A Message From A Man, To Women Who’ve Been Raped

lost-lara cores-flickr

Danny Baker has a message for women everywhere. 

Dear every woman who’s been raped,

I’ve come into contact with a number of you recently through my work as a mental health advocate. Some of you tell me that you feel “worthless.” That that you feel “dirty” or like you’re “damaged goods.” And some of you tell me that as a result, no man will ever be able to love you.

Well, speaking as a man, I’d just like to tell you this:

I don’t think you’re worthless.

I don’t think you’re dirty.

Nor do I think that you are “damaged goods.”

Because when I look at you, I don’t see a woman who’s been raped.

I just see a woman.

If you’re caring, then I see a woman who’s caring.

If you’re brave, then I see a woman who’s brave.

If you’re honest, then I see a woman who’s honest.

And the same if you’re ambitious, thoughtful, interesting, creative, empathetic or intelligent.

I’m just one man, but if I can see all of these wonderful qualities in you, then there’s no doubt that another man will be able to, too. And given so, there’s no doubt that such a man will be able to fall in love with you.

Because to men like us, even though you’ve been raped, you’re still as valuable as ever.

Love,

Danny.

P.S. If you’re a man reading this and are one of millions who would date a woman who’s been raped, say so in the comments section below. Women need to know that you’re out there.

Photo: Lara Cores/Flickr

 

About Danny Baker

Danny Baker is an author, life coach, mental health advocate and founder of the Depression Is Not Destiny Foundation. He is a contributor to The Good Men Project, The Huffington Post, The Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, The Glow, The Daily Health Post, Healthy Place, The Family Focus Blog, The International Bipolar Foundation and The Black Dog Tribe. If you'd like to get in touch with him, you can via Facebook or Twitter

Comments

  1. Please also remember men are subjected to rape,so these sentiments should apply to ANYONE.

  2. Frances says:

    I just want all you women out there the you can be lived for yourself. I too have been raped but I have found a wonderful man, without looking. He is such a caring man and I could not have been where I am today without him. There are plenty more out therein him, so please do not give up hope. You are all beautiful

  3. I am a bi sexual woman, and (if I liked them) would date, or fall for someone who had been raped. It’s not who you are. You are wonderful xx

  4. Thank you for confirming what I said. It really is a good thought. I just feel it’s more important what rape victims think about THEMSELVES first. Really, as a survivor, I can tell you that you can’t be successful in a relationship until you figure that out and have compassion for yourself and your past. Once you’ve done that work, you can find how to be comfortable with another person. But I don’t suggest trying to find someone to help heal your wounds with you. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it’s really work that needs to be done primarily with a treatment professional. Therapy is often needed, as some have said, into a relationship as survivors begin to figure out what intimacy means to them and how to experience it safely. A wise survivor once said that being a rape victim is like being in this horrible club that you never wanted to belong to; but once you’re there, you’re so glad you’re not alone. None of us is alone in the process of recovery from rape and sexual abuse. Thank you all for your stories. I wish you all healing and peace.

  5. I was also raped at 16 and it took a while for me to be open to a relationship it took a great guy to break through the wall I had built to protect myself. I am lucky he was so patient and kind. Being able to talk about what happened to me with a person I put myself in a vulnerable position with, was one of the best things for my recovery. Men willing to walk the path to recovery with survivors are great, the two I have had in my life have been amazing. It takes a very strong man to take on that level of pain and confusion.They don’t force you to bury your past but help you interpret the present in a new way.

    Rape victims come in all shapes and sizes, both guys knew me a long time before i told them and both were surprised because in their mind I did not exude victim mentality……as a ferocious human rights advocate supporting rape victims and confronting authorities and rebels in DRCongo I can see how they got that idea. But both stuck with me even after I shattered that public image of strength….more women need men like that.

