Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Horrible Flashback Over A Year After The Rape

Right after the rape occurred I went through months of vivid, and violent flashbacks. Since then they have calmed down, and I currently have been having what I like to call mini-flashbacks. Flashbacks that contain memories, and ignite the senses, but are still small enough that I can cope. I thought that the mini's were what I had to work through and the giant flashbacks in the past were over. Last Friday night that all changed.

The Rock and I were out, just having a nice time visiting with people and playing a little pool. Things were going fine and I felt fine. Then a song came on and The Rock and I began to dance, not crazy, just kind of swooping around the floor. The Rock went to dip me and boom I fell on my head. As funny as that sounds to me now that little fall ended up in a catastrophic night.

I must say that all the memories of who was where and what events happened in what order are foggy or not there at all. What I do recall is that moment that I landed on the floor I was surrounded by people all staring down at me, blurred voices of if I was okay, and someone holding my head down. That was all it took to put me into a world of vivid and frighting memories.

This is what I remember from the external world, those outside me, and the internal world, what was going on in my head.

As I said someone was holding my head down and people were all around me. I felt panic, the need for freedom, confusion, and dreaded fear. All of these emotions are similar to those I felt on the night of the rape.

I must have passed out for awhile because when my eyes opened again I was on a stretcher, with my head now strapped down. I was terrified, no one I saw looked the same, they were blurred people which led to more terror about who it was.

Pictures of the rape and rapist flooded my head as well as memories of the EMT's and nurses after the rape occurred. The more they held me down the more I remembered and the more I felt panicked. Again I must have passed out a bit because the next thing I knew I was at the hospital.

There I saw a nurse whom I knew but did not know why, she calmed me a bit. I know now that unfortunately that nurse was one of my preschool students mother. I heard The Rock at times during this event but was unsure where he was and if he was real.

I saw men, I am not sure if they were doctors or EMT's but it did not matter, I did not know them, and I was restrained. Again I must have gone out because when I awoke I was in the ambulance with again strangers, strapped down, and going 30 miles to the nearest hospital that had a cat scan ( I did not know that then but I know that now).

Again I was panicked, I made it to the hospital and then can the dreaded ct scan. There were unidentified men all around, I could not move, my face was drenched with tears, and I was scared.

Pictures of the rape, the rapist, police cars, ambulances, police, and medics filled my mind. I remember calling for my Dad, but at the time I did not know why, perhaps out of fear. I called for The Rock as well but again unsure why.

I began to calm after the cat scan and began to realize that I was safe even though I did not know the people or why I was there. It was one of the most terrifying flashbacks I have had since the rape.

I ended up getting back to my home via a police car and was exhausted. I must say it was the best I had slept in along time. Now that it is over I have trouble understanding how so much time has gone by and such a huge flashback could occur.

I feel discouraged and almost damaged due to this one flashback which I should have been used to since I have had so many in the past.

For the first time since the rape, I realized, from this event, that I was embarrassed of being raped. I thought of all the people who knew what happened and wondered how many of them knew I was raped. I was wondering how I was ever going to face anyone in this town again.

I am shocked that a knock to the head and then being surrounded by people could put me into such a horrible experience.

I realize it is over now but the damage of feeling embarrassed because I was raped and that I had such a relapse causes me great concern.


Victoria Placeo

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Rant And Job Problems Since The Rape

I have mentioned before that I have now gotten back in the workforce since the rape and that it has been difficult for me. The difficulties have ranged from reactions to the loud, unexpected noises to difficulty relating to co-workers. However, what I have not mentioned is that I am employed at a daycare.

At first it was quite a hard ego trip to get over going from what my degree was in to daycare. Not that there is really anything wrong with daycare, it was just not what I went to school for. Finally, I realized that I need a job like the daycare to ease myself back into the work environment.
So I am moving right along with my work difficulties and keep on moving through every unexpected noise and flashing memory and doing quite well. Have not had to leave due to any reasons related to the rape, so I was surviving and working again which I was proud of.

And theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnn....................

BAM things get rustled up and I cannot believe the reason why...........

On Friday of last week, I noticed my co-worker looking a bit stressed and asked if there was anything I could do. She said "no, just a stressful week." I knew in my heart that that was not the reason and I could not help but think it was me.

Over the weekend I began to tell myself that I was being over sensitive, at times thinking that I was more sensitive to pleasing people because of the rape and then..................

Monday hit

I got called into the office by my director and we had discussion about how I may not be a good match for the room I was in. My co-worker was mentioned and I expressed my feelings about how I felt her stress was due to me. Some other civil discussion took place and my boss agreed that perhaps I and my co-worker were not a good match.

But get this.................

My director said that one of the reasons my co-worker may not be feeling like we are a good match and why she is so stressed out is because she may have emotional problems, such as SAD!!!

Now I understand that I experience that myself and have for years.................. BUT BOY AM I PEEVED.......... I wanted to say.....................

AWWW SO HERE I STRUGGLED WITH FLASHBACKS, DEPRESSION, ETC. AND NOT BLAME ANYONE HERE FOR IT AND YOUR GOING TO SWITCH ME TO A DIFFERENT MOOD BECAUSE "SHE" CAN'T CONTROL HERE SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT THE HECK!!! ( I am trying to use nicer words here then I have in the past, can you tell).

Anyway, that is the way I felt. I finally resolved in my mind that the room switch would be good for me and that from what I have observed so far, the workers in those rooms seem much more friendly. But................

Another Bombshell..............

Later that day I found out that the knew room will not have enough children in it until sometime in January or February so what did my director do......................SHE CUT MY HOURS BY 50 PERCENT!!!!!

ALL BECAUSE SOME CHIC CANNOT GET HERSELF ON SOME ANTIDEPRESSANTS AND TO ASSIST HER WITH HER SAD!!!

I DON'T ALWAYS FEEL HAPPY, I HAVE MINI-FLASHBACKS AT WORK, I GET STRESSED, BUT IT IS NOT MY CO-WORKER'S FAULT..........I HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT..........AND IT IS NOT EASY!!!!!!!!!!!!

There I am done I just could not believe after how hard I have been trying to cope in the workforce that I would be cut hours because someone else could not.


Victoria Placeo

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Speaking Out About Rape, Inc.® (SOAR®) Is Competing in the Chase Community Giving Event

Kellie Greene Founder/Director of Speaking Out About Rape Speaking Out About Rape, Inc.®, also known as, (SOAR®) contacted me last week. She contacted me in regards to the Chase Community Giving Event that SOAR is competing in. I must say that I am so glad that she contacted me and I am thrilled to help.

SOAR is a non-profit organization which runs national awareness, education and prevention programs to empower survivors of sexual violence and enhance the public's understanding and acceptance of rape victims.

As I said they are currently competing in the Chase Community Giving Event. This is an online contest in which Chase Bank will donate $5 million to charitable organizations. Facebook members “become a fan” of Chase Community Giving and then vote for their favorite non-profits to receive a donation. The bank is donating $25,000 to 100 organizations in the first round of giving, and then $100,000 to five organizations plus $1 million to two organizations in the second round. Voting in the first round ends on December 11, 2009.

While communicating with Kellie she let me know that not only does SOAR want to win the money but they also want to get a sexual violence organization in the top 100. I would love to see a sexual violence organization in the top 100 as well.

In regards to the sexual violence organizations, SOAR is not the only one. Pandora’s Aquarium and RAINN are also in the running. So when you vote if you find that you would rather vote for RAINN then there is still a chance for a sexual violence organization to get in the top 100.

This is a very important event for many of the sexual violence organizations out there. Although there are many non-profits competing in this contest, and many worthy of winning, it would be a great change and very helpful I believe to have a sexual violence group win one of these events.

To vote all you have to do is:

1. VISIT http://www.facebook.com/ChaseCommunityGiving

2. VOTE for Speaking Out About Rape

3. TELL your friends on Facebook about it

For more information about SOAR you can go to http://www.soar99.org. Please vote and while your on Facebook find me here.


Victoria Placeo








Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Feeling Lost Since The Rape

I know I must have written about this before, however the area of feeling loss of identity seems to be getting worse. Also, the feeling of not knowing what I want is gone as well.

I know a few things for sure, I don't want to live here, it is to close to where the rape happened. I also know that I want to be with The Rock, besides that I am lost. I know that this is common amongst people in general and especially amongst rape or sexual assault survivors. However, even knowing that it does not make it any less difficult.

What makes it worse is that I know one answer to make things better. Knowing it and teaching your mind to do it is quite a different story. The answer is to look at what I have now, what I want my future to hold.

It is simple to see what I have now, however one forgets sometimes to be grateful for it. Looking towards the future is a way to make things better. Imagining all the good things you want for your future. However if you feel lost and are not quite sure what you want, how can you accomplish that?

