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Kidnapping, Rape And/or Torture

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by joeylittle, Jun 13, 2014.

  1. joeylittle

    joeylittle Donation drive til August 1, donate today Administrator Generous $250+

    I don't know if this is too specific, or if there is anyone on here like me. I have never had a chance to connect with anyone who has been kidnapped and held for any number of days.

    I was raped and beaten, but there were also things done to me that I'm not sure how to name. My therapist says I was tortured. I think torture belongs to people who have been captive under a hostile regime, or those in a war-torn state.

    I know labels are only to help us have words that might represent sets of experiences; but I do wish I could talk with others who wonder about torture. There is, in my mind, a difference between something being "torturous" - as in, incredibly painful to endure - and "torture", as in subjected to repetitive actions that are meant to alter behavior or reduce the person to a kind of nothingness.

    I don't even have good words for it.
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  3. 'B'

    'B' New Member

    A single action can be significant enough to alter behaviour or reduce a person, or it may also take many such actions. I think an underlying factor may be the intent of such actions. I've been raped, beaten, kicked, stomped on, whipped with a fishing rod, drugged, held under water. Each time different but every time painful and even though it was not all done by the same person I believe their aims were the same. I don't see it as they were trying to break me or bring me down to nothingness that would just be an output of the ultimate outcome they wanted to achieve which was to bring themselves up with the idea of power and control.
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  4. joeylittle

    joeylittle Donation drive til August 1, donate today Administrator Generous $250+

    According to the UN definition, the key elements are:

    • Severe pain or suffering intentionally inflicted (physical or mental)
    • Inflicted to either obtain information, punish, or intimidate and/or coerce
    • Inflicted or instigated by "a public official or other person acting in an official capacity"
    And it does not include pain or suffering inherent to or caused by lawful sanctions. ("Lawful" is generally the difficult-to-determine aspect when you're looking at international law, cases that the UN would be considering)

    I know that this is a very specific list based on the needs of an international organization - but its the only thing to go by.

    And I suppose that "acting in an official capacity" can be anyone in authority...Suffering and pain and intimidation are pretty obvious in any psychological/physical/sexual abuse situation.

    I know what you're saying; for some reason, thinking about them trying to bring themselves up makes me feel like I'm trying to understand and/or empathize with them, which is what I did for years as part of my coping mechanism - but now that way of coping feels ugly to me. I do think they were trying to break me, and at that they succeeded. But that seems to co-incide with when they let me go, when I was pretty much non-responsive, almost catatonic.

    I'm so sorry that all happened to you. Do you think it's the same thing, whether the actions were concentrated or spread out, and whether it was the same person or not? I don't think one is more traumatic than the other - I'm just trying to understand better why it feels the way it feels to me. I didn't know any of them; thats very different from knowing your abuser (I'm not saying you did, I'm just saying for sake of example). I didn't think I was getting out once it had gone into the second day; there was no longer any sense of "this will be over somehow, soon" - I only thought I would die eventually, but he was very clear about wanting to keep me alive, but barely. They revived me every time I went unconscious, and stopped and took me down when I was (I think) having a seizure.

    It's just that it never stopped; one continuous thing. Ah, I don't know. Maybe that's just the kidnapping effect, whatever there might be to being taken like that.

    Has anyone been kidnapped?
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  5. Hashi

    Hashi I'm a VIP

    Yes, I was kidnapped (although I always think of it as abducted because of the child conotations I have about the word "kidnapped" which are probably irrelevant. I was 20, which is why I think about it.)

    I was repeatedly raped and tortured while held. My best guess is three days and four nights, but I can't know for sure.

    They were strangers.

    It took me some time before I started using the word torture. My biggest problem with that name was the mock executions - for some reason it was easier to see the physical torture. I've struggled to label those as torture and it helped me to see that included in explanations of what torture is. I think I struggled a lot with actual/physical and fear-based torture, but the fear of death completely overwhelmed every other single thing for me, instinctively. (Not intellectually.) That has been another difficult thing to process, since my logical mind thinks that pain would take precedent but in reality staying alive overrode everything else and I had no choice in that.