  6. I too am one of these women. I had a very forceful rape at 16 and pushy controlling rape repeatedly from my son’s father. For 10 years i have felt like damaged goods and unworthy. After the first rape, I was one of those girls who became promiscuous. I also didn’t ever say no in fear if I did what would happen. I had said no before and he still did it so why bother. I am finally combatting all these thoughts and feelings, 10 years later. I want to trust that not all men will physically hurt me or treat me like an object. I pray that one day I wil find one of these men…

  7. I also am, unfortunately, one of those women. The experience ultimately wrecked a few relationships I’ve had, and I don’t think they’d have failed if I hadn’t been raped in my 20s and not sought help dealing with it. Now, I’m dating a wonderful man who has blessed me with the patience to help me “unpack” that baggage and we’ve made some great progress. Thank you for posting this, Danny…you nailed how I felt previously. There ARE men out there who are willing to help us through the muck. 🙂

  8. Dhruvv Malpe says:

    Yeah I believe In this too…
    Everyone has a past… But as we can not judge a person’s future from his/her present, nobody has the right to judge a person’s present on the basis of his/her past. All women who have been raped must know that if you value yourselves the society sooner or later will do the same… Don’t think you are less… Your are few of those who had seen life from the rare view.. you are stronger than others.. Rise for yourselves, rise for people who care for you….. !
    My wishes to all of you!
    We all are with you..!

  9. Nathanael May says:

    I am engaged to the love of my life, and she was raped as a teenager. It went on for some years and finally things got fixed. And that was one of the first big things she told me when we started out. And i did not care one bit. All i seen and continue to see is her as her, beautiful, funny, talented, loving and caring.

  10. jonathan titus says:

    I have dated a woman who has been raped. She saw herself as damaged goods because she saw herself as a victim instead of what she really was a survivor. As a man who has survived sexual abuse as a child and emotional rape (statory) when i was 14, men will see your strength as a survivor even if you dont.

  11. John Anderson says:

    Would I date a woman who’s been raped? That’s a difficult question to answer. Not every woman would be a good match for me even if she weren’t raped. Not every woman, not every person who is raped reacts or is affected in the same way. Some withdraw who are probably the ones you’re referring to. Some become super promiscuous and engage in self destructive behavior. I know a woman who was like that. She was on Prozac due to the rape and I couldn’t tell you if it was the rape or the drugs that caused her hyper sexual / sexually aggressive behavior.

    I’ll probably lose my man card for this, but I’ve refused sex from willing women who I’ve felt were not emotionally or were somehow mentally not ready to engage in sex. I’m not sure she would need a boyfriend at that time. Probably just a friend.

    • Theorema Egregium says:

      You may think you will lose your man card for it, but you gain your decent human being card. And what’s even better about it: You never had a man card to lose, because you are a man. It never depended on a card (i.e. the judgement of others) in the first place. It cannot be taken away from you. You are a man and always will be, whether you save the world or destroy it. But acting as decent as you did makes you a good man, and that is something to carry on your card.

      And there’s even more: You now are able to look back to these occasions with satisfaction about yourself. If you had acted differently, you maybe would feel guilty, ashamed, or just plain dirty. I know for a fact that I had a couple of experiences (one with a women who had experienced rape in her life and acted in a sexually aggressive yet confusing way) where I should have turned down sex, but unfortunately was not wise or mature enough to do so. The regret and shame about that will remain with me forever. That is a strong argument, even if the opinion of your peers counted for nothing.

  12. Every woman I have ever dated has been raped, almost every woman I have been involved with has been as well…as sad a fact as it may be. It’s downright tragic, what this act does to a woman’s psyche…how it literally locks them in a perpetual hell of their own mind. It’s too abundant and needs harsher repercussions as a means to deter the act, I would even go as far as to say it should be treated as murder.