I don't think there is a complete answer for loss of identity after rape. I think there are many and one must find the one that works for them. Since I know that present and future focus is very important, now all I have to do is soul search. I make it sound easy but it is not.

If feels that when everything that I thought I had or wanted was ripped away, that I no longer have the same desires. I don't know if that is actually true, or if I perceive it that way due to the fact that I had it and now it is gone.

What I do know is that in regards to the rape, my emotions still go up and down. In regards to my identity since the rape I am lost.

I will be more upbeat next time:)


Victoria Placeo

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rape Memories Worse Around The Holidays?

I have heard of depression getting worse around the holidays, with the excess pressures and such. However, I have not read much about rape or sexual assault memories getting worse around the holidays. I must admit I have not done alot of research on the matter, so it may be true that rape memories get worse around the holidays.

My rape did not occur around a holiday, just two days before my birthday. If you have read past posts you will see that my memories do get worse around the anniversary date of the rape but this year this holiday season seems to be tough.

I am not having memories about the rape exactly, more about the rapist. How I knew him before, how he looked, his features etc. I also have a tremendous amount of guilt, I feel as if I put someone in prison. I imagine what it must be like to spend the holidays in prison.

The guilt is not feeling bad for the rapist, more (selfishly) feeling bad for me because I put someone behind bars. I know he deserves it, but at times I feel it was not my place to make that decision.

My depression has gotten much worse, fifty percent of it I believe is just the holidays, but the other fifty has to do with the rape and the rapist. I am depressed because I feel the rapist took the life I was happy with.

I know this is a time to be thankful, thankful that I am alive, but the memories of the rapist plague my mind daily. As I have said before, in general I do not fear people, however I am getting more paranoid about the rapist.

I know that he is behind bars, but I walk out the door each day and look both ways to make sure he is not there. This habit has just recently started and has been going on for about a month and a half.

I just feel sad, and although many would say it is the season change or the holidays, I don't think that is entirely true. The memories that cause the sadness, are about the rapist and the life that I have lost.

The right thing to do is look at what I have gained. I practice that daily, and hopefully soon it will work.


Have a great Thanksgiving


Victoria Placeo

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Alcohol And Rape Recovery

For months after the rape, I was drinking alcohol like a fiend, I can't say it was a good idea and did make things much worse I believe. I have very bad dreams, flashbacks, and was hypersensitive.

After gaining 15 lbs, making it through the sentencing, and having a realization that drinking was getting me know where I cut down, I basically quit drinking. Things did improve.

From time to time, I have drank since that realization and each time I have either had some sort of flashback or nightmare. They are not as bad as they used to be but none the less they are still there.

The reason I write this now is as an advisory. Last weekend was Halloween, and although I did not go out on Halloween, I did the night before. I did drink and kept drinking until it was to late, I was drunk.

I had horrible nightmares that night, one flashback (which I don't have many when I am sober), and I slept the entire next day, I felt very depressed.

Although it has been a year and a half, the alcohol still effects my memories and and I believe my recovery. I can't tell if it affects me this way because I was drinking the night of the rape or if it just lowers my defenses.

I guess it really doesn't matter. The point is it does not benefit me in any way. I say I write this as an advisory for those who may be recovering from rape, or any other violent crime.

Not only is there an obvious danger of addiction to alcohol, but it does effect how you view things. Therefore, if you are trying to work through issues it will just set you back.

For me it did not set me back for long. After sleeping all day I felt better and the memories were less pronounced.

I realize it has been a year and a half and as many say you should get over it. It is apparent that I am not. If you are recovering from rape, leave the alcohol alone, not only will you feel much better, but you may have the chance to not set back any progress you have already made.


Victoria Placeo

Monday, October 26, 2009

Anti- Social Since The Rape

I really don't know if anti-social is the right word for what I am going through but I think people get the picture.

Ever since the rape and the events that followed it, I really have no desire to talk to anyone. Of course, I do, but I go to lengths to avoid having to. I simply have nothing to say.

I was never much of a social butterfly anyway but I did go out with more people and strike up more conversations. I guess words are just not that important anymore, things said can be changed in a second.

Also, I believe a trust issue may be the culprit behind why I don't want to speak to anyone. The rape in itself is a trust breaker, but the people that I thought would be there as a strong support simply were not.

It doesn't matter to me whether they knew how to deal with it. There are many things I can't deal with but do anyway. You figure out how to deal with things, whether you like it or not. I don't think anyone has any excuse for not being there.

I know this is a pretty pessimistic post but I really feel this way ( at least I do now).

I have been referring to myself as the "old" me and I know that is damaging. However, that is how I see it much of the time, the old me was more outgoing, put together, and more conversational.

I know the right thing to do is forget about the old me and focus on now and the present, but it creeps up on me when I least expect it.



Victoria Placeo



Sunday, October 25, 2009

Seasonal Changes After Rape

I have read and many people have said to me that the rape anniversary date is the hardest for many people.

I personally have found that the season changes affect me more then the actual rape date. It seems that when a new season comes around that a plethora of memories come rushing back to me and they are hard to get rid of.

This fall is extremely difficult for me. It seems that things are getting worse then better. I am constantly thinking of the rapist, but the sad thing is it is not so much in a negative way. Don't get me wrong it is not in a positive way either.

Many already know that I new the rapist before the rape. I met him in the fall of 2007. We had good times together. However as things progressed I noticed behaviors that were unhealthy and at times scary so I ended our relationship.

During this fall I am constantly reminded of the rapist and the good times. When I bear down and think about him I then remember the unhealthy times and the rape. But prior to remembering the negative, I remember the good times.

The good times are not necessarily just about the rapist, however he was a part of my life at that time. I think I remember the good times during this season because I was where I wanted to be in life and now I am not.

Due to this season changes and memories I am bogged downed with depression. I am learning new skills to deal with the depression, but the pain is unbearable. It seems that as soon as I get used to memories of a new season, then a new season rolls around.

The feel in the air, the weather, the sites associated with the seasons all affect me.

Winter is coming and I hope and will try to cope with the new season the best I can. The good news is that fall is the hardest for me because it was when I was the happiest prior to the rape.


Victoria Placeo

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hopelessness After The Rape

I am not about to say that all my current pain and depression is due to the rape. I have suffered from a bit of depression all my life. However, it is much worse then it was before the rape.

I am still functional, working, doing daily tasks, but I cry daily. I really don’t have a bad life. I just feel so alone, ugly, worthless, etc.

I know rationally there are good things going on in my life. I am not ugly, nor am I worthless. I feel like the little egg in the anti-depressant commercials. The cloud keeps following me.

This time of the year since the rape oddly enough reminds me more of the rapist and the rape then the actual rape anniversary date. At this time the year before the rape, I had just moved to the new town and was starting a new job.

I was in a place where I knew no one and was excited to start a new life. That was taken away within months. Perhaps I am not so depressed about the rap e as I am about the life I lost.

I know that moving forward and having forward thinking is my only choice. I have started using the self help tool that I used to get over my fear of people. With a bit of time I am sure it will help just like it did before.

In my past depressive times, of course I felt bad, but never this bad. Remembering a life I was so excited about is hard.

I am mad at myself for looking back, forward is the only obvious way to look. Looking back at losses will get me no where, but it feels so automatic.

Victoria Placeo


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Need For Structure After Rape

I have found since the rape, that I need to know what is going on at all times. I become extremely uncomfortable if my imagined schedule changes.

For example, if I am planning to do some things after work, I become very agitated and demanding if a change occurs. If The Rock informs me that something is going on and I did not plan on it, it throws into a whirlwind. I have to know what time, where, and who is going to be there. I need to know these things immediately, and don't do well with vague answers.

Before the rape, I was pretty easy going about where I was going to be and if it changed it changed, no big deal.

I have been trying to figure out why I need to know the specifics so frantically. Why was I so easy going before and now I need to know exact details.

Before I go into the answers I found I want to elaborate on trying to figure things out. It is my belief that there is no real reason to try and figure things out. It does you know good I believe to find the cause, because the only thing you can change is the present and the future. I am not saying that finding the cause may not be beneficial to other people, I just don't think it is good for me.

You know what..........I do it anyway..........a habit I am trying to work on. Trying to focus on the present and future not the past.

Now onto what I discovered while wondering why I need so much structure. I came to the conclusion that not only the rape but everything preceding it was unexpected.

I of course was not expecting someone to break down my door or rape me. Also, I did not know what to expect during the entire legal proceedings, the job loss, who would help me etc.

I had not constants, nothing real reliable to count on, except The Rock. I am not trying to diminish The Rocks support, but that support is all I knew. I did not know where I would be from day to day.

