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_Survivors_
A safe space to share stories and ask questions
surviving rape vs. raped and murdered 
30th-Nov-2005 01:22 am
Happy Otter
these are some thoughts as to why survivors of rape are treated differently than those that didn't survive it...

i watched 'dead man walking' yesterday and it got me thinking about rape and it's effects on people. people are changed completely after rape. if someone survives it, alot of times they are blamed for it. but if you are raped and murdered, you are purely the victim and no one talks about it ever being blamed on the victim. everyone jumps on the bandwagon of "kill the murdering rapist." no one seems to treat the crime fairly if you've survived it. i wonder why this is? is it because to human minds raping AND murdering someone is a higher degree of crime? or is it maybe because people have subconscious respect for the dead that they wouldn't bad-mouth them and treat them like their living counterparts? why is it that when a teen is raped, her mother blames her, but if she's raped and MURDERED her mother blames and wants the blood of the killer? this doesn't make sense to me. i hear fellow survivors talk about how they're glad that they at least survived, but is it really better? if i had been murdered when i was raped (choose any rape, there are so many!), i wouldn't have the severe ptsd, i wouldn't be so severely depressed, i wouldn't be miserable, my mother would've wanted him dead or imprisoned, my siblings would've mourned me. i would've been important...so why is it these victims are more important than those of us that were unlucky enough to live through it? why? i don't understand.

~~gothicotter~~
Comments 
30th-Nov-2005 02:04 am (UTC)
I guess it's because you're lucky to have lived through it. I think the problem with rape is that it is (in its essence) between two people who MAY have consented to it. With rape and murder - well, no one consents to murder so there's no question about "did she want it" etc.

Now I am not saying rape isn't bad, and people shouldn't be more sympathetic towards those who are raped. I think it is the horror of rape which makes people look for reasons why it happened to the person. The need to distance yourself from it, and think that it'll never happen to you because you dont do "X" (whether that's wear short skirts, walk home in the dark or whatever). The true horror of rape (and other crimes) is that sometimes you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is no other reason for it. That is the curse for those of us who have survived an assault. We know that no one's safe and no matter what - if you walk past someone who has decided to rape then there's very little you can do about it. Or if you kiss someone who's decided they're getting some tonight then there's nothing you can do about it.

It wasn't your fault. But please remember that as long as you are alive things can get better. And they will - it just takes a while *soft hugs*

30th-Nov-2005 02:58 am (UTC)
I don't know what to say, but I felt like I said something. I know how you feel.

I think the biggest issue is that people don't understand and they don't know how to react. Then a lot of the time with parents, they feel so guilty they don't know who to blame, so sometimes they blame you. Even if they are just blaming themselves. Also, some girls will just say they were raped to get attention, when really it was a mutual thing.

But really, I think the bigest problem is that they don't understand. They can't comprehend it. So, that's how they react.

I'm really tryin' to just figure it out too. But, that's what I think atm.

::hugs::
30th-Nov-2005 04:12 am (UTC)
I think if you are raped and murdered, people aren't so much upset about the rape as they are about the murder. Being raped right before you are murdered is just unforunate and makes the murder look even worse, but the focus isn't on the rape. At least, not in my opinion.

I think people who haven't been raped can not relate AT ALL. Some say they can...my mom once told me, when she was trying to relate to me about my rape, that she didn't need to live through the Holocaust to understand what those people went through...in an attempt to tell me that she can relate to me even though she hasn't been raped herself. I beg to differ. I think people see rape soley as some person just trying to sleep with you when you don't want them to...kinda like some annoying guy hitting on you that you don't like. People can't comprehend and don't anticipate the fear, helplessness and the control that goes along with it and people don't think that they would allow it to happen to them...like being raped is a choice and you can bargain with your attacker. I also don't think people have any concept of PTSD, they don't associate it as something happening to a rape victim and I honestly believe people think it's a made up illness and not something a person can actually have.

