Sexual Assault Sexual assault questioning

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Rainbow87

New Here
Hi everyone,

First of all thanks to all of the posters. Reading them makes me feel less alone.

About 7 months ago I went out with a group of friends and I got pretty drunk. I remember getting upset with my friends and I left the bar crying. I was determined to go to a different gay bar by myself. I remember pulling out my phone to look up gay bars close by. I do not remember much after that. I have flashbacks of being in a parked car with a stranger (male) giving me a back massage. I am pretty sure I had told him I was a lesbian and that I was a server so it made me have a lot of back pain. So in my drunken state I must have gotten into a parked car with a stranger & I am thinking he offered to give me a ride. However, the back massage went lower and lower and he asked if what he was doing “was okay.” I do not remember replying, but if I had I think at the time in my drunken state I thought it was just a part of the massage. I had a pit feeling in my stomach that I was in danger. I remember him groping my butt.... then It all goes black. I then remember waking up to my hand on his exposed genitalia and he asked “is this okay?” I replied “no this is not okay.” He had a blank but surprised look on his face. I remember lifting up the lock of the car and escaping. I really believe I would have been raped if I hadn’t gotten out of that car. I called my friends and left a screaming voicemail that I had been sexually assaulted because I could not get ahold of them and they wouldnt answer. I know it was dumb of me to leave everyone, but I was drunk and not really myself. I then remember going behind a bush and putting my purse on the ground and going into the fetal position and cried. I was scared and I did not know where I was. I messaged two different friends what had happened and I was terrified. I was in shock. In the distance I saw two men slowly appoaching me so I got up and ran. That is when an older man in an uber was driving by. He stopped when he saw me and asked if I was okay. He verified that he was a driver by pointing to his stickers. I got in and he drove me to my apartment and he was like “I think we should call the police.” I agreed because I felt like if this person did this to me they would do a lot worse to someone else. I was interrogated by the police for close to 4 hours. I know he was doing his job but it made me feel like the criminal. It ended up I couldn’t identify the perprator and I really couldnt remember where the specific location was & there was not enough evidence to pursue a case. I was just trying to do the right thing.

Since that night I have had severe PTSD. I know it could have been worse so I feel guilty for even feeling bad. & then sometimes I feel like what if “I made this all up?” Does anyone on here who has been through trauma question themselves too? Rationally I know I wouldnt remember those flashbacks if I had made it all up. Especially with therapy I have just been feeling worse and worse. Like maybe I am a bad person that made this up. It didn’t really happen. I am just looking for attention etc etc. I feel like I am going insane.

At one point I was scared of all men even my own dad. I just am confused. Why would I even make something like this up? I would have no reason to, but my brain keeps going there ALL the time. It makes absolutely no sense.
 

Roy

Learning
Given it sounds like you're genuinely scared, I wouldn't think you made it up. I know it's easy to think that, and I doubt my own memories pretty often. I think that's natural... trauma isn't really a normal thing to go through, so of course we question ourselves. I think that's just to be expected for a while. But I think a good indicator that you didn't make it up is that you are worried about it. I think if you somehow fabricated it just to get attention, you wouldn't admit it to yourself, because you would be, well, seeking attention. It can really hurt to doubt yourself. And I've heard the police don't treat sexual assault victims very well, and that there is definitely a stigma and taboo to it, that sometimes people assume victims are lying. That really disgust me honestly, and I think it probably lays down the precedence to doubt yourself. If it makes any difference, I believe you, and I hope someone catches that guy. I think you did all the right things.
 
Hi there. Glad to see you here. I know from my own assault that you may have to mull it over and over for a while and don't worry about convincing yourself or anyone else as the point is that you know something inappropriate happened and you felt violated but I think now you are on the right path towards recovery. Please don't be afraid to doubt yourself and ask questions.
 

Rainbow87

New Here
Thank you both for your reply:). It means a lot. I think it is some sort of coping mechanism that if this didn’t happen I wouldn’t have to deal with it or something. Plus not remembering everything from that night & just parts of it made me question it as well. I know I wouldn’t just go into the fetal position if something terrifying hadn’t happened. It is just hard to trust myself I think.
 
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Friday

Moderator
You could not have gotten PTSD from this incident as described.

Someone asks if it's okay to put their hands on your back? Yes.
On your ass? Yes.
On your genitalia? No ...And you leave.

That's not sexual assault. That's not even in the same universe as sexual assault.

I get that you were drunk, scared, alone, in the middle of the night... but being scared, even being terrified, isn't what causes PTSD.
 

Genuwine

Learning
I know it could have been worse so I feel guilty for even feeling bad.

Please don't feel guilty because you were sexually assaulted and not raped. We tend to minimize what happened to us as a coping mechanism. But let me tell you, what happened to you was terrible and scary and you have valid reason to suffer from symptoms of PTSD and fear of men. (Which is totally normal by the way.)

Validate your trauma and all the emotions that come with it. Don't compare it to others and say, it could've been worse so it doesn't count. IT COUNTS!
 