That is my little take on why I need structure. I firmly believe that after a rape or any type of violent crime, a victim must have some daily structure. Unfortunately, for some it is not that easy.


Victoria Placeo

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Forgiveness After Rape

I know that I have written in the past about forgiveness after rape. I wrote mostly regarding forgiving the rapist. I know that many people were shocked when I said I forgave the rapist. What I meant was I forgave the rapist and not the action he did. There is a very big difference.

By holding on to hate, I was not hurting the rapist at all, just myself. Hate makes you sick, it keeps memories alive. For me forgiving the rapist was a way of saying " ok there is this very sick and twisted individual who committed a horrendous act, and act that I can do nothing about anymore, I did my best."

I look at the rapist in two conflicting ways, a less than human way and and humane way. The less than human way allows me to view the rapist as being sick and not mentally right in a horrible way. The humane way is sick people make mistakes and "let he who has no sin cast the first stone." Depending on the days I was having I would look at the rapist in one of these ways.

This post was not intended to rehash any previous posts about forgiving the rapist. However, since so many struggle with it, I thought it needed to be said. The purpose of this post was to forgive others that were in some way associated with the rape.

I am speaking of family, friends, officials involved etc. The fact that I looked at the rapist as a sick person made it more difficult for me to accept those whom I did not consider sick who were not the best support.

I have written hateful words about my family especially. It is true all that I wrote and it is true that they were not the best support. However, I would like to address how I feel about their actions now, outside the whirling mix of emotions.

Some of their actions downright shocked me yet others I can understand now. After the rape, I felt I would get more support from The Rock then from my family. Throughout tough times with my family that was a logical and correct choice and I do not regret it.

However, at the times I wrote the posts about the pain my family caused me, I was also in a great state of mixed emotions. I can only speculate on why my family acted like they did and they did and my speculations are these:

They did not know how to handle the rape. Me going to The Rock vs. them may have caused them pain. Perhaps they were hurting and just didn't know how to express it. We have all been there in a situation where we did not know what to say or do and perhaps that was where they were at.

So I would like to publicly apologize for my words in past posts and say to my family that I forgive you and love you regardless of what happened.


Victoria Placeo

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

First Restitution Check From Rapist

Yesterday I received the first restitution check from the rapist. I would have to say my feeling were mixed. I am not getting alot from him just the amount I had to pay for the door he kicked in when he broke in.

I guess I should feel lucky that I get anything at all. Many people do not even get a conviction. I am blessed that I did.

As I was saying I received the check yesterday. I had an instant uproar of emotions. I was of course glad to get money in the mail. Then within seconds, it dawned on me why I was getting it.

It did not make matters better that the rapist's name was on the check stub. Just a waterfall of memories came rushing back and I burst into tears. Why I was crying, I don't actually know.

It was not because I feared the rapist any longer, nor was it a flood of trigger memories. I think it was just a slap in the face realization that it did happen, and although it is over, I will still have things come up over and over again to remind me.

Instant memories that flooded my mind were images of the rapists face, the life that I lost, and events that proceeded the rape. Oddly enough I did not really have to many vivid memories of the rape.

The check was a small amount and the door did cost a bit so if I continue to receive checks it will be for months or even years. Upon that realization, I came to the conclusion that the checks were just one more thing that may be a reminder, and I better get used to it.

Money can not make up for what happened. I lost alot during and after the rape. Not only the the emotional and mental losses but thousands of dollars after job loss and other expenses.

Even with all that monetary loss, I begin to wonder if receiving the restitution for the door is worth it. A bit of money in exchange for a constant reminder? I am not quite sure if it is worth is.

As I said I do feel lucky that there was a conviction and that I received even some sort of restitution. However, in the long run the money cannot make up for the losses that I have been working so hard to overcome.


Victoria Placeo



Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rape Victim Vs. Rape Survivor

You here everywhere about rape victims. You hear about them on the news, in the paper, on websites, everyone seems to be a victim. While I am not arguing that people that are raped have been victimized I believe that perhaps the word victim and the connotations that go with it may be a problem. Even I have slipped numerous times and written victim in my posts.

I learned very early on after the rape, that calling myself a victim would not help my mindset. One definition I found for victim was this "an unfortunate person who suffers from some adverse circumstance." While that definition is not inaccurate, imagine if everyday after the rape I thought of myself that way.

The word victim is true, the person was victimized. However, if they are alive they survived. One definition I found for survivor was this "one who lives through affliction." Isn't that a more positive way to view an "unfortunate" circumstance.

The definition and meaning of survivor carries more empowerment then the word victim. That is what a rape survivor needs after such a horrible experience. They need to feel empowered, safe, and in many cases lucky that they lived.

I have always viewed myself as a survivor, if I didn't I may be in ruins right now. I could imagine myself now if I focused on my victimization. I would think the world was against me, that I deserved something from people. I am not saying I don't deserve respect and caring from people, I am saying I could not drown myself in the negative or perhaps I could not get back up.

Of course, I was victimized, but that does not mean I have to see myself as a victim nor does in mean that I have to focus on all the negatives that come with being a victim.

By reframing my thoughts as a survivor I can focus on other things. Things such as I get to see my family and friends still, I get to see another birthday, Christmas, etc. I lived.

What are your opinions on this?



Victoria Placeo

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Raped By Someone You Know or Don't Know

I again was watching Dateline last night, I probably should stop doing that. Last nights episode was about a rapist who raped many woman during usually when it was raining and if they lived near a forest. They could not find the rapist for many years. He was well hidden, and preserved the DNA evidence well.

These woman went on for years not knowing who the rapist was. Being a survivor myself, I know that every rape is different, and has different symptomatic problems afterwards.

However I can help but wonder how these woman felt, not knowing the rapist. I can imagine in my mind that they were wondering with every man that they saw "could that be him"? Not knowing who to fear and who not to.

I knew my rapist and in know way expected such a violent act from him. I know who to look for, what name to type in to find which prison he is located in. I find some safety in that. However, there comes a different sense of distrust by knowing who it is.

Unlike the woman who could really not know who to trust. I knew someone who raped me that I did trust at one time. I learned after the rape that even people you know cannot be trusted. At least that is what I taught myself.

The distrust continued when I lost friends and people I thought would be there for me in a time of hardship. I believe to some extent that if you know your rapist personally at one time or another, that people may be less apt to before you. That of course is speculation but it may be true.

The women that did not know there rapist in this dateline special could not even identify whom not to trust. Knowing the rapist neither could I. What it boils down to I believe is this:

To get through a rape whether you know or do not know the perpetrator is to think of them differently. Put them in a subcatagory of humans.

I see my rapist as a sick person. Someone who needs help and hopefully can get it. If not he must stay behind bars to protect the rest of the world.

When I look at a rapist whether it was mine or someone else's all I see is sickness, a sickness that may never be cured.

By putting them in this subcatagory, I am able to realize that not all are sick and that people can be trusted



Victoria Placeo

Friday, October 9, 2009

Seeing People Differently After Rape

I often wonder at times while at work or out and about, what people see when they look at me. Not much I suppose, no different then anyone else. Which is good. However, I have seen some people who have found out that I was raped act a bit differently around me. Not in a negative way, they just seem so cautious.

This has not happened often, but I am not surprised by the response. I am sure people wonder things such as "how violent was it", " was I injured", and even " did it really happen'?

The point of this is not what people think whether they know I was raped or not. The point is that it is really very sad that it would take knowing to perhaps see a change in a person and their attitude towards me.

Since the rape, I see people differently. I have know idea where they have been or what they have been through and I try and keep that in mind. Treating each person with kindness. Of course, I am human and I do judge at times automatically.

When I do judge it seconds but no more then minutes to remember that I don't know this person and what they have been through. I have no right to every judge anyone. I end up beating myself up because if I were to find out one thing, it may change my entire perception of a person.

This goes for negative things as well as positive. However, I am no angel, so if I did find out about a negative issue, event, etc. about another I still would have no place to judge.

Things that occur in life either bring out the positive or negative in a person. I have never walked in another's shoes and they have not walked in mine. The rape was a horrible thing, and I live with the negatives of it often.

What I try to do is take note of these positive things I have learned from it to combat any issues I may have. So far it is working well.

Victoria Placeo

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Loss After The Rape

I have stated, fear really is not a part of my life. I have overcome it using some great self-help tools. However, an extreme sense of loss still hovers over my life some days.

I know it does me no good to look back but there are situations that cause me to look back. It is almost like an automatic button in my mind. This was prompted from something that happened last night.

I visited my parents who live in the town where the rape occurred. When I first moved to that area just 8 months before the rape, I lived in their house before I got my own place.

Being there I had memories of when I lived there before. How excited I was to have moved to a new place to make new friends and to start a new job. It was there that I met what I now refer to as the rapist.

