Rapists Don’t Know Damage They Do
“Hannah” seemed off-kilter.
She was dating a friend of mine in high school. They fought constantly and it was always ups and downs, always on and off.
Her personality swang widely, too. She went from hyper to depressed and back again. And her clothing seemed to fit her depressive mood: sweatpants and t-shirts. Maybe they expressed her sad life. Maybe they made her feel safer, making her invisible. Sometimes she hid in her own bubble, cutting everyone off.
I think she was also a cutter.
She never talked about her family and I wondered why. But over time she opened up to me. She had never felt loved by her mom or dad. Especially her dad. That’s all she said at first.
Then one day she broke down crying as she held her trembling arms in a sad self-embrace.
Trigger warning. May be triggering for some survivors of rape.
When I asked what was wrong she told me that her father had raped her and her mother did not stop him.
My heart cried for Hannah. I felt I understood her more. Her shifting moods may have been due to a medical condition. Or, they may have been due to these assaults. I could see why she would have problems in relationships, like with my friend. And with all of us.
I worried about her but I didn’t know what to do. And I couldn’t tell anyone since she had revealed this to me in confidence.
After just one year of meeting Hannah, I never saw or heard from her again.
Her old boyfriend eventually told me he thought she might have been sexually abused. Once when they had sex she had gotten anxious and shaky and passed out. She didn’t remember anything when she came to, and he didn’t ask about it because he worried she’d get upset and depressed.
Later, he broke up with her because she was sleeping with other guys at school.
Because of that he didn’t think too highly of her. But I think differently. After learning about incest, I know that these victims often grew up in cold, unloving homes, and often confuse sex with love because it’s the only “closeness” (if you can call it that) that they have ever known.
I worry about her because I know that emotionally needy girls can easily attract predators and they are more likely to be sexually assaulted.
I also know that victims of rape and incest are more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, shame, depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction and to feel low self-esteem.
I don’t know if rapists realize how much damage they do to women and the men who love them. I know that many child molesters convince themselves that the child “wants it.”
I wish I’d known then what I know now so that I could help Hannah more.
But I hope that my story might help someone else.
This was written by one of my students, who gave permission to post it.
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Posted on February 7, 2014, in feminism, psychology, rape and sexual assault, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged child sexual abuse, feminism, incest, psychology, rape, sexism, sexual assault, violence against women, women. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.
I feel very sad after I read this story. It makes me very mad what her parents did to her. Her parents should be the one who love and protect her all the time. Yet, they destroyed her so much. They took away a lot of happiness from her. Her parents also took away the chance from her to learn what her father did to her was wrong. The scar will remain her forever. No body has a right to destroy any person’s life. Every child deserves to have a life with full of love and happiness.
I am really upset and angry about this story. I felt sorry to Hannah as well. Some questions popped out while reading this story. How come her parents could destroy their daughter’s life in such cruel and evil way? Why didn’t her boyfriend know more about her strange behaviour instead of giving up? Hannah may possible to get rid of this hell if he tried to understand her. I cannot imagine how could a girl live in such life that without love from parents. After reading this story, I believe schools and governments should educate students who treat sexually assaults. It is the only way to help those victims to escape from rapists and have a new life. Otherwise, problems of sexually assaulted will getting serious.
I am sad so very much to know many women have been raped and did never report it. My ex was the one who was raped by her uncle when she was in junior high. When the time came to step up the relationship with her, she was really anxious and freaked out, and then she talked to me about her past frightening experience. I felt so sorry for her, and I was also so upset at her uncle. I asked her if she reported the incident to anybody like police, she said no because if she did that, the uncle’s family would get into trouble. She also said although she talked to her parents about this, they were on her uncle’s side for some reason. It’s absolutely shameful that some men hurt women both physically and mentally for their buggy desire, and, what’s worse, they even don’t think about ones whom they are going to break.
I feel education is a most effective way to reduce the number of rapists. I’m lucky I had a chance to learn how important respecting each other and moral is.
