Rape and Telling What Happened

Sharing your sexual assault, rape survivor story with others is very difficult but can be healing. Here's how I told others about being raped.

Telling others about being raped is a personal decision. For me, I found it healing. Here's how I told others about being raped.

It took me three years to find the strength to say three words, "I was raped."

They were words I buried because I didn't understand what had happened to me and felt ashamed because I thought it was my fault. After I told my first person that I had been raped - something changed. Suddenly the vague nightmare of my freshman year took shape and the monster that had haunted me for years had a form and a name: rape. And with this name came the understanding that what had happened to me was not my fault - a crime had been committed and I was the victim of that crime.

I began telling more people. First, I wrote my "rape survivor story" - a primitive outline of the details I was finally allowing myself to remember, and submitted it to a survivor site called "Welcome to Barbados." Having my story on this site was empowering - I was fighting back and telling those who visited the site that I was a survivor of rape and that it wasn't my fault.

The word "healing" entered my vocabulary and I found that for me, "telling" was essential to healing. When I got to college, I told my roommate and the friends I made. I started my own survivor site and continued telling there. I joined a sexual assault prevention group and told them my story. Every time I tell someone that I was raped, I feel a little less under the rape's control - I gain back a little more power that I lost when I was raped four years ago.

"Telling experiences" are not always good ones. Sometimes my friends would react by acting uncomfortable or changing the subject. When this happened, I would just have to remind myself that the problem was not with me, but with society's attitude towards rape. People tend to want to ignore rape's existence because to acknowledge it is to acknowledge the fact that it could happen to them - something that few people can face.

Rape is grouped into a category of unspeakable horrors, and sadly, this fact hurts the survivor of rape. But every time I told my story, I knew that I was putting a face, my face, the face of someone these people cared about, on the unspeakable horror and that every time they heard the word for the rest of their lives, they could no longer brush it off. It happened to someone they knew.

Now, what about telling the police?


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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 18). Rape and Telling What Happened, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 27 from

Last Updated: May 5, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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