At the time I met him I would have never thought he had such a negative behavior in him. I looked out the window of my parents house last night and saw the traffic. I recalled when the rapist and I were friends and I would look out that same window and wonder if one of those cars was his coming to get me.

I felt the feelings I had when I lived there. I felt the self esteem I used to have, the joy of being in a new place, the independence. Then I brought myself back to now.

My now is not bad, but I felt that I was much stronger back then. If I step outside myself, I suppose from an outsider's perception I might be stronger now. It doesn't really matter I guess. The bottom line is that what is done is done and I need to focus on the present and future.


Victoria Placeo

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Seeing The Rapist In Other People

There are many issues associated with being raped. One bothersome one that I have been experiencing is seeing the rapist in other people. I am not scared when this happens, it is just a reminder of him and the rape.

I do not see the actual face or form of the rapist like a delusion. I am speaking more of the rapist's features. If I see someone that is broad across the chest, has the same eyes or facial features, or his stalking build. When seeing this features I am instantly reminded.

I see people everywhere and almost weekly I will see some feature that will remind me of the rapist. I hate to even say this, but I am reminded even when I see some children. If a child has eyes like the rapist or other features, I am reminded.

I hate even saying that but it is true. Now I do not believe any child or any one else is the rapist or will be a rapist, they just have features that remind me of the rape.

Seeing a child with similar eyes and then having a memory breaks my heart. I automatically have a memory then scold myself because it is an innocent child and tell myself they have unique features.

Although, this is good to remind myself of the innocence of children and the uniqueness in everyone I see that reminds me of him, I sometimes think the scolding is a bit to hard on myself. None the less I will continue to do it in the case of children.

Someday I hope not to be reminded of him when I see others with similar features. However, currently it is not the case.


Victoria Placeo


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rape and Post Traumatic Stress

Well it finally happened yesterday. While I was working someone opened the door behind me I turned to look to see who it was. When I turned back there they were. Apparently, I looked one way and they walked around the other.

I turned back and scream "Oh my God" and to make it worse it was my boss. I froze, I quickly recovered but thoughts were still streaming through my head. To make it even more unbearable my boss thought it was funny (she doesn't know) and was laughing and said "BOO." I was pretty disappointed in myself.

That was just the most recent example of a PTSD symptom that occurred but other things have been happening that I have not mentioned. Since the rape I have been seeing things. Not delusions, more like things out of the corner of my eyes. I look and there is nothing there.

I am not quite sure if this is a PTSD symptom but believe it is. The reason I mention it is that it has gotten worse. For example, last Thursday, I was walking up the stairs to the apartment and when I got to the top out of the corner of my eye it looked as if the door was open, I looked up in worry and it was shut. I can't say I was afraid ( I don't experience to much fear anymore) I would say more shocked. I will research this issue to see if it is a symptom of PTSD but if it does have to do with the rape it is happening more often now then a year ago.

The only thing that has changed is that I started a new job. I certainly hope the stress of the job is not causing these things to get worse.

The one positive thing is that my fear of the rape and rapist is gone thanks to some great self-help tips I have been using. In regards, to what is happening now, I don't have a clue. I am thinking maybe I should get back to counseling but I believe they will say it is normal and I just have to wait it out.


Victoria Placeo

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Secondary Survivor of Rape - The Rocks Birthday

A week ago today, my Rock, the main secondary survivor of the rape, had a birthday. No one deserves a special celebration like the Rock. Those who do not know who the Rock is, he is my best friend, and basically the main person I could count on after the rape.

I am sure others thought about how I was doing, but I did not hear from many people after the rape. In fact, I heard from less people then I normally did. This is not to be about how hard it was for me, but to extol the virtues of my Rock.

He was there for every flashback, every nightmare, every legal proceeding, whatever I needed he was there. I could never imagine a person being as kind as he was and is. I often would focus on the loss of friends and family after the rape, when what I should have been doing is focusing on the Rock and his support.

The Rock obviously knows that I blog about the rape, however, I don't think he knows how many caring people read it and email me. I would like to ask a special favor.

If you do read this, and care enough to give an applaud to a great secondary survivor and person in general, please leave a comment and wish the Rock a belated birthday. It was one way I could show that I care as well as others.

You see the Rock had lost some faith in people after he saw how I was treated after the rape, and I would like to show him the other side.

I know it may seem an odd request, but if you would leave him a belated birthday wish. Thank you so much for reading.


Victoria Placeo

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Irrational Emotions Since The Rape

I have an overwhelming sadness today. It is like the little egg on the anti-depressant commercials followed by a cloud. I have learned with my new coping skills and things that I have read that it does no good to try and go back through your past and try to figure out why you feel bad. It is better to look forward and decide that you want to feel good. As well as that works sometimes I do not follow my own advice.

I believe I am sad today because tomorrow I work. I believe that my sadness is really not sadness at all but fear. Fear of the upcoming day. I thought about why I would feel fear or sadness about a job and I came up with a few possible reasons.

With a traditional job I "have" to be there, that perhaps in my mind is a not wanting to be controlled issue. Along with this fear I also "have" to be ruled by a boss and do what I am told. I think it is obvious why that may be an issue.

Finally, at work I am doing two jobs, the job I am there for and the job of controlling my mind. I have to stay mindful of when people touch me and realize they mean no harm. I have to keep bringing myself back to the present when the loud noises occur. Although, I have been doing these things quite well so far, I am exhausted which I know does not help with depression or fear.

These emotions are probably "normal" as my counselor would have said. However, it is frustrating to me that I have brought myself to this point of healing through counseling and other self-help techniques and I still have these little hangups.

I don't expect to be fully operational already, but perhaps I should put some expectations on myself. Perhaps I would achieve them quicker. One side of me wants to put those expectations on myself and the other wants to take things in stride.

I would love any one's opinion on this one:)



Victoria Placeo

Friday, September 18, 2009

The 16 Month Anniversary of Rape

You wouldn't think I would still remember what the happened on the 18th in May 0f 2008, but I still do. It is different now however, I know what happened and at times reflect on the rape and what I was doing after it happened, but it is not a traumatic.

There is so much to say on so many things that I feel on certain days and especially rape anniversary days. At times, since the one year anniversary date, the 18th would arrive and I would acknowledge the day and then go about my day. Remembering throughout the day that it was the rape anniversary, but not remembering ( or trying not to) what actually happened in the early morning hours and the days preceding it.

On other anniversary dates, like today, I feel not fear, but do feel guilt and loss. I am not the same person, in fact if I take the time to remember how I was before the rape, I would not even recognize myself today. This is not a good thing, at least in my mind.

Before the rape I was confident, thinner, prettier, I felt good about myself, I had confidence in my friends and family. Now I feel none of those things. I used to dance and have fun, now I go to work, and think my world into positivity.

I believe my thought processes of needing to feel grateful for what I have, take up alot of my mind. That is a good thing with less focus on the rape and the events that followed.

Today I feel like a melting pot of emotions. I feel grateful, loss, insignificant, guilt, and acceptance. It almost seems like it was not me that was raped and I just know the story of someone who was. When I try to remember the rape purposefully, the main emotion I get is a tremendous sense of loss. Loss of life (although I am alive), loss of family, loss a lot of loss.

Victoria Placeo

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dateline - The Man Behind The Mask

On September 4th, 2009 Dateline aired "The Man Behind The Mask." It was about Donna Palomba who was raped in 1993. Apparently a man wearing a mask broke into her home while her husband was away and raped her.

A horrible tragedy, but what doubles the horror is that after reporting the rape, Donna was the one looking at jail time for lying to police. The police that were in charge believed she was making it all up.

I will not go into to the entire story about Donna Palomba, there are links at the bottom of this post where you can find her full story. What I would like to touch on was how watching the program effected me and how I could relate to Donna regardless of our different circumstances.

Unlike Donna, I knew my rapist and got criminal justice immediately, without being questioned about my report. However, there were many areas that Donna spoke of and were part of her life that I could relate to.

Donna did not know her rapist therefore she could look at any man and think maybe it was him. That in itself is quite a fear to live with. I have that fear when the release of my rapist comes. Although, I try not to think about it, it will come and I may have fear.

Donna also had trouble in her town, with people questioning whether she lied or not. I had crude remarks, suggestions to leave the town I was in, and eventually did.

I was jealous of Donna at one point (which I felt guilty about) because of the family and friend support she had. I did not have that. I feel guilty for saying I was jealous because her situation was nothing to be jealous of and I can only imagine the fear and frustration she lived with day in and day out.

There was a section of the report that stated that the police did not believe her because she did not sound convincing enough on the 911 call. She also called the rapist a "gentleman" on the call. After being raped and making a 911 call myself, I know full well that there is so much shock that you really don't know what you may be saying.