    It also took me some time to make a distinction between rape which is tortuous and torture which included various kinds of rape. I hope that isn't going to offend anyone - it was a breakthrough for me when I was initially having to accept that I had been tortured.

    In one way, it never stopped. In another way it did, because there were some times when I was alone in the room. It's too hard to say how long those times were. I don't think they were very long. When I think about it hard, it might have been only one time. But that's beyond my knowing, now.

    There was a turning point for me with this too. Not in terms of time there but in terms of my captivity situation. I can say more if you want but I don't know if that's OK.

    Anyway, there was a point when I knew that the only way I was intended to get out of there, it was not with me alive. Things were very clear that other people had not got out of there alive. Things were equally, horribly, clear that me getting out of there alive was the opposite of the point.

    I got to a point where I believed I had already died and was in hell and that this would therefore continue for eternity.

    I only survived because I did actually die (when it got to that point) but came back which they didn't realise.

    Something that has always been a struggle for me that it was not functional torture in the sense of state/politically influenced. In my case it was sadistic torture and I think financially influenced (it was filmed - for sale I assume). So maybe that's different from your situation.

    But abduction, being held, rape, torture - sadly, yes.

    When I started working on this, I did both somatic therapy and psychotherapy. The amount of fear I had to process was unbelievable in both cases. For at least two years, going into three I was intensively processing fear, fear, fear. The sort of fear that comes with torture, and the different kinds of fear, and the depths of that fear ... you can't underestimate it. After a year of somatic therapy, my therapist actually said a) that it terrified him (but he had ways to cope with that) and b) that he thought I was put on this earth to learn about fear. So much processing is needed, and it's awful, but I do want to say it can be done.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
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  6. Hashi

    Hashi I'm a VIP

    I don't know if this is at all helpful but when I was struggling to find anything about this topic I found this and it helped me a lot with my feelings.


    I don't even know if this person is the true originator of what' written. I've since seen pretty much the same text in different places, attributed to different sources. All I can say is that this is the link I found that really helped me.
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  7. Hashi

    Hashi I'm a VIP

    Wanted to come back about this. I write poems as therapy, and one that I wrote was about feelings about having being tortured. The last line was "No-one in that room was human in the end" - meaning not my torturers, and not me either. In fact, there was a moment very early on when I felt my human-ness being given up (by me)/being taken away (by them)/simply leaving.

    Because of being tortured I have felt like a ghost. Not in a figurative sense. Literally, I have felt like a ghost amongst real human beings.
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  8. joeylittle

    joeylittle Donation drive til August 1, donate today Administrator Generous $250+

    This is such a helpful distinction. Brilliant, really. I will generally get stuck at "I was raped", except there are so many parts of my experience where rape was almost incidental; it had no longer become the worst thing that could (or was) happening to me.

    This also; this is something I very distinctly remember. They were standing above me, talking, and I was laying on the floor crying but it was as if no-one heard me. I truly thought I was dead, and that death was not at all what I'd hoped it would be.

    No; my story has a great deal in common with yours. I walked into the trap, but then I was kept there. Honestly, kidnapping isn't the easiest thing for me to say either, nor is abducted, since I feel very responsible for being in the situation that became me being kept there. I wasn't knocked out and thrown in the back of a van; I thought I was being given a ride home and was taken to this place instead.

    I was also filmed and photographed, but I don't in retrospect have the impression it was for financial gain. My keeper - I don't ever know what else to call him - invited various people to come in and do what they wanted with me. It seemed almost like a loose club of sadists, or something. But my keeper also had me to himself for a big part of it.

    I wonder what you mean by mock executions - I think I know what you mean, so you certainly don't have to write about it. My keeper was obsessed with "killing me" (I put it in quotes because I always came back). He would take away my ability to breathe in various ways, I would lose consciousness, I would wake up sometimes with him raping me. As I look back on it, he clearly had a death fetish.

