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Healing News

January 2000

Revision Message
Note Top Things Never To Say To A Survivor
Book Suggestion:
     The Immaculate Perception by Karon Aghotte-Rice

Revision Notice

This is the second copy going out this month because of a mix-up in articles. The selection of what not to say to a survivor was accidentally merged with the file for next month's newsletter. 

Since so many print their copies to read later and to share with others we're resending the newsletter this month. Thank goodness this had never happened before and will hopefully never happen again! 

Thank you to the many who've noticed and written to let me know. Your feedback is important. I do sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding that happened because of the mix-up.
Thank you for understanding,

After a long pause we're glad to bring this newsletter back to you.
Thank you for bearing with us as we strive to move forward to a new year and new expectations, hopes and dreams. This gives us the opportunity for a fresh start. A chance to learn from our mistakes and the chance to experience life to its fullest. We have the choice before us to live and go on integrating our rape experiences into the fabric of our lives or we have the choice to hide and deny the effects of the nightmares that plague us long after night has faded away. 

Life is about choices. We choose if we want to get up in the morning. We choose what we will wear, eat and what we will do. We choose to become survivors or to remain locked in fear as victims. The choice is ours alone to make. The choice is ours to celebrate or to mourn, to laugh or to cry, to see the sky filled with clouds or rainbows waiting to emerge. 

It's a new day, a new year, a new life or a new way to carry a burden. Let's start again fresh and new with the power of the choice to heal already in our hearts and a choice to survive stronger than the wish to hide.
In healing,

Things Not to Say to a Survivor

There are things that will "trigger" or upset a survivor.
Most people don't have a clue what to say or do. It's a hope that this list will help. We're still your friends, family, wives, moms, students, husbands, teachers, doctors, brothers and loved ones. There's no need to back off or be scared of us.
For the most part these suggestions are pretty easy to avoid, as you will see in a minute.

Please don't...
1. Ask if we liked it. No one likes being physically overpowered.
2. Tell us "it's just sex". Rape is a crime of power, control, and extreme violence where sex is used as a weapon against someone weaker. It is not sex.
3. Tell us how we could have avoided it. Believe me, if we could have prevented it we would have.
4. Make fun of us. We have faced an attacker who sometimes is willing to kill and have survived. What's there to make fun of?
5. Tell us it would never happen to you and why. We didn't think we would become statistics either.
6. There's no need to avoid us. We're still the same person you've come to care about or learned to care about. We've just been unspeakably hurt. We're not contagious.
7. Please don't treat us like we have the plague. Chances are we don't. Do you?
8. God isn't punishing us for some misdeed by allowing this to happen. God helps us heal. He doesn't send someone to hurt His people.
9. Don't tell us it was God's will we were raped. Do tell us it was God's will that we survived!
10. Don't disbelieve us. According to survey respondents being believed is a survivor's greatest fear.
11. Don't tell us that survivors make up tales for attention. According to The National Coalition Against Sexual Assault false rape reports only happen 2% of the time. That's a 98% chance that no matter how strange it sounds to you the rape isn't being fabricated. Some other suggestions for Partners of Survivors that may help:
12. Don't feel you need to retaliate against our attacker. We know the perpetrator is capable of violence. Please don't make us worry about you being hurt. We'll feel more secure knowing you'll remain in one piece.
13. Don't blame us for what happened. It's not our fault.
14. Don't tell us to "get over it". We would if we could and we are trying our best. Support us as we struggle to find our way again.
15. Don't tell us to to put what happened out of our minds. It's not that simple.
16. Don't tell us "it's no big deal". Rape is an enormous challenge to heal from. It haunts even our dreams.
17. If we disagree about safety issues in the future please realize that what may sounds strange to you may help us feel safe.
18. Don't say something like, "Well, it's been six months (a year, 5 years etc.) and ask if we're "over it" yet. Chances are that we may not be ready to go back to life as it was. We may never be ready and may have to create a new life for ourselves as we learn to be safe again.
19. Don't tell us we are weak because it impacts our life. We are stronger than words can describe.
20. Don't ask us what you are supposed to do to get past what happened to us. We aren't sure what we're going to do.
21. Don't ask us if we did this on purpose. We didn't do anything except survive.
22. Don't ask us if we couldn't have done something differently during the attack. We made the best choices we could to survive. We got away without being killed didn't we? That's proof our instincts were right. Please help us learn to realize that ourselves.
23. Don't tell us that it's not rape because we knew the attacker. Numerous studies tell us that our perpetrators are more likely to be known to us than unknown.
24. If you give us a hug and we pull away please know that chances are we're not rejecting you. We may have a hard time being able to respond right now.
25. If we do pull away from you please don't get mad. Tell us you care. Chances are you'll get that hug after all!
26. If you're together and the survivor has a flashback try not to be mad at the survivor. We hate the darned things too! Flashbacks are always rough. It's difficult to know what to do. It's got to be difficult to watch. Any anger should go the one who caused the rape and not the survivor who has to put her life together.
27. Don't be afraid to talk to us if we're upset. Knowing you are there may be just what we need.
28. If we become suicidal please don't take that as a sign of weakness. Take that as a sign we're overwhelmed, trying to cope, and need help.
29. Don't pretend rape doesn't happen to people you know. It does. Thank you for reading this to learn about it.
30. Don't get the idea rape just happens to "those" kinds of people. This crime happens to as many as 1 woman in 4 crossing ethnic, racial, economic and social boundaries.
31. Don't be afraid of a person who was raped. I promise as a survivor, the rape will effect you but won't rub off on you. The person you love is still the same person as before.
32. Don't deny your feelings after finding out a friend was raped. Call a rape crisis center's hotline and find out what support is available for you.

