In 1979 when I was 21 and was in college studying overseas, I was raped.

I'm not going to describe the rape itself in detail here–but the fact that I didn't receive the proper supportive treatment from others including counseling that I should have received after it had happened.

The school's program director told me I should not tell other kids about what had happened and make a burden of myself. This for me went without saying because I'd already felt badly about what had happened and didn't want to tell other kids what had happened or even talk about it in detail–but did he have to rub it in, that way?

I'd sort of given him a pass because he was a native of a South American country, and the school was in  Central America, where because of "machismo," the man is king and if a woman is raped, it's her fault.

But what makes me angry is that after all these years, my own mother–an American who should have known better in an era in which people had already been starting to be more knowledgeable about what goes into rape–blamed me.

She said that if I hadn't gone off and taken a walk by myself (which I enjoyed doing), with the implication that I'd deserved it, this probably wouldn't have happened.

And as mentioned, I'd never received any proper counseling. So though I'd read about and mentally knew that rape is an act of violence, not a sex act, and that the woman is never "asking for it,", I emotionally blamed myself.

Even though after what I'd gone through I've been conflicted over the idea of a relationship with a man–part of me has wanted one, the other part has not. So I've never been involved with a man since 1979 when it happened.

About three weeks ago I started seeing a counselor who I told about the rape after she'd asked me if I'd experienced any sexual abuse. I brought up the way the school's program director had handled it–which she'd said was mean. And then as I'd described what had happened, I'd said it was because I was dumb enough to be out walking by myself. Because by that time emotionally speaking my mother had had me so convinced I'd done something dumb, that was the first thing I'd said.

And this is where she'd set me straight–where mentally I'd known that what had happened hadn't been my fault, it has finally started sinking in emotionally. After all that, I don't think I can forgive my mother for giving me the idea that I'd asked for being raped and that I'd deserved it.

1 Comment
  1. shari 14 years ago

    You have been through enough with the guilt trips and the bad counseling.  I lived through the 60's and then the 70s came and I, like you, was raped. I thought it was my fault.  I accepted the responsiblity because I was drunk. Sad that back then they really believed it was the person's fault.

    It was not, is not, and never was yours or mines fault.  A woman alone doesn't constitute 'rape me'.

    You have enough to deal with, and I pray that you forgive mom, but find a counselor who can help you deal with the shame and the pain.  I never blamed anyone but myself, but then I started listening to talk shows who identified the real issue.  That is that 'we didn't ask for it'….  it happened, we are done.  Praying for you in Texas, shari

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