    The worst for me was the stuff with electricity, in terms of pain. In terms of fear, it was every time he asphyxiated me I suddenly did not want to die - even though most other times I felt like I did, although my body kept fighting to stay alive.

    Thank you for this also. The processing method I'm using with my therapist is EFT/tapping. EMDR was too difficult within the structure of how events are re-told. I remember so much of the thing in an amazing amount of detail; I know a big part of that is just because I never spoke of it to anyone for many, many years. I was 13 when it happened. A very precocious, older-looking 13 year old with little restriction on how I came and went from my home.

    When I experience all the different fears, and try and articulate them to my therapist, I often judge myself for understanding so many different and ever-changing kinds of fear. It really helps to know this isn't just in my experience.

    I wish I understood somatic work better. Can you explain a little bit how it breaks down for you? Of course, you're under no obligation.

    I'm just coming up on my one-year anniversary of starting to work on this in therapy. I think, in terms of events to work through, that we are about 1/3 of the way through. I'm so grateful to know that your work has taken years - I am not happy for you that this is the way it is for you, I hope my being grateful doesn't sound that way - I'm just without any guideposts, you know? I never know if I'm working fast enough, too fast, too slow, and the day-to-day of living now in this place with these memories "unboxed" is so hard. It doesn't take much for me to go right back there in my mind.

    Yes, this too. I don't know how to think of myself as a person. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not a person. I'm a thing. I think I had turned into a thing after perhaps the first 12 hours. Some of it was absorbing the language that was being thrown at me, but I often think that it more deeply comes from having been essentially an object. My keeper called me a toy, and that's pretty accurate. I feel all the time like I'm on the outside of life, looking in at all the real people. I think that's my version of feeling like a ghost.

    I was so shocked when I was returned. But I believe from some of the things he said that my keeper was very determined to never be caught, and that my death would have been too much bother to deal with. Towards the end when I was harder to revive, that was when I think he decided to let me go.

    I struggle with a great sense of complicity - that it was my body present for all the horrible things, and that I did not know how to fight back very often. When I did fight back it was always funny to everyone, which was also awful. I feel like I will always be a part of those acts that I performed or was present for.

    I am also struggling with the media component. I desperately want to go trolling the underbelly of the internet to find myself. But the one time I tried, I re-traumatized just by starting to find pictures of other people.

    Anyway, I'm sorry if that was all too much information. I'm also the "worst" thing my therapist has ever worked with. He is very, very good at not getting rattled by the information - only once have I seen him too shocked to really say anything helpful. But sometimes, often, I wish he would show me more of what he's feeling. I don't always know how bad these things were, I don't have anything to compare them to. And actually calling it torture is so, so hard. Such a hard thing to accept.
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  9. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator

    Query for both y'all...

    I know insane thirst is common for immediately after all the physical stuff... They used to laugh at us because we'd drink mop bucket water if that's all they gave us... But are either of you still thirsty? For the first 10 years I drank maybe 15 liters a day. Past 5 years it's down to about 5-10 liters. Can't be water, water makes me sick, I usually drink soda since it's cheap. Sugar, no sugar, doesn't matter. My body burns it all off / never gained an ounce on the sugar, never lost an ounce with no sugar.


    And yeah. Several months of fun with some exceptionally bad hosts.

    I have a hard time calling it torture, but I've realized its because I don't like the word. Like I had a hard time saying rape after the first time I was raped (long before I met these blokes). I call mine torture-lite, since I still have both my nipples and all of my working parts in generally good working order. Not everyone there was that lucky. Not just lost parts, but sometimes when they tried to revive people, they didn't come back. And I was so f*cking jealous. But they also taught me to laugh. To really, really laugh. Being there taught me that there are only 2 things in life that can't be made into a joke: someone else's pain, and he death of a child. So now, in life, I find myself laughing at the most absurd situations. I have a very bad habit, though, of laughing when I should be mad. I only get angry, rage true blinding rage, when I'm helpless. When I can't act. It's scary. Because the rage is only ever a hairsbredth away from going cold. I call it wearing my sociopath-hat. And with that hat on, I have no morals, no limits, & no conscience.

