Just Girls, Part II

Just Girls, Part II

269 31

I’ve posted on here before about my grad school advisor. I’ve been doing so much therapy about it, and I came to the realization today that I’ve never had an advocate in my life. That because of my family and my childhood, I was primed and vulnerable to this particular kind of quid-pro-quo abuse. She was my advocate so long as I didn’t make a scene when she got into the shower with me. And it feels so screwed up that I let this happen, I feel so complicit in this behavior, bc I could have made a scene. I could have screamed at her to get out of the shower. But, I never did. And now I am both filled with rage at myself for letting it happen, rage for not making a scene, rage at her for invading my body. I don’t understand why she didn’t love me. I don’t understand why she didn’t advocate for me. I don’t understand how consent after 18 feels so different. I’ve been having a really hard time with this recently, and I have told the University, and I am working with a therapist 3x a week, but all of the other time, I just sit down in the shower and let the water run on top of me until it goes cold. I’m feeling depressed and despondent and so, so sad. I guess, I am just needing some extra support. Do any of you have support groups that you attend? Besides therapy, what else do you do to get through the day? Thankful for all of you- xx- L


Join the Conversation

31 comments

  1. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    Thanks for coming back , glad to hear you are in therapy and getting help. To hear you made the next steps are amazing and so proud of you! Know that you can always continue to come back and share updates with, we would love to hear from you again.
    Don’t stop fighting you are strong and worth the fight!
    We believe in you
    -Brianna

  2. Jess Volunteer

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. I’m also sorry that you’ve never had the support you needed. I know it’s hard, but try not to blame yourself for what happened. You are in no way at fault. She was abusive and manipulative, and that cannot be blamed on you. I’m glad to hear that you’ve been attending therapy, but definitely not glad to hear that you’re having a hard time.

    I know, personally, when I’m having a hard time, I try to make more time for the things I enjoy – like reading or hiking – and I talk to someone I trust about what has been going on, even if it seems silly to me. I’ve heard support groups can be incredibly helpful, so I definitely encourage you to look into attending one. There are lots of resources under our “Find Help” tab, and I hope you’ll be able to find a group you can attend.

    As always, if there is anything else we can do to help, please let us know. We support you. We believe you. We will advocate for you. We are always here. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  3. Gamato04 Volunteer

    We will be your advocates. We will always fight for you. You are not complicit in any way, remember that. You were in shock or fear and you did everything you could day. Day One, which is based out of Providence is a great place to go to for help. We also have a lot of resources in the Get Help tab.

  4. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi Ia5FTG,

    Thank you for coming back and sharing another part of your story with us. We believe you and we are here for you. What happened with your advocate was not your fault. She should not have done this to you, and it is completely her fault. I am glad you are working with a therapist multiple times a week, I hope that is helping some! Definitely, continue to tell your story here, we want to be there for you! Sometimes finding a hobby to get involved in can help. Learning an instrument or reading helps calm me down when I have had a bad day!

    Tyler

  5. Roxie-heart317 Volunteer

    You are not to blame for what happened, your advisor is the one at fault.

  6. kelly Day Captain

    Hey, la5FTG. Glad to have you back and to hear you’re in therapy. I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time. You are not at all to blame for what happened. It’s so common for victims of sexual abuse to freeze and go silent, especially with that kind of power dynamic. It’s instinctual self-preservation. I think a lot of abusers in a position of power already believe they will get away with it before they even try it. This is not your fault. I think you’re very brave for telling the university and going to therapy. You deserve to be proud of yourself – these things are not easy.
    I currently go to a couple different 12-step meetings and have been to therapist-lead support groups in the past and they have made a huge difference in my healing. The meeting I go to most regularly is SIA (Survivors of Incest Anonymous) and being able to hear other survivors share and be listened to in return has been invaluable. From these meetings, I now have a network of other survivors I can reach out to when I’m having a hard day. Reading people’s stories on this site, practicing yoga, hiking, books, meditation are other things that I go to when I’m struggling. We have a lot of resources listed in the “Find Help” section as others have mentioned and please don’t hesitate to come back. We’re here for you.

  7. blashea

    Hi, I am so sorry that you are feeling this way. This was in no way your fault. You handled the situation in the best way you knew how at the time. I am so proud of you and your strength. I’ve found that journaling, is a great way to process what I’m feeling throughout the day. Be patient with yourself. Things will get better! We are all here for you and support you.

