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Trigger warning - historical rape

(25 Posts)
solomio Wed 11-Jan-17 16:45:25

I will try to keep this as brief as possible.

When I was 14 I was raped. It wasn't overtly violent but there was a struggle and I was restrained. I was babysitting for a family member, their partner's sister (17) was also babysitting with me. She invited her older boyfriend around and he came with his friend. The girl and her bf went upstairs and I was left alone with the friend, this was when the rape occurred.

I was too scared to tell anyone and buried it. It occurred in my mother's home country and I stopped visiting after the assault. My grandmother then got ill when I was 19, and I was required to visit her. When I did so, I found out my rapist had just been convicted and jailed for grooming and raping a 13 year old. The guilt I felt was immense, and my life went in to a tail spin. I dropped out of uni, sold my car and belongings and went travelling. For around 4 years I was a bit of a wild child, partying, moving from place to place and just generally a bit lost. I can say this with hindsight as at the time I thought I was having a ball, but I was just running away. I then got in to a toxic relationship that was emotionally abusive and eventually violent. I left that relationship at 2am with just the clothes on my back. I moved back home, finished uni and got a professional job. My life was coming back together but I was unable to form appropriate relationships, I seemed to seek narcissistic, emotionally abusive men. Sex became unimportant, a means to an end and was pretty much an empty experience. Yet I sought it time and time again, never strangers but I would have no strings sex with male friends. I wasn't happy and one night found myself seriously considering suicide. I attempted to take some pills but I was drunk and didn't really have any clue, I ended up making myself sick but this incident is something no one know of. I realised in the cold light of day I didn't want to die, but realised something had to change.

I ended up contacting Rape Crisis. Their support was the turning point for me and I sought my own counsellor and saw them for nearly a year. I was diagnosed with Rape Trauma Syndrome, explaining some of my behaviour. It did answer a lot for me and probably saved my life.

The guilt hasn't gone away, the fact that I did not report him and he went on to rape a child eats away at me. I'm not sure if I can report it now, there are no witnesses, just me an him. I just know I am at a place where I am strong enough to face it all. The other issue with reporting him is that my DH knows nothing of this and neither do my parents. I don't want either of them to know. By the time I met DH, I had my shit together, he just thinks once upon a time I was a party girl, our relationship is fantastic and I don't feel that this is something I have to share with him, nor do I want.

My parents are another issue, my mum wasn't around much (demanding highly paid job) when I was a teenager and feels very guilty about this, she also suffers from anxiety and other health issues, I feel telling her would be detrimental to her health and our relationship, she would be so upset that I felt I could never tell her this. I don't even want to think about telling my Dad.

It happened on New Years Eve, so the time of year has dragged it all up again.

I'm not even sure what I am asking. Does anyone have any experience of reporting historical rape? It was 22 years ago. Am I wrong to think that I do not have to tell my DH this?

solomio Wed 11-Jan-17 16:46:58

Sorry for the typos.

picklemepopcorn Wed 11-Jan-17 16:52:44

You were fourteen and had no support. Please do not feel guilty. The rapist did it, the guilt is his.

Apart from that I can't advise. I'm glad you have turned things around, well done. One day you may want to tell DH.

You need to understand the legal process in that country to know whether it would achieve anything to report it, so you can weigh that up against the cost to you.

I sometimes wonder about reporting a historical rape, hoping it will help me cope better and help me heal. TBH, I don't think it will so I haven't done it. I may change my mind.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Wed 11-Jan-17 17:05:54

YY to what pickleme said. I've been raped, both times in my teens. I don't know why I reacted the way I did, but I never thought it was my fault. In fact the second time I actually said "you know this is rape?" to the man.

I've never felt guilty but I didn't report it either time either. The first time was in a country where I didn't speak the language, and in both cases I was sure I didn't want to go through the nightmare of police and courts.