There are so many more aspects of Donna's story that I relate to, and there are just to many to go into them all. But one final area of relation is knowing the rapist. Years later Donna found out that the man behind the mask was a family friend. Obviously, someone she would never expect to do such a horrid thing. I too never did expect that my rapist that I knew would do such an act.

Donna is very strong and has created a site entitle Jane Doe No More, you can find out why she named it this by visiting the links at the bottom of the page. Her strength amazes me and I admire her so. I only hope that one day I will be strong enough to help people as much as she is.

You can find out more about Donna Palomba by going to:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18405518/

http://janedoenomore.com/


Victoria Placeo

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Working After Rape

As some may no and others may not, less then two months after the rape I was fired from my job while on medical leave. I did not receive unemployment, or anything really so I lived off my savings and had The Rocks help.

I started a job a week ago working with children. I decided to stay out of the mental health field which I was employed in before. I made this decision because in the mental health field I was working in there were usually violent outbursts and did not think I could take it.

In the job I am in now, I must say it is not easy and that is very discouraging for me. I have tremendous anxiety before and at work and it takes every ounce of energy I have.

This is or was not like me. Prior to the rape I had confidence. I had my insecurities like anyone else but now I feel like a child in an adults body. I am so disappointed in myself.

I am exhausted after a day of work but it is unlike before the rape. I can't think, remember things, or do much after the day is done. I am trying to stay positive, thinking things like this is just an adjustment phase. However in the back of my mind I feel something is wrong with me. That I will never have the confidence and lack of anxiety I used to have.

It has only been one week and I feel like giving up. At work there are loud noises, constant chatter, I feel so overstimulated. I cry everyday after work, however I will not give up.

Once again I feel remorse for any rape survivor who had troubles afterwards. I had no understanding until this happened and now I realize how it feels to be on the other end with no one else understanding.

It has been over a year and I am still having issues.


Victoria Placeo

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Never Meant To Stop Writing

If you have not noticed I have not been writing hardly at all since the one year anniversary of the rape. I did not mean to stop and probably should not have. It was very theraputic.

I stopped because I entered a world of depression and confusion. This would have been the best time for me to blog due to one main reason. I started this blog for me but also for others who may be experiencing the pain and suffering that rape survivors do.

For that reason, blogging through my confusion would have been best, but I did not and I can't get the time back. So much as happened in my life relating to the rape and I intend to go back an cover the important aspects but for this post I will try an explain the deep confusion and loss of self I have been experiencing.

Since the one year anniversary, I have found that I wasn't sure what I wanted anymore. I was confused about who I was and where I am supposed to be. I had a great deal of trouble making decisions (which was never my strong suit anyway:).

I felt lost, alone, unattractive, and confused in almost every area of my life. Some of those areas I am still struggling with but I have found some great tools that have assisted me in healing and I hope I will be able to share them.

One great thing that did happen (which I am sure many will disagree with) is that I quit going to counseling. The main reason for that was because I had counseling in the town I was raped in and I did not want to go back there anymore.

However, since I have quit, my nightmares have lessened, my memories are there but not as vivid, and in general I feel a little better. I contribute this to not having to talk about it every week. I cannot take it back, I cannot change it, so why talk about it. That is my theory.

I am still struggling, but not as bad, well I guess it depends on the day. A quick update, I still live in the small town miles from the rape town, I still have the support from The Rock, and I still survived.


Victoria Placeo

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Have Been Quiet For To Long

I have not posted in awhile and to be honest, I don't know if I have not due to the fact that I am doing better or worse.

I know that sounds confused but right now I am a very confused girl. I having been working through the guilt I have been experiencing and am feeling better about that. However, I my anxiety and social skills are awful. My anxiety and panic are at an all time high.

It seems I am going through the grieving process of the rape the long way. I have discussed this with my counselor and she had much to say about what I am going through. Here is the gist:

I am a survivor who is able to look at the facts of my rape and the rapist. However, everything that is attached to the rape seems to be triggers. Even the simplest things such as being with my family seem to remind me of the rape.

I feel like I am not making much sense in this post. I had a rough weekend with the family and memories. Usually when that happens, I need a recovery day so I can think clearly again. I will make a post that makes more sense soon, perhaps even later today, if I can focus clearly.


Victoria Placeo

By the way, I have turned the comments back on:)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Guilt For The Rapist

I have many days like today, they happen time and again and I cannot associate a rhyme or reason to them.

I feel remorse and guilt for the rapist and what it must be going through.

I feel like I need to get the organism released, make it my mission to get it out of prison.

The reality is I did nothing wrong, nor do I think that it did anything right but, the feelings are still here.

Although I am not 100 percent and have lost almost everything, there is an element of guilt I feel for the freedom I have.

Many would say do you have complete freedom and the answer is probably no, but I have physical freedom, the rapist does not.

Sometimes I believe that I feel this way because I knew the organism before the rape. Maybe it is easier on the mind to remember times that were not possessive or violent.

Other times I believe I feel this way because I really do not believe in hate. I do not hate the organism.

And still other times I believe that I feel this way because I don't believe I was punished by being raped or any other negative thing. I can choose how to deal with it and no one else can.

When I really recall possessive times and the rape itself, I know what the organism did was it's choice and that it was wrong.

I may never know why I personally feel guilt but I think the main reason is that I still have physical freedom.

Victoria Placeo

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Coping Skills For Rape Anniversary Dates

Today is 13th months since the rape. Instead of looking back at all that I have lost, I have decided to spend this rape anniversary date focusing on the ways I have coped.

Some sexual assault anniversary dates have been harder for me then others. One of the main things I have noticed is that there seems to be no rhyme or reason to why the dates are better or worse.

I must admit that some were so bad that the coping skills that I list below did not work at all, however other times many skills did help.

The skills I used are as follows:

- Look at what I have not want I do not - by trying to make my main focus of the day finding the things I have, did redirect my mind. Instead of dwelling on memories I had to search to find what was good in my life.

- Humor movies that did not involve sex- I have heard it many times that laughter is the best medicine. Although it was tough to laugh on certain rape anniversary dates, others times it seemed to be a great benefit.

- Self-help books, that are not about rape or sexual assault- although I am not an avid reader and at times have trouble focusing on a book or audio book, if I did read excerpts of certain self-help and positive thinking books I was able to change my thinking.

- Practicing "NOW" thinking- Consistently bringing myself back to the now and what is going on in my currently helped my brain stay busy, it seemed to help quite a bit.


I know the are few suggestions, but I am a bit knew at this type of coping. I hope it helps someone.


Victoria Placeo

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sexual Assault Survivor and Family Issues

I went to a wedding this weekend with my entire extended family. Only my immediate family knows about the rape. I really don't know why they have not said a word. If someone gets sick, laid off, etc. everyone knows.

I wonder if they are embarrassed of me or if they are trying to protect me. It hurts a bit that I am kept a secret.

Back to the wedding, it actually went okay. I had a relatively decent time, and only the unexpected noises bothered me, until the end of the night. By that time I was on overload. I couldn't handle anymore people or noises.

During the day on the way to the wedding a funny thing happened. The Rock and I were driving to the wedding and one of my family members that was with us asked if I was coming to an upcoming concert. A concert that was taking place in the small town where the rape occurred.

I told them know and they questioned me. I heard The Rock mumble under his breath "are you kidding me." I wanted to burst out in laughter, and I was shocked that he said such a thing to a family member without barely knowing them.

I brought it up to my therapist just to let her know what my last week had been like. She stated it was a good thing to have the person I am with the most be supportive. She stated that a lot of the time it happens the other way, where the family is supportive and the individual the rape victim is with is not supportive.

I am grateful for that, however I still have a tremendously difficult time being around my family. I love them but I don't understand them.


Victoria Placeo

Monday, June 15, 2009

Nightmares, Fear, and PTSD after Rape

I have not written much, it seems I am getting better and worse at the same time.

Noises are starting to bother me more then ever. They do not have to be loud just unexpected. I also had a nightmare last night, one of the more frightening ones I have had.

I dreamt that the organism was having a parole hearing and I had to go. I was fearful in the beginning but not horrified. Then the police officer that was helping me after the rape appeared in my dream. Apparently, he was part of the hearing.

Then it happened, there were only two policemen in the room and they left me. They left me alone with the organism. I was terrified, the organism came near me quickly. I wanted to run, but I could not I had to hold the organism back. I was able to, but no one came back, they left me.

I awoke at 3am and then again at 4am and then a few hours later.

I saw my therapist today, and she told me that my fear of the organisms release, which could be 1 to 3 years from now, could be the reason for the noises, dreams etc.

I have also been very depressed lately about my circumstances, I want to move but am unable to now. I think that may be adding to the symptoms. I want to distance myself from where the organism may be upon release.

