Raped and betrayed


Raped and betrayed


your avatar   Scared (35 year-old woman)

I am in need of help. I suffer from PTSD, depression, and dissociative disorder...so what is the problem? I began therapy after being raped by my supervisor at work. I was barely functioning at the time, severely depressed and attempted suicide. The therapist was great, it seemed...caring, kind, gentle, understanding... slowly I began opening up and talking. Too slowly for his liking, I guess.

He kept trying to push me for the blow-by-blow details of the rape, and when I just couldn't do it, he resorted to hypnotism. He gave instruction that I not be aware of the hypnosis session. That scared me, and I stayed aware though afraid to let him know. He put his hands inside my clothes, tried to undress me, and fondled me. Subsequently I can't trust therapists or "shrinks". I know I need their help due to depression, panic attacks, suicidal tendencies, "issues"... I have tried therapists since him, but I go through them like water (probably because I am so distrustful of them that I appear excessively problematic or something).

I tried self-help books and doing it on my own, but end up planning my "Great Escape".

Do I just give up and accept the futility? Is there ANY hope of help for me? And WHAT did I do to make him do that to me? I mean, my boss... my therapist... I seem to be the only common factor here...Geez... I don't know if I asked this right or not. I don't know what I'm really trying to say, but I have to go because I am not going to be able to stop myself from crying if I don't. I feel like screaming "Either heal me or kill me!" Thanks for giving me a chance to be heard anonymously.


    Margaret Burr, MA, MFT

Dear Scared,

You ask, "What did I do to make him do that to me?" Hmmm... Well, think about all the wonderful people in the world who have not abused or mistreated you. What did you do to make them behave appropriately? What did you do that made them be "good" people? The answer is, of course, "Nothing." You cannot make people act any particular way - you cannot make someone do "good" things just like you cannot make someone do "bad" things.

Please make sure you understand this completely - you could never make someone rape you; that would be impossible. You are not powerful enough - no one is - to make someone become a rapist.

And you are not powerful enough to make a therapist violate his own ethical, moral and legal code. You have been horribly betrayed. While it seems likely that just about anyone would want to "give up" after such betrayals, obviously you are made of stronger stuff, because you have written to yet one more therapist for help.

Bravo to you for your commitment to your own healing.

Did the therapists you saw (after the hypnotist) give you the information you need to report him to his licensing board and/or professional organization for discipline proceedings? Did they discuss your legal and ethical rights as a client? Did they discuss their ethical concerns about reporting him themselves? This was definitely the first issue which should have been dealt with in the initial sessions you had with them. If these things were not discussed, then your decision to not trust them may have been appropriate. Did you ever consider this - that your judgement about the therapists you tried may have been sound?

Was the rape by your supervisor reported (within your company but also to the police)? Did you press charges? While I appreciate your opinion that you are the "only common factor here" in both instances of sexual abuse, I see a lot of parallels between the situations - ie, a lot of "common factors". Both perpetrators were male, both were authority figures, both sexually assaulted you, both violated the trust you had placed in them, and both expected you to not assertively challenge their dominance over you.

What's interesting is that you have been horribly mistreated by two vile characters, and you call yourself "Scared, confused, and stupid." What do you make of that? You are abused and assaulted, and instead of having compassion and understanding for yourself, you are critical of you!

If you have not investigated a women's group focusing on sexual crimes and violations, I strongly recommend that you do this. You may need to have some time within the safe environment of a women's group before you feel as though you want to try individual treatment again with any therapist.

Be kind to you.

Take care,

Margaret "Peg" Burr, MA, MFT

This question was answered by Margaret "Peg" Burr. She is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC34374) with a private practice in Santa Clarita (near Los Angeles). She performs psychodynamic psychotherapy with individual adult clients as well as couples, teens, and families. She also runs groups for adults and adolescents. Her specialty area is Object Relations Systems Theory. This branch of psychodynamic psychotherapy uses a client's interpersonal relationships as windows into his or her intrapsychic structure.For more information visit: http://www.pegburr.com/

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