I’ve put together the replies I got for my survey. I did not get as many replies as I would have liked but can still get a good grade if I write a good enough conclusion^^ If people want to read my whole report, please leave a comment.

On to the replies I got:

How old were you when you were raped?

  • I was 18 the first time and it went on for six months.
  • 17
  • I was raped in 2005, when I was 19.
  • 23
  • Several times over a period of about a year and a half, starting when I was 17
  • 15
  • 15

Where did it happen? (your home, outside, his place, etc)

  • At my then boyfriend’s place.
  • His place
  • At a party at a friend’s house. I had been drinking quite a lot, and he took me upstairs, ostensibly to put me to bed.
  • At my house, in my bed
  • My bedroom at home
  • His house and then his car.
  • Outside of a movie theater at a mall a few days after Christmas.

Did you know the rapist? If so, how close were you two before the rape?

  • Yes, he was my boyfriend.
  • He used to be my best friend
  • He had been a close friend of my partner during our long-term relationship. When that romance ended, as they do, he took a greater interest in me, and often treated me to movies and such. If I didn’t trust him completely, I still thought of him as a close confidante.
  • Yes, he was my boyfriend at the time and had been for six or seven months.
  • Yes, I did. He was my boyfriend, the person that I was, at the time, convinced I would spend the rest of my life with.
  • Yes, he was my boyfriend.
  • Yes. We dated for 5 months.

Did the rapist make excuses for why he though he didn’t do anything wrong? If so, which ones?

  • No
  • I never talked to him again, so I don’t know.
  • When I woke the next morning, I washed the blood off and never ever ever spoke to him again.
  • He apologized, I guess. I can’t remember if he tried to defend himself. I don’t think he did, and I think he realized that he did something very bad and wrong the moment it was over and I started yelling at him.
  • He sure did, and oh, they are numerous. Here are some of the ones I remember:
    –But you said I could lie on top of you! (I had refused sex, and he waited until I was asleep to rape me)
    –But you promised we’d have sex in the morning! (said at 5 am, the morning before a midterm, when he refused to let me sleep until I let him have sex with me)
    –But we hadn’t had sex in four days! (said when I was recovering from surgery!)
    And my personal favorite: “You’re my little fucktoy, you don’t get to say no.”
  • Yes, he loved me
  • He never made any excuses or comments about it except to call me and mockingly repeat the things I had said during the rape.
    How long did it take you to realise that you had been raped? What made you realise this?
  • A month after the relationship ended (and the relationship lasted six months). I realised this due to the book “Flickan och skulden”.
  • Nearly a year and a half. Heather from Scarleteen pretty much spelled it out for me.
  • Intellectually, I knew. The facts were there. But they were dry, and seemed distant. It was about a year later that I realised that I was one of Them. The raped ones.
  • It didn’t affect me much, as I had pre-existing PTSD. Nothing much affects me. It was the betrayal of trust, and newfound loneliness that hit me the most, I suppose.
  • A little less than a year. I realized it was sexual assault/rape because I was reading the I Blame the Patriarchy blog, specifically a couple of posts about consent. (If I had been in a true state of non-consent, it either wouldn’t have happened, or I would have been able to press charges for it.)
  • It’s strange, I didn’t really think of it as rape until after our relationship had become so abusive that I realized all of a sudden one day, that not only couldn’t I communicate no (since he was fond of smothering me with a pillow while he raped me) even if I wanted to, I wasn’t at all certain as I had inexplicably been initially that he would stop if I really, really, asked him hard enough and clicked my heels together. Ironically what made me realize this was an attempted sexual assault by an acquaintance. I thought to myself, if I don’t have to put up with that shit from this random dude, why do I have to put up with it from my boyfriend who supposedly loves me? Finding some really good friends helped too, as I was in no condition to acknowledge the full extent of the abuse at the time.
  • I knew instantly, but I didn’t feel like I could use that label.
  • I honestly don’t remember. I was on autopilot for a few weeks. I didn’t even notice my bruises until my chemistry partner asked me what happened and I was stumped as to how they got there for a few minutes – then I remembered. It wasn’t until I told another friend the story and she said “Are you listening to yourself? You keep saying “He forced me to this and he forced me to do that” do you realize what happened?”

