FINAL UPDATE:(2/4/14) I think I've responded to every first-order question here! If you have a question or point that I missed, please re-post it and I will do my best to check back and reply. I continue to work through all of the PM's many of you sent and will eventually get to everyone. This was both a challenging experience and an amazing joy. Once again, thank you all so much for your supportive thoughts and comments. And, who knows, maybe we'll do it again in a year or so! Some of you have requested I host a topic more generally on the subject of rape/molestation and its consequences. I'm open to that, if there is enough interest. Thank you, Reddit!

TOPIC The idea of having an orgasm or feeling arousal during rape or molestation is a confusing and difficult one for many people, both survivors and secondary-survivors (friends/family). Many do not believe it's possible for a woman or man to achieve orgasm during rape or other kinds of sexual assault. Some believe having an orgasm under these circumstances means that it wasn't a "real" rape or the woman/man "wanted" it.

I’ve assisted many children and young women with this very issue. It is typically embarrassing and shameful to talk about. However, once it's out in the open, the survivor can look at her/his reaction honestly and begin to heal. The shame and guilt around this is a part of why rapes go unreported and why there is a need for better understanding in society for how and why this occurs. The studies and reports on physical response to molestation and rape shows numbers ranging from 5% to over 50% of survivors having this experience. That this is not an exact figure shows the need there is for more and better research.

This is not a topic often open for discussion even within the mental health community and there is concern that raising it outside the professional community will lead to misinterpretation and misunderstanding (e.g., the myth of victims "enjoying rape.") It's also sadly one reason why there isn't more research done on this and similar topics. My belief is that if we can address it directly and remove the shame and stigma, then a lot more healing can happen.

I’d like to take this opportunity to Thank You, Reddit, for making this a Front Page topic last time! I’ve been informed it was one of the top Reddit discussions of all time and likely reached tens of thousands of people. I’ve since received many requests to revisit it, and that original discussion led to a number of positive outcomes, including being referenced in several articles( on the subject, assisting a university in developing a campus sexual-assault seminar and involvement in a California state court trial opinion on consent! More importantly, this information reached many people in need of it and was useful to the Reddit community and beyond. I had the opportunity to respond to dozens (hundreds maybe?) of private messages requesting help with related issues from survivors, friends and caring family members.

This is an open discussion and I'm happy to answer any questions. I will answer first-order (main thread) questions as it is really too difficult to attempt tracking threads that deviate. Depending on the number of responses, I may go back later and try to respond to side-threads that arise. Don't be afraid to think your question may be offensive, as long as it isn’t deliberately so. I'd rather have a frank talk than leave people with false ideas. So, here I am again…AMA away!

Comments: 4352 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

pottrpupptpals2245 karma

Has anyone ever used this orgasm ideology in court during a sexual assault trial?

ChildTherapist2566 karma

I was hoping someone would ask this!

Yes (although it was the attorneys, not the offender themselves). Going back 15+ years, this was a defense that was employed and part of what continues to feed into the "it couldn't be rape if s/he responded" mindset.

There are a number of laws in the U.S. now that won't allow this as a solid defense, though it is still raised from time to time.

I mentioned in the intro that I had the opportunity to advise on such a case. Glad to say the outcome was to confirm that orgasm does NOT equal consent. The case was more complex than that, but that's the basic outcome.

i_believe_in_pizza1782 karma

Okay, so in your intro you indicate multiple times that it is a myth that arousal and/or orgasm equals enjoyment, and you elaborate on the ramifications of this misconception. However you do not explain why this is so. Since this is the cornerstone of your AMA, I'd appreciate an explanation about why it is wrong to assume that a rape victim who experienced arousal and/or orgasm derived sexual satisfaction from what occurred.

ChildTherapist2176 karma

Great question and I'm glad it's the first one asked. This is what is very difficult for a lot of people to get.

Orgasm and sexual arousal is primarily a physical reaction. Not to get too technical off the bat, but our sexual response is guided more by our autonomic nervous system. If you remember our highschool science, this is also known as the "fight or flight" system. In dangerous or highly charged emotional situations, this is part of our bodies defense system. Sexual arousal is very much keyed in here. When areas of our body are stimulated, our body doesn't know the difference between what is and isn't wanted and responds the way it is designed to.

