot be trusted to tell the truth, precisely. And there we’re going round and round.
I hope this answers your question. It really was a tough one to answer! Feel free to get in touch with me if you have more questions !
- Nad -
I know this is cliche, but we all heal at our own speeds. Yeah, your abuser is in jail now, but him being locked up doesn’t mean that the abuse didn’t happen, though for some reason people seem to like thinking that. The problems stem from the abuse that occurred, and “best possible outcome” or not, it still happened and you’re affected, just like you would have been if you hadn’t gotten that outcome. Trauma still happened, and any response you have to it is valid and absolutely okay. I have no other way to phrase this right now, so I’ll say that there’s no guilt that needs to be there. We definitely aren’t asking it of you. The guilt seems to be telling you “I am a bad person for feeling X way” and you aren’t. That I promise you. You’re a survivor like the rest of us, and we all need our time to heal.
As for your family, it also could be that once some certain portion of the “story” is done, particularly if it’s a portion of a common narrative like (in your case) the person going to jail, a lot of people haven’t heard anymore to the story, so they think it “should” be done. They don’t understand PTSD, or don’t understand how it applies to us. There is no particular reason you would be suddenly “over” what happened because, well, you haven’t healed. You just haven’t, and that’s perfectly okay. Like how I started the post: it works differently for every person. Please take care of yourself today, okay?
Tw: rape, digital rape
Honestly… what you decide to call it is entirely up to you. Whether you decide to call it digital rape, or rape, or sexual assault, or abuse, or anything else.. is your decision to make. You don’t have to feel like you have to use labels, just because they exist.
Technically, since you were so young, I would call it csa. Or maybe Teenage Sexual Assault if you’re not comfortable with the world “child”? I totally understand what you’re saying about not viewing yourself as a child. l remember what I was like when I was 14 and I definitely didn’t see myself as a child.
Take care of yourself !
- Nad -
Lies I Tell Myself
I’m trying to tell which lies are true.
Was she the car that ran me over,
Or the ambulance?
Either way we collided.
And the explosion warmed my fingers.
And the heat was safe,
And lust is warm.
And I lusted
And she hunted.
But flesh is juicy,
And you can drown in an inch of water.
And I drowned in her
And she watched from the sand
The water made me cold.
I was shivering.
I tried to find her warmth
But it was gone.
She said I needed to get my blood flowing.
She coaxed it to flow
But it moved like sluggish wax congealing in fireless air.
I felt it creep towards her fingers, freezing me.
Her friends didn’t know that Trixie was full of tricks.
The lights in her eyes became hellish fires.
The softness of her voice turned to quicksand.
The smooth lilts in her speech dragging me into her centre.
The caverns of her chest filled with the echoes of the words she said.
She planted eggs to hatch lies in my head long after she was gone.
I nurtured her gifts, never acknowledging they were anything but
And she still hunted,
Because my flesh was bruised,
And my words spun lies to hide the widow.
Spun lies to hide her prey.
Spun lies to block out the sun, and then spun more.
Spun lies in the remnants of eggshells under my scalp.
The silk became chains and I forged my own prison around me.
Which lies were true?
Which lies are true?
Oh how I feel for you anon. I was in the exact same place, 6 years ago. And even though I am sure it isn’t what you want to read right now, believe me, it DOES get better.
You are not dirty. Whatever happened to you, I promised you, you are not dirty. I totally get why you feel that way. What “they” did to you was gross. It is unacceptable. It is revolting. You have every right to be angry. But it doesn’t make you gross. You deserve to be taken care of, you deserve to be loved. You matter. And your boyfriend knows that. He knows you are important. He can see the person hiding under the layers of pain. He loves you, he cares for you. He doesn’t deserve “better” because he chose you. He is able to make his own decisions, and if he chose you, then you are the only person who could make him happy, no matter how hurt you are.
I understand why you are angry. It isn’t all that important if you can’t identify the exact reason why you are angry. The fact is, you are. And you have every right to be.
Take care of yourself. Let your boyfriend take care of you. You deserve the best.
- Nad -
Dissociative Identity Disorder
This is tough. This is just super tough. I think DID folks like us face a strange conundrum when we disclose. Like, it’s bad enough that people are still debating whether or not we are even real. We then disclose and people say, “that’s too sadistic; it can’t be true.”