Did you ever report it? Why?

  • No, I never reported it.
  • No, happened abroad. Also by the time I realised it was too late…
  • Noooooo. He was a friend of all my friends, and all I wanted to do was forget. I’m good at forgetting. I knew if I told anyone, they would question me, accuse him; he would deny everything,and it would be an ongoing dilemma. Forgetting everything and getting away was the raison de jour.
  • No, I didn’t consider it at the time. Also, I don’t think anything would have or could have been done about it, and I’m not sure the police would have believed me anyway. I did report it anonymously at Report IT Now.
  • No. He was my boyfriend. No one would have believed me.
  • No, because at that time date rape wasn’t acknowledged as real rape.
  • No, because I stupidly cared so much about how it would hurt our families. Our families were lifelong friends. And his dad was a cop. Two months after he did it to me, five other girls came forward accusing him and oddly enough all their charges were dropped so I guess my report wouldn’t have mattered either. Also, by the time I was aware enough to realize what happened to me, all the evidence was gone.

Did you ever get any counselling? Why?

  • Yes, three years and counting.
  • Yes. I told a friend of mine and she had a counsellor call me.
  • I did, but as I said, I had a few pre-existing things to talk about. I don’t even know if I told my first councellor. Though I’ve told the four since.
  • I did seek counseling this year just after I confronted him and his current girlfriend via email about the assault. I realized that I really needed to sort through the experience and my feelings about it with someone supportive.
  • Yes, I was in group and individual counseling for many months because of it. I got counseling because I was cutting myself something fierce, having panic attacks if anyone so much as touched me, and couldn’t stop thinking about killing myself. I am happy to say that now, almost a year and a half after I got out of that “relationship,” I am much, much healthier mentally.
  • I went to Planned Parenthood in part because I was worried about being pregnant, but those I saw made the incorrect assumption that I had consented and was only in distress because of society’s attitudes about pre-marital sex.
    A year after my rape I had an unexplainable (at the time) crying jag and called the local mental health crisis line and because I couldn’t find the words, they again assumed that my distress was over society’s attitudes about pre-marital sex
  • Yes. It got to the point where I had panic attacks and anxiety attacks all day long. When I would finally fall asleep at night I had nightmares – every single night.

Did you talk to other survivors online? Did this help you heal?

  • Yes, I talked to others who’d experienced it. Sometimes it felt better not to be alone.. But sometimes it can be hard to go on cos it was so hard.
  • Yes and yes.
  • I haven’t talked, no, but I’ve read many accounts, and advocacy. It hurts more than heals. I’m all about the forgetting it ever happened, and reading about other rape survivors’ experiences in the world, especially others’ reactions to the confession, or objections to the latest legislation (such as that proposed and passed in NSW recently) really hurts. I quite like stories of successful prosecutions though. They cheer me up. Pity there aren’t more of them. (I’m well aware of the irony, yes)
  • Technically, yes, but I wasn’t seeking out the help of other survivors; they just read my journal and supported me.
  • Yes, I do. In fact, talking online to other people about my experiences is what motivated me to get out in the first place. The internet was the only place I felt safe talking about what went on behind closed doors with him, and the internet was where I found people who’d been in similarly awful situations, and who were more than willing to tell me to DTMFA1.
  • Yes, but I was well on my way in the healing process before I dared to communicate with other survivors online. This helped me heal, but more importantly it helped me feel strong in the fight against sexual violence.
  • Yes. Before I went to the YWCA2 for counselling I joined a few online yahoo groups. It helped a lot! Having other people know exactly how I feel and know exactly what I’m talking about helped me feel better and helped me to feel like I wasn’t weird or crazy. It was a good way of tracking my own progress too, a new girl would join and I would find myself thinking “Wow. I haven’t felt that way in a long time and I didn’t even realize it.” The biggest draw back to online groups are the people (mainly men) who join asking for help for someone they know. Most of the time we’re struggling to help ourselves so expecting us to help them is annoying and almost 100% of the time they’re pretty offensive and they don’t realize it.

Did/do you write a blog? Do you write about the rape there?