An easier way to reframe this is to use the example of young children who are molested. There is little argument that a child "enjoys" a forced arousal and yet this is sadly a common feature of child sexual abuse.

MyBoobsAreGold1316 karma

Hi, I have been raped twice. When I was 12 my older cousin raped me while he was babysitting. From then on, I spent my teenage years desperately seeking any kind of affection from men. I slept with nearly 100 men and a few women before I was 20 years old. Then when I was 19, I was walking home from work at 11.30pm and was pulled into an alleyway and raped again, the rapist had a machete, and forced me into having anal and vaginal sex. He tore me open inside and I collapsed, hit my head on concrete and smashed my head open. I was left to bleed out, and would probably be dead now if someone hadn't found me. After I physically recovered, I found that I lost interest in sex totally, I went from one extreme to the other. The first rape at a young age set me off on a downward spiral of seeking sexual contact, whereas the later one seemed to turn off all my feelings. I still have a lot of issues from it, I am very cold to people and have extreme social anxiety and suffer from panic attacks. I still seem to gravitate towards bad, controlling relationships. I don't really know what I'm asking here, it just seemed like a good time to write down what had happened. Sorry for the block of text I'm mobile right now, if you have any advice I would really appreciate it.

ChildTherapist710 karma

Thank you very much for being brave enough to share your experience. I think it helps to highlight what I'm talking about here.

Your experience at 12 shaped a lot of your formative sexual understanding. It makes sense that you moved forward sexually with the idea that sex=connection/intimacy and that you sought it out so much. The experience as an adult sounds far more violent and life-threatening, so that makes sense that you would withdraw from something that almost killed you.

I don't know that I have specific advice aside from going to (or staying in!) therapy and continue to be open there about what happened and how it has made you feel now. I don't know if you have a therapist who works specifically with trauma, but that would be very important for you. To walk you through safely, the details of what happened and the feelings you had from them.

Thank you again for writing.

xlaxplaya200 karma

For anybody else that is struggling with similar issues (or any issue, for that matter), I'd like to emphasize the second part of what OP just said. See a therapist! Going to a therapist does not mean that you're "crazy", and even the most balanced and "sane" person could benefit from seeing a therapist. The negative stigma that's attached to seeing a mental health professional in this society is ridiculous.

ChildTherapist12 karma

Excellent excellent statement! Thanks xlaxplaya, for stating this so clearly.

goodbatch254 karma

I have worked with trauma survivors, and I just wanted to say that I am so sorry that this happened to you. These were absolutely terrible crimes that you did not deserve to suffer through, and they were not your fault. I hear survivors share feelings of guilt, like, "Well if I had done that or hadn't done this, then things would have been different and this would not have happened." But the truth is that the fault lies entirely with the predators, not with you or your behavior. Or anything about you whatsoever. It is not your fault.

It actually makes complete sense to me that you were looking for affection with different sexual partners after the first rape. Many women who survive assault will go to drastic measures to take back their power - to be fully in control of their sexual behavior again, even if it means placing them at risk of harm. Now, what you are describing after the second assault, in terms of your struggles, sounds VERY consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder. Particularly if your panic attacks are triggered when you have unwanted thoughts, nightmares, or random reminders of your traumatic experience.

Of course you would need to go to a professional to get a proper diagnosis, but I will say that one of the hallmarks of PTSD is that people hide their trauma and avoid talking about it. Out of shame, to protect their loved ones, to avoid bringing up painful emotions. But I truly believe that the key to healing is talking about what happened to you, whether with a therapist or trusted friend. Someone who will stand by you and not let you carry this burden alone. So I just want to say kudos that you were able to share this today, albeit anonymously. If you are interested in taking the next step toward recovery, I am going to recommend three excellent types of treatment that many PhD-level therapists are trained in:

1) Prolonged Exposure for PTSD (developed by Dr. Edna Foa)

2) Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation (developed by Dr. Marylene Cloitre)

3) Cognitive Processing Therapy (developed by Dr. Patricia Resick)

Keep hanging tough! You're in my thoughts.

