Thursday, April 12, 2012

Matt Atkinson's "Resurrection After Rape, Part IV": Jump-start questions for telling your story, a therapy exercise

Tonight I just completed the next exercise in Matt Atkinson's "Resurrection After Rape: A Guide to Transforming from Victim to Survivor"(Page 100). To view a pdf of the entire manual, click here. Please note that the following exercise may be triggering for some of you. Please read with caution.

Who raped you?
A guy with the initials A.T.

How old were you when the rape happened?
19 years old

Where did the rape happen?
In my college dorm room (sophomore year)

Were other people around? Who was there?
There were people across the hall in the lobby, including my roommate. There was no one else present in my dorm besides the two of us.

Did anyone else witness the rape?

If you knew your rapist(s), how were you acquainted with him/her?
We attended boarding school together, and then I transferred to the same college as him my sophomore year. We dated briefly in high school and started dating again end of fall semester of college.

When you look back in hindsight, do you see any warning signs of a controlling or abusive personality in the rapist?
No, not in terms of a controlling or abusive personality; he was very charming and never seemed stressed or upset by anything. There were signs that he had narcissistic/sociopathic personality traits.

Begin to describe what happened. Look at each column and circle the words that list each part of your body and his body that were used in the act of rape. Next, draw lines that connect the parts of his body you circled with the parts of your body that he attacked with them. This creates a “map” of your rape that shows you the story of what happened without having to write all the words yourself.

What emotions are you feeling as you do this work?
The strange thing is that earlier I looked through this questions and just seeing the body part labels made me cry and feel nauseous; however, I sat down to these questions starting about 40 minutes ago, and it has been strangely easy. My mind has been jumping around quite a bit, and I keep taking frequent breaks because I feel a little stir crazy. Every once in a while I begin to feel an emotional surge, but it abruptly dissipates. I almost feel as though I am filling out the stack of paperwork you are usually given in the waiting room for an initial doctor’s appointment.

What is your body doing right now because of this work?
My heart rate is raised a little. Actually, this question is making me feel sad for some reason. Strangely, I just started to connect more emotionally to this exercise after reading this question. I don’t want to think about this question any more. Yuck. It’s making me anxious.

What sounds do you remember hearing during the rape? What did he/they say to you during and afterward?
Now, I really hate this question. I don’t know why, but this question just sucks. I want to just rush through this stupid exercise. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Really unpleasant question, but I don’t know why. I remember the way my voice sounded saying, “ow” and “that hurts”. Several times I asked, “What are you doing?” “Seriously, stop that, it hurts.” “Were you just inside me?” I also remember hearing a rustling sound, like fast movement. This is all out of order, but I don’t really feel like sorting through it right now. Strangely, I had started crying just a minute ago, but now I don’t feel anything again. I also remember the smacking sound he was making when my breasts were in his mouth. I also remember creaking sounds the gross plastic mattress made when I leaned up to try and see what was happening, but I wonder if my mind has constructed that memory on its own. I remember his voice when he answered “no” to my question regarding him being inside me. I remember the sound of him putting on his clothes very clearly, and I remember the sound of the door closing. I also remember him saying something like “ok” or “fine” in a frustrated voice after I had repeated several renditions of “that hurts, seriously stop” (in relation to what he was doing with his fingers).

What do you remember doing after the rape? How did you act? What did you feel first? I’m not a fan of this question either. I keep getting waves of emotions, but they leave just about as quickly as they come in. I hate that feeling of tug-o-war. It’s a physical feeling I can localize in my head, behind my eyes, and in my chest/heart area. Weird, but it really feels like tug-o-war. I remember staring at my stomach, and then into his eyes, which weren’t looking back at me. I remember watching him put on his clothes. I remember watching the door close behind him. I remember thinking how quickly he bolted out the door. I remember feeling confused. Dumbfounded. Hyper. Disoriented. Little perception of time. I acted very strangely by asking my roommate if she wanted to “go back out” upon her return to my room. I remember feeling kind of gross. Like he was still on me. All over me. And inside me. Like he had left something behind every where he had touched. Yuck. I don’t like this question either. That was the last one, and I am done. Gross. Gross. Right now I feel him on my body, and I am getting a tension headache. It’s on my neck, too. Enough. 


  1. Dear one, I am proud of you regardless for answering these very in depth painful questions. Safe hugs to you.

    1. Thanks so much, JBR. Your continuous support means so much. xx

  2. I pray that these exercises are helping you in your healing journey. Sending heartfelt love and energy to surround you on your journey to wholeness, peace, joy and vitality.

    1. Thank you so much, Graceful Lady. I appreciate your encouragement and prayers - so very much!

  3. I'm a therapist studying resurrection after rape for my clients. Thank you for sharing your journey so publicly. It will help so many others.