  8. SAL Volunteer

    Thanks for sharing with us again. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’m glad you’re in therapy and trying to work things out. Please try to remember that no matter what you did or didn’t do, it was not at all your fault. She was your advisor and she took advantage of that. The blame and guilt should be entirely on her shoulders.
    Stay Strong,
    Stella

  9. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear la5FTG,
    Thank you for coming back and writing to us. It is okay to have bad days, weeks, months…..we all have them. You are working really hard at healing and that can be exhausting and not pretty. As everyone below and your therapist have told you, this is NOT your fault!! Everyone reacts to danger in different ways and none of them are wrong. Your body does what it thinks it needs to do in that particular situation at that particular moment to keep its self alive. We don’t really have any control over it. It also sounds like your adviser was quite practiced at what she was doing and had a plan in place. I don’t have any additional suggestions to add to what the others have said, but I want to remind you that you are not alone. We are here for you, we believe you, and we support you in doing what is best for you.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  10. brodie_james Volunteer

    Hello friend!

    I’m so glad you reached back out to us for more support! It’s great to hear that you’re seeing a therapist to help you process what happened to you.

    It is entirely understandable that you would feel upset at yourself for not doing something different in the moment when the abuse was happening to you. A common response when something bad happens is to reflect on what happened and try to think if there was anything we could’ve done differently that would’ve made the situation and overall outcome different, and it’s so easy to get mad at ourselves for not doing something that seems so simple now. Oftentimes the things we come up with – making a scene, as you put it – seems so easy when we reflect about it but in the moment it probably seemed like the furthest thing from simple. I know it’s hard to not beat yourself up about past decisions, but I don’t think your response during your abuse was wrong or unusual. Traumatic experiences are often paralyzing, and not making a scene doesn’t mean you’re a terrible person!

    I don’t actively attend any support groups regarding sexual assault, though I’ve considered it in the past. My ex-girlfriend was in a sexual assault group for teens and young adults a few years ago and she found it rewarding to be in a group of people where she could share her story among people who had similar experiences. However, I also know that talking about trauma is often difficult, especially in a group of people you’re not familiar with, so this is entirely up to you and your comfort level.

    Personally, some things I do to get through the day include listening to music, exercising, or sometimes just laying in bed and playing with my phone if I don’t have the energy to do anything else. I can’t say whether these coping skills will help you in your situation simply because my sexual assault was not as prolonged as you shared yours was, so I can’t say if other things like meditation or mindfulness would be more useful for you, but those things tend to work for me. Another thing that helps me, especially when I feel isolated from people, is forcing myself to be around people who I know care about me. This is the point where I reach out to people who I know will care about how I’m feeling, even if that’s just by listening to me rant and helping me process my emotions.

    I really hope this helped generate some ideas for you. Again I’m really glad you reached out to AVFTI again for more support. You are such a strong and resilient person and I’m so proud and happy that you are healing at a pace that is best for you!

    Cheers,
    Brodie

  11. Kevin Casey Volunteer

    Sorry you went to this it’s not your fault it’s a good thing you’re going to see a therapist to help you get through this if you need anything and if any questions you can ask us we’ll always here to help thank you for posting your story

  12. MH Volunteer

    Hello la5FTG.
    NONE of this is your fault. I know it may be hard at times, but try not to be too hard on yourself. I hope that the therapist visits are somewhat helping. Please look at our “Find Help” section to find additional support that may be available in your area.
    MH

  13. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi la5FTG,
    I just want to remind you that this wasn’t your fault in any way. I understand what it feels like to have those lingering doubts. Sometimes when we’re in these situations, we freeze. It’s a biological response called tonic immobility, and it can occur when an extremely stressful and traumatic event is taking place. She was the one who took advantage of you, and this was entirely her fault. Please don’t blame yourself for this.
    I’m glad that you’ve been working on this in therapy and that you informed the university. Those are incredible steps to take, and I hope they’re helping you process everything. Maybe you could also take time to breathe and/or journal – these things help me, especially when I’m having a particularly stressful day. Journaling might help you be more aware of your thoughts and possibly change detrimental thought patterns. As a lot of people suggested, a support group could be helpful. You could also write back here – we’re here to support you in any way we can. Thank you so much for updating us, and I hope things get better for you. You can do this!