Rainbow87

New Here
Just because I was not raped does not mean it wasn’t sexual assault. It could have been a lot worse I agree. But someone putting your hand on their genitalia without your consent is sexual assault. I really don’t think there is a hierarchy of what causes ptsd & any form of sexual abuse can cause it.
 

Roy

Learning
@Friday I'm new, so I'm not sure if it's my place to say this, but I will anyway. The definition of sexual assault that I've heard is any kind of sexual interaction that is unwanted (not just genital contact), even if you don't tell the assaulter it's unwanted. But I'm not sure how this forum defines it.

It only takes a second, one incident to cause PTSD... different people react to it differently, have different symptoms. I think it's up to her if she has it or not, though I know you must have a lot of experience with it, having been around here. That said I don't think an immediate reaction to the event is the same thing as PTSD, I think of PTSD as an ongoing, life-long condition originating from the event, though the symptoms may fade a lot over time. Still, if she needs someone to talk to about it... might as well let her talk?I hope this isn't against any forum policy, I did read the rules, it's just my thoughts.
 

Friday

Moderator
@Roy

Legal definitions vary from state to state and country to country.

In the vast majority of them, if you tell someone to stop & they do, that's not unwanted sexual contact. Either there has to be no opportunity to say no (someone walks up and gropes you), or they force you (i.e. Unwanted). The details all vary, but the ethos behind rape & sexual assault is roughly the same; no choice.

If you're making out or having sex with someone & change your mind? You can do that! You can call halt right in the middle and the other person is required to stop & let you walk away. Which is exactly what happened here. She was making out with someone, called halt, and walked away. <<< This is what we WANT to have happen. This is the best possible case. You want to stop, and you get to, because the other person respects your rights to. It's a really, really good thing.

That doesn't mean that everything that ISNT sexual assault is going to be sunshine & rainbows. People have committed suicide because they found themselves making out with a another chick, or another guy. Not because they got PTSD from it. Homophobia, religious beliefs, a whole host of possible disorders. There's a huge range of badness outside the world of PTSD. And all of it? Deserves the best possible treatment. It just won't be PTSD treatment. Because making out with someone you regret making out with isn't enough to cause PTSD. Someone who has stomach cancer can be doing all the right things for a pregnant mom to be doing... but that doesn't help their stomach cancer.

I just have a bad habit of caring a little too much about strangers, is all. I want people to get the help they need, for the problems they have. So just like IRL, if someone describes something to me? I'll give them my honest opinion, & kick whatever knowledge I have. Doesn't make me popular, but does let me live with myself. I gave them the info I had, what they choose to do with it is on them.
 
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Sideways

Sponsor
This isn’t coming from a place of judgement, but rather, a place of genuine concern.

You mentioned that you were upset and crying when you left your group of friends, before deciding to go to another bar on your own and keep drinking. Later that same night, you got into the car of a complete stranger, and let that person give you a massage. You seem to have put that down to “I was really drunk...”.

To be honest, if I’d found out that one of my friends had done that? I’d be horrified, and actually pretty mad at them. The danger of that scenario? Is huge. Like, horrifyingly huge. When we go out with friends, we’re meant to look out for each other, especially if there’s drinking involved. Your friends let you go off to continue drinking on your own, and you later get into a complete stranger’s car for what appears to be a sexualised encounter, even if you never intended it to involve actual intercourse.

I’m blown away... That is so incredibly dangerous. Putting aside the issue of your friends failing you on a massive scale by letting you go off, in tears and drunk, to another bar on your own (they don’t sound like people you should be going out drinking with again, for what it’s worth) - I’m smacking my own head right now at how much your friends have seriously let you down. They should be ashamed. Massively ashamed of themselves. That’s not how friends look out for each other.

Where are you at with yourself? Risk-taking behaviours like that? Often come from somewhere. You were already upset before you got into that car. What was going on there? Has someone in your life made you think that you, or your welfare, aren’t valuable?

The single most important person to look after your welfare, is You. You have a responsibility to look after yourself. You deserve to be looked after, so you owe yourself that. But you didn’t look after yourself - you got drunk, alone, and climbed into the car of a stranger...

You do realise that you’re worth looking after? That your safety is important? Your welfare is important. You are important. You are worth looking after.

I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea that this was all just too much alcohol. You need to care about you, and keeping yourself safe. You’re worth that. You have value. I’m not quite sure if this horrible night was a one off, but please do consider how valuable you are as a person, as a member of the common humanity.

That’s not me letting the guy off. That’s me thinking, geez lady, you deserve to be looked after. You are worth caring for yourself.
 

Rainbow87

New Here
Hi Friday,

I have been diagnosed with PTSD. I think it was mostly the fact that someone tried to have sex with me without my consent when i was incapacitated. I could not give my consent with how much alcohol I had drank. I never made out with the person. Just getting groped and even being in that situation I believe he manipulated me to try to have sex. I froze when he started grabbing my butt & I then saw he had his penis out and my hand was there because he put it there. It was a very dehumanizing and degrading thing to experience. I think it is a good thing you care so deeply about strangers. That is a good trait to have.
 
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