    My least favorite was dental. Oy. That still stops me cold, even typing for a moment. OMG. My face still hurts, and my brain just shuts off even thinking about it. Anything else, anything else and I can still think. At least a little. But not when my teeth are being drilled. Also up there on the list is disarticulated bone being ground against itself, electrical, and mouth to mouth resuscitation after being drowned. I managed to dredge up feeling insulted when they shock your heart back to life, after shocking it out (wtf is wrong with the world, &/or my head, when 'insulted' is a "good" feeling), but mouth to mouth after drowning was 3 kinds of bad. First the drowning, then the -uber gross-, then the uncontrollable vomiting with broken ribs. Yeah. No way was rape even close to the worst part of my day. Another upside, I suppose.

    Because one of the benefits of being raped a few hundred times, is I got to try "everything". Fighting, not fighting, going along, spacing out, making friends, trying to die... A few hundred chances to learn... Sometimes in life, something bad happens, and there is NOTHING you can do to keep it from happening or make it stop. Although there's a lot of things you can do to make it worse. There is NOTHING I could have done to prevent it or stop it.

    Now if only that little piece of hard won understanding would infect the other areas of my brain, and not the part the absolves rape as "I couldn't care less, it's on them, not me" it would be freaking fantastic.

    Snort. But no. A 1000 dreams, and flashes, and "what ifs" still party on. Stupid brain.
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  10. joeylittle

    joeylittle Donation drive til August 1, donate today Administrator Generous $250+

    Thanks for joining the thread, @FridayJones . In answer to your question about thirst, I've not had that particular after-effect; however, I've had different ones. In my mind it always feels like there are certain things about the experience that just got really lodged in my brain, and I can't shake them - they become behaviors that affect me in daily life. Now that I'm in therapy for it all, those things have become much easier to manage. I'm glad that your need to quench your thirst is abating.

    Are you getting therapy for anything you went through?

    I think its interesting that we all seem to have trouble with the word torture. Or, I guess I don't mean "interesting", I mean reassuring - it's nice to not be alone in that. I was so worried my therapist would think I was just being willful in refusing to accept the term.

    But from some of the details you mentioned, it'd be my opinion that what you survived wasn't any version of "lite".

    Hey, it's a really good thing that you can at least recognize intellectually that there's nothing you could have done. I find it takes me quite awhile to get from knowing it in my head to really knowing it in my gut. There's this great thing in CBT that allows you to really name how much you actually believe in a healthier version of an old thought. Sounds like you believe it at maybe less than 10%.

    But even just knowing that can be really comforting to me. I still see myself as responsible, even though I know I'm not. Before starting therapy, I really only believed that I wasn't responsible at around 5%. But now, I'd say I'm as good as 50-50. About half the time I can believe that I wasn't responsible for any of it. It takes time, but it's a way that helps me to keep track of the deeper thoughts and how they are slowly changing over time. All the healing with this, it seems, is slow.
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  11. Hashi

    Hashi I'm a VIP

    We really do seem to have some things in common, @joeylittle.

    I have no idea what makes you feel responsible. If you were 13, I would say it was impossible for you to be responsible. 13 is below the age of responsibility - other people are meant to be looking out for you, and there's a reason for that. But I know that in my case, older, I felt I could so easily have avoided it, I can't understand why I didn't. And then my therapist would say, "But....." and completely disagree that I was responsible at all.

    In the end, it really does come down to the fact that the people who rape/abuse/torture us are the people who are responsible for our rape/abuse/torture. I've made bad judgements at other times and I was fine, because the people involved were not abusive or criminal. Simple as that.

    I thought I was getting a taxi home, was too trusting and didn't check properly... and was taken to some other place instead.

    Anything where they wanted you to think they were about to kill you, then they didn't at the last minute. I also was choked almost to death, but thought it would be to death. There were other things as well, the same sort of thing.