  14. genericbailey Volunteer

    Hey there,

    it sounds like this situation was not only and quite difficult to process, it also sounds like you are taking the right steps to heal. you seem very strong and i know you can get through this. you also have to remember to never blame yourself. i know it’s easier said than done, but trust me, it’s NEVER your fault.

    as for support in other ways – speaking from personal experience, Support groups (your therapist may know of one that they can recommend you to.) are very helpful. and remember, you got this! x

  15. Brianna W Volunteer Volunteer

    I am glad to hear from you again. It takes alot of courage to take steps like you did. I am so proud of you and how far you have become. People in authority should have known better and not crossed your boundaries, Some things that can maybe help you are writing, music, books, instruements, running,sports are just some things you can try to see if that works. We are here for you and always will be , I look foward in hearing from you again please continue your fight , Stay strong and don’t give up.

    -Brianna

  16. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for reaching out again! Just because things could have been different, doesn’t mean that it was any less your counselor’s fault. It is normal to think about what could have happened if you had done something different, but that dos not make it your fault. Many people freeze as an instinct or react differently than they think they would have, but someone taking advantage of you is never your fault. She took advantage of your vulnerability, like you say above, and for that she is responsible, not you. Going to therapy is great and I hope it works well for you! Also even doing little things you love such as listening to music, reading a good book, or even just watching a funny show on Netflix can help a little bit. Also look at the Get Help tab on our site for support groups in your area. Please let us know if we can help you further and stay strong <3

  17. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there la5FTG,

    I want to start by saying that what happened is not your fault. Your adivsor held a position of power over you, and she abused it. You are not to blame for that. I know it can be easy to be blame and be angry at yourself, but you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s good that you are seeing a therapist. Therapy can be very helpful. A lot of universities have campus advocates or support groups you can attend. You might try looking into whether your school has anything like that. Stay strong. We believe, and support you. We are here for you.

    Carmen

  18. Amysue43 Volunteer

    Hi la5FTG,

    You are so strong! To reach out to the University is such a large step that many people don’t take. You should know that you are taking all the right steps: reporting the incident(s), attending therapy sessions, etc. You should also know that your feelings are real and valid after experiencing such. The feelings of anger and resentment are common, but you are even stronger now that you’ve reached out to multiple resources and rationalized that person’s actions as wrong. In terms of other potential support groups, bringing this idea to you therapist could be beneficial as he/she will have connections to a variety of groups and you two could pick one or two that fit your interests in a support group.

    Thank you for sharing your feelings. You are strong!

    Amy Sue

  19. Zoe Volunteer

    Hi, la5FTG.

    I definitely can understand how you’re feeling. But, even though your feelings are valid, just try to remind yourself that nothing she did was your fault. Her actions are 100% her responsibility, not yours. I understand feeling frustrated with yourself because we feel like we “could/ should have done more,” but that was never our responsibility to begin with. She should’ve never put you in that situation, period. It doesn’t matter whether we make a scene or not, we deserve to have our bodies and space respected.

    And I’m sorry you’ve been feeling so depressed lately. Unfortunately, that’s very normal when you’re dealing with something like this. Some days are better than others, and some days are just really bad. I personally do go to a support group, and it’s been extremely helpful for me. I think the biggest benefit for me is that it’s nice to not feel alone, and to hear others with the same thoughts and feelings that I have. (I mean, obviously it’s unfortunate that they’re experiencing similar things, but it’s still encouraging not to feel alone.) So if that’s something you’ve thought about trying, I would definitely encourage you to at least try it, if you’re comfortable with that and it’s available to you. It’s just another really awesome support system.

    I hope you start feeling better, but it’s okay to be down and sad too. It’s part of the healing process. Things will get better, it just takes some time. Just know that we’re always here to support you, thank you for reaching out to us again and talking about this.

    Zoe.

  20. Ashley Day Captain

    None of us should be placed in situations where it feels necessary to scream. It seems like your graduate school advisor was someone that you admired and I’m thinking that it was difficult to comprehend what she was doing. I’m sorry that it has been challenging to work through this experience, but I’m thankful that you posted an update. I can tell that you’re doing what you can to work through this and there’s nothing wrong with wanting additional support.

    Keep pushing through, la5FTG!

  21. Lizzi G Volunteer

    Hi la5FTG,

    Realizing that you’ve never had an advocate in your life is such a powerful step in making sense of everything. If you never had anyone advocate for you growing up, it’s so understandable to have accepted this behavior and maybe even thought that’s what was supposed to happen. None of this is your fault. You didn’t need to cause a scene or scream or do anything. She should have known better. She shouldn’t have taken advantage of her power over you. You didn’t want this and she didn’t respect that. I’m so glad that you’re working with a therapist and I hope that you can make sense of some of these questions you have about what happened. I’ve found support groups to be really helpful because not only are you around people that have experienced similar things and can understand what you’ve been through, but also because these people in the groups can advocate for you and be there for you. During hard times when it feels like all I can do is stay home and be depressed, I find somewhere to go just to get myself our of the house. Sometimes I’ll go walk around a park, meet up with a friend for coffee, walk dogs at the animal shelter, or listen to music. I just really like to stay busy because it keeps my mind from wandering. I think anything that helps you feel better and takes your mind off these sad feelings is a great idea. Let us know if you need more suggestions but I’m so glad to hear that you’re getting some support.

