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View Diary: Girl commits suicide after rape photos circulate. This shouldn't be a story we have two of. (219 comments)

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  •  Just a thought (77+ / 0-)

    I'm a straight dude who's never been the victim of sexual abuse but maybe it's time for a modified "It Gets Better" campaign featuring people who were raped or sexually assaulted when they were young but who went on to have wonderful and fulfilling lives.  I look at the pictures of this young lady and I want to be able to tell her "An awful thing has happened but a lot of people love you and over time, things will get better."

    I'm not a person who can say that with any personal credibility but the world has no shortage of people that can.  

    "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

    by Spider Stumbled on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 10:06:00 AM PDT

    •  That's a great idea! (55+ / 0-)

      I survived two rapes and while it has caused me some emotional scarring, I think I've done okay and I'm sure there are many more out there that have found a way to move forward and persevere.

      ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

      by Kristina40 on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 10:14:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great comment. (9+ / 0-)

      "Say little, do much" (Pirkei Avot 1:15)

      by hester on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 10:15:33 AM PDT

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    •  It only gets better if you never worry about (58+ / 0-)

      it coming back to haunt you.

      It only gets better if you are able to build a support system.

      It only gets better if the survival doesn't engender behaviors within the survivor, that aren't self destructive.

      Rape is not a momentary thing for the person who has been raped.

      It freezes many survivors in time, emotionally, and it affects their development emotionally, socially, professionally...even in terms of the physical health, because we all know how chronic stress can age a person before their time.

      It can get better, if society allows it to get better. But having one's rape--pictures put online as if it were a "sex tape" is like being at the epicenter of a nuclear explosion.

      One will always have the fear that somehow, if you enjoy any kind of success at all, that some asshole [male or female] will bring this up in order to bring you down.

      You have to understand how cruel people can be, and how our culture allows and even encourages that cruelty, before you can even begin to create a culture, where "It can get better."

      Until women are no longer judged by their perceived sexual availability, then this will not get better for most.  Because women and girls who are raped are often judged as being sluts before and/or after the fact, for all sorts of reasons [real and imagined].

      The only way to get rid of slut shaming [which many people who have been raped go through] is to eliminate the category of slut entirely.

      That being said, I do appreciate the sentiment and I encourage you to try.

      Imagine if either of these women had any hopes for high office or fame? They knew when they saw the pictures, that it was all over. That their trial would never be over. That the shaming would never end.

      •  Great Points (15+ / 0-)

        and the last thing I want to imply is that things get better easily, automatically, or universally.   I just want young people to know that they will regain some level of control of their own lot in life.  And that with support and luck, you won't be defined by this crime that you were the victim of.

        "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

        by Spider Stumbled on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 10:54:26 AM PDT

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      •  ^ ^ ^ This. (7+ / 0-)
        It freezes many survivors in time, emotionally, and it affects their development emotionally, socially, professionally…

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 01:18:18 PM PDT

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        •  That is very hard for people to understand. (12+ / 0-)

          For the rapist it might be one moment in time, a "mistake" or whatever they call want to call it. But for the person who was raped, it's the moment the world stood still.

          It will haunt them for a time, and for some, forever.

          And if there is media on this topic, there are a thousand ways in which that media might increase the potency of that haunting.

          You are always waiting for someone to find out, and to make you pay, to make you explain yourself, or to make you wallow in shame.

          This is one aspect of electronic media that I really do not like, for this and a variety of other reasons. It's one more way in which society disallows one to start over or move on.

          And doing either of those things after rape is extremely difficult even without social media spreading pictures and stories about the survivor.

          •  How do we make society, the courts, understand (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LSophia, GreenMother, JVolvo


            For the rapist it might be one moment in time, a "mistake" or whatever they call want to call it. But for the person who was raped, it's the moment the world stood still.
            I said this to the judge assigned to the final hearing last week for the young man who Criminally Sexually Assaulted my daughter.  The hearing was to move to dismiss all charges and the erase the 6 months of probation and sex offenders rehab from the kid's record.  I said many, many things in court that day, and I pleaded in tears for the judge to get that , to get that it doesn't work the same for the victim!  The perpetrator gets to plead a lesser charge and 6 months later just move on without any permanent damage to their record or future, but the victim never, ever gets appeal to anybody to be relieved of the memories of violation, to have the emotional scars healed, to have her relationships healed, her reputation restored.  From the moment she comes forward the burden of proof is on the victim, and the due process for the perpetrator is a legal right.  In CSC cases the age of the perp and victim are paramount in the way our courts treat the sentencing and plea bargaining for juvenile sex offenders.
            In our case, which was several counts of CSC 2cd degree for perp and victim under age 14, the boy's age is what allowed him to plea it down to assault and battery and get the charges dismissed at the end of his probation.
            I know some here will argue that this is fair and merciful, just as the everyone involved in my daughter's case did.  I argue that leaving at least the ridiculous assault and battery conviction on the kid's record for the ONE YEAR it can be there until he can legally petition in MI to have it expunged is small compared to the lifetime my daughter is going to have to process the experience and memories and live in a world that put a sex offender in her presence for less than $7000 in school of choice $$.
            The court, although moved by my tearful and heartbroken pleas, still allowed the dismissal.
            I was told by the prosecutor after that the charges wouldn't have been dropped if he'd been 14.
            I don't care that someone else's son might have a difficult time finding future employment because he 'made a mistake'.  My daughter has to live with his 'mistake' for the rest of her life.  
            •  I don't have an answer for you particular (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JVolvo, LSophia, surelyujest