ChildTherapist12 karma

Very well said and a nice expanding of my comments. Thank you!

mxCastiel1250 karma

Firstly, props to you for dealing with such a sensitive and confronting issue for people.

My question is does the percentage of victims having a physical response to the molestation increase with age or deviate? Excuse me if this is too out of line, I'm just interested by the findings of the study.

ChildTherapist1124 karma

Thank you for that! Interesting question with two answers.

Young children though capable of sexual arousal tend not to in assault or frightening situations, though this changes as the move into puberty. Children don't have the same frame of reference or context for stimulation and arousal as adults, so when they mature, they tend to respond at higher rates. This then drops off again into adulthood.

As an aside, I'll say this is a difficult question to answer with certainty, given that we don't know exact numbers. This is a general theory based on what we know about arousal response and child vs adult response.

shootdarnfrick665 karma


FlamingBubba1234 karma

I was molested and abused by my step-father, to whom my mother is still married. She is aware of the past abuse, and although there have been times in my life when I have cut all contact with both of them for years at a time, I now have a relationship with them both. My husband knows about the abuse and has asked me a similar question to yours, "Why do you still have a relationship with them?" so I'll do my best to tell you my thoughts as a survivor.

One of the first things I have to say is that my abuse happened over 25 years ago. It's not like there's a statute of limitations when it comes to one's psyche, but I realized a long time ago that he doesn't have the ability to hurt me now. Knowing that he can't hurt me, and I'm in control of he and I's relationship gives me a power that comes from myself (which any abuse survivor will tell you is a huge deal). An important thing to mention here is that he's not in the position, nor does he have the ability to abuse anyone else.

Another reason I still have a relationship with them is that I love my mother very much. Is she flawed, and selfish, and vain, and weak? Oh yes, but that's not all that she is. She's the one person in the world the most like me. We share a sense of humor and a sense of adventure. She's my mother, and I love her.

I used to think that her head-in-the-sand denial of my abuse meant that she was evil, or that she didn't love me. As an adult I realize it's because she's weak. She's a product of her generation (born in the late 40's), and can't imagine a life without her husband.

As far as my present relationship with my step-father goes, he is repentant. He knows what he did to me was wrong, and I have seen the weight it puts on him. He lives each day with the guilt, and that guilt has taken him from a powerful man to a shell of a person. In childhood he was my parent and my abuser, and he played both roles well.

Do I trust him now? Oh hell no. If I had a kid(s) I wouldn't leave them in the same room with him. But I don't have kids, and I never will so it's a moot point.

To me, the most difficult part of being an adult survivor of abuse is dealing with this duality of love and loathing every day. Not self-loathing, I gave that shit up a long time ago, but a loathing of my parents, for being such weak bags of flesh. But they're still my parents. There's still years and years of birthday parties and handmade halloween costumes and dirt bikes. It's all mixed up together, and I used to have such a problem with that, but you know, that's life. It's all mixed up together, the good and the bad.

Kinda TLDR, the reason I still have a relationship with my parents is that I'm strong enough to, and that relationship in turn gives me strength. They raised me and encouraged me, and they abused me and cast me out. I survived all of it, and perhaps because of it, I thrive today.

ChildTherapist245 karma

This is an amazing example of a person who has come through their abuse and has found it within them to craft some kind of relationship with those who abused them.

Not easy to do and I am doubly-rewarded when I am able to help a client to do this.

I am very happy for you.

ChildTherapist695 karma

I may get a lot of very personal questions during this AMA and it is NOT my intention to put anyone off, but there are some boundaries to how far I can go in addressing them. I hope that makes sense.

That said, the best way to be a support in ANY situation involving a survivor of abuse is to always be open to listening and guiding them towards treatment, if possible. Part of this sounds like a legal question which I couldn't answer for you.
The answer to why she may still have a relationship with him may be complicated to understand, though it isn't completely unusual for molestation victims to maintain contact with their abuser. The reasons could be very varied.

idris-elbow615 karma


ChildTherapist582 karma

Really good question and one I see come up a lot working with older teens and adults with this history.