    Much hope,
    Lizzi

  22. Marissa Day Captain

    Hey la5FTG,

    Thanks for keeping us updated. I’m really sorry you’re feeling down in the dumps. I can’t imagine how you’re feeling, but I want to make sure you know that your feelings are completely and 100% valid. You didn’t do anything wrong. There is no “normal” reaction to what happened to you. Please know that we support you no matter what. We are here for you. Stay strong <3

    Marissa

  23. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    I am glad to hear from you again. It takes alot of courage to take steps like you did. I am so proud of you and how far you have become. Person in authority should have known better and not crossed your boundary. Some things that can help you are writing, music, books, instruements, running,sports are just some things you can try to see if that works. We are here for you.

  24. zoeyb

    Hi L,

    I am so glad to hear from you again. It takes a lot of courage and inner strength to be able to take the steps that you did, I am proud of you. Previous circumstances do not make what happened to you any less wrong or serious; you are not to blame for what she chose to do- she is 100% wrong for using her authority to make you feel like you had no way out and no options. It must be so hard to process all of this as it comes, but I believe in you; you can do this. I am so sorry you are feeling this way; know that we are always here to support you and listen. If you haven’t already asked, maybe your therapist knows of some groups you can be a part of. Otherwise, I would suggest asking your campus counseling services or Dean of Student Life to see if they know of any groups you can get in contact with. Do you think you’d enjoy journaling, reading, making art, cleaning, making music playlists/finding new music? What do you find joy doing? Those are all things that help me feel more safe and calm- there are a lot of options out there to help make your days feel better. I hope you explore and find things that work well for you, because you deserve to feel safe and happy. You are making great steps. Continue to let us know how you are, and how best we can be there for you.

    – Zoey

  25. TheRealDFink Volunteer

    Hey there,

    I just want to start off by saying I’m sorry for what happened to you. It’s horrible. Please don’t blame yourself for this tragic event in your life, because it’s 100% not your fault. When I’m having a rough day, I write/play music. I’m a bassist and Vocalist in a band, so I tend to write music for my band and getting my feelings out on paper always helps. Whenever you are feeling down, try to find something that helps you out. Such as writing, drawing, playing video games, running, working out, going for a drive (if your old enough and calmed), etc. Also, it’s great to have supportive friends/family around you, make sure you surround yourself with great people. I’m so thankful and happy that you reached out to us here at AVFTI, we are all here for you! Keep your head held high and keep on pushing.

    -Dustin F

  26. rkr18 Volunteer

    It’s great to hear from you. I’m sorry you are feeling depressed. I can understand that having a support group to attend regularly can help. As mentioned before check out our resources. Let us know if that helps. I am praying for you to find the right group. Keep in touch and continue to update us. Thank you
    -Marie

  27. Thomas Volunteer

    Hi la5FTG,

    It is great to hear from you again. It’s okay to not understand or feel confused about what happened. That’s just part of how you’re feeling and it is okay to feel that way and let your emotions play out. Your feelings are valid. However, it is important to remember that none of this is your fault. She chose to do what she did. She had the authority, the experience, and the power. You did not do anything wrong. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Our “Find Help” tab has a diverse selection of resources if you want to look through them. You can also keep posting here, updating us with how you’re feeling. Here at A Voice for the Innocent, we are a community. You are not alone. And you are going to get through this. Please let us know what else we can do to help. Stay strong.

