From One Rape Survivor to Another

Please be advised that there may be triggers following so read on with caution.

What the hell does rape have to do with veganism you ask? Actually, a lot, but that is an entirely different conversation that maybe I will address at a later date, but for now I am reaching out to the Don’t Fear the Vegan community for help. 

Close to twenty years ago I was raped. It has changed my life forever, leaving me with nightmares and PTSD. I can no longer handle the smell of vanilla extract because I was wearing vanilla parfume at the time of the attack. I am more compassionate towards others, including animals, because the thought of anyone suffering, especially at the hands of someone else makes me ill. I am stronger for it. I am a fighter. I am emotionally numb but feel everything. My attacker was very close to me so I trust few and those I do trust, I also hold very close to my heart and love them deeply.

Really though, this isn’t about me. A dear friend was recently raped and she is struggling something awful. My advice is beginning to sound like a song on repeat. I went searching on the Internet for words of wisdom, but they all sounded so clinical and distant. Words out of textbooks with no passion, or real concern, or advice.

Here is my request. If you have been there please tell this struggling woman what you wish someone would have told you. Or possibly what someone did say that helped you get through. The story of what got you to leave your house and face the world. What you are still struggling with. Where you find comfort or happiness. Support groups that have helped you. Anything. Please just help her know she is not alone!

Thanks in advance!

Steffi xo

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13 Responses to From One Rape Survivor to Another

  1. pumpkin061 says:

    You are not alone, I know that brings little comfort, it didn’t for me. I was raped by my friends boyfriend, I can’t stand the thought of anyone touching my breasts, to this day it makes me cringe, I couldn’t breast feed my daughter & she was born long after that happened, but before my daughter was born I went down a destructive path, and then one day maybe it was when I started dating the man who would wind up being my husband, I decided,….no, I refused to allow that person to rob me of anything else, I refused to allow him to occupy space in my head. I had no one to talk to, but if I did, I wish someone would have said there is no time limit on how this affects you because this is now a part of you, how you choose to deal with it is up to you, and there is no right or wrong way because we are all different, maybe how I dealt with it was wrong for someone else. I am cautious all these years later, but I don’t cry any more, and I enjoy life because I have a lot to give this world, and a lot left to do. I pray you find a path that helps you, I pray you find healing and a way to deal with this that suitable for you. Sending you much healing energy and love

  2. Jon says:

    First of all, I want to commend your absolute bravery and incredible resilience to trust people again! Speaking as a survivor of sexual assault, this experience will live with me forever. It was hella traumatic, but it has made me the person I am today because I can’t unlive it. I have no faith in the legal system that often victimizes survivors and tolerates rape by upholding body imagery and gender roles. I am thoroughly disgusted with all the perpetrators in the animal rights movement that will sue the person they sexually assaulted in order to keep their “social capital” and pretend like its OK to help non-humyn animals, while preying on humyn animals. I have found that non-humyn animal companions are the most understanding and truly sense where folks are at! I wish y’all the very best. Patriarchy and veganism are actually very much related, unfortunately… Don’t hesitate to get in touch!

  3. gaiantlc says:

    It’s not your fault. This is my mantra.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You will heal eventually but you will also be empowered because of what you have been through.This can be a portal to help other women and children who have suffered in this manner.I wish you peace and love.You are not alone.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Being raped was one of the most horrible experiences of my life, however, through my healing process I became stronger, more compassionate, and more empowered than ever before. It allowed me to connect to all women, to all recipients of violence, to all creatures on earth who have suffered at the hands of another and encouraged me to devote my life to advocacy.

    My biggest regret is that I kept quiet about it for 10 years before being able to talk about it, at which time the statute of limitations had ended and I could no longer prosecute. I later found out that I was not the only woman he had assaulted and I wish I had been brave enough to speak up sooner to help prevent future attacks.

