Monday, February 22, 2010

The Effects of "Acquaintance Rape" on a Normal Person -- (Part One)

"Well, if it was a grubby stranger with bad breath and whiskers jumping out of a bush to attack her, i can understand why she might be traumatized."

I want to take a few posts and talk about the typical range of trauma effects felt by 
healthy normal intelligent sensitive individuals
after experiencing criminal/beastly/dishonorable/selfish acts, committed by acquaintances.

I want to start with this post, simply a description;
given by a K-State student, in court, after her attacker pled guilty to "lesser charges."
The evidence collected at the hospital was apparently so overwhelming that the defendant's lawyer advised him to "plead". One benefit with this type of resolution is that the crime victims avoids stressfilled, frustrating disruption in her life for another year or two.

This case was one where the student was obviously drugged, manipulated, and isolated; her supportive friends lied to, and who woke up as the Perpetrator was trying to wash away evidence.

As she read this statement aloud in court, she wept; most of the court did as well. The original paper with this statement is buckled and wavy with the remnants of her tears.

Victim’s Statement in Court for Sentencing-
(Resulted in maximum sentence given)

(KSU student, 2002-2005)

I would first like to thank you, Judge, and the court, for taking the time to hear my thoughts. I would really like to thank the prosecutor’s office for all of their hard work and support throughout my case.

This even has affected my life in ways I cannot put into words for you today. The amount of trauma and emotional stress this has caused me are truly unquantifiable. November 25th is a date that will haunt me for years to come. Before this date I was confident; confident in my strength, confident in my looks, confident in my peers, confident in my own control over my life.

That night changed virtually every part of me. I now question myself on nearly every decision I make, wondering what the hidden consequences may be. I now question every outfit I own, wondering if it invites men to take advantage of me. I do not trust anyone, especially men. Most importantly, I lost control of my own life. My emotions overcome me at inopportune times, I am terrified to open up to anyone, afraid they will betray my trust; and I get nervous when any man approaches me. My life was put on hold, and my closure repeatedly pushed farther down the road. That night I lost a part of myself, and I will never be able to get it back.

The months that have followed my rape have been overwhelming and challenging, but I have persevered, learning to adapt in order to survive. In these past 11 months I have been forced to change virtually every aspect of my life. I was forced to quit my job because that man and his friends were constantly roaming the halls of the mall. The constant reminder was unbearable, so I chose to take the matter into my own hands and alter my life in order to take control of whatever elements I could.

I have never been much of a partier, and I hardly ever drink more than one beer, but since my rape I no longer wish to go out or drink at all. I am too afraid to drink and let loose with my friends because I constantly feel uncomfortable and scared; scared I will have that last drink that pushes me over the edge, scared that someone I trust will betray me, scared that I will again be violated and then blamed for it. I cannot explain the impact this has had on just the littlest things in my life. I used to love getting dressed up, I used to love to walk into a room and feel sexy. But now I look at those clothes in disgust. When choosing an outfit I lean towards jeans and a t-shirt. Unconsciously I gave into the stereotype that I got raped because I was doing something wrong; wearing too provocative of clothing, sending the wrong signals, asking for it; somehow forgetting that on the night of my rape I wore a ball cap and fleece hooded sweatshirt. When I think about this fact it makes me angry--- I was not asking for anything, and no matter what I was wearing, or how drunk I was, it did not give that man the right to do the things only he knows he did to me!

This experience has been incredibly painful. It took weeks for the physical pain of that night to diminish. I am grateful not to know the details of those hours, knowing the little I do is enough to make me sick. I will never forget hearing the doctor’s voice reciting for record the amount of tearing, the placement of tearing, and the bleeding.

As I stand here today, and as I sat writing this, all I could think was ‘how do I measure the impact this has had on my life?’ There is so much to think of, so much to sum up. This has been an incredible struggle for me. I have had so many people tell me, ‘you are stronger than this,’ or ‘you can’t let him win, stop crying,’ or ‘you’re smart, you can write a statement,’ and all I can say is they are right. I am strong, and I am smart, and I sure as hell don’t want to let him win; but for some reason all that doesn’t matter right now. People don’t realize what this process involves, how it breaks down even the strongest person. I want to open people’s eyes to this trauma: The rape kit, which is not only shockingly expensive and painful considering the tearing which has already occurred, but also allows several strangers to see and touch areas that have just hours ago been violated.

Not only is there the scare of STDs and pregnancy, but the medicines prescribed to prevent STDs are expensive and have severe complications in themselves, including causing flu like symptoms and liver problems; not to mention going back to the doctor every three weeks to be retested. The thoughts that the event in itself makes you sexually undesirable to every other man you meet. But the worst part of the process is the waiting. Preparing for court; toughening up to face the man who wreaked havoc on your life and his lawyer who will inevitably call you a drunken whore no matter what the facts state. I have prepared and made plans, and changed plans--- all for his convenience, his rights. I ask today where my rights have gone in this process, when my convenience is a factor in the equation. I have put school, work, and closure off for eleven months, and each time I saw the end in sight my closure was pushed back; my life put on hold for another three months.

As I stand here I have the answer for you sir, and the court. The impact this event has had on my life is immeasurable. I do not know when the pain will ease. I do not know when I will trust someone again. I do not know when I will be able to think of this event without crying. I do not know when I will feel comfortable just being me again. Because of these unknowns I stand here today and ask you for your judgment. I ask that you enforce the maximum punishment for this man’s crime. I ask this knowing that the full amount of time sentenced will rarely be served, but maybe the uncertainty will punish that man as much as it has punished me these past eleven months. I ask that you require him to pay the Crime Victims Compensation Board 100% of the medical costs they have so kindly taken care of for me. Along with the medical costs, I ask that you require him to be responsible to the board for the counseling I choose to take part in. I ask you to hold him accountable for his actions. I ask that you show him and his kind this violent behavior is unacceptable, and will no longer be tolerated.

Some years later, i can report that this woman is happy, healthy, and lovely. She has a beautiful smile and a sparkle in her eyes. When i bump into her, she is concerned with other things, newer things in her life. While life can feel hopeless while in the middle of the healing process, i always see women slowly come out of the dark and back into a hopefilled, generous view of life.

I will be posting more on the affect and the healing process;
also check out 
for more info.
more student stories HERE


  1. Thank you for posting on such on an important, yet frequently overlooked topic.

  2. As time goes on I am increasingly frustrated by the ease with which this crime is committed and ignored. I am saddened by the increasing rape all over the globe. Your site gave me some enregy today. Thank you.