Rape: Victim or Survivor?

Reading tonight on Facebook, and this article about a college girl’s experience dealing with date rape and the labels people use (survivor vs victim) prompted this response from me.

The line that resonated with me from the article was this one: “We ignore the responsibility to help them recover.” In my opinion, the word survivor implies that you’re somehow “over it.” You’ve survived; life moves on. Usually, no visible scars are left, but internal ones may be abundant.

Recovery can take a lifetime. Much like a war veteran may survive violent battles with a terrorist and have lifelong post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), many rape victims/survivors have similar ongoing struggles, and yet their is little acknowledgement, validation, or support for them. It’s still a crime that nobody wants to talk about and few know how to help. What label you use is just semantics. This is a person who lives with an often unshakable grief, unimaginable triggers, and who needs continual love and support. They’ve lived through their own personal terror attack, and life is never quite the same.

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More from me on my experience with this topic…

Wishing I Had Cancer – a reflection about my rape experience

“The Boiler Room” – a poem I wrote to express some of my feelings about this experience. This deserves its own extended post someday soon.

“That was so holy…” – another previous reflection I wrote about my rape experience.

Cosmopolitan Magazine Article
This article highlights the some of the details of what happened

Dateline  – “Through the Pouring Rain”
This show features two other survivors of the same attacker; my specific story is not mentioned here.

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© November 17, 2015
Tryon, NC