More threads by NightOwl


I don't know if this is the right section to put this but has anybody else found a way of coping with other people's reactions when you say the word rape?

I'm puzzled why people seem to treat you as the criminal when you say a word they don't like. While I am trying to get on with my life and they ask me why aren't I able to sleep, I find it much easier to be honest and tell them I am dealing with a trauma. It's a little like naming the word Grief as well, noone in Society seems to know how to cope with that.

I'm now finding myself saying that I'm suffering from insomnia which they seem to be able to accept better.


David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I think that's an accurate observation, NightOwl.

I suspect it's because people don't want to know about something traumatic happening to someone they know - if it can happen to someone they know, that increases the perceived risk of it also happening to them. I think most people find it easier to try to believe it only happens to people they've never met and never will.

Of course, another reason is that most people have no idea what to say to you when you disclose something like that, so it's also a discomfort factor.


Thank you David for your reply. I find it unbelievable people's attitudes. Some family and friends have surprised me, people I've known all my life, seem to find it even more difficult than society, so I never talk to them about it and just get on with my life.

My husband and I have tried to warn them not to be so dismissive that this type of crime can happen to them; some of them have intimated that they have got degrees so it couldn't possibly happen to them, as if it protects them. It just makes me want to cry when I think of them putting themselves and others in danger just due to their fear and ignorance. Your point about the discomfort factor is very valid.

i wouldn't be sure what to say to a person if they told me this happened to them. but for them to tell me about it would mean that they trust me with that kind of information, and i certainly wouldn't dismiss it. but then again i try to be understanding and openminded of other people's experiences and feelings. i guess it depends on the person you are speaking to. maybe most people just don't want to acknowledge that such things happen, or they just have no idea how to react.

to me rape is a very scary thing. it's something i wish didn't exist and did not happen to people, but it does. i get upset when this kind of violence is in a film or on tv. this is just me though. it seems like most of the world is desensitized to it somehow.


My friend [who was on the same therapy training course as me, she lft just before me]was raped some years ago. She went on a Kilroy show a couple of years ago about rape. I went along with her for moral support. There was lots there about what you're talking about [apart from the man's insensitivity. which really annoyed and upset me.] But its a while ago, so I can't remember the details.

Although I've not been raped, but emotionally and physically assaulted [yikes, she said it] I can relate a lot to what you say. Like you, I usually say 'due to past traumas' when I'm explaining anything for official purposes, and that usually is enough, along with the depression and anxiety. My friends are mainly in the therapy field in one way or another so I don't have so much of an issue there.
Sorry for personal ramble.
Replying is not possible. This forum is only available as an archive.