    • Theorema Egregium says:

      Bunk! Can you imagine what a woman (or man, for that matter, let’s never forget that!) must think when she is told that by having been raped, she now is doomed to live in a perpetual hell of her own mind, that her soul is destroyed forever, that she is, for practical purposes, dead? (Which would be the case when you equate rape with murder.) You are aware that this is the mindset which leads to women thus victimized to sometimes kill themselves? You ever heard the term re-victimization? There is a very good reason why victims of rape (male and female) very often chose to call themselves survivors. Survivor, by its very definition implies that you have not been killed dead forever, that that thing, how horrible it might have been, is now in your past.

    • Rape is no where near as bad as murder, it’s ignorant to even suggest it. People do not die when they are raped, they still have a chance at life. Murder is final, no chance, nothing, zilch, zadda, zip. I know plenty of people who still have successful lives after rape, it’s not a death sentence. Yes it is incredibly difficult to overcome but it’s far far better than murder itself if you want to have a life. We need to stop treating rape as if it’s the worst thing in the world automatically, everyone is different.

      • Theorema Egregium says:

        The worst thing in the world for a woman, mind you. With men we (as a culture, I mean) are still struggling to realize it is at least bad. Maybe both positions should meet in some sensible middle ground, which always takes into account the individual circumstances. Rape is such a varied phenomenon. At best it is a passing nuisance for the victim; at worst it is torture that ends in death.

  13. I am dating a woman who was raped.

    And I am going to marry her one day, too.

  14. Arifah Aronson says:

    Thank you for this message. I wish if my mother was able to hear these words, or that I had the sense to say something the like to her.
    Much appreciation.

  15. Thank you danny for a wonderful post and thanks to al the contributors in the comment section. I am in my early 20s and was raped and held captive for two years, and have also experienced childhood sexual abuse and abuse in close relations. I have been suffering from PTSD for a long time and am finally getting over it but it is a slow process and what can still make me feel overwhelmingly sad is the feeling that love will be impossible. Despite knowing my worth, issues of guilt, feeling dirty, damaged, or unlovable, still circulate in my mind and have kept me from telling people I love them or letting guys in. Hearing men and women’s stories of how you’ve built wonderful relationships and not let this dominate your existence is inspirational. I feel as if most of the hard work is done and reading lovely posts like this make me feel like I am ready and want to live a full life (with men in it). Thank you from someone who needed to hear it. I will re-read all these posts several times until I really believe it as something in my brain thought it sounded too good to be true.

  16. I date women regardless of whether they’ve been abused or not. They will know they can open up to me, and I’ve had oodles of friends tell me their horrible past (I am the only one that knows in many cases sadly). I am a fan of enthusiastic consent so they have nothing to fear from me and I’ll work with them to safely explore their sexuality and I give them full control with me and safety to do so. I’d never view them as damaged, and it’s disgusting that people would think of them as goods, let alone damaged goods.

    Women are not their sexuality, women are humans and raped status does not define them.

  17. I am currently dating a past rape victim and she has been the biggest blessing on my life. She has brought me so much joy and I love her very much!

  18. I’ve dated a few girls who have been assaulted in some way in the past. I can certainly say I’m one of these guys.

    Your value isn’t destroyed. Remember that it’s a vile act perpetrated AGAINST you.

  19. Mack Smonkey says:

    I have and will continue to love women who have been raped. They are just as awesome as any other woman and it has never crossed my mind that they would be, in some way less.

  20. Gerard Wanliss says:

    Absolutely!

  21. I appreciate the sentiment and couldn’t agree more. That said, I would add, to women who have been raped, that I hope you don’t look to a man to find your worth, your beauty or your uniqueness. I can admire and affirm those things you see in yourself and can find beauty and cause for admiration in you that you may not be able to see. I can give you a basis for trust in me and, in doing so, can hopefully, help you to realize all that you are and support you in all that you dream of bringing into your life. Your misfortune does not detract from my ability to see.

    Pity is far different than compassion and while I may not be able to fully understand the depth of your hurts, I can sympathize and offer you the compassion that may help rebuild your trust in yourself and others. You deserve that, you are unique and that makes you beautiful.

