Follow-up To Book Assistance Request...

There have been so many brave souls willing to share their experiences and suggestions... I am amazed and humbled!

I have been away from EP for a few weeks now, dealing with some challenges of my own. But I have been writing! As I process all of what has been shared with me, a few questions/ideas have bubbled up. Again, I welcome your input!

1. The role of her teen years boyfriend seems to be morphing somewhat. The original idea that he had been forced to witness her rape has (as several of you predicted!) not fit the evolving story line. I'm rethinking that.

2. A few of you have shared a sense of guilt over what you saw as your body "betraying you" by responding sexually, to one or another extent, during your rape. I was surprised to hear that this ever occurred. I always thought that physiological hardwiring would never be strong enough to prevail in the face of the horrible reality of what was happening. I'm wondering how common this is? Also wondering how common such sexual response might be later, in dream or fantasy. This whole notion was a real surprise.

3. As I mentioned in my first post, the healing process for my character is triggered by a return home for her mother's funeral. She is uncovering art work she produced in response to the rape - pieces that clearly reach across the years and bring back the terror and rage. She also finds work she did prior to the rape. It, too, takes her back, but to her fascination with observing and recreating the peace and beauty of nature. The two visions of her past war with each other. She begins drawing again, as a way to work through it. Is this still seeming like an ok process?

4. During the adult years leading up to her Mom's death, her own sexuality is developing in this sort of manner: She is very much detached from any emotional content, although she does respond physically - up to, but short of, ******. Could this be related to #2 above? Is it realistic?

5. For you, have there been flashes of insight on the road toward healing? ...or more of a long, hard work sort of progress? Have you felt that this journey needed to be taken alone - before you could invest in relationships with others, or did close relationships (romantic or otherwise) play important roles?

I thank you again. You are amazing people!
Sharpie7 Sharpie7
51-55, M
4 Responses Dec 2, 2012

Post 4. HEALING Last & final post, unless someone needs more.
From my honest self, "ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha." Had to put that out there.
First rule to healing, you have a right to feel however you feel. Nobody has the right to tell you how to feel. Most importantly, never give that right away. Second rule follows the first, you have the right to change those feelings whenever you wish. Here's a clause: You do not have the right to hold another person hostage with your feelings. Acceptance from them is very good.
A step into healthy relationships: Own your poop. Learn whose poop is whose. Carry only your doggy bag, dispose of it appropriately. Expect them to do the same with their poo bag.
***Why is this important? You can not change what happened, no matter how hard you wish it away, pretend it away, or hide it away. It is really important to firmly plant the rape attack onto the guilty parties. The person raped is not to blame, no exceptions. When one can achieve the removal of the broken record dialog of "should, shouldn't, why me, my fault, etc." That poop bag issue becomes very apparent when responsible parties attempt to deny the fresh pile they laid in your yard.
***I have much more in response to healing. If you are still interested, I'll be happy to write more. Until there becomes a miracle drug or therapy it is a lengthy process.
***Disagree with the timing between the trigger when she returns home for the mother's funeral and the surprising peace found. Agree with that idea as it unveils. Agree with the rage response she experiences. Most of us vomit in reaction to those flashes. Agree with the tug between pre-rape self and post-rape self. As she flashes back through time it is believable that she begins to reclaim her artistic self that was violently ripped away.
**Me: yes on flash healing. Yes on slow, tortoise healing. Flash healing is somewhat by force thanks to the brain's lovely nature of timing. I hate it! Then again, I am not one to jump into the pool kamikaze style.
***Your questions about the sexuality issues certainly play a roll into the character development aspect of your heroine. It is a valid topic to add into her person. At this juncture I have written all over the map in length. Writing more on this is not an issue for me to shy from. It would be helpful if you could narrow down the objective on her sex life as it relates to your story line. How do you see her sexually? Is she cold, steamy, detached, vengeful?

Post 3
Fast forward: The Brain coping with Trauma! First, there is not a standard one size fits all set of noticeable aftereffects of sexual assault. There are commonalities in this demographic.
A) Numbness of emotions, a detachment.
B) Event amnesia and/or lacking scope of the violation.
C) B leads to C: "It happened so long ago. No big deal, I've moved on."
D) Protective Body Issues: she may maintain a heavier body weight. She may cross her arms in front, not meaning to be rude, but to protect. She may slouch concealing her breasts size. She may sleep with a light on in the hallway. She may sleep in yoga wear or sweat pants & t-shirt. She would have slip on shoes beside her bed and/or the front door. She will have a cordless phone on her night stand. Flash lights would probably be in every conceivable part of the house.
E) Quirky Habits: (collective list from myself & friends) always carry house or car keys at the ready. No fumbling allowed. Toss sheets & intimate wear after a break-up (the smells can never be laundered away). Check locked doors a bit more often then need be. Usually prefer more than one lock on the home entry. Will only purchase cars than include automatic locks & windows.
The Chevy Aveo, small economy car produced from 2004? to 2011 had manual locks & windows. She would absolutely pass on buying it. I believe she will always check taxi cab doors for passenger controlled locks. She'll develop small survival habits, examples: protein bars in purse, glove compartment, office desk, in her bedroom-probably the underwear drawer. Portable edibles would be appealing: nuts, crackers, cookies, anything with a shelf life and in a small package or container. She will never be without a pen and smallish note paper in her purse. She will place her keys in the exact same place at work, at home, in her purse, and on errands. Failing to follow this rule will unhinge her. Being prepared is a rule not a choice.
***these are the best my memory can write at the moment. The collective of us have so many habitual quirks they are second nature. When I am watching for them they pop right out as the result of my rape's violations. Otherwise they've become inseparably ingrained .