I feel you. It’s happened to me. I literally had a friend break up with me and say “Frankly, I don’t think you were even abused….” after 27 years of friendship. (But let’s be real… she was in serious denial about her own history, so that statement probably had nothing to do with me.) But this shit hurts. It hurts so fucking bad.
Here’s the thing though… I found two people who aren’t like this. I found Best Friends 1&2. One has had a similar, if not as severe or pervasive, life, and the other is just a super nice dude who has never been hurt by an adult like we have. They are amazing.
And like…. I know this is hard, but it’s possible to find non-shitheads to have in your life. I had a patient when I worked on an inpatient unit who had the greatest idea in the world when it comes to this shit. She said we are always building our circle of security. And in order to do that, we have to test the waters with people. So she would identify a person who thought might be a support and then tell them a small personal detail. If they handled it well, she would continue to do so. With some people she discovered they weren’t right for her, and she just kept them as friendly acquaintances. But with the others…. she was able to build a circle of friends who knew her truth and could support her in difficult times.
I try to do this. And I’m finding it works. Can you think of anyone in your life you might like to try out?
If not, you can always come here. Or you can look for a meetup or support group in your area that is peer-led that has people with similar experiences.
There are people who will honor the truth of your experiences. They exist. And eventually you will find them.
Please take care.
This sounds familiar, but I did a quick glance and couldn’t find it.
There are several possibilities. 1) Someone has it saved to answer. 2) The text was unclear/had no question and so was deleted. 3) Accidentally deleted. Feel free to resend.
When sexual abuse happens within the family unit, a weird/horrible level of complexity can sometimes happen. It sucks. My abuser is a cousin of mine, so I know how real that suckiness is.
[Quick story so you know you’re aren’t alone: My abuser has been pretty much out of my life since he raped me; he was in and out of jail for other charges for years after. Last summer he got out and I started to see him at family gatherings again. I would avoid going, but that ended in my nosy extended family asking questions and making me feel guilty and uncomfortable for not participating and being social. I wasn’t fearful of my safety, but that didn’t mean my panic attacks subsided or my scared/confused feelings went away. It’s hard because no one knows, so if he does show up and I get panicked I have no explanation to give them as to why. So it’s real. And it’s crappy. And I’m sorry you’re feeling it now.]
Is there any way you can figure out a way to convince your parents otherwise? Is there a friend you can stay with over the summer if they go forward with the lake house?
I mean, my gut is telling me to suggest somehow letting them know you’re not comfortable, but I don’t want you to feel like I’m asking you to disclose to your parents. When I say that, I mean, just saying something like, “Hey, mom and dad, I’m really not cool with sharing a cabin with _____. We’re not on good terms,” or maybe, “Could we invite so-and-so to share a cabin instead? I’d prefer to spend time with them.” Just getting this dude off their radar is a good start.
Could you stay home by yourself? I’m not sure how old you are, but maybe just opt out and stay home for the summer instead. I don’t know about you, but a nice, quiet summer alone sounds nice to me. If you can’t, maybe there’s a family member (aunt/uncle/grandma/grandpa) that’s willing to let you stay with them, or maybe a friend.
It’s not ideal, I get that. It’s kind of crappy, actually, because you’re the one who has to give up the vacation, not him, and it’s not your fault so the ‘punishment’ is totally out of place. I’ve felt that way before too. But sometimes we just have to bite the bullet and do what’s best for ourselves.
I’ve tried to convince myself things like, “I’m going to that Christmas party even if he DOES show up! I won’t let him ruin my holiday!” I think I’m being tough and moving forward, but I end up going, getting triggered, and spending the rest of the time I have off recovering from that. So, just take care of yourself and do what you have to do to be safe and healthy.
Hopefully you’ll never ever get into a position where you’re with him, but if you do, do you have any friends/family members/counselors/teachers etc you could have on speed dial? When I end up around my abuser, I take a step outside for some fresh air and call my best friend or shoot a text to an old teacher. It’s usually just, “Hey, B’s here. What’s new with you?” It’s just a distraction and that’s generally how I get through things that stress me out.
Best of luck to you! I hope it all works out in your favor. If there’s anything else we can help you out with, please don’t hesitate to shoot another ask our way. We’re always here to help!
Hang in there,