  • Yes, I blog and sometimes I write about it.
  • Yes and yes.
  • Gosh no. My friends read my blog. They still don’t know. Or, if they know about the rape, they don’t know who it refers to.
  • I do write a blog and I keep an online journal. I wrote about the events of the assault (before I named it sexual assault) in my online journal months after the incident, and I just wrote about the assault in my public blog for the first time today [Today in this sentence refers to the day she replied to the survey].
  • Yes, I do have a blog. I write about the rapes, but I do not publish it publically. Very few of my friends know (mostly the friends I met in group therapy!)
  • Yes and yes.
  • Yes, I currently have a blog and I do write about rape.

Are there other reasons for you to be online than recovery? Which?

  • Yes, I’m online to vent, talk to friends, study, relax and once in a while play games..
  • ”Normal” internet use… And reasearching, I plan to study law.
  • That there are rape survivors that are funny, articulate, and see the event as one particular nasty experience in the context of a life is nice. In contrast to the dominant portrayal of the raped as a wilted, damaged flower, seeing that people can move on, and be strong.
  • friends, research for school, news updates, typical internet use — I was on the internet way, way before I was assaulted.
  • Certainly – I’m an undergrad! I’m online all the time.
  • Fighting the attitudes which contribute to rape so that fewer people rationalize they are doing nothing wrong when they rape.
  • Other reasons to be online for rape other than recovery? I try to educate other people about rape.

What did/do you primarily use the internet for? (survivor-focused discussion groups, reading blogs/stories written by other survivors, researching information related to justice and/or recovery, etc)

  • My primary Internet use is to write blogs about everything and nothing.
  • Writing about it, reading other survivors stories, researching info.
  • Ignoring the issue? Confirming my notion that bringing charges would be just as traumatising as the event, unfortunately.
  • mostly reading up on feminist theory and forging feminist community bonds, but also writing, keeping up with the news, and general research.
  • I use the internet primarily to read feminist blogs and do research. The survivor-focused discussion groups and blogs overlap heavily with the feminist blogs I read, since so many feminist blogs are written by survivors. Going through this myself is the main reason I am such a passionate feminist. I have seen how this patriarchy-induced, abusive, rape-enabling dynamic plays out firsthand, and because of that, I know both how easy it is for two unsuspecting teenagers to fall into it, and how damaging it can be.
  • Reading other survivors and researching current information.
  • I don’t really do the online groups anymore now that actually gone to therapy, but I love reading blogs written by other survivors.

Are there any specific sites you found useful? Which? Why?

  • No
  • Scarleteen and abyss2hope. They put the blame were it belongs!
  • Twisty and I Blame The Patriarchy is brilliant. I like her articulate outrage, and the way she directs it at the right targets: sexism, gender roles, ingrained rape culture.
  • No, aside from IBTP4 and the associated forums.
  • Abyss2hope.blogspot.com is very useful because the author has a way of cutting through all the victim blaming crap to the core of what’s really going on. Blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com was also incredibly useful, both because of the incredible intelligence and wit of the author, and because that’s the blog that I was first told that I deserved better, and that what he was doing was unequivocally wrong. But most importantly, it’s the first place I encountered people who said, I know what you are going through. I went through it to. You are not alone. And that made all the difference in the world and gave me the strength to leave, even though he’d threatened my life if I did (thankfully he has never tried to follow through on those threats!)
  • RAINN for statistics and all survivor blogs to help me know I’m not alone.
  • Abyss2hope is the main one I read. Many of the feminist blogs have some decent stuff. And Safer – I can’t remember the full title. They write about rape in an educated way and bring different issues to light.

Are you online because of lack of understanding/rape apologists offline?

  • No
  • They are offline as well, but online I can be anonymous.
  • Absolutely. And the anonymity.
  • Internet feminist communities are what I seek out because they’re few and far between offline. The abundance of rape apologism is part of that.
  • Yes. One of the reasons I became so depressed is that both the ex and my mother reacted to my telling them of the stranger assault by insinuating that I was an idiot for ever getting in his car. I am getting to the point though where I have enough confidence and self-esteem to challenge rape apologists directly, face to face.
  • More of lack of connection to other survivors since so many of us don’t talk about our experiences offline.
  • Yes, but they’re online too. They’re everywhere.

