I don't know if this is something I should be talking about here, but in a strange way, the knowledge has made me feel better about feeling the way I have lately. So, I thought I'd share. This might be long.
When I was in first year university, I met some friends. My best friend soon got a boyfriend. We all got along great. After a year or so, they broke up. After the break up, my friend shunned me. Eventually i stopped trying to be her friend. I was angry and I didn't understand. I figured it was because we had been friends with her boyfriend. But, I tried to tell her that he was my friend because she was my friend. It didn't seem to matter. We drifted. there was anger on both sides. Years later, she contacted me through facebook. We started talking. In a few weeks, we got together. She dropped the bomb on me. Her boyfriend had raped her. She was dealing with so much back then, that she pushed me away. After many, many long talks, we reconciled. And thank the powers that be because I missed her.
Anyway, on to my point. It's been six years since she was raped and she's okay talking about it. It's been three weeks since I miscarried and I'm not able to talk to many people about it at all. But I've been talking ho her. We've come to a shocking realization:
the trauma of rape, is so similar to the trauma of miscarriage, that often, we could be talking about the same thing. The same self discust, mistrust of your own feelings and the fear of getting back to your life "before" it happened. The feelings of who to blame and the why me's and the shock and so many other things like the overall sence of powerlessness over our own lives. The only main difference we seem to be able to come up with is that eventually, the rape victim does have someone to blame:the rapist. The miscarriage has no source. I'm not saying one is better then the other. I'm jsut saying that when it comes to a terrible situation where our bodies have not been under our own control, we have a lot in common. It's almost as if I've been violated too. I feel that way. I just have no one to get even with. She feels violated but has no justice (for many reasons I won't get into here).
If I sit outside the situation, It's a parellel I would have liked to write a paper on when i was in University. I find it shocking and interesting. I'd like to find the medical and phychological proof to back up our opinions. Stange isn't it?
I'm sorry if I offended anyone. Neither of these topics are exactly common conversation. I wanted to share because in some strange way, knowing that there are other people who get me, even people who haven't been in this situation before, makes me feel like I'm part of the world again. My friend feels the same way. It's like this experience and our ability to pour out our worst thoughts has brought us even closer together. The same can be said about my realtionship with my DH. We haven't talked so much since we were dating. Really talked. About anything. We had some issues before this, but suddenly, they don't seem very important and becuase of that, we've be able to talk about them and fix many of them. i guess there is always a silver lining. But I'm off topic again.
Anyway, thought I'd share just becuase It's been in my head for a week now and I thought it might be worth getting out there. If I read this post over, I'll likely delete the whole thing so I applogise if any of it in inchoerent.
SUCH an interesting parallel -- two experiences quite different in many ways, yet both hugely traumatic (physically, emotionally, and mentally) and -- as you pointed out -- involving loss of control over our bodies. And specifically, the trauma happens within our reproductive organs -- personally, I consider them the most sacred and personal place of my body. I could relate -- I felt really violated too, when I m/c'd. Natural as they were, my m/c's seemed like such a violent process.
Thanks for sharing your observations -- in general, most people these days don't trivialize rape anymore (how horrid to think that many used to, decades ago). Even child abuse 'came out of the closet' in the 1970's. People become more enlightened, society changes.
Maybe one day, people will stop trivializing/ dismissing the experience of pregnancy loss. Social change doesn't just happen overnight -- the world continues to evolve, so I have faith that m/c's etc might one day be 'no longer taboo' as well. Let's hope so, for future generations of people who will (very sadly) share our experiences.
Your observations are ver interesting. I would agree that there are some similarities. I think that another parallel is the guilt. I internalized so much guilt when I suffered my loss; I was convinced it was my fault somehow. And while I don't know from personal experience, it's my understanding that individuals who experience some kind of sexual assault/abuse often internalize some guilt as if they had brought it on themselves. Of course, in both cases the guilt is completely unfounded. Another similarity is that our society doesn't really have protocols for dealing with either trauma. When a loved one dies, you get bereavement leave from work and you take out an announcement in the newspaper and you have a ceremony and people send you flowers... all of these things help further healing. In the case of your trauma and that of your friend, there are no socially acceptable rituals. You are expected not to mention it, sweep it under the rug and carry on, even though on the inside you are torn apart.
Thanks for sharing.
Last edited by EmmyG; 04-23-2008 at 03:05 PM.
When I was 14 I was brutally raped by 3 men. I was out for morning run when I was attached. I was drug into the woods, where I was beaten and raped repeatedly. I still have nightmares. I recently had a m/c. Although I felt shame, guilt, isolation, and fear with both; they were not the same kinds of shame and guilt. I thought the rape was the hardest thing I had ever gone through until I lost my baby. I would never compare the two.