Relationship My older sister is terrified of me nowadays, because of the way I reacted to her rape.

I am an adopted child. I am ethnically Okinawan, and I was adopted by a Japanese-American family. My adoptive family is the best family I could ever ask for, and I’m so grateful. I have sibling, an older sister. Up until recently, she has always been so kind and compassionate to me, and we got along so well. I love her.

A few months ago, my sister was visiting my city, and she stayed over at my apartment. She’s a very athletic girl, so she used to frequently go out on runs. She used to go on her runs wearing the most provocative clothes, like tank tops, sports bras, short shorts, that kinds of stuff. I happen to live in a rather sketchy part of the city, so every time she went out running half-naked, I used to worry a little bit for her safety.

One day, near the end of her stay at my apartment, she went out for her run wearing nothing but a low-cut spaghetti strap sports bra and short shorts. She went out for about two hours, and when she came back, she was crying hysterically, and she was sweating so much that I thought there was something physically wrong with her. She tearfully told me that while she was out on her run, somebody tripped her and raped her. I was crushed when she told me this, but at the exact same time, I was so angry at her for dressing up so provocatively. She told me that she was going to take a shower, but instead, I told her that we were going to the hospital right away. She whined that she felt “so disgusting” but I wasn’t hearing any of it. She begged me to at least let her grab a shirt to wear to the hospital, but I told her that in order to preserve as much physical evidence as possible, she was absolutely not allowed to shower or wear a shirt or change out of her sports bra and shorts. I grabbed her arm and dragged her down to the car, and we went to the emergency room. She couldn’t stop crying during the entire drive and the wait at the hospital. While we were waiting to see the doctor, she whined that she really wanted a shirt to wear, so in the heat of the moment, I bluntly told her that this was all her fault, and that she made her bed and she ought to lie in it. When I told her this, she just whimpered. Looking back, I really regret saying this to her.

Nowadays, she acts as if I’m the one who raped her. She is terrified of me, and she cries so much in my presence these days. The tough, tomboyish, cheerful sister that I have always known is gone. She is currently in therapy for her trauma, but every time I am in her presence, I can tell that she's doing her best not to cry. How do I get her back?
 
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So it’s her fault? She shouldn’t have gone running in such a provocative outfit?
That wasn't the point of why I wrote it. But just on that note...as a man, I've always been slightly embarrassed by my older sister's tendency to show off as much skin as possible. It's unnecessary. That's just my opinion.
 
That wasn't the point of why I wrote it. But just on that note...as a man, I've always been slightly embarrassed by my older sister's tendency to show off as much skin as possible. It's unnecessary. That's just my opinion.
You’re entitled to your opinion. You aren’t entitled to judge her for your opinion and yes just by adding it here you judged her. If you don’t think anyone should be able to show skin while working out then it’s just a personal preference which again you don’t get to judge her by. But if it’s women only then you’re sexist. You can be embarrassed but when talking of your sisters rape you leave that opinion out because otherwise your saying maybe if she hasn’t dressed so scantily she wouldn’t have been raped. She doesn’t need that from anyone, least of all her family. I can almost guarantee that if your thinking it, she senses it.
 
One day, near the end of her stay at my apartment, she went out for her run wearing nothing but a low-cut spaghetti strap sports bra and short shorts.
So first of all--I am one of those women who believe that we have to take responsibility for dressing discretely sometimes because men are...well, *ssholes. Yeah, I know. Very unpopular opinion, but...it comes from growing up with nothing but men who are jerks.

However, what she wore (or what anyone wears, for that matter) is actually none of my or your business.
I was crushed when she told me this, but at the exact same time, I was so angry at her for dressing up so provocatively.
It's not about you. At all. "Provocative" sounds to me here like you think she did it intentionally. And because you have a hang-up with the way some women dress, doesn't mean you have to impose that on others.
She told me that she was going to take a shower, but instead, I told her that we were going to the hospital right away. She whined that she felt “so disgusting” but I wasn’t hearing any of it. She begged me to at least let her grab a shirt to wear to the hospital, but I told her that in order to preserve as much physical evidence as possible, she was absolutely not allowed to shower or wear a shirt or change out of her sports bra and shorts. I grabbed her arm and dragged her down to the car, and we went to the emergency room. She couldn’t stop crying during the entire drive and the wait at the hospital. While we were waiting to see the doctor, she whined that she really wanted a shirt to wear, so in the heat of the moment, I bluntly told her that this was all her fault, and that she made her bed and she ought to lie in it.
If I were your sister, I would likely never talk to you again. It's not clear that you understand how abusive this was. You *grabbed* her and *dragged* her to your car (someone who was just violently assaulted), and you blamed her for being assaulted. Was she also to blame for your assault?
Nowadays, she acts as if I’m the one who raped her.
Honestly, you kind of did. You didn't violate her sexually, but you absolutely violated her space, you essentially assaulted her, dragged her to the car against her will, and blamed her for being hurt.

You can try to apologize (but only when you truly *get* that what you did was wrong, because if it's not genuine, she will absolutely pick up on that), and you can ask her forgiveness, but don't be surprised if she doesn't accept any of it.
 
How do I get her back?
Time will be a lot of it. Be patient, because this is an experience that she has to live with for the rest of her life.

Even though you tried to do a lot of the right things (taking her to hospital, preserving evidence), the way you went about that sounds like it may have been disempowering for her. She had no control over what was done to her when she was assaulted, and it sounds like that continued when she got home and told you what happened.

For you to be able to win her trust back, you may need to allow her to do things in ways that you won’t approve of. Recovery will be messy, slow, painful, hard work (even more so if law enforcement and/or court processes are involved). Try and be okay with that.

And ask, before assuming that something might be helpful (“would it be helpful if…”). No matter how well intended, things that are unwelcome betray her trust further, because they take away her control over her own recovery.

Sometimes being the support person means just being there - quietly. Or not being there, if that’s what she needs right now. Sometimes supporters need to love from a distance, sometimes even a quiet distance! As frustrating as that is, being prepared to show up again without judgment, with compassion, is the single most helpful thing a supporter can offer.

This will be a long haul thing. Whatever you did, or she did, is irrelevant now. The thing to focus on is what she needs to feel safe, and allowing her to determine what that is.
 
hello dazed and confused. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

i'll add my voice to @Sideways' choir. the amends will be a long haul affair. be gentle with all parties involved and patient with the process. i hope you can congratulate yourself for being there for her while simultaneously forgiving yourself for being human enough to make callous, bone-headed remarks under such extreme duress.

recovery from trauma takes time and healing is an unpredictable process. just be there for her. rock her gently and cry with her if she honors you with the trust to do so. don't take it personal if she doesn't grant you that honor. whichever way it goes, lean freely on your own support network. i know i need help helping people.

welcome aboard. hope you find stabilizing companionship here.
 
I want to be the one she can depend on
I can tell you care about her and wanted to protect her. Sometimes the most hurtful things said or done can come from a place of deep caring but acted out clumsily. You may not be *the* one but with time and trust you might be lucky enough to be *some* one. Your journey through your own shadows is also incredibly important and could take you down paths of self discovery you never imagined if you’re willing to face it and be honest with yourself.
 
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