Do you still sometimes feel like its your fault? If so, what do you do to minimise the guilt?

  • Yes, I can sometimes feel like it’s my fault. I talk to friends and write about it when I feel like that. Look for support. A counsellor once told me that you can not overreact, it help to think of it like that.
  • Yes, I think about how I’d react if it had happened to someone else. Then it would definitely be rape in my eyes.
  • No, I never did. I read enough before and after the know that rape is the rapist’s fault. If I do minimise his culpability in any way, it’s through the idea of possessive masculinity, and societal sexism.
  • No, not really. I don’t think I ever did.
  • Yes I do. I don’t know if minimize is the right word. I still talk to the ex, for instance, because I am worried that if I don’t, he will snap and do something. I feel like I let him do it, and that in some bizarre way I did violence to him by “letting” him do violence to me. And I still feel sometimes like the other assault was my fault, since the first two people I told aside from the RAINN hotline operator told me it was my fault for getting in his car (after that I stopped telling people).
  • No, I don’t ever feel that my rape is my fault. This stopped cold when I realized that my rapist premeditated raping me and worked before the rape to shift the responsibility for his actions onto me (I was irresistable, he was powerless to resist).
  • I don’t know if I’d say I ever felt like it was my fault, but I still do have moments – 15 years later – where I question if it was rape. I wonder if I just “took it the wrong way.” I usually have to tell myself that there’s no other way to take what happened to me. My (ex) boyfriend slamming my head against a concrete wall outside a mall is not consensual and I did not take it the wrong way.

If you could do anything differently when it comes to your recovery, what would that be?

  • I couldn’t have done anything different, I was too shocked and it needed to take its time.. Of course I wish I’d spoken up earlier, but I don’t think I would’ve worked it out as well if that had been the case. I also think I would still feel bad about it to day…
  • Realise sooner…
  • Prosecuting the prat would be nice. And lunging at him with a knife would also be productive, I feel. I was also attacked by a group of strangers at a train station that year, and it would have helped if everyone I told hadn’t said “Oh that’s awful! Did you do anything to provoke them?”, thus diminishing my expectations of others’ rationality and sympathy a million percent. Expecting anyone to believe me and not blame me would be the best thing, I guess.
  • I can’t think of anything.
  • I wouldn’t tell anyone I wasn’t absolutely sure would be on my side.
  • I would have recognized the difference between suppressing my rapes and being over them.
  • I would have gotten help sooner (I waited 8 years) and I would have taken up my therapist’s offer to talk to younger survivors who try to minimize what happened to them.

Do you have any other comments about the relationship between healing and online activity?

  • I think that it’s important to talk about it in real life too and not just look for help online. Combine it. Dare to feel good and believe that it will get better, but you also need to dare to be sad and cry.
  • It’s helped me a lot.
  • It didn’t particularly help me, but I understand it’s very important. It would be good if there was a clear website of all legal options for rape victims, and their respective chances of success.
  • I think the internet is an invaluable source of support for women who have been raped. I know I definitely wouldn’t be okay if it weren’t for the feminist communities I’m a member of online, because they just don’t exist offline.
  • I think one of the most important parts of healing is realizing that your reaction to it is perfectly reasonable and rational, that you were the victim of another person’s demons, but that you are still loved and worthy and deserving of kindness. At my first group therapy meeting, I was certain everyone would somehow instantly know that I wasn’t really a survivor somehow, that despite the many times my ‘no’ was disregarded, it didn’t count as rape. So when we were asked to write down the two primary emotions we were feeling when we thought about it on slips of paper, to be collected and written up on the board anonymously, I was filled with fear that my emotions – “betrayed” and “worthless” – would be so different from all the other emotions that I’d be kicked out of the group.
  • Obviously, that didn’t happen. In fact, one of my emotions was the only one that was repeated by someone else! I think after that point I started forgiving myself for “letting” myself be victimized, and started accepting that my reactions to my assaults are valid and should be treated with respect.
  • Yes, I think each survivor needs to respect how being online impacts them and to not feel like there is one right path that good survivors follow.
  • As long as online communities for rape survivors are constantly monitored to be
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