I believe in simple, direct communication. First, YOU have to be ready to have this conversation understanding what possible responses may be. You can't control someone else's biases. What you can do is explain that you have this history, that for whatever reason related to it you now enjoy this type of sex and power-play dynamics and that you expect nothing more from your partner than playing out some fantasies. Being clear about separating the fantasy from what happened is important here. And be aware that you MAY have flashbacks or reactions to what happened and your sexual partner needs to be prepped to know how to help you if that does happen.

I will say that how much you reveal about what happened to you should be related to what kind of relationship it is. A boyfriend/girlfriend relation will have a lot more disclosure than a one-night or casual thing.

I hope that helps.

Armonasch568 karma

What are your thoughts on "Male Rape" aka When a man is sexuallly assaulted my a woman. I've heard a lot of people say some pretty awful things about it, like how it can't be considered rape or sexual assault when the man was aroused.

I'm sorry if this is vague, I'm not really sure how to word this question, but thanks for doing this AMA at any rate.

ChildTherapist589 karma

You are really welcome.

Male rape exists, it is a very real thing, it is perpetrated by other males as well as females. I hope that's a clear answer. There are many men walking around who were sexually abused by a trusted female as children. Mother-child sexual abuse is not as well known as some other types, but it is prevalent and often more damaging.

As difficult as society makes it for a woman to come forward about abuse/rape, it's even harder for men and often the damage done is far worse because men aren't "allowed" to talk about and feel what was done to them. I hope that's clear.

BreakingGoodd400 karma

Is having an orgasm tightly related to mental or physical pleasure? or both? Thanks for answering such a sensitive topic!

ChildTherapist514 karma

Physical more than mental, though both are involved. See my response to the first question.

13lack12ose334 karma

Thanks for coming and talking with us today.

My question to you is, have you ever spoken face to face with a rapist or child molester, and if so, what was the experience like? I understand that I'm going off topic a little, but it's an interesting subject.

ChildTherapist473 karma

Well, if you think about the kind of work I do, the answer is yes and it is sort of unavoidable. Some abused people channel their hurt and anger in destructive ways, sometimes towards others. So someone who was raped or abused may do the same to someone else. In that way, I've worked with many. Also, there are times when the survivor wants to heal the relationship and the rapist/abuser is able to take full responsibility. In those cases, we work together with both to fully explore what happened, how it happened, how it affected the survivor and allow them to voice their hurt and anger towards their rapist. This is far more typical in family situations though I've seen it in couples as well.

justchildtherapistfa227 karma

Hey! Throwaway because personal.

Was abused as a child. The first time I remember it happening was during my pre-teen years, when I woke up in the middle of the night (there were in general lots of sneaky drugs etc involved).

Anyways, I remember being terrified, bewildered, but also enjoying it. And to this day, years and years later, I never realised that was a slightly common thing. Or that there were others out there who experienced the same thing. I guess it made me feel guilty and, quite frankly, rather ashamed. Because if I enjoyed it, then surely I was the naughty one, right?

Anyways. Thank you for this. It is an amazing topic, a bold detail that I've never seen mentioned before... I'll look forward to reading your other responses.

Thank you.

ChildTherapist174 karma

Your experience is VERY common and it is always a surprise to younger people I work with how common it is. I always have to walk a fine line between validating their experience, letting them know they are not alone and not scaring them that what they suffered is what the world at large is like.

Thank you for being willing to share your very personal story here.

deteugma198 karma

  • Do we know how or why it happens, or under what conditions it's most likely to occur?

  • I've read that women can show physical signs of arousal (i.e. when shown pornography) without being consciously aroused. Is this similar?

Edit: /u/ChildTherapist already answered some of this, so she probably won't answer mine.

Edit #2: /u/ChildTherapist is a champ. Thanks for answering.

ChildTherapist210 karma

We know how and why (see my first response), but not enough to know under what conditions. I can generally say that when there is more awareness of what is happening, more build-up, multiple assailants, and more intense stimulation, there is a much higher chance of a sexual response.

