Saturday, December 7, 2013

Survivors and Family; A Misunderstanding Leading To Guilt

For many of us, who have experienced Sexual Trauma, we have had to find ways of dealing with life, almost on a minute by minute basis.  Trying to reach the next minute, hour, or day; on what ever basis we can dredge up, which will give us hope that one day the pain and the shame will go away; and lay in the abyss of time, and happiness will fill our days with freedom.  For others, it is unfortunate that they find that giving up, and taking their lives is a far better than looking for answers, to find peace within their lives.

I will be the first to say, I have searching for what seems like an eternity for peace, with none in sight.  Frustration fills, within myself on almost a daily basis.  For all of us, and the families who has lost someone due to depression, My heart goes out to them.  But off all the tragedy which encompasses our lives, past and present, we still seek out our peace from sexual assault, that will set us free.

In all of our suffering and looking, we fail to realize that there are other victims out there; and they are not so far away from us.  In fact, you can say they are probably standing right beside us, holding our hands or holding our memory in their hearts.  They are grieving with us, as well as missing a day past, when we will come home and fill them with the person they are and have been looking for.

The other victim's are our families and friends, who knew us prior to our becoming victimized, and who are looking for us to come home and to be okay again.  Sometimes we get so caught up in our own circumstances and lives, that we forget or do not realize are suffering themselves due to a loss.  They lost us, even though the figure of our selves remain right in front of them.   These victims do not even know they are victims of our lives.. They feel guilty, but do not know why.  They are hurt, and do not even know how, but they do know they lost someone very close to their hearts and their lives.

They Don't Understand:

It's ironic, I have said these words over and over again about people around me.  Now, I don't know if I can change 30 years of suffering enough to acknowledge my families or friends losses in my event. However, you and I are correct!  They don't and will probably never understand where we are and how we became to be where we are. 

There is so much that we perceive or assume other's capacity to understand, that we also give up something when we do walk away and not try to probe into the families perception of where we have been.  What I am suggesting is that, if we ask questions about attitudes or observe past and present attitudes in public, by those close to us, we better can assess whether or not someone can handle our stories, our accounts of what turned our lives up side down.

I am coming to see that not only do they not understand, we as victims also don't understand; thus making the mis-understanding greater than it should be, on both party's side.  A thought just popped into my head, as I was writing that last sentence or thought.  Are we just looking for an excuse to push someone away or an opportunity to not recognize the fact that we are ashamed of where our lives turned a corner and we became victims of a Sexual Assault?  is the basis for our assertion that someone or group of people will not understand?

Does Guilt Have Any Basis?

Listening to someone who knows of my background and knows of my attack it dawned on me, when I replied to their assertion of guilt.. Actually, I realized many things in statement that they felt guilt, for what I had experienced and how it robbed me of a productive and happy life.   It was funny that I replied the way I did, to their comments about their feeling guilty.  Actually, it made me feel guilty, but for another reason.  Anyways, aside of that exchange I was compelled to share the over-all picture I saw flashing into my mind, and a question of:  Does Guilt Have Any Basis for existence?

Looking at reports and comments, made in generalized discussions, Both the victims and their families are experiencing what they call "guilt," in trying to rationale individually their feelings and actions.  People who are close to us enough for us to share our experiences say they are feeling guilty because they feel some sort of contribution to the events up to and/or including the actual chain of events of our assaults.  Some contribute their guilt, because of their living better quality of life, than we are due to not having to deal with the aftermath of our experience.

We in turn feel guilty for sharing our experience with those folks, and having them make sacrifices for our actions and emotions, causing them to act or not act a given way; which by the way was fine prior to our sharing our assault.

 This bantering back and forth, results in more damage than good, is not productive nor positive for either party.  In some cases, losses of wives, children, and other family member participation in our lives are often compromised. 
This also leads to more pain and destruction, within the various levels in which we have all worked hard to re-connect with friends and family, leaving us feeling that there is and never was a connection in the first place.  So, What is the answer to all of this "guilt" and feelings of guilt, felt by each party involved?

We Can Not Un-Ring A Bell

In a previous post, I discussed that as a victim, there are obligations and responsibility that we are and have been endowed with; in relation to our lives and those who cross into and out of them.  Some people take that responsibility too far, and some not far enough. I myself have been on both ends of the spectrum, as far as where I took and have taken this responsibility.

