December 2017
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what terrifies me: rape

Bugs, snakes, and rodents don't usually bother me (though a certain bug grosses me out to the point of nausea, and I have a violent hatred of roaches); I've always liked bats; heights are a little scary but nowhere near terrifying; storms are exciting and invigorating; closed-in spaces are cozy; airplanes, tunnels, and bridges are fun; I love crowds; and speaking in public is something I've daydreamed about since I was a kid. I don't have what calls the most common fears, but I'm not fearless.

I have a fear that many people experience but few ever talk about. I fear rape.

The hardest thing about this fear is that it is a logical one. More than one in three women (38%) and one in nine men are sexually abused before the age of 18. Considering the fact that many people block out their experiences as a way of coping and those who do remember rarely tell of their abuse because of perceived shame, I am certain that the true numbers are much higher than the known numbers. And that does not even take into account rapes committed on adults! Opposite to popular belief, rape is common.

I am afraid for myself, because I have experienced the devastation of rape and I know how it shatters a person. I fear that if I experience it again, I will once again be filled with hatred and crippling paranoia. When I first began working through the abuse I suffered, I could not even step on the front porch unless my partner was with me, and when I was alone at home, I was full of anxiety that someone might break in. I have overcome much of my fear since then -- this summer I even went on a road trip of seven hours by myself -- but I still struggle. And unfortunately, I know that a certain level of fear is rational because rape is not rare, so I cannot dismiss my fear entirely.

I do fear for myself, but I am truly terrified for children. Every time I see a charming, pretty child, I at first feel hopeful happiness because of their faith and beauty, but all too often, I remember how that faith can be betrayed, that beauty stolen, and I'm filled with despairing fear. I stare hard at their parents, trying to see if they will protect their children, and I pray desperately that they will.

I combat this fear by reminding myself that I have healed so much, and that others can heal too; that the wounds can be turned to scars and stop hurting. I focus on sending out love so that I can help stop the cycle of hurt people hurting other people, and I do what I can to increase awareness and eradicate apathy. I concentrate on my belief we all chose to come to this life, chose to go through suffering and destruction so that we could grow. Most of all, I remember that even though the rest of us can be wounded or even destroyed, the spirit is eternally incorruptible; it can be hidden away or silenced, but it cannot be harmed. The truest part of us is unbreakable.

LJ idol topic 2: "What terrifies me." ((please vote for me here!))

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brightlotusmoon ══╣╠══
I fear rape, too. I've never been raped, but I've been in situations where it almost happened. The fear is so visceral.

My husband confessed his biggest, deepest secret to me and it still makes me cold and sick with horror, terror and rage. He had been six. The person who had done it had been thirteen. A family friend he'd trusted. A teenager. A sick, sick teenager.
But my husband took those emotional scars and that pain and he built himself up, despite a decade or more of nightmares, and channeled it all into helping others. For which I love him all the more.
twystedpixie ══╣╠══
"The truest part of us is unbreakable." Best line, right there. Way to end it on a strong note. <3
unnecessary_ ══╣╠══
One of my favorite memories in my life involves my fear of thunderstorms. When my ex and I first started dating, he called me during a storm (when I was getting ready to hide somewhere in my house as if I'm a cat) just to see if I was okay. Now every time I talk about the fear, I remember the cute memory and I'm less afraid.

Just thought I'd throw that in there.
tulip_in_yellow ══╣╠══
That's great, by the way.
unnecessary_ ══╣╠══
elva_undine ══╣╠══
How truly terrifying. I've often thought about how awful it would be, and I am so sorry that it had to happen to you - to anyone. Thank God for healing. I'm glad you have been able to heal.
tulip_in_yellow ══╣╠══
I know what you mean. Day by day, step by step. That's all you can do.

*huge hug*
I commend you for the bravery to write about such personal violation.
brassdaughter ══╣peace╠══
Rape is my greatest fear as well. I've known so many people who went through that pain, and I think every woman I know who has not experienced it has had at least one narrow escape. Entire families in my hometown have been shattered for generations by this.
And knowing how long it's taken me to deal with the (accidental) sexual abuse I experienced as a teenager makes me so afraid that if anything else ever happens, I won't be strong enough to recover.

*offers hugs* I'm so angry that this happened to you, and I admire your courage in breaking the silence.
jenniology ══╣I want to believe╠══
I'm terrified of rape. I've never had it happen to me, or anyone close to me, but I still fear it - and it saddens me that I "have" to fear it.

suesniffsglue ══╣╠══
Very beautiful and poignant. Just writing about this is such a sigh of healing and strength; the best way to fight back against rape is to speak up.

I have to ask. What bug grosses you out so much? I have a completely irrational fear of moths. I almost wrote my entire post simply on my hatred of moths!
kindapoetry ══╣╠══
i'm scared to read this, honestly. i was a victim of a rape and while i like to think i've come to terms with it and moved one, i do tend to avoid trying to subject myself to anything that might trigger it.

but uh, kudos for writing about it...maybe i'll work on that courage thing and read it all by the end of the week.
acid_burns ══╣jamie and jill / make the earth stand╠══
I am so incredibly proud of you, Bel ♥
boundfate ══╣Yay╠══
I'm glad you are healing from your ordeal. Fears are so much more powerful when we have images and memories to attach to them.

Also thank you for using the style code in your entry because your layout isn't work safe! Super yummy cookies to you!
lorelei_sakti ══╣╠══
That we all chose to come to this life, chose to go through suffering and destruction so that we could grow... That is an idea I've heard before, but not fully contemplated. I think it's empowering, the idea that we've chosen out of our own free will to live here on Earth.

And the soul, the soul is truly unbreakable.
bluebl00d ══╣Angelina / Those Luscious Lips╠══
You're truly a survivor Bel ♥

I share your fear, not for myself but for little children, my nephew. I watch Samuel play and these crazy thoughts inside my head get me all paranoid and the thought of someone hurting him, ripping his innocence from him drives me completely mad and I could seriously kill someone if they were to ever put their hands on him.

moon_orchid ══╣Solitude╠══
Thanks for sharing this. I wrote a bit about some of my experience, you can find it here:

The post is much more out of anger than healing...but it has all been part of the process.

Love, love love.
brighid0704 ══╣╠══
That's a perfectly rational fear, IMO. As a sexual abuse survivor, and a rape crisis worker, I can totally empathise with what you've written here. Sexual violence is so awful, so very invasive and degrading.

I'm glad you've healed and have come so far. Keep up the good work!
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on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.