              I am glad to observe that your are a parent that will support your daughter through this exceedingly difficult time. The internet is full of stories that often illustrate just the opposite.

              I hope that some day, that boy will grow up and comprehend the severity of the act he committed against your daughter. But there is nothing I can say or do to make you feel better, or to make her feel better, or to go back in time and stop it from happening.

              I want to say so much more, but it's just too personal, even by the standards of my prior posts.

              I don't know what will be necessary for the healing process for your daughter or for you. I don't have any good answers about our justice system, because it seems mangled in every direction.

              So all I have to offer are cultural paradigm shifts. Mere suggestions and observations, that are cold comfort to most survivors and their families, because you are in the thick of an emotional time right now, and rightfully so.

              I am so saddened that this happened to your daughter, and by extension your family, and to you. I wish I had something more concrete to offer you, but I don't.

              •  thank you GreenMother... (0+ / 0-)

                you have been exceedingly kind and sensitive in all of your recent responses to my rare comments here on this deeply personal crisis we've been struggling with, and it means a lot to me.  As I'm sure you can imagine, too many times we have been met with disbelief and even hostility, and that is where the cultural shift has got to begin.  I told the prosecutor that and he mumbled something about rap music, which tells me he truly didn't have any idea what it means to "change the culture of sexual assault".  
                I tried very hard to get it through to any authority figure we have had to confront or deal with this past year that the very first step to changing the way we deal with sexual assault is to call it what it is--it isn't harassment or bullying or even assault and battery (it is often intertwined with all of those crimes/issues, but it isn't "buttocks touching" or child's play or anything else the school and defense lawyer tried to trivialize the specific crimes committed against my daughter were).  I was very direct in court and said "this kid had his hands up inside my daughter's shirt, he forced his hand down inside my daughter's underwear, he sought her out and preyed upon her repeatedly.  His actions were predatory and criminal and this is sexual assault, this was never a game, this wasn't bra snapping or buttocks touching (what the defense attorney called it)"
                The worst lessons my child had to learn through this ordeal were the kind that taught her the people and institutions she trusted and relied on were not looking out for her best interests and that when faced with a serious challenge they will protect themselves first, even to the point of blaming the victim.
                And that is the point.  We live in a world, a culture, a society, that blames women for crimes committed against them.  We coddle the criminals.  Whoever has the better lawyer wins.
                This is all I have to say about this now that we have the end of the line as far as criminal charges go.  But through this process I have found many resources to help my daughter find her way through this and be proud of herself and understand this adult issue that no child should ever have to suffer through.  I have no doubt she will be stronger and better and tougher and more aware and more empathic as she heals--her poise alone has been downright admirable.
                As for me, well...I have much to work through now myself.  It is small comfort to finally be believed by those who didn't get it in the beginning.  It is infuriating to know that certain people close to my daughter didn't care enough to even be there for her, and it is my life's purpose to be the source of love and strength and support her life demands and deserves simply by virtue of her existence.
                Women should not have to deal with this alone--they can't.

      •  How to educate young males to be less jerky? (11+ / 0-)

        The macho culture, particularly around sports, with humiliation of "weak" boys as sissies and gay, as way too many coaches do, plus the entitled feeling many boys who are athletes and/or from wealthier families have are root causes here.  The humiliation on social media is the new factor here.  Apparently young people have no concept of privacy, either their own or anyone else's.  Couple this with the inherent insecurity teens feel and this kind of thing happens.  There needs to be some serious intervention by the fathers in these communities.

        The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

        by Mimikatz on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 01:54:47 PM PDT

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      •  I am always amazed how (6+ / 0-)

        some people, good people, cannot always get it.  

        I was molested as a child by a stranger.  I escaped before it got beyond touching and fondling.

        Long story short it affected me.  FOR A LONG TIME.  I wondered for years, WHY ME?  Did I do something. I was only 11 but I was with four other kids....but the man picked me to follow in the wooded area in which we were playing.  