  22. gorgeous1nsanity says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this… Signed, one of those women who needed to hear it ♡

  23. I, too, married a woman who was raped – and sexually abused as a child. We have had to deal with nightmares, PTSD-like flashbacks and a variety of sexual issues. We have done these things as a couple, as partners. Knowing that she has suffered because of other men makes me angry at men who are violent in any way towards women, but it has never caused me a moment’s pause when it comes to the worth, preciousness, beauty or wisdom of my wonderful wife.

    • I was raped and suffered from PTSD as a result too. I finally found real help from Dr. Bill Tollefson of Cape Coral, Florida. I have not had any symptoms of PTSD for the last five months. I was having multiple every day and night. The treatment took two days (11 hours total); it was the best thing I have ever done. I suffered from PTSD for 18 years. Please look him up so your wife can have her life back.

  24. Why would a guy refuse to date a VICTIM

  25. Thanks, Danny. This is sweet, and a nice thought. However I feel , like this is encouraging women to find their worth as a person after rape through the eyes of a man; as if we wontbe worthy unless a man reels us we are. I now that isn’t your intent, still, I feel like this implicitly tells gives women that idea; that we need to have permission from a man to feel worthwhile again after being raped. And we don’t. Because we never lost our worth, and women need to be assured of that first.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Yes, you are so correct – women who’ve been raped never lost their worth. I wasn’t trying to imply otherwise – just trying to put out the message that there are so many men who would still be able to look at the women for who she really is and thus be able to fall in love with them (as many of the women I talk to who’ve been raped think that being raped means that all men will think they’re “dirty” and for this reason they’ll never find love).

      I agree with you though, 100% 🙂

    • John Anderson says:

      Sarah

      “this is encouraging women to find their worth as a person after rape through the eyes of a man;”

      You’re absolutely correct. I knew a woman who I believe was so concerned that she was worthless in the eyes of men after her rape that she engaged in self destructive behavior. She had asked me on dates, but I felt that if I accepted, I was taking advantage of a very vulnerable person. I feel she needed to heal a bit more before she could make a rational decision on whether she should be with a man or who she should choose.

      Thanks for the comment. It’s a very important point to make.

  26. Of course I would.
    And ditto to Kayti and Luke (you’re both more articulate than I am).

  27. I am a woman who has been raped and I have a loving husband who completely understands. That isn’t to say we didn’t have many moments of struggle to get where we are now, but he always showed patience and compassion during it. When we first lived together he had quite a temper with inanimate objects – eg if he couldn’t get the lawnmower to work he’d yell and swear and hit it. I hated it! I would get so upset and although he never once demonstrated that temper towards a person – it made me afraid. I explained that although he was showing that temper at objects, it was a reminder that he is bigger than me (over a foot taller in fact) and he could hurt me easily if he wanted to. He was horrified that I’d think that way and I explained that I knew he wouldn’t do it – but seeing him get violent with something inanimate triggered those feelings in me. He learnt to control that temper and never does that anymore. He did it because he wanted me to feel safe all the time.
    We have been together for many years and have 2 wonderful teenaged children, including a daughter that he is very aware needs to learn to stand up for herself, but also to trust men. He is a fantastic role model to both her and our son. He is a strong, ‘guys’ kind of man – yet incredibly gentle and sensitive.
    To any woman who feels she is damaged because she was raped – You are not damaged – the man who raped you is. I had moments where I felt ‘dirty’ but thankfully I realised that allowing any of those feelings to live in me was just giving more credit to the deranged person who raped me. He was a sick, twisted human being who I now have pity for. I have gone on to live a full, happy wonderful life – I wouldn’t allow him to take that from me.

    • Thank-you for you comment, TLC. You are an inspiration – good on you for making a good life for yourself xx

      • Thanks Danny – to be honest it isn’t something I talk about often as I don’t define myself as a victim of rape. Months go by where I don’t even think of it anymore. But it felt good to write this and has motivated me to talk more as I hope I could encourage others to find a way to move on from the pain of the experience.