Post number 2. My apologies if my writing assaults readers as crude, too detailed, and offensive. Neatly stored truths tend to demoralizes society.
Thoughts from the young adult/teenage brain after the rape.
3) Self blame: Running dialog, "Why did I drink so much? I knew I shouldn't have been so friendly and approachable. I should have never allowed my boyfriend to park the car in such a darkened area. I shouldn't have stayed out so late when I had so much homework. I should have been more prepared (gun, knife, self-defense classes). Why did I wear those 3" heels, that short leather skirt, and my see through style top? Why didn't I scream? I should have fought back harder. I should have never agreed to go to that party, should have trusted my instincts. Why didn't I listen to my parents about not going intoPost number 2. My apologies if my writing assaults readers as crude, too detailed, and offensive. Neatly story truths demoralizes society.
Thoughts from the young adult/teenage brain after the rape.
3) Self blame: Running dialog, "Why did I drink so much? I knew I shouldn't have been so friendly and approachable. I should have never allowed my boyfriend to park the car in such a darkened area. I shouldn't have stayed out so late when I had so much homework. I should have been more prepared (gun, knife, self-defense classes). Why did I wear those 3" heels, that short leather skirt, and my see through style top? Why didn't I scream? I should have fought back harder. I should have never agreed to go to that party, should have trusted my instincts. Why didn't I listen to my parents about not going into that neighborhood? This would never have happened if I hadn't been so stupid when those guys approached us asking if we had any pot."
4) Self blame different scenario: "This was such a dumb idea. How could I have thought this would be a great original way to those my virginity? I thought these were my best friends. I pretended to really be enjoying it, really into it, until I couldn't handle the pain & the smells. Why didn't they stop when I started yelling for them to quit, instead they just kept taking turns, laughing. My pick of boyfriends is so screwed up. He even thought it was a cool idea, just like in the movies. I hate him. Dad always said I was a ****, guess I showed him. It's all my fault, I planned the time, the place, the theme. Nobody to blame but myself. I'm sure the entire school thinks I'm a loser, horny, *****."
***FYI: (Would use a different descriptive word here, might be against the EP rules. However, it does rhyme with hunt, punt, or runt). If your target market is between 20 and 35, "*****" misses the mark linguistically. Readers age 45 and above would possibly not appreciate that modern vernacular.
NOTE: this is a collective of true life stories from my life & my friends. Every sentence belongs to a real flesh & blood women. Number 4 belongs to one 16 year old teen in it's entirety. But, part of number 4 also has themes & phrases that we all share, too.
of that neighborhood? This would never have happened if I hadn't been so stupid when those guys approached us asking if we had any pot."
4) Self blame different scenario: "This was such a dumb idea. How could I have thought this would be a great original way to those my virginity? I thought these were my best friends. I pretended to really be enjoying it, really into it, until I couldn't handle the pain & the smells. Why didn't they stop when I started yelling for them to quit, instead they just kept taking turns, laughing. My pick of boyfriends is so screwed up. He even thought it was a cool idea, just like in the movies. I hate him. Dad alway said I was a ****, guess I showed him. It's all my fault, I planned the time, the place, the theme. Nobody to blame but myself. I'm sure the entire school thinks I'm a loser, horny, *****.
***FYI: (Would use a different descriptive word here, might be against the EP rules. However, it does rhyme with hunt, punt, or runt). If your target market is between 20 and 35, "*****" misses the mark linguistically. Readers age 45 and above would possibly not appreciate that modern vernacular.
NOTE: this is a collective of true life stories from my life & my friends. Every sentence belongs to a real flesh & blood women. Number 4 belongs to one 16 year old teen in it's entirety. But, part of number 4 also has themes & phrases that we all share, too.

I am new to EP. Have not entered a story yet and just beginning my profile stuff. I joined because I read posts that drew me to respond. I lurked at your stories/profile before sharing any personal views on your research. (Felt a need to include the prelude for you or anybody that also may be inclined to share).
***I am breaking my responses into separate posts. I wish you well in your creative writing. I've read plenty of male authors covering this material in fiction & non-fiction, the fiction mostly published prior to the 1930's. Female and male authors historically use pen names (including Steven King), female 18th & 19th century authors needed to use a pseudonym for publication of their well written works. Not all, but most.
1) Virginity issue against her will: in time, as her healing journey unfolds she may find empowerment when an opportunity opens to share her physical, emotional, and social pains. And, how this event unexpectedly shaped her passions, her choices, her behaviors, and her religious opinions during the years that followed. Her clothing choices could reflect polar opposites between provocative to conservative. This could be an ongoing issue or a time eclipsed issue as she ages. Her closet could look like it has a split personality. Professionally she would more likely choose muted colors: dark grey, dark blue, black (not goth), dark browns. On the conservative daring side, she may pick dark olive blouses, sweaters, or jackets, accent scarves in burnt orange and deep purples would allow her to be seen as a strong female professional with conservative flare at the same time as hiding her PTSD quirks.
2) virginity continued: She would hold stress/tension in her groin area tightening her anatomical structures radiating around a hip and one side of her lower back as a protective reaction. I can imagine your character may not associate this painful area to her teen event. This does not exclude common body tightness the general population associates with daily stress, such as the neck, shoulders and headaches. As she did not experience a natural western experience for her 1st time, she my feel sexually flawed. If she is the curious type she will explore how a woman's body is purported to naturally respond to arousal. Does she research articles, books, Master's & Johnson's research, collect an assortment of items & lotions? Does she think her body is not capable of pleasure? You mention her highly educated status; research would be her comfort zone for collecting info, answering private questions without conversing unless in an academic setting such as a course in human sexuality. Regardless of when and if she confronts her sexual concerns and moves beyond her distressed anatomy, her faltering reminders, she will NEVER forget when, where, and how she became not a virgin.