To be Scarr'd or not to be scarred?
A rape recovery story in serial form
by Evelyn Shakespeare
© 2005 Evelyn Shakespeare
An Outline of Evelyn's Healing Journey
Here is a brief outline of the stages of Evelyn's journey, the big issues
of each stage, plus what she was working on as she followed her healing
journey. In the chapters she has written Evelyn explores these and other
stages of her healing journey as she shares her experiences on this web
- Threatened with a knife
- Assaulted and bruised
- Body frozen; mind disassociated
- "Submitted" because she was so scared for her life; she chose
- Withdrawn, hiding, in pain, bruised, shocked
- Talking to a few trusted friends
- Internet search to understand what had happened
- Appointment with Sexual Assault Support Service
3. How did this happen to me? The search to understand. The search
- Internet search to understand how it happens
- Reading books (see book list)
- Keeping a diary
- Drawing/art work
- Going over and over it in her mind and in conversations
- Exploring violence and control issues
- Recognising her loss of trust in both herself and others
4. I am determined to heal!
- Recognition of the scope of the trauma: physical, mental and emotional
- Finding ways to express and deal with feelings effectively and safely
- Importance of current circle of friends
- Worksite and relationship issues
- How can I use my experience to support other women?
5. Re-traumatization triggers:
- Friends who can't deal with the new me
- Lack of support from unexpected quarters
- First anniversary
- Meeting him on the street
- Feeling 'frozen with fear' over 'control' issues at work
- Recognising the trauma of 'Secondary Wounding'
6. The on-going journey what has been helpful:
- Sexual Assault Support Services
- Massage & Counselling
- Art work
- Diary writing
- Reporting the event to Police
- Using the punching/kicking bag
- Supportive/understanding friends
- Support from male friends
- Continuing with favourite activities
- Celebration and ritual to support the healing journey
- Being in Nature
- Being physically active - walking, dancing
- True friends - those who believe the story and believe in Evelyn's
ability to heal in her own ways
7. The on-going journey unexpected sources of difficulty
the "aftershocks" of the "earthquake":
- Angry responses from some males when they find out - the survivor is
already trying to deal with the anger of the rapist, and having "supporters"
get angry is NOT helpful!
- Isolation - "The innocence of people who don't understand or don't
know how to respond to either the rape or my reactions to it made me reluctant
to tell my story, despite my need to have my truth expressed."
- Other survivors - especially if they are not healed themselves; "some
have had difficulty accepting that I have my own way of dealing with this
- Friends who couldn't cope with the "new me", especially the
distressed me - the pain of emotional abandonment when I needed them the
- The changing relationships between the rape survivor and longstanding
trusted friends - they felt lost trying to work it out; and the huge effort
required by me and them to try and reform the relationship on a new basis;
the need for mutual trust.
- Triggers - being restimulated and reminded over and over again of the
trauma by seeingly unrelated events and moments in day to day life.
8. Therapies - the assistance available for healing
© 2005 Evelyn Shakespeare