    The stuff with electricity was what finally broke me. My survival instinct was constant, and constantly fighting for me to stay alive whatever it took, until the stuff with electricity was started. I don't want to be too graphic, but basically they wanted a reaction from me for the filming and until that point I'd managed that by split second shifting backwards and forwards between dissociation and being present. I knew that my only chance to stay alive was to react for the film. When the electricity stuff started, being present and reacting became impossible. They realised this, and that was the point where they only revived me enough for the final things.

    I do art journaling/trauma art, and I did something about fear that was both cathartic/therapeutic and haunting. I did a double page on the types of fear I felt at a certain point. There were so many of them, and I represented them in jagged red and black with labels. It's still difficult for me to even look at it.

    Fear has defined my work on this. Fear was the focus of working with the somatic therapist I saw. Fear has been the topic of endless psychotherapy sessions. I've experienced such awful body memories of fear - the need to throw up, the fainting, the freezing/gripping/shrinking feelings, terror rolling from abdomen to throat, the explosion of a thousand particles in my head, the paralysis in the middle of the street, the dissociation, the fear-driven delusion, the white-outs in my head, the fear of evil.... on and on....

    I had craniosacral therapy with a therapist who was experienced in trauma (other than birth trauma). It has similarities with somatic experiencing but with craniosacral therapy there's no need for the client to talk about traumatic experiences or even think about them - the therapist works directly with the body/central nervous system and helps the system to release stored trauma energy.

    Basically, it enabled my body/central nervous system to process and release a huge amount of stored trauma energy. I experienced that mostly as going cold, shaking (violently), perspiring and deep healing experiences while I was sleeping. (I probably wouldn't have been aware of these if I wasn't used to doing dream work and identifying, the moment I woke, what the subconscious process immediately beforehand had been.)

    I can say more if you want me to.

    I'm curious about your EFT/tapping. This wasn't for me because I experienced it as working on the brain/synapses. My brain rejects any kind of interference so when I tried EFT it rejected that. As a result, my impression is that EFT is quite brain-based and not about working directly with the cells/cell memory. I wonder - is that an accurate impression?

    I think this is characteristic of torture, from what I've read. We have to struggle with all sorts of feelings that our own bodies were the enemy, even to the point of siding with the torturers against our bodies... this is what was most helpful to me in the article I linked to. Even if that particular person didn't write it, whoever did write it seemed to really understand my ambivalence towards my own body as a result of my experiences.

    I'm wondering if there are any ways in which you can access a more detached awareness of what happened? In my case, at one point at the time I was aware a fear of being a "Crimewatch reconstruction". Crimewatch is a TV programme here that appeals for information on crimes, and has actors reconstruct the last known moments of people who have disappeared/been murdered. I imagined an actress playing me leaving the party, getting into the car and then blank.... a blank which, unfortunately, I could fill... but they could not.

    Although the idea of an actress playing me on Crimewatch brought all sorts of problems, then and when working on recovery, it did at least reinforce the idea that my experience was not unique or impossible. It was something that did happen to some people. And if it could happen to some people, it could happen to me, and that helped me to accept that it had happened. I know that's hard. But accepting that it happened is both healing and potentially liberating.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
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  12. joeylittle

    joeylittle Donation drive til August 1, donate today Administrator Generous $250+

    I think I need to put this on a piece of paper and carry it around with me. My therapist often tells me that even though I think I had choices - in fact, I did not, because those who had me were going to do what they wanted regardless of my actions, protestations, anything.

    Thank you for explaining about the mock executions. I was involved with something similar, but not the same. That sounds very horrible, I'm sorry you went through that. If there is one thing I learned from the whole thing, it is that there are really no limits to the depths of depravity one person is capable of conceiving. I don't think I have ever understood the question, "how could someone do something like that?". The answer is: they do. There is always a someone who can do the worst thing you can think of. Oddly, instead of making me terrified, this thought (or understanding) makes me feel stronger.