 Rape, Pregnancy and Abortion Survey Results
Question 1 totals:
Are you a?
Survivor was selected 116 times
Friend was selected 10 times
Family member was selected 2 times
Spouse was selected 6 times
Don't want to respond. was selected 12 times

Question 2 Totals:
Are you...?
Female was selected 137 times
Male was selected 9 times

Question 3 Totals:
Do you think abortion is acceptable if a woman finds herself pregnant after being raped?
Yes. was selected 92 times
No. was selected 29 times
I don't know. was selected 24 times

Question 4 Totals:
Has your experience with rape (or with a survivor) changed your opinion on abortion?
Yes was selected 43 times
No was selected 87 times
Not sure was selected 16 times
Surveys aren't meant to be scientific.

They may be taken at http://www.geocities.com/HotSprings/2402/geosurvey.html after January 22, 2000

Book Suggestions:

The Immaculate Perception A Life's Journey by Karen Aghotte-Rice

If I personally had to choose only one book to take with me to a deserted island this would be it. Imagine waking up to find God with you in your bedroom. Imagine the questions you'd ask and the answers you seek. Now, imagine why you need to read this book. It's spellbinding and captivating. As Sincerely Young journeys through her life you will cry with her, laugh with her and celebrate her accomplishments. You'll be reminded of moments shared with friends (yes, even some you'll want to forget) and maybe look at life a whole new way. As Jesse states it well on page 116 "that's just my opinion."

You'll want to read the book yourself and enjoy every minute of it. 

House of Venus Publishing Company 
Post Office Box 8745 
Calabasas, California 91372-8745 
LCCN Number -97-97085 
ISBN Number -0-9661810-x

(Mention this website for a discount!)

Don't Follow Your Dreams

Don't follow your dreams,
Hunt them down and capture them.
Grab them and don't let go.
Your dreams are the only things that are truly "yours".
Nurture them, let them fly!
Don't drown them or smother them.
Don't neglect and ignore them.
Don't try to analyze and dissect them away.
Just let them BE.
Allison Werth 9-99

Submissions Request
Many thanks to those who have written to me in the past few days. As always, this newsletter is written by and for survivors and families. It is dependent upon submissions from you to make it a success. Submissions may be mailed to HealingNews@journalist.com Thank you to everyone who sends submissions! Let's keep them coming!

Disclaimer The contents of this newsletter are intended for the purposes of basic information and entertainment only. The information contained here is not meant to be a substitution for professional help or assistance of any kind. The owner of this newsletter claims no responsibility for the use or misuse, liability, or anything that may arise from the subscription to this newsletter.