I am fearful and have these worsening symptoms, but yet every time I am down or scared, I pick a bright side out of all of it.

That is why I say I am better and worse. I sit on my pity pot for a while and then realize that none of the negative feelings do me any good.

I am just scared sometimes,and as you can tell from my lack of blogging that I have become less interested in life.

I know it will pass, I hope it is soon, because this startle effect is scary, embarrassing, and feels like it is out of my control.


Victoria Placeo

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Family Frustrations After Rape

I really don't get my family, although I am like them of course in many ways, I cannot understand their insensitivity or lack of thought.

I realize that it has been a year plus since the rape, but that does not mean I don't remember, or still have some issues regarding it.

Last night I received a text message from one of my family members, who now is residing in the town I was raped in.

The message was asking me what bars I went to when I lived there. WHAT? COME ON, USE YOUR HEAD! Odd that I would say that because she is one of the smartest ones in the family.

It may have been a year plus, but............DO YOU THINK I WANT TO REMEMBER WHERE I HUNG OUT OR ANYTHING RELATED TO THE RAPE?!?!?

Then today I got another text message from a different family member. It was a joke text about different sex things. Now it did not really offend me the joke itself but.............WHERE IS YOUR FREAKIN HEAD, DO YOU BOTHER TO THINK THAT MAYBE I AM NOT THE ONE TO BE SENDING SEXUAL JOKES TO?

People don't think and people don't understand the trauma of rape ( I did not either).

I am in such shock of those who find out and are indifferent, insensitive, and just plain stupid.

For such an advanced world we sure have some stupid people, or maybe it is just my family and friends. Perhaps stupid is to harsh, I should have said insensitive but...........IT IS MY BLOG SO I'M STICKING WITH STUPID.


Victoria Placeo

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Secondary Victim of Rape - Victoria being heard

The Rock, my main secondary victim of rape, sent this to me. Please Read Below:

As we have lived together a point of contention has arisen. That is interrupting. It’s a common occurrence that people do and have had done to others. I am very guilty of that practice. My intent is not to be rude, but it stems from my desire to have the person talking to me know that I am with them in their discussion and to let them know that I understand what they are saying. At least this is my thought on why I do it.

In actuality…. It stems from my know-it-all personality. I tend to devour information which is mostly useless to the general public. I’m a trivia junky and love to be able to tell people, for example the names of the two Muppets in the balcony from the Muppet Show (Statler and Waldorf). These little tidbits of knowledge have given me a false sense that because I know certain things, that I can know it all. In living with a survivor, I’ve really need to watch myself.

That night, Victoria was not heard. It is one of many things that we as secondary survivors need to be aware of as we and our loved one go through the healing process. They need to be heard, they need to be listened to and they need to be loved.



He is so right and I could not ask for a more understanding person to help me through all of this. Thank you!


Victoria Placeo



Saturday, June 6, 2009

Characteristics of My Rapist

One thing that has begun in the past two to three months is that I have been seeing my rapist face and having to double take individuals to make sure it is not the organism.

Logically I know that my rapist is put away in prison and is not out wandering around. However, men with similar features such as eyes, hair, or face structure, stop me in my tracks.

It is amazing how people look alike or how the imagination of a rape survivor works. I simply will be walking along, see a man, and freeze. I am embarrassed because I look back at the man several times. I look back to calm myself that it is not the organism and also see all the similar features.

I look in fear and in amazement when I check out these individuals. I honestly cannot tell if I am imagining the similarities or if the certain features are just triggers.

I really feel for rape survivors that do not know what their rapist looked like. It must be very fearful walking around wondering if anyone close in proximity is their rapist.

I hate to claim them that way but I just don't know how else to say it. I don't know if I will ever stop seeing my rapist, it is a part of my life that seems to be an unconscious reaction. My hope is one day all the unconscious parts will stop or perhaps the EMDR will make them less traumatic.

Victoria Placeo

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rape and Depression

I have been extremely depressed lately. I don't know if it is because of the rape, but I really don't think so.

Memories have been coming back, nightmares and dreams of the rape, and life proceeding it have begun again, and I am just so sad.

I know that I stated that I don't believe that my depression is because of the rape, it could be. What I do think is causing the recurrence and memories is my unhappiness now.

I am not thrilled to live where I live. I do not have enough money to move yet. I have no friends here, my family hardly calls, and my car just blew up. Put all of that together and that leaves one sad, lonely, isolated girl.

It would be nice to blame all of this on the organism. Unfortunately, it only played one part in my sadness. Other individuals, situations, and circumstances have added to this sense of purposelessness ( is that a word?).

I have done no real research on if external stressors can lead to recurrence of memories etc. I try no to do research to often, I don't want to put things into my head. However, I am sure that it may play a part. I would really like to know the answer to that, I have thought about researching it, just have not had the energy.

Perhaps I will ask my counselor on Monday, if I can borrow a car to get there:(

YES I AM FEELING SORRY FOR MYSELF!


Victoria Placeo

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Immediate Reactions After Rape

An issue I did not ever touch on were my immediate reactions and behaviors following the rape.

The days proceeding the rape I was very anxious and erratic. This continued for about two months.

Instantly I wanted to change my hair color, get a new car, cut off my long finger nails, and change my last name. I did not want anyone to recognize me.

I was very serious about those things and am still considering changing my last name. Many people may say that is ridiculous, and in some cases, as I look back, it was. However at the time it was very real and I was very serious about the changes.

When searching for answers recently about my immediate reactions after the rape, I found some information on Rape Trauma Syndrome (RTS). While reading through the symptoms I found this:

"persistent symptoms of increased arousal, which involve irritability and outburst of anger, troubled concentrating, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response"

I also found information regarding quick decision making. With both of these I guess it shows that I was experiencing (or still am) RTS and PTSD.

I am one of those people that hate to admit that something affected me like this. However, I cannot remain in denial about all the reactions I had after the rape.

For others (so you don't feel so alone) below are thoughts and actions I did for a few months after the rape:

I did dye my hair
I did cut off my finger nails
I did look for a new car
I did apply for jobs everywhere
I did think that I was in danger and had to hideout
I did think my family was in danger
I did cut off friends
I was rude to people who got in my way
I was confused
I was scared
I did do my makeup differently


I am sure there are more and if I think of them I will let you know.


Victoria Placeo



Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Victim Notification

It has been quite some time since I have written anything. To be quite honest I was struggling just a bit with the one year anniversary and then my birthday. I made it through, taking each day bit by bit. And then came today..........

It was my first call from the crime victim notification organization. They called to inform me that the organism had been moved to another prison. As much as I should be happy that the victim notification is doing there job, I was very overwhelmed.

It brought back so many memories and visual images of the organism. I felt guilty, scared, and the best word is dirty.

I was picturing it getting transferred and a look on it's face, that is where the guilt came from.

As far as scared, I was unsure, and still am, of what this transfer meant. Is the organism getting different treatment, is it closer to getting out. It can't get out yet it just went in last August. Those were some of my thoughts.

I have to realize that it is good that the victim notification system is doing it's job. I not only got a call but an email as well. I am trying to look at the positives despite the fear I initially felt.

The positives are that I will be notified of the organisms whereabouts at least for some time. It is good they have this system in place.

The system is called Vine and here is the link should anyone need it https://www.vinelink.com/vinelink/

I am grateful to know where it is at, but I feel so scared no matter how hard I try to focus on that positive.

I do however recommend to any victims of crime to get hooked in with VINE or their local crime victim notification system. It is good to stay informed.


Victoria Placeo

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rape Anniversary Date - The Days Before

I was without a computer the days before the year anniversary of the rape. Those days seemed much more difficult then the actually anniversary. I made note of my feelings on paper and transcribed, so here they are.......


May 15, 2009


It is three days before the rape occurred last year. I am without a computer so I am writing this journal style.

Everyday that has gone by in the past week I have thought “What was I doing last year at this time?” Last year at this time I would never have guessed what lied ahead.

I am in pain from memories of my life before the rape. I am in awe that last year at this time I had so many things I took for granted. Last year, I felt safe, had a positive outlook on life, and faith in people.

As I try to pinpoint what I was doing at this time last year, I have vague memories. I remember I was friends with the organism. I remember I still had a job I enjoyed and could have been working right now.

I really don’t know why I bother to remember such things. They seem to be automatic thoughts they just pop right into my mind.

I could have never believed on this day a year ago, that three days from now everything I had and knew to be true would be gone.

May 16, 2009

It is weird how I wake up and realize what the date is, I don’t consciously do it. For example, today I woke up realized it was the 16th and the first thought I had was that it was 2 days before the rape a year ago.