    My biggest healing came from a visit to a shaman. Therapy, friends, and writing didn’t provide the kind of deep healing I needed, so I suggest being open to trying different things (even things you think sound a bit crazy!) until something clicks.

    You will feel alive again one day, you will feel at peace with your body again one day. It takes times, patience, and a lot of self love, but you are not alone in this journey. And I am so sorry.

  6. She Notold Loved says:

    I lost my virginity to rape 7 months ago and for 4 months on and off I was sexually abused all by someone I loved and trusted and known since I was 16…I’m 22 now 21 at the time I was Violated He was 46 at the time he’s now 47…I think the best thing I heard was to let myself mourn. Let yourself cry and take it moment by moment. Baby steps and continue to live even when you don’t want to sometimes…I know it hurts now.. I still hurt but I know one day I’ll be OK. The Online chat hotline with RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) was really helpful to me because I was in denial but they helped me identify and define what happened to me and they helped me realize it wasn’t ok. You can chat one on one with trained professionals who deal with sexual assault. It also helps to try to refer to yourself as a Rape survivor Rather than a Victim….I’m still working on that because the truth is some days you’ll feel like a victim and other you might feel like a survivor. This article really helped me as well.

    http://thoughtcatalog.com/lauren-ash/2014/09/28-things-people-dont-tell-you-after-youve-been-raped/

    Know that God knows what happened to you and he’s handling it….and he’s restoration is sufficient in due time….Take your precious time, take all the time you need to heal.

  7. Here are some great comments from friends on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/dontfearthevegan)
    Kamalani – “Assault can be very isolating. Community and support, even if clinical, technical, cliche, will be a crucial part of healing. It will never go away. But at some point it won’t be all consuming or the only self-identifier. As callous as it is, it helped me to know that I wasn’t the only one…I was just one of the majority of women. In that, I rationed that if so many other women can be happy, well-adjusted, and strong…than so could I. It just takes time and love.

    Good luck to your friend. And much love to you on your continued journey.”

    Jill – “Rape is still so hard to talk about it shouldn’t be people raise awareness for everything but still rape is considered taboo… IDK why”

    In response to Jill-
    Victoria- “Because the thought that someone’s body is theirs and Only theirs isn’t enforced. Society teaches ours girls to “stay safe” and avoid doing this and that, instead of teaching our boys to keep their hands to themselves. And rape is still such a hard topic for a survivor to bring up. There is a degree of fear there, I think, always. Fear of not being believed, fear of isolation and rejection. It’s very hard to talk to someone about rape because it is an ugly topic. Women and men are raped daily, it happens all around us without us consciously knowing, and deep down we all still have this sort of Hope that it Isn’t happening. It’s not constantly on the minds of those who have never had any sort of True exposure to it (an experience, or knowing someone who was, etc.). We hear about the statistics and we all internally – and in some cases, externally – cringe, because it becomes more Real. And the horror that is rape, the forcing of one person onto another, so wholly, is hard to swallow. It’s uncomfortable and terrifying and it takes so much strength and support – even for the groups of survivors – to be able to openly discuss it. People are trying to raise awareness, but it’s a lot harder to do so when the world is afraid to listen. It’s truly a cycle of fear.”

    Elizabeth – “I got very little professional help. I was very young, when it happened.

    What I would say to your friend, is that no matter what anyone says, IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. I carried guilt for many years – I should have fought with honour, I should have tried to fight, I should have been one of the tough girls, I was a weakling who got what I deserved, I was a pretty child who knew I was pretty.

    I was a child and they were bigger, stronger and there were more of them. It wasn’t my fault. It took a while to believe that and sometimes, I still can’t shake the feeling that if I had fought more strongly …. Since then, I have determined I will be strong, so I cannot be a victim again.

    You are not to blame, for what someone else chose to do to you.

    In time, the pain becomes less sharp and you learn to live with it and you learn to live a good life in spite of it, even though you never forget. Having the support of family and friends, helps a lot.

    Just remember, IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT.”

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