Rape is more than the abuser having a vaginal intercourse with you. It can be that the abuser spreads your legs apart, but it can also be that you feel so threatened that you´re afraid to say no, and then the abuser doesn´t have to use any force at all.
IF SOMEONE HAS SEX WITH YOU WHEN YOU DON´T WANT TO, IT IS RAPE
It is rape if someone has sex with you while you´re being in a helpless state and don´t have the ability to say no. You could be drugged, drunk, sick, have a disability or whatever makes you unable to say no.
It is rape even if you wanted to have sex from the start, and then changed your mind.
It is rape whether or not you´ve had sex with this person earlier or not.
It is rape even if you didn´t scream or didn´t resist.
It doesn´t matter whether you are married to the person or not.
The rape doesn´t have to be vaginal, it can be anal, oral or that someone inserts fingers or objects in your vagina or anus.
If you´ve been raped, you don´t have to have any injuries whatsoever. You could have been passed out or in some other helpless state. It doesn´t mean that it isn´t rape just because you didn´t defend yourself.
A lot of times, even if you are awake during the rape a stress reaction kicks in. The body is only oriented on surviving, this is reflexive, and you have no control over it. If it´s in any way possible to avoid what’s happening, a number of physiological reactions kicks in to either fight or to escape the danger. But if the danger can´t be avoided, you´ll react in the opposite way. You´ll become paralyzed, and won´t resist at all. This is automatic, you have no control over it. The body decides on its own what´s the best strategy to stay alive.
No matter what the circumstances, the blame is always on the abuser. And he or she usually knows what they´re doing is wrong, even if they can make it sound like they don´t understand at all that you´ve been hurt. Most often, the abuser has planned to go through with this even if your answer is no.
It´s important to remember that it´s very common that the victim puts the blame on itself instead of the abuser. It´s never about the abuser having a strong sexual need. A rape is always an act of power.
After you´ve been raped, it is common to feel:
Guilt and shame
Everything feels unreal
Anxiety and distress
Trouble sleeping, you wake up several times during the night, and have trouble going back to sleep
Loss of appetite
As an adult, you´re the only one who decides to report the rape to the police or not, even if you seek medical care for what´s happened. If you don´t want to make a police report right then and there, and change your mind at a later time, you can do so. The limitation period for rape is 10 years!
It´s recommended that you seek help early though, because it´s easier to secure evidence a soon as possible (preferably within 72 hours), and you might have injuries that might need taking care of.
At the hospital they take photos of all your visible injuries and secure traces from semen, blood, saliva etc. This helps to ID the perpetrator if you don´t know who it is.
But it´s you who decide what examinations you want to take part of. Should you feel any discomfort, which many rape victims feel, you have the right to turn down an examination, or to ask the staff to take it easy or to do it in another way. And you don´t have to explain why this is hard for you if you don´t want to.
Studies show that sexual abuse can have a long term impact on your health. A lot of the most common chronical conditions, such as fibromyalgia, chronic abdominal pain and chronic pelvic pain have a strong connection with sexual abuse. Fibromyalgia is a chronical state of pain and is a common reason for long term sick leave among women. The risk of developing fibromyalgia is three times higher for women who are rape victims than for women in general. Rape victims also much more often develop chronical pelvic pain.
It´s also common to develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD affects your stress hormone levels, which in turn has effect on complex brain functions. Everything from memory to learning abilities are affected negatively. The disturbed hormone balance can lead to a number of physical symptoms, such as autoimmune deceases, infections, inflammatory deceases and cancer.
That is why it´s good to talk to an outside person about what you´ve been through. That way you can vent your thoughts and feelings, and that way get on with your healing process. It can be a psychologist, a counselor or someone here at Alla Kvinnor Hus. Whoever you come in contact with first can help you to get in contact with someone for you to talk to, that can take in what you´re feeling. If you´re looking for someone on your own to talk to, you can talk to your health center (vårdcentral) to see a counselor, or you can call Alla Kvinnors Hus on your own.
You don’t need to go through this on your own!
Call us, or email us if you need any advice or support, or if you need someone to talk to.
Of course, if this has happened to someone close to you, you are most welcome you to, to come and talk to us.
We´re here for you!
Call: 054-18 30 34