    Thomas

  28. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi la5FTG,
    Do not think this is your fault. You did not ask for this. She is the teacher and she is the one who started this. She should have known better she is an adult. Her actions have consequences. It is good that you are getting help. That is a great start to recovery. I’m proud of you for getting the help you need. If you need more than therapy, you can message VOICE to 741-741 for immediate help,, you can write back here, and you can also you the find help tab on the top of this page. Thank you for updating us. If you need anything let us know.
    -Alyssa

  29. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hi again,
    I’m so glad you came back to talk with us! I am sorry that you are feeling this way. What happened was not your fault! You should not feel raged at yourself for letting this happened. The blame or the fault was on your advisor who used power over you to take advantage of you. What you went through was traumatic and it is understandable and valid that you feel the way that you do. You are making many strides in the right direction. Talking to the university and talking with a therapist are both difficult things to do, but you overcame those hurdles and are working for your health and wellbeing. Right now the most important thing is working on yourself and putting yourself first. Remember that. Never be afraid to slow day during your day and take the time to breathe. As Erin mentioned below you can also use the crisis hotline if you need to talk with someone immediately. Also, you are always welcome to come to our site and share with us how you are doing. We are happy to provide support in anyway that we can. We are on your side and we want the best for you. Stay strong and have hope! You can get through this.
    -Natalie

  30. Solongago

    The closer you are to a metropolitan area, the better your chances that there will be a support group in your area. You can look up Rape Crisis or Sexual Abuse or Trauma or Women’s support groups. Your therapist might be able to help you find something in your area.

    Actually, I am glad you are able to work with your therapist as often as you are, because this is not like AA where you can have your pick of meetings however many times a day you want to attend. In fact finding a group and feeling comfortable in a group can be challenging. But it is also rewarding because there are trained professionals — people trained not to act like you just told them the sky is falling, even if the sky is falling. And there are the rest of us. And getting feedback, in person — 90% of communication is non-verbal, from ordinary folks, is super powerful. It can literally change our cognitive distortions. We feel crazy, or at fault, or like we must be imagining things, and these other real people are telling us we are NOT crazy, NOT at fault and NOT imagining things. We can see the horror, the anger, the sadness, in their eyes about our situation, and it validates what we ARE feeling, but are burying and denying, and suddenly we can have this awesome release because we know what is real and finally we can admit it.

    I live in the sticks and I am going to work with my pastor to get a group going. Because it has been really difficult to find one out here. But the IOP group was awesome, it is an excellent vehicle for support, and working on stuff in a safe place.

    Now to get to the meat of your post. I am glad you told the University and I am glad you are getting therapy. Sometimes it is pretty rough. But I think for us life is sometimes pretty rough. I don’t know that it is the therapy that makes it so. In fact, having that place to go and unload makes the rest of it a little more bearable.

    I understand that anger and rage, but I hope you can direct it at the perpetrator more than yourself.

    Listening to the Catholic Radio station this morning, on my way to therapy, This Mother something or other was on and took a caller who said that she was frustrated at all these accusations against priests and tired of hearing about it. The nun cut her off, and said that thousands of children are abused by priests, and she went on and on about not being tired or frustrated at the accusations but to direct our frustration at the sin, at the people who commit the sin. She made a mention several time of seminarians. And said that many of them have been preye upon by priests, and many of them were not able to prevent or stop it. Not everyone’s response is to punch a bully on the nose. All of us have different temperaments, and different experiences. We cannot sometimes make that scene.

    The main thing is that this woman was in a position of power over you. What she did was wrong, and what happened to you was abuse. Not your fault. This was NOT your fault. That it happened more than once, still not your fault.

    As for getting through the day, balance. Balance work (on your classes or work) with some fun stuff, self care, acting opposite — go to church or to a party even if you do not want to. Sometimes you have to go out and do. Right now what happened to you is over-shadowing your life. That is going to happen for a season. But you don’t have to stay there. You can put this in a place, a time frame. 2-4 — you will think about this during that time period. Then you can sit in a safe comfortable spot, and journal. At 4 o’clock, switch to something, probably exercise, a walk or if it is weathering, use a treadmill or stationary bike or run up and down the stair ways. And then focus on your school work, or putting out resumes or whatever. Do stuff. Anything that makes you feel like you have accomplished something or helped someone. Mastery builds self-confidence as we start becoming skillful in something we might like to do. It can be anything, achery, fishing, playing the guitar, writing, anything.

  31. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    Thank you for coming back to share. I first want to say that we do have access to a Crisis Text Line here-you can text VOICE to 741 741 anytime. Does your university have support groups? Sometimes they do, and they might have some that can help. You do not need to be angry at yourself-what she did is not your fault. i was assaulted over a year ago by a professor in my department, and I know how that feels. I could have made a scene. I could have fought back. I didn’t. I’m angry, too. But it’s not our fault what happened. It’s their’s. They hold so much power over us as graduate students-especially an advisor. They know they have that power. And they abuse it anyway. I cannot reiterate that enough. We are here for you.

    Let us know how else we can help you.

    Erin