Many victims of rape or sexual abuse are victimized at least twice; once by the person who assaulted them and once by themselves. Oftentimes, this isn’t the limit of the victimization. If legal charges are pressed, the courtroom (and especially police interviews leading up to it) can lack understanding in a fundamental way. It’s incredibly important to understand that, even if you may have made some mistakes—just like everyone inevitably does, what happened is absolutely not your fault.
One of the hurdles to understanding this is that many rape or sexual abuse victims do not want to have hard feelings toward their attacker. Though this may seem strange, it’s important to remember that most rapes are not stranger rapes, but actions from people who the victim knows and likely even trusted. This is part of what makes the crime so incredibly damaging—so damaging, in fact, that noticeable recovery usually takes years of therapy and even prescription medication.
Even without the big picture of what’s going on, it’s important to acknowledge that the person—whatever other strengths they may have—did something absolutely terrible. The next step beyond this can often be toward a form of reconciliation, however, and a part of that is seeing the big picture problems.
The truth is that we live in a culture that creates opportunities and even motivation for sexual violence. The primary form of communication in regards to sexuality is silence, men are raised in a typically sexist environment where violence is seen as normal, and sex is seen as the primary social evaluation for young-adult males, and the consequences of rape (even rape that happens because of sheer ignorance on the man’s part) are not understood. These things create a world that is dangerous to live in. By seeing this, it’s possible to direct feelings of anger and injustice in a healthier direction.