It is like a child waking up and doing a countdown before Christmas or their birthday. The difference of course is obvious; they are looking forward to those days and are conscious of counting down. I do not purposefully awake with the thought that is two days before the rape.

I am out of town at this time, an event that just by coincidence collided with the rape anniversary. I was not going to go due to the fact that I do not know these people well. My therapist recommended that I go to get me out of the environment that was so near the rape.

So I am here and have been here since the 14th, I must say it was a good idea. Although I am plagued all day with memories, having distractions is very beneficial. Also, being away from the town that I ran to safety for is good as well.

As much as I appreciate the town I ran to safety for and all that they have done for me, it is to close to the rape area and I do not want to be there. That is off the subject and another issue in itself.

I don’t know why my brain is automatically remembering the dates. I usually can barely remember which day it is.



Those were my days before the rape anniversary..........


Victoria Placeo


Monday, May 18, 2009

1 YEAR RAPE ANNIVERSARY

This is awful, I saw it coming in the recent days. Months ago I did not think it would be bad at all. I am trying to be in the its over move on mindset, but it is not working.

This is my one year anniversary of the rape. May 18,2008 I won't forget May 18th. I am in complete awe of what happened to me during this exact time frame. This is the time frame that the rape occurred. The time frame that my life changed and I was injured in many ways. Now is the time.

My goal was to watch the sunrise today. I saw it last year on my way back from the hospital where I got the rape kit done. I am so tired (which is good) that I don't think I will make it.

I could be so tired that it just doesn't matter but I think it does. As I remember now I can hear the door being kicked in, I can see the face, and I can feel the pain, I feel scared.

I have wondered the past couple days if the organism remembers this date or if the date is irrelevant to it. The latter is my guess.


I lived........................kinda



Victoria Placeo




Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Day Before The Rape

May 17,2009

7:30 A.M.

Today I woke up very early, filled with anxiety. I don’t know if my body automatically knows what happened last year at this time or if I built myself up with each day that went by.

I feel panicky, nauseous, and on the verge of a panic attack. I am still out of town around people I do not know well, and I don’t want to have a breakdown.

I can’t believe last year at this time I still had everything. I had my job, my home, and my life. I had no clue what lied ahead less then 24 hours from now.

What shocks me is that I think of this and think I should have been more grateful of what I had. No that I have a different life and lived through the rape, I find I am not grateful now.

Although so far this day is not going so hot, I believe I have a lesson to be learned. Be grateful of what I have now, because it could all be taken away.

Maybe God had to bring me down to nothing to make me more aware of what I have now.

7:15 pm

I am trying to refocus my thoughts on different things but all day, every hour I am being reminded of what I was doing at each given time last year.

Last year it was Saturday and I was getting ready or already out to enjoy the weekend. I was just like many others going out to have a nice time after a week of work.

I remember things and fall into disgust. For example, I remember what I was wearing that night, jean capris and a black tank top, I still have them and wear them. That thought that I just realized today taints my mind. I cannot believe I didn’t recognize them. Of course I was not in those clothes when the rape occurred. Just for the night out.

Why do I bother with writing all of this, a few reasons really, I want to get it out, I realize that looking back at the past is never beneficial but the thoughts keep creeping back into my mind.

I also want others to know that they are not alone with haunted thoughts. No matter how many times I see the T.V. ads or see the websites that say you are not alone, you still feel very alone, at least I do.

Today is hard and I knew that it was coming. How could it be so hard if I knew it was coming? It isn’t even the anniversary date, just the day before.

My feelings are of fear, disgust, a wrenching cramp in my chest, dirty, and guilty. I will continue to try and refocus but the filth seems to surrounds me.

I always looked forward to nights out, now I barely want to leave the house.

Victoria Placeo




Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Depression and Rape Anniversary Dates

I have experienced some form of depression on and off throughout my life, but it was nothing I could not handle. I used skills to thwart the depression away. Those skills are not working now.

Some days I feel fair and others are like today, a great feeling of worthlessness. A fatigue, and indifference towards what goes on in the world around me. Just wanting to disassociate from the people and world around me.

I feel like I am walking in a fog, things are not clear to me, I am not focused. I asked my counselor, why I feel so bad knowing that the anniversary was coming up. She stated that because of the time of year whether I am conscious of it or not, by mind and body knows what happened.

I remember the rape, and thinking about it doesn't seem to cause much emotion. I can tell I am slightly or fully depressed, I am not taking care of myself the way I used to. I don't even care much about how I look.

I want to feel something, even if it is pain, this numbness is scaring me. When I asked my counselor if I would disassociate for good, she said that that would have happened by now.

I don't know what else to do. I am trying to stay busy, do physical things, take short naps, fill myself full of positive thoughts. I just feel numb, lifeless, and the worst thing about it is I feel okay feeling numb, and I know that is not good.

I don't think I even make sense anymore.


Victoria Placeo

Monday, May 11, 2009

I Cracked- I Think

Last night I had a bit of breakdown, I really don't know what happened, I was feeling horrible, and then I stopped talking and let go.

I talked a little this morning but don't feel like talking much. I don't really feel bad, but it feels like my brain doesn't work.

I just let go and it was a wonderful feeling, no stress, no pain, no more fighting. I broke and I thought it would be different this morning, but it isn't I feel nothing bad but don't want to talk, I just want to enjoy the feeling of feeling nothing.

I hope I didn't crack........

Victoria Placeo

Friday, May 8, 2009

Rape Anniversary Dates - Symptoms

From yesterdays post you can guess that I am not doing my best. I have been depressed, anxious, and have some suicidal thoughts. I wrote yesterday that I should try to stop figuring out why I was feeling so bad. Then it dawned on me.......perhaps I am feeling so bad because the 1 year anniversary is 10 days away?

I did a little research, not much, I don't like to, I think it puts things in peoples minds. However I found the United States Department of Veterans Affairs site. It discusses anniversary dates the whys and the symptoms etc.

In it talks a why people do have anniversary dates. It states

"According to Foa and Kozak 3 , traumatic memories contain specific information about the dangerousness of an event so that people will seek safety and protect themselves from similar harm. The memory provides information about what the individual should be afraid of, how he or she should perceive such situations, how to feel in that situation, and what to think."

It also touches on the symptoms and here it is:

"A common type of anniversary reaction is experiencing grief and sadness around the anniversary of the death of someone significant. In fact, this is common enough that most major religions have commemorative ceremonies to support the intensification of grief at these times. At the extreme end of the spectrum, people can find themselves clinically depressed or even suicidal. However, for most, the episode of flattened affect and sadness is brief."


Depressed, suicidal, and sadness, sounds familiar. Although I have read the article, I am still having trouble accepting that the rape could effect me this badly with all the months behind me.

I have read numerous times that people have trouble accepting rape, and even acknowledging it. I guess I am one of those people.

My first coping skill I used and guess can recommend is a power nap and a good cry. That is how I dealt with the depression and bad thoughts yesterday.

I will post if I come up with anymore skills that work for me. I know there are plenty of documents on coping skills, but it is asinine to think that all will work for the same person.



Victoria Placeo

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Depression After Rape

Some days, like today, I am so depressed. I try and stay busy, I try different tasks, nothing is working.

I am afraid that I will get worse, however I want to feel better. It is getting close to the one year anniversary, so perhaps that is why.

I need to stop trying to figure out why, and just focus on the good things in my life. It is just not working.

I feel so bad, like there is a great gnawing pain in my chest, I want to cry but there are no tears. I really don't know what I feel bad about, it seems so uncontrollable.

I'll nap and see how I feel, perhaps it is a sleep issue, there I go again trying to figure it out...........


Victoria Placeo

Monday, May 4, 2009

Low Self-Esteem After Rape

My self-esteem has never been this low. I have looked back over my life and remembered when I did not feel the best about myself. No time has compared to now.

I am currently in a different town, I have never been to. It is bigger then the town I am now residing in.

The whole trip here I felt awful, tired, bad thoughts such as I am ugly, fat,etc. I had a generalized fear and could not figure out why. I really do have to stop trying to figure things out.

Upon arriving here, I felt great discomfort. I did not want to go anywhere, I did not want to go inside anywhere, when we got food I wanted to go through the drive-thru.

This is or was not me, I used to go places by myself and feel completely confident. I almost always thought I looked decent and sometimes even great.

I am scared of things, I have general anxiety of places, people, events, and I know it is related to the rape. But when I think about the fear, I am not scared of someone hurting me again.

I went 30 years without anyone hurting me physically, why would I be scared of it now. Because one sick, organism, hurt me?

I want to feel better, and I do plenty of good self-talk. I try to think of things the way I want them to be. I try to imagine myself the way I want to look and feel. I do positive visualization.