        When I spoke to a cousin about this, she could not understand why it had affected me?  He only did....and so on.   (some)People do not get it.

        A) Not every one is the same
        B) You can affected on so many levels.  Confidence in your own judgment.  Confidence in who you are....what about you made you the victim.

        My heart breaks for everyone of those young people who are victimized by sickos, or obnoxious drunk teens, or people in power.  Being victimized traumatizes people in ways some people never get.

        And I keep wondering what is wrong with these young men who do this?  What values do they have?  What values do their parents instill?  

        “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

        by Jjc2006 on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 06:01:19 PM PDT

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        •  If they have never been through that; (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JVolvo, LSophia

          a person has difficulties grasping how deep the emotional wounds go.

          I tell people how lucky they are, that they are incapable of "getting it." Because if they did, then most likely they would be a different person altogether with a different, more tragic set of life circumstances.

          Also, when a person is cornered, and scared by a perp, the target doesn't have to be raped in the classical sense. The trauma is often as much, the feelings of helplessness and terror, and a betrayal of trust, as the actual act of rape.

          Most people either get it, because they have dealt with this subject directly, or they don't--and maybe grasp the edges of these concepts.

      •  Great points (3+ / 0-)

        Definitely hard to move on and even when you think you do, years later, something comes up and all of a sudden you come to the realization that your reaction is based on that trauma. It makes relationships hard for both parties. Even though logically we are told over and over again that the shame belongs to the rapist, there is always a sense of shame the victim feels. I am not sure if, in the future, that this sense could ever be completely erased. You will always have the doubts such as: Why did I put myself in the position? Why didn't I fight? Why was I there? Why did I not realize what kind of person I was associating with? Why doesn't my mother believe me...?  I am sure you get the picture. You question your own judgment constantly. I don't tell many people what happened to me and for the longest time, I pretended it did not affect me. It added to a loss of self-esteem that is a struggle to maintain almost 50 yrs later. I am so sorry for these girls and so angry that we live in a society that even lets these boys think that they can rape someone and post pictures and still go unscathed.

    •  Problem is, sometimes it doesn't get better... (9+ / 0-)

      if we try to put a hopeful spin on a horrible attack, the victim might avoid seeking counselling. The trauma of such attacks can damage us in ways that are hard to detect...and may have long lasting consequences regarding trust and other psychological aspects.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities" Voltaire.

      by JWK on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 11:00:18 AM PDT

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      •  I guess it is a more complicated issue (7+ / 0-)

        but I think the thrust of the commentaries will need to be that "For me it got better, because I got counseling (support, etc.)."

        "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

        by Spider Stumbled on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 11:24:08 AM PDT

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      •  Maybe change the phrase (7+ / 0-)

        to "Healing is Possible," and focus the message on getting counseling, support, and so on.

        Or "It Wasn't Your Fault"  or "You are worthy."  Some kind of message that lets them know they are not alone, that someone cares and they deserve support and help, not judgment and more abuse.

        •  I think that is a good direction. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          What I would like to get into the PSAs is the concept that rape is both a physical and emotional crime. The victims should be getting care just like someone seriously injured by a gunshot wound. (Some of them are physically injured as well.)

          The problem there is that many victims can't get past the shock and horror to participate in therapy for years, even decades.  Most likely the people who have studied this and those who have experience, need to look at what the programs are doing, which ones have success, etc. Likely is being done at some level. The place my daughter goes to keeps stats for their facility. Whether there is funding to do the mega studies and program development is another barrier. My sense is most programs are struggling to provide delivery of care they have established.

          The jock culture needs to be greatly toned down. The gun fail diary this week included an incident in the south at a little league game played by (IIRC) 7 & 8 year old students. One of the fathers had been arrested for pulling a gun on the coach, who had asked him to sit in the stands. The local LE has moved to rescind the dad's carry permit.

          There is a PE program that was developed 20 years ago in the Naperville IL high school. They have expanded it to K -12 and other school districts have studied it and implemented their own. It focuses on individual physical fitness and I could not add much of anything to what John Ratey MD explains in Spark:The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. The students have a 3% obesity rate, fitness levels are very good - using different parameters than the old sit ups, push ups and sprint times. They also get better grades and the bullying behavior is greatly reduced. Even school districts in high crime and violence areas saw a huge reduction in violence.

          There is also a program someone else wrote about in a different diary. College level group that offers classes at universities to teach a lot about sex, sexuality, rape, etc. Probably more accurate and thorough information than 85% have ever had. Maybe I can find it.

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 09:26:24 PM PDT

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    •  I think this (0+ / 0-)

      deserves a nomination to Top Comments. I understand the power of the It Gets Better videos and I really believe this could help people.

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