    I honestly cannot remember if I had a survival instinct, except for a purely physical one in times of near-death. I believe the body knows it wants to stay alive, no matter what your mind might be trying to tell it. I suppose I must have had the desire to survive, but my memory is overwhelmingly that i wanted to not survive. Sometimes because of pain, but I think always because of how ashamed and grotesque I felt. But the electricity went so far beyond anything I could stay in control of or have thoughts about. I really understand what you are saying. I'm truly not sure why it was physically the absolute worst thing, kind of beyond pain.

    Thank you for the description of cranio-sacral therapy. I'm really intrigued by that - especially the way you describe it as getting to the body memories without needing to go through the cognitive side of it. I do think this could be an aspect I'm currently lacking in the EFT I'm doing.

    Although I do experience EFT as primarily physical. Tapping on the various energy points really does do something. At first, I thought it was the strangest sounding pseudo-science I had ever come across; and then we tried it on a simple story from my childhood about a pet I had. It was a story that carried a lot of grief, and it's been something that has made me sad my whole life. When we were tapping on it, I could feel my body releasing something at each point and on each round. By the time we were done, I was no longer full of this sadness for this one moment in my life - it was just gone, and still is.

    BUT: (a big but) - EFT has all the same problems EMDR has when it comes to navigating a memory. My therapist works with me to keep the section of the story that we are working on very, very far away, very small, very separate from where I am in the here and now. EFT will work regardless of whether you are feeling any of the associated emotions, so long as you can be specific about the moment you are tapping on. However, you still have to remember a portion of your narrative, even if you don't relay the details out loud. And managing to always remember from very far away is difficult with this stuff, especially the physical memories. I've gotten much more skilled at "coming back" when I get triggered away, but there's no denying that it is very, very unpleasant, bordering on re-traumatizing.

    If my therapist wasn't as good as he is, I can see how it would be a big disaster. Thankfully, he's very good with the technique and fairly quickly learned how to know whether I was about to get overtaken by a physical memory; sometimes he knows before I'm even aware of it. And if I had not been through some great DBT (for depression management) I don't think I'd feel as safe as I do.

    The idea of being able to add something in that simply connects directly with the body is really intriguing. Is it your talk-therapist who does the cranial work?

    This is a really interesting concept to me. And I really like your Crimewatch story - that's a creative way to go about addressing the fact of the event. I do find that simply knowing it happened can be enough to sink me into a deep depression for the day, and I'd like to get past that. It's better than it used to be, but is still a problem.

    I think maybe I should try drawing. I have this odd thing in that one of the ways he was keeping a record was with a polaroid camera. He would show me the pictures of me sometimes. So I have this strange double memory where I know what it felt like and I know what it looked like, and oddly that comes together to make it more unreal, not less. But thinking about doing some drawing work feels promising, like it might give me a different way to interact with those pictures that are in my head.

    Something that is interesting about EFT and relates to this, I think, is that the therapist is the one speaking the "set up" statement, but it will be a sentiment that the patient generates. So, if the set up was "I left my homework in my room and the teacher called me stupid" - while going through the rounds of tapping the therapist will lead with portions of this statement and the client repeats.

    One of my easiest accidental triggers is just in hearing my own description spoken by my therapist. Hearing those words come from his mouth makes it real in a way that is very unique - sometimes painfully jarring, but always helpful in the end.

    And you are right - accepting that it happened is a vital part of the process. I'm much further along that road than I was a year ago.

    Sometimes I wish I could tell a friend about it. But giving them that burden of knowledge feels very not-fair and possibly damaging to the friendship. I also don't want anyone trying to help me who doesn't have the training and skills to do so. But I wonder if having one person from my life know this happened to me, if that would give me some greater sense of...something. Truth.

    Or it could just be me wanting to be less alone and not really accepting that I actually am alone in this. Except for this website, which I find extraordinarily helpful.
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  13. Hashi

    Hashi I'm a VIP

    I just want to say that I don't think you're completely alone in this. You have raised all sorts of things that I want to reply to. I'm in the middle of moving house and a really busy time at work at the moment, so I don't want to rush a response - this deserves much more and is too important to me. I will get back to you when I've got time and headspace to respond properly, which this really deserves.
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