Despite all of this, I am still haunted by an unprovoked fear and discomfort. I am trying not to fight it, I am trying to accept it. My hope is by accepting it, and going about "normal life" the fear with dissipate.

I hope it works, I am tired of feeling bad about myself, I am tired of being unhappy for no reason, I am tired of being scared.


Victoria Placeo

Friday, May 1, 2009

Life Before and After Rape

It is May 1st and when I saw the date, I could not help but think, what was I doing last year at this time, just 17 days before the rape? I can't believe I made this far without cracking.

I honestly can't remember what I was doing on May 1st, but the memory of my old life is painful.

I was happy, I had my own home, I was excited to be in a new community, I liked my job, and I was just enjoying my new beginning.

There are triggers that bring on memories of my old life, certain songs, traveling back to the area of the rape ( my old home), smells, etc. I really miss my life.

I know what the critics say, you must look forward, you must look at the positive, you must see what you have now, and I agree. However, it hurts so much.

I loved my life, I miss the town, the places I visited, even my job (who misses a job)?

The way I was before the rape, I was upbeat, I had a much higher self-esteem, I used to dance daily. I don't dance anymore, I really don't feel upbeat enough, or pretty enough to dance.

As much as I have lost, I have gained some great things, but I really wish I could be back where I was and keep the good things I have gained.

I am lonely in this town, but moving is out of the question, I miss my independence, I miss what I thought my family and friends were like. I am disappointed by all the people who just shrugged this off. Since I made a living caring for people, I just don't understand.

My friends are far away, and now that I am better, not fully of course, I would like to socialize a little bit more, even in a work setting, but there is nothing available.

The positive is that now I have to learn to be happy no matter where I am at, with nothing to call my own except myself, that is a good thing.


Victoria Placeo

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Confusion Around Others After Rape

I wrote this the other day when I was surrounded by certain people who shall remain nameless. I believe it gives a good look into how I react to others since the rape.

There is so much confusion around certain people. For example tonight there was a conversation about sociology people being full of it because they act on pure emotion and are not logical.

This conversation reminded me of me because I go up and down with my emotions. Here I am in an emotional mess and trying to step outside the emotion.

I challenged the statement about sociology people, why I don't know. I asked " because the sociology people do not hold your beliefs, they are not logical?" The answer was basically yes.

So I go on and ask " So if they do not fall into your beliefs they are not correct?" Again the answer was yes.

This made me feel a little better because I heard someone say all in one conversation that sociology people are not logical and those that do not fit with this persons belief are not correct.

Now I am not sure but I see something illogical there. With billions of people and beliefs in the world it does not seem logical to make such a statement.

My guess is this person may have known a couple dozen sociology people and formed a belief, a bit narrow minded if you ask me.


Now what does the writing of that night have to do with rape. Well first, it shows that I immediately took offense to someone stating people who are acting with emotion are not logical.

Second, it made me question myself ( a common side effect of being raped), was I being illogical because I still have problems with the rape.

Third, it was someone close to me whom does not acknowledge the rape and for them to be speaking to me in this way, even though not about me, it was awfully cold and thoughtless.

And forth, it showed me that I was healing. I was able to step outside the emotional mess, and evaluate someone who may not be directing things directly at me but was contradictory. With the realization of the contradiction, it seemed to me that they were acting on emotion and not caring whom they may be hurting.

All of that gave me a great understanding of the individual who was not really there for me. From what I learned that night, that individual wants to speak of others emotionally and only the things that are not in their realm of control.

In my case, I was in their realm of control and/or care and they chose to pretend it did not happen. I don't think the sociology people are the ones with emotional non-dealing problems.................YA THINK?


Victoria Placeo


Monday, April 27, 2009

Rape Support Group- RASA Survivors

RASA Survivors one of the first Rape and Sexual Assault Social Networks has been updated.

RASA stands for Rape and Sexual assault and is not only for survivors of assault but secondary survivors as well.

RASA is a social network, so survivors can have a closer relationship with those whom have experienced similar trauma.

Although RASA Survivors was originally developed for the survivors and secondary survivors, The Admins of the site invite supporters to become members as well.

The hope is that with this network, survivors will be able to find a home of positivity and support.

The new updates to the site consist of General Resources which can be found under the resource tap and Victoria's own resources that are updated often.
RASA Survivors can be found at http://www.rasasurvivors.com

Victoria Placeo

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gray Hair after Rape

There is an old wives tale that a person who has undergone great shock or trauma can have their hair turn partly or fully gray.

For awhile there I was believing that. About 6 months after the rape, I started seeing more gray hair but more disturbing was one gray patch growing from the front of my scalp.

Upon research of this matter I did not find much but the information I did find went with previous posts I have written.

In those previous posts I have written and my continuing hair loss (also know as alopecia) after the rape. It was very traumatic losing the hair because I already felt ugly and the additional hair loss was not helping.

While researching the gray hair all I found as an explanation was that the gray hair was there all along. With a great amount of shock or trauma, the thick, darker hairs fall out, leaving the already gray hairs visible.

Both the hair loss ( which did discontinue after 7 months) and the gray hair does not help the self-esteem.

I am glad I found and answer and all I can say to those who may be experiencing this is that the hair loss will stop and thank goodness for hair dye.

Victoria Placeo

Friday, April 24, 2009

Definition of Rape - What is Rape

All this time I have been writing and never bothered to define what Rape is, (I don't think). The information about rape below is from HealthyPlace I think it does a good job of explaining.

Dictionary Definitions of Rape

Rape: Sexual intercourse with a woman by a man without her consent and chiefly by force or deception.

Statutory rape: Sexual intercourse with a female who is below the statutory age of consent.

Consent:
Compliance in or approval of what is done or proposed by another.
Different Kinds of Rape

Stranger Rape:
A person who the victim does not know rapes her. Example*: Rose, age 25, was accosted at knife point in a shopping mall parking lot and forced by a stranger into his car. He drove her to a rural area, raped her, stabbed her five times, set the car on fire, and left her. Although severely injured, she survived (*examples from The Rape Victim: Clinical & Community Intervention Koss & Harvey, 1991).

Acquaintance Rape:
The victim knows her attacker, although he is not a close friend or family member. Example: Susan, age 23, went to the door of her house to find a man she recognized from one of her college classes. She opened the door to let him in the house, whereupon he threw her on the sofa and raped her.

Date Rape: The victim is dating the person who rapes her. Example: Diana, age 50, was vacationing in the Caribbean. She spent some of her time learning sailing and walking along the beach with a fellow guest. At a hotel dance, she danced with this man, and he asked her to walk outside. Once on the beach, this 6'4" man asked to have sex and forced her to cooperate by holding her down. Diana was too afraid to resist.

Multiple Rape (gang rape)
: The victim is raped by more than one man. Example: Ann, age 21, was at a friend's home with a group of her peers. There were three men, one other woman, and herself present. When the other woman left, the three men raped her.

Marital Rape
: The victim is raped by her husband. Example: A woman recently had gynecological surgery. Two days after she came home from the hospital, her husband forced her to have sexual intercourse. This caused her to hemorrhage; she was re-hospitalized.

I have few things to say about the different types, but I'll save them for later.


Victoria Placeo


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Flashbacks and Letting Go After Rape

As I have written in previous posts, I have been having some health issues. I am sure in the documentation of rape trauma syndrome or post traumatic stress syndrome that this may be a side effect. However, I could just be sick:)

Onto the point.......yesterday I had to go to the doctor, they then sent me to the hospital......not again. I was panicked, not so much from the memories of being in the hospital before, but for the illness. They thought it might be an appendicitis.

The Rock was driving me to the hospital. Out of no where I was terrified. I did not want to go to another hospital. The poor Rock had to calm me the whole way there. I did calm down when I got there, but still had a great sense of unease.

Then they took me into the CT room .........they put me on the table and I broke.

My heart started to speed up, I got extremely hot, tears started pouring out of my eyes, and there I was looking up at the ceiling of a hospital again.

I was not going to tell anyone what happened to me, but in my anxiety and fear I told both the radiology techs and apologized.........WHAT? Yes, I did apologize. I felt bad that they had to put up with my fear....perhaps I need to work through more....ya think?

With this particular CT Scan I had to have things put where they should not be, and that is exactly what happened during the rape. Memories came flooding back, tears streamed, and all the pain resurfaced.

Logically, I knew that I was safe, but pictures and memories flooded my mind.

And then, the most wonderful thing happened........I let go.......I think maybe I went numb. However, it felt so good. I did not care what happened then or if I was going to have to have surgery, I just did not care. It was one of the best feelings I have had in a long time.

I believe some Psych. people might say that I numbed the pain and that it is not healthy, but I believe that I let go of what I was not in control of.

I am going to try an master letting go of the control and of course I will keep you posted.

Victoria Placeo