        • I think you’d be an inspiration to a lot of women, TLC – particular teenage/college girls who’ve been raped who need a role model to look up to. Feel free to get in touch with me and I could introduce you to a couple of girls I talk to then I know would love to hear from someone like you.

  28. This is a really lovely post. I am a woman who unfortunately has been raped. As a result of what happened to me, I have developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. On the internet it is grotesque to me that there is a large demographic of people who actually find this to be and attractive quality. It’s not often that I come across support for the issue.
    If any ladies (or men) are reading this article and have doubts that there are men that care, you may rest easy. Let your hearts soften again because although you’ve lived in fear for much of your lives, there are some beautifully genuine people out there who will love and support you no matter what you’ve gone through. I have been living with my unfortunate past for 14 years, and this summer I will be married to the most kind, gentle and trustworthy man.
    If someone with PTSD can learn to trust again, in time, you will too.
    Love is a beautiful healing force, you just have to believe it can exist for you (you deserve it!)

    • I was raped and suffered from PTSD as a result too. I finally found real help from Dr. Bill Tollefson of Cape Coral, Florida. I have not had any symptoms of PTSD for the last five months. I was having multiple every day and night. The treatment took two days (11 hours total); it was the best thing I have ever done. I suffered from PTSD for 18 years. Please look him up, I swear he can get rid of PTSD.

    • Beautifully said, Kayla. Wishing you a very happy wedding x

  29. Oh my gosh please don’t think you’re unloveable because something bad happened to you! I have dated and am currently dating a woman who has been raped (more than once in fact). It has never occurred to me to think less of her for it. So I was quite surprised to read here that this worry is so common. In my case, I only admire her more. I admire her strength and life-wisdom. I love her dearly.

    It only takes one counter-example to prove a theory false. And there are countless others like me.

  30. Benjamin says:

    I am dating a woman who has been raped, and she is the strongest, bravest and funniest woman I have ever met. Before I met her and heard her story my reaction to this post would likely have been completely different. But my experiences with her have completely reshaped me. She is as gentle and as caring as any woman I have ever met, and our relationship is the strongest I have ever had. What she has been through does not affect us and to everyone else she appears to be no different to any other woman. But I admire her and will protect, heal, and love her for who she is.

  31. Frank Frey says:

    I not only have dated a rape victim…I married her. She has brought much joy and warmth and happiness to my life. Marrying her was the best thing I have ever done! She is the miracle of my life.

  32. I agree with Luke. I’m not a man, but I am attracted to women and whether or not a prospective mate had been raped wouldn’t even enter into my view of the woman. Partially because there’s no real for me to tell and partially because it doesn’t affect whether or not I find a woman attractive, dateable, ect. And entirely because she did nothing wrong. It was something she went through, not a choice she made or a misstep she took.

    It matters, of course, but only in the sense that it is something traumatic that has happened that I, if our relationship progressed to a certain level, would be more than willing to hear about and understand (if she felt like she needed or wanted to tell me).

    Basically, you could replaced the phrase “a woman who has been raped” with “a woman who has been mugged” or “dumped” or “fired” or “had a falling out with her family” or any other thing that a significant other can lend an ear to learn about and a shoulder to comfort in the wake of, no matter how long ago the event took place. If I have feelings for a woman, it doesn’t matter what has happened to her in her past, I want to be there to listen and reassure and comfort, if need be, and to simply be with her.

  33. Christopher says:

    I have dated two women who were raped at some point in their lives. One stranger rape, one statutory by someone in a position of trust and authority. Neither one did I see as “ruined” or damaged by that. Like the author said, I just saw the woman for who she was in that moment right in front of me.

  34. As a woman who has been raped, I am grateful for the message you are sending out. You are wonderful!

  35. Mathieu Tremblay says:

    I would definitely date a woman who had been raped in the past. The problem is not her, it’s the rapist. To be honest, I would be extra, extra, extra careful not to make her uncomfortable, but I guess that’s a good thing, no?

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