This is so sad for all parties involved, even the dad who raped her, because hurting people hurt people. Did he suffer the same when growing up and carrying out what happened to him because he didn’t reach out for help and therefore never had the opportunity to process it in a way that brings closure and healing? Now, this then little girl has now been forced to become the object of his troubled soul. So many girls go through this, many times without their voice being heard and have been subconsciously required to find ways to self-medicate their pain to survive. But just as we read here, that doesn’t work and I pray for sexual assault victims, because often times they are left with shattered trust, destroyed identity, violated boundaries, never feeling safe and wanting to get out of their own skin but are unable to escape. My prayer is that victims reach out to those who can help and who knows how to help someone recover and heal, and that we don’t ignore the signs thinking, that’s none of my business because it could be your daughter or someone’s sister or mother. What I can say is there is hope and life after, a life of wholeness and not brokenness, if help is obtained. I share a similar experience…
When a person gets raped it is always really hard for them to figure out what to do weather it is to call the police or keep it quite. I personally have friends that have been rape by people they actually knew and when they told me what happened it all made since because they were showing the same signs depression, wearing different clothes and not talking as much as they usually do. When they did tell me what happened i wasn’t really shocked because of the signs they were lately. And I was really shocked who had done the rape because they were really nice guys. But a lot of rape victims don’t end up going to the police because they are scared. And I always tell them if they go to the police and they get convicted it could help other girls from getting raped.
It’s too bad that girls are so often blamed for rape that they end up not reporting it to the police.
The scars that rapist leave on a person is horrible and I believe that it leaves them with a pain and wound in their life and soul .My mom at the age of five was molested by my grandfather and she remembers the pain and how he cleaned up the blood it hurts me to know that every time we go to Mexico she starts crying because she gets old memories that she cant help but remember. My mother told me that as a teen she was overweight and was very self cautious it wasn’t until she turned twenty that she lost weight and gained some of her self confidence that she has never had . I know that a person who has been raped cant even be comfortable with her kids being around other men because they don’t feel like their kids are safe that’s one thing I have observed about my mom shes always has been on the look out for us. My mom til this day takes depression pills because she gets very depressed at times she has been through a lot and my grandpa is a sick man I cant believe that he could have caused so much pain and scaring on my mother . It reminds me that when we get sad or upset over little things we don’t even know what it is to feel sad at times .and to the rapist that cause harm I can only wish them to feel guilty and shame for the rest of there lives.
I am so sorry. Thank you so much for sharing this story.
You know Georgia , its not shocking ! I mean reading it though agitated me , but i have so many stories where a father raped his child, or brother or any male relative. I mean now is the time where we can’t even trust our own male family members. I can’t even imagine through what Hannah must have gone. Its a shame, the daughter to whom you gave birth, is not a daughter but a toy for you to play with!
Unfortunately, A lot of people don’t know or care about the harm that rapists cause, and they often blame the victim. I’m hoping that this will help some of them to take her perspective for a change.
You are from India, right? I’ve been reading about how rampant this problem is over there. It seems to be a backlash to the gains women are making. And it happens in other cultures as well when women begin to gain more rights. Over time as women gain equality these crimes against women and girls decrease because you find a correlation of violence against women tracking inequality of women. But in those times of change, violence against women can be especially high.
Egalitarian cultures, like those found amongst native Americans before the Europeans arrived, had virtually no rape or wife battering.
Yes it is.
I hope that people will gain a greater understanding of what rape survivors go through.
Agreed. Good awarenesses and insights from the writer. And also, I think, just as much as rapists don’t know the damage they do- it can be hard for victims to know that whatever they are experiencing- low-self esteem, depression, PTSD, etc. is the damage from the assault… which results in even more victim blaming,this time from the victim her/himself who just thinks there is something wrong with him/her and not being able to put the blame where it needs to be.
Very good point. So sad how often victims blame themselves.
This just breaks my heart. Wonderful post
Thank you. I’m grateful my student shared this story.