You did what you needed to do to cope, and you've managed brilliantly in your recovery. Feel proud of yourself. Anything that happened when you were 14, ffs is not, by definition, your fault.

solomio Wed 11-Jan-17 17:08:13

In my heart of hearts I don't think it will help me, I just feel I should. But thinking about it now, after reading your post, what would it achieve. I can't go back in time and prevent it happening to the other girl.

user1475253854 Wed 11-Jan-17 17:43:09

flowers solo.
It wasn't your fault what happened to you and it wasn't your fault what happened to the other girl - you are not responsible for his actions. Even if you had reported him, you can't know how it would have turned out and he may still have done it to the other girl too.

6demandingchildren Wed 11-Jan-17 18:45:53

Yes he raped a child but he raped more than one child as you were also a child.
Talk to your oh and maybe speak to rape crisis xx

solomio Wed 11-Jan-17 19:44:01

I'm not sure if I can tell DH. I almost feel like too much time has passed. We've been together 6 years, married 2. I wouldn't even know how to begin that sort of conversation. I'm not sure what good it will do in the long term. I certainly don't want to talk about it with him. I've spoken to Rape Crisis before, they're great but I think they've done all they can for me.
I feel like I'm torn between what I want to do and what I feel is the right thing to do. It perhaps sounds silly, but I feel like a bad person if I continue to keep quiet. But I'm not sure if it's just another way to make myself feel crappy about it.

picklemepopcorn Wed 11-Jan-17 19:54:06

Staying quiet doesn't make you bad. It makes you someone who has grown past what happened, Someone who has moved on. Someone who has managed to process a trauma and doesn't want to retraumatise herself again by raking it all up. Someone who wants her DH to see her as the strong woman she is now, rather than the child who was hurt.
Do any of those sound bad? I don't think so.

WomanWithAltitude Wed 11-Jan-17 19:56:52

You were a child - you have nothing to feel guilty for. Please try to believe that.

The circumstances were different for me, but I have been through the process of reporting a rape and testifying in court etc. It isn't an easy or quick process, and I know for certain that I couldnt have dealt with the trial process without my DH being aware and supportive. So if you do go down that route, please do talk to him.

Only you can know whether it's the right thing to do for you. But the one thing I'd say is that you shouldn't underestimate the strain and stress a trial like that will put you under. Testifying, amd staying sane in the run-up was the hardest thing I've ever done, by a very long way.

You may want to consider the laws in the country it took place in. Some surprising countries (Germany, for example) have terrible rape laws that will prevent cases which would go to court in the UK from being prosecuted at all.

spudlike1 Wed 11-Jan-17 20:25:27

I read this book by joanna connors
it helped enormously .even though my experience of rape were different to the authors and very different to yours .
It helped me understand the shame and other feelings that I have experienced over the years since I was raped. As well as my behaviours. ( for many years I refused to call it rape or admit even to myself that it was rape)
Maybe it will help you
I have no desire to report mine , but I had a strong desire for it to be acknowledged. To understand how and why it impacted on my life, affected my moods and relationships, and most importantly that it does not define me .
my husband knows but very little about the detail, but enough to understand that it happened and it was significant .
Hope this helps

solomio Thu 12-Jan-17 08:10:03

Thank you for the further responses and insight. I read them last night and they helped immensely. In my heart of hearts I don't think I do want to report it, whilst I feel I have it all together now concerning the incident, the 'guilt' is something I need to work on.

I understand everything you are all saying, and I agree 100%, however I'm sure you all recognise the niggle of self doubt, once upon a time it told me I didn't do enough to stop it, then it would tell me I was worthless and so on. I've worked through all that, but now it's time to work on this 'guilt'.

I downloaded the book you suggested spudlike1, started it last night on audible. The opening line resonated so, so much.
I also felt that understanding how it has impacted my life has helped me, I'm not using it as an excuse for all behaviour, but it has certainly shaped many aspects whilst I didn't really deal with it.

