What if I know the person?
When the Rapist Is Someone You Know
Some studies suggest that well over half of all women who are raped are raped by someone they know. If you were raped by a date, a friend, a neighbor, a relative or even a husband you might be less likely to report it to the authorities than if you were raped by stranger. Many people, including the survivor, mistakenly believe that if a woman volunteered to spend time with a man who then raped her, it was her own fault. Unfortunately, this line of thinking is especially common when a rape is committed by a man who has been the woman's sexual partner at some time in the past.
Remember, rape is no less serious just because you know the person who raped you.
It is a common misbelief that when a woman is raped by someone she knows, it is somehow less serious than when she raped by a stranger. Some mistakenly believe that less damage is done when raped is committed by someone known to the survivor. This is false. Unfortunately, this may be why rape by someone known by the survivor was, until recently, under-reported, under-prosecuted, and often ignored. Such false beliefs are only beginning to change today.
We know now that rape occurs any time a man forces a woman to comply with his demands against her will. Rape by someone you know is not any less serious that any other kind of rape. It may, however, lead to different feelings, emotions and outcomes than would happen if a stranger raped you.Remember, previous sexual relations with the person who raped you does not excuse the crime. While having had a pervious sexual relationship with the person who raped you may complicate matters, it is no excuse and the rape is no less serious. Regardless of past relationships, decisions about when and with whom you will have sexual contact are yours alone.
Remember, just because you are raped by someone you know does not mean that you are a poor judge of character.
Most rapists do not fit any particular patterns in the way they look or how they behave. There is no way that you can tell who is likely to rape. Rapist come from all walks of life and have all kinds if personalities. It is not your fault if a friend or neighbor who seemed like "such a nice guy" turns out to be a rapist.
Remember not to blame yourself.
Anyone who would rape you, regardless of the circumstances, has his very real problems. While every situation is different, don't forget:
- A woman who is friendly to her neighbor, even inviting him in for coffee, does not cause rape.
- A woman, who kisses a date, even though she has no intention of having sexual intercourse, does not cause rape.
- A woman who gets angry and says something harsh to a husband or boyfriend does not cause rape.
Remember, most people can still be trusted.
Perhaps the most difficult thing about being raped by someone you know is that, as a result, you may have difficulty trusting someone else. Keep in mind that most people are trustworthy. They want to make your life better, not worse. You need not shut out the world because you have been raped by someone you know.