Telling someone you were raped is hard. It’s often too hard, and victims hide it away. One of the big reasons is because the victim feels like they wouldn’t be believed.
The statistics are all over the place, but it seems that somewhere around 2-8% of rape allegations are false. That leaves the vast majority of allegations as true.
Since I was raped, I told three friends about what happened. One was immediately sympathetic – he had never met the rapist, and he was solidly on my side. He supported me immediately, listened, and helped me feel safe again.
The other two people I told both knew the rapist. And their first reactions were almost identical – they accepted that it was ‘my side of the story’ but didn’t accept that it was rape. They wanted to know his side. I kind of get that – no-one wants to think that a friend could be a rapist. But I was opening up a terrible wound, and the salt poured in it stung.
The automatic response when someone says they were raped is too often doubt. It makes it hard to speak up about it. It makes me feel doubly assaulted – first physically, and then mentally as I try to process the idea that people simply don’t believe me.
People don’t cry rape often. And people who have been raped deserve your support. Doubting them makes their experience so much more painful.