But as we can not "Un-ring A Bell," our action or inaction, is out there and we shared the events of our experiences with someone who now informs us of their feelings.  Lord knows the pain they endured, Just hearing of our pain and anguish for however long, we decided to share them.  So, Where does it leave each of the two parties?

When my friend told me of her feelings of Guilt, I immediately came up with a truth and the reason to post this discussion.   Here was my analogy of things, which blew my mind when I shared them with her.

What Has Happened, Happened And Can Not Be Changed

Looking back at the circumstances, of my Assault, No one was at fault aside of the full responsibility falling upon the four attackers, whom brutally beat on my body and then raped me.  No one else, beside myself could have done anything to dissuade them from their goals and their actions.  I was too drunk to do what I should have, and They were going to take advantage of their position intention.  No one else, has anything to do with the actual acts which were perpetrated against me.

I neither asked, for what they did, nor did they intend on walking away from their commitment to do their deeds.  "IF" I had taken a few moments out of being drunk, "IF" I was not trying to be concerned about my dorm-mate's coming home after partying, IF I had not come back to the Dorms.  My point is that no one could have kept me sober, no one could have locked the door behind me, but me, No one could have stopped the four from taking the opportunity to do what they did to me.

Since those are the pure facts of the matter, no one should be feeling any guilt, towards my life nor the acts themselves.  A bell that has been rung, can not un-ring it and then prevent it from being rung again.  You see, most crimes are crimes of opportunity.  Since this is a "fact" of life, these four men saw an opportunity to do what they did, and thus committed the acts upon me.  I had at that point no control over the events, from that point.  Whether I was set up by my dorm mate, or that they just had been stalking me, or what ever their methods of making the final decision, they were intent on doing it.

Choices Of Family, Friends, or Those Around The Victim:

We are all endowed with the "God Given Right" to make our own choices.  I choose not to rob my family of their future, or of their happiness, and especially not their accomplishments and over shadow them with my life's disappointments and events. 

I am proud of many folks whom I surround myself with.  I am Especially proud of one person in particular, who moved on to help others and had to deal with her own circumstances which were handed her, while in the military. 

Yet, she has dedicated her life to helping others who are struggling in life.  She made some awesome choices, as far as I am concerned and merit recognition.  She is one reason, I am now seeking assistance to live past what life dealt to myself.

The problem with those whom are close, is that they care and they wish to vest in you so much, that events that alter your life negatively, they take personally.  God Love Their hearts and Them.  But all too often, their commitment takes them into territory that is sometimes counter productive, out of their "guilt."  It is not productive to them, most of all; but also is not productive towards the victim's recovery, in any sort of way.  Often the family, friend or how ever you classify the person, usually does something that destroys or alters their life's course.  A course that all too often, robs them of their position and in some cases their lives.

What Is To Come?

So, the question is: What is to Come?  I honestly do not know.  Although I have shared a piece of my life, with you and basically shared my feelings of a discussion a close person to my life shared with me, I only hope she continues doing what she is doing.  She is making a difference in my life, and far beyond myself, she is impacting and contributing positively to the lives of others, just by doing what she has been doing.

I also, hope and pray that the mis-understandings between other victims and their families, friends and those special to those victims, will cease.  The only way to do this, is for communication and for at times the victim set aside, as best as possible, to become the support for those who are supporting them.  To let them know that doing and acting in an unproductive way, in their lives, impacts not only them, but you the victim as well.. Let them know you Love them, as best and as much as you can muster, and to let them know that although they may not understand, you appreciate them for caring and for at least putting forth the effort; as well as express your thanks for them taking the time to try.

For those who are family members, or those who know someone whom is a victim of Sexual Assault, Just Love Them, listen to them, and most of all do not judge them; for they feel that they have been judged already; not by you or anyone else, but by themselves and their world.

 Final Thought:

I Do not have anyone in my life, that I have been able to connect to!  I know there is always an exception to every statement, like the one that opened this "Final Thoughts."  My only connections in my life is with my dog, and my friend Tracie.  I know that I have nothing to fear from them, and I know I am not being judged by them.  I know that I am heard, and my pain is real to myself and them as well.

I would hope that by reading this, as a victim or a family member/support network member, that you can reach out and understand that those qualities are the finest of all things a friend can offer, when a victim and survivor of a Sexual Assault.  Please do not put yourself in a negative position, by being supportive in a negative way.  It will do more damage to you and to whom so ever you are Loving and helping.