Once again thank you for taking the time to reply, you have helped me realise there may still be things to address. I'm sorry you've all had to live with this. For someone that's job requires me write well, I find it very difficult to write about this, so apologies if I am coming across as awkward or such.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 12-Jan-17 08:45:37

what I feel is the right thing to do
The right thing to do is what is right for YOU.
I can't begin to imagine what this does to a person and I'm so sorry you went through it.
And it never ceases to amaze me how many girls/women become victims of a rape.
But as others have said, this is NOT your fault. None of it.
He is the guilty party 100%.
Do what YOU want to do.
Don't do what you THINK you should do.
I wish you all the best in overcoming the 'guilt' you feel.

VivDeering Thu 12-Jan-17 08:50:20

Would you consider going back to counselling OP?

picklemepopcorn Thu 12-Jan-17 18:22:27

Solomio, you sound very self aware and not at all awkward. I'm sure you'll successfully work through this next step.

solomio Thu 12-Jan-17 20:12:00

Since posting, I have considered returning to counselling, VivDeering. I know it worked for me, but there are perhaps aspects I still need to work on. It sounds bloody ridiculous, but I just don't know when I would find time. We have small DCs and no family locally, so no childcare. It would mean either telling DH, something I don't feel I want to at the moment, or lying. I certainly don't want to lie, one of the strengths of our relationship is openness.

I am hoping the way I currently feel subsides, I know the time of year has brought it to the forefront yet again. Perhaps then I can think more clearly about what the next step is.

VivDeering Thu 12-Jan-17 21:34:44

I am hoping the way I currently feel subsides

I believe that thoughts such as this come to the surface at the right time. When they need to be dealt with and when we are strong enough to work through them.

Flingmoo Thu 12-Jan-17 21:41:47

You were a child too. If you heard in the news about a man who raped two children, would you blame the first child he raped? Of course not. sad

Imagine that 14-year-old-you is standing in front of you... See, she's just a little girl. Be kind to yourself.

JK1773 Thu 12-Jan-17 21:55:42

Do what you need to do for YOU my love. This happened to me at an older age. It was a family member and I've kept it to myself (apart from my sister who threatens to tell everyone all the time for her own selfish reasons but that's a whole other story). My partner knows most things about me but not that because I don't want him to know. I have over the years managed as best I can to put it behind me and it's worked. You decide what's right for you, it is your life and you must put yourself first. It's a horrific ordeal and we all find our own way to cope. Stay strong xxx

sobersarah Sat 14-Jan-17 20:44:09

You were not responsible or in any way to blame. He is. Not you. You do whatever you think and feel is best for you my lovely.

ChairRider4 Sat 14-Jan-17 20:56:42

Hi you are not to blame at all and back then things would been harder to .I carried some guilt for a while that I never made a bigger fuss and that I was the first in a long line that may have stopped if I had

For me key was talking to others and the police officer when I found strength and reported it .
In my case it was going back over 30 years police officer never once doubted me
,Yes it did move slow and in end was a couple more people who came after me

First time hung jury for my allergations we was one week of retrial and he offered a plea that he admit to three .After talking to police and CPS barrister I agreed to allow his plea bargain as for me it meant fact no one could doubt it as just my word (extra important as it was my brother in the dock plus CPS said one of then he admitted to Would backfire as I was under 13 so worse (think his own solicitor stitched him up he now serving 12 years

Please please don't blame yourself if want to talk feel free to pm

ChairRider4 Sat 14-Jan-17 20:57:46

Oh and I Never told anyone but the relief just getting it of my shoulders

But do what is right for you put yourself first d

picklemepopcorn Sun 15-Jan-17 07:25:41

Solomio, how about just being able to talk it through? Perhaps on the phone? Would that help? There are charities that would listen and support you. You don't have time right now for full on therapy but could do that later if you still want to. smileflowerstennis

picklemepopcorn Sun 15-Jan-17 07:26:36

Excuse me fat thumbs with the extra emojis blush don't even know what the little gold ball is!

SVJAA Sun 15-Jan-17 07:28:29

You were a child yourself, just a wee girl who endured a horrific experience. Please don't blame yourself, what he did to you and to the other wee girl was HIS fault, not yours.
I was 25 when it happened to me, and it was my (now ex) husband, and I never reported it.
Be kind to yourself OP, he is responsible for the pain he has caused, not you.

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