Personally, I would have rather been murdered after my rape, because all my life consists of today is the after effects of the rape and I don't identify with the survivor aspect of it all. This isn't living and that's the end of my rant!
30th-Nov-2005 07:06 am (UTC)
alice sebold's book "Lucky" is loosely about this. she survived a rape while the girl she was with did not. at the scene of the crime she was told by one of the attending officers how lucky she was. sebold didn't exactly think so.

i look at this very differently than has been commented so far. i work with a lot of survivors, those living and those not. the thing that makes rape/sexual torture prior to murder different is that the person has been completely de-humanized. they no longer have any sense of self. it matters, one's state of mind going into the death moment--hence the last rights, etc. from my perspective rape before murder is particularly sinister and calculated.
30th-Nov-2005 07:23 am (UTC)
I have been thinking SO many of those things this week. But hearing it from you feels different than when it runs through my own head...I don't know if this makes any sense...I just want to hug you, and tell you it's gonna be okay.

Maybe everyone glorifies (so to speak) the dead victims because they are quiet. People can't be taught by their silence, or forced to think differently. But as a Survivor, we stand for what we know to be true-it wasn't our fault, that they are to blame, and that we should be supported and believed. It's easier for everyone to not have to be pushed into the truth, and a dead person pushes no one.

I wish my mother wanted revenge, and that my siblings cared at all, and that my best friend would quit asking me if I "was done yet" with healing. But they need me to do this-even if they don't know it. They need me to prove to them how strong I am, even though they aren't as strong.

They critize us because we stand for something difficult to understand. We say out loud what happened, when most people would hide or curl up and die. They can't do what we do, so they fear us.

I wish it were different. And I wish I could make the pain stop-for you, for me, for all of us. But you aren't alone.

Hang on babe-you'll make it through today too. :-) *safe hugs* -Brittany
30th-Nov-2005 10:42 am (UTC)
*safe hugs* to you.
30th-Nov-2005 08:09 am (UTC)
I think that it's a question of rationalizing.

With rape, people tend to blame the victim. It's always easier to blame a victim than face the thought that there are people walking around that look normal, who commit violent crimes like rape.

With murder and rape, however, people also can't deal with the fact that someone normal looking would do such things. So instead of concentrating on the human nature of the person who raped/murdered, they portray him/her as a vicious animal, a social deviant, a monster who deserves to die.

Both of these viewpoints are a way to escape the fact that there are people out there who seem, and look, absolutely normal, but rape people, kill people, etc. For some reason that is too much for people to accept. To believe that their friend, their daughter, their niece could be raped by someone that looked normal and kind- that's just too much to take. So people look for another way to get out of it.
30th-Nov-2005 09:43 am (UTC)
So few people understand that rape is murder - the murdering of our innocence, our trusts, our abilities to sleep and love and find peace.

So few people understand the shattering of a life that happens.

When someone is murdered, also, you cannot deny its existence. Something that was definitely wrong definitely happened. With rape alone, so many find it easier to ignore and live in that ignorant bliss than it is to face the evils of the world and try to put an end to them.

::hugs::
30th-Nov-2005 08:37 pm (UTC)
So few people understand that rape is murder - the murdering of our innocence, our trusts, our abilities to sleep and love and find peace.

Exactly! Rape is such a murder. Or worse. At least if you're dead you don't have to live with all the shit that comes after rape.
30th-Nov-2005 10:41 am (UTC)
I hear you! What is not understood by society is that rape is a form of murder. And there's this subconcious (or maybe concious) thing that we "let" it happen somehow if we are left alive. I know a lot of people don't think in this messed-up way, but it only took one person (who is no longer in my life) implying it to make me feel like crap.
30th-Nov-2005 06:56 pm (UTC)
Maybe they honor the dead rape-victims more because you can see the results of their struggle.
With a living rape victim, most of the effects are psychological, and that is not something concrete enough for people to believe or see or understand.
I think that's why they treat us as if what we went through was minimalistic compared to that of one who was killed.
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