Learning to heal the pain of rape

Intense and traumatic experiences such as sexual abuse stain and leave their mark on every aspect of life, to such an extent that they modify the personality of the person who lives through it. This is why survivors of these experiences must learn to heal the pain of rape in order to regain their peace and become themselves again.

In our society, violence and inequality are not only generated, but they are also accepted. The perpetrator is often defended, and the victim is mostly blamed, embarrassed and re-victimized by an already painful and life-changing experience.

This being our social context in many American countries (and most of Latin American countries), learning to heal the pain left by the experience of rape is a complicated process, different for each person, and a process not everyone has access to. It is a journey that requires support, love, patience, and determination.

Those who have been a victim of rape should have opportunity to reach psychological, social, and legal healing, but the simple fact that (many times) the very society around them and the jury that is supposed to help them do not listen to them, let alone believe them, makes the curse of that healing process much slower and more complicated.

In that sense, the first thing that people who have gone through an experience of sexual abuse need, is a space where they can feel safe; a space filled with trust where they know that they will be listened to without being judged, that people will believe them, and that they can trust whoever is around them to be able to raise their voice.

An experience of rape affects the victim in many aspects. It is a combination of a psychological trauma along with physical aggression and abuse of power, that makes the victim feel that they do not own their body. It affects the image she has on herself, her self-esteem, and her personality. As a result and because of many reasons, it can be extremely hard for survivors to raise their voice or report the perpetrator.

This is why a safe and trusting environment is so necessary. Being able to share their story, to be listened to and believed, is one of the first (and most important) steps towards healing but overcoming the trauma completely will also depend on the victim’s recognition of all the aspects of her life that the experience has affected. And, since each person lives their process in a different way and at a different pace, no one can be pressured to share or take the next step if they are not yet ready to do so.

The next step that helps the victim heal the pain is to create complicity. That is, to realize in that same environment of trust, that they are not the only ones, that there are people who share their pain, who understand them, who also had a hard time raising their voices, but today they know that they are not alone in their fight. The #YoDigoNoMás movement is charged with both providing the safe space in which people can share their story, and making sure they realize that they are not alone in this journey.

After that, little by little and accompanied with support and affection, those who suffered a rape realize that this experience does not have to define them, that they can go back to be themselves, to share experiences with others, to feel pleasure, without that dark feeling that has distressed them for so many years. They realize that this episode was a life experience, but it is not life itself.

Organizations and movements such as #YoDigoNoMás are working to help people who have been victims of sexual abuse, and you can be part of the movement.

You can be part of the change, join this movement on behalf of yourself or hundreds of victims who have not been able to find their voice to speak out against this scourge.

Find the multiple options we have to get involved with the movement and make your voice heard.