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Prepare for the Unexpected

Be forewarned, however, that even the truest of friends may not be able to accept you are a victim.

For others, accepting that you were emotionally raped means acknowledging that, someday, they might also face the same traumatic situation - that it could happen to them, or even that they could become a rapist themselves. Most people would prefer to avoid such uncomfortable admissions.

You are not to blame if they can't accept that what happened to you was a form of rape. You don't have to change your position because they don't agree with you, and neither should you blame them for their beliefs. They are not at fault any more than you are, they have simply reacted in an understandable and predictable way.

Typical responses might include: "Just put it behind you... There are plenty more fish in the sea... Just pull yourself up by your boot straps... It takes two to tango... What is it about you that is attracted to a person like that?... Maybe God is trying to teach you a lesson... He doesn't give anything to anyone that they can't handle."

Remember that your friends really are trying to help, although their observations will probably only make you feel responsible or weak.

Take comfort in knowing that they care about you, even if they don't fully understand the trauma you are going through. They don't realize that much of what they say may only make things worse, so you have to be bigger than they are.

They have reasons for saying these things. They may find it easier to blame you than to accept other alternatives. After all, if you didn't deserve what happened to you, they must be living in a random and meaningless world. Or perhaps they believe that God is all powerful, in control of everything, and does not let anything happen to anyone without good reason.

They cannot blame God, so they have to blame you and you will have to listen to quasi-philosophical arguments - word games - the purpose of which will surely be to "prove" that, far from being evil, what happened to you was part of His grand design (even though no one will be able to explain exactly what that design involves).

These theories deny the existence of evil and inevitably lead to apportioning blame to the victim.

As the following case illustrates, there is a powerful need not to believe in the reality of emotional rape.

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