And, yes, to your second part. Good catch! Yes, sexual arousal happens often on a subconscious or autonomic level, so it is very possible to become aroused and not necessarily be initially aware of it.

cash_money_metal197 karma

Thank you for your research! The ignorance around rape always baffled me. From my understanding, having an orgasm during rape is not because the victim is enjoying it but because that's your bodies natural reaction to the act of sex. I knew a couple of girls in college who were afraid to contact my school because they were shamed into believing "they were just drunk." Which is incredibly sad, so kudos for trying to make it easier to talk about rape and not a taboo.

ChildTherapist232 karma

Very good point! Our bodies often react to protect ourselves and the threat of or completion of rape is no different. Men get erections, women will have increased blood flow and lubrication. One theory in understanding the existence and evolution of rape is that the women who were able to survive it by having their bodies lubricate and respond, prevented injuries that would become infected. Those that didn't, wouldn't survive. I say this is one theory or a piece of one, as there are many.

There was no shame for your friends. Their bodies acted to protect them.

telepathetic_monkey182 karma

I would just like to say thank you. The last AMA you did let me come to terms with some of my demons.

When you said it's similar to laughing when you don't want to while being tickled, I felt the guilt leave. Again, thank you.

ChildTherapist88 karma

Wow, that is amazing! And thank you so much for being willing to share that here. You have in turn probably helped a lot of other people to feel better and less ashamed about what happened to them.

Sharing this information and letting people know they are okay for having responded sexually to their abuse/rape is a HUGE step in healing.

I_Hump_Rainbowz179 karma

Is there a place for a rape victim to talk about there experience without asking help from family.

ChildTherapist149 karma

Yes! Depending on the age of the person. I don't know for every state, but most states allow teens sometimes as young as 12 to seek psychotherapy without parental permission. This is usually if there would be some risk to the person if their family were to find out or know, say if the abuser is in the family.

Calling a rape hotline is a good starting place. 800-656-4673. Or the RAINN website. It's amazing and very helpful. Or your local rape center/hotline. Most communities have one.

kingsleySamoyed173 karma

Through your research, have you gotten many explanations of the physical feeling involved? I'm curious, as I've only experienced/witnessed pleasurable orgasms and am having trouble wrapping my head around this.

ChildTherapist260 karma

Well, this is a bit graphic but seems to get the idea across.

Imagine pairing eating one of your favorite meals while at the same time being forced to eat a bowl of shit (I hope it's okay to say that here). It doesn't change the flavors of the food you like but it will change how you experience them in the future. Does that make sense?

I know this is getting downvoted, but I think it's a fair question.

raveur140 karma

Is it normal to feel aroused by the way I've been abused when I was young? I was once groped at a young age by my father and now I feel that feeling someone up with my hands/being felt up is the sexiest thing imaginable. Is there a correlation?

(Other info: my father was largely absent in my childhood and my parents have been divorced since I was 8. I have not had any contact since with him. I am a male.)

Thanks for your time!

ChildTherapist124 karma

Very possibly, yes. Though it's really hard for me to say without knowing more about the situation and how it affects you know. Not asking you to say, but it's why therapy is so helpful for people in understanding these things better.

im_always_fapping133 karma


ChildTherapist377 karma

You're welcome! Despite your username, I appreciate your feedback.


This AMA has literally stopped me from beating myself up after a long time of blaming myself for what haplened to me. I was abused from age 12 until I was 16. Im now in my 30s. I always blamed myself for what happened because I thought I was instigating the abuse by responding with getting an erection.

Not sure if ive responded properly with this so apologies if its incorrect.

Thanks again for the post!

ChildTherapist73 karma

THIS is why I want to do this! To let hurt people know they are not at fault and are not alone. I am so glad you can stop mentally harming yourself on top of what was done to you.

BetweenTheWaves108 karma

Don't have a question. Just want to say that, although your field of practice may be "niche" to some, I am more than willing to bet you have saved the life of at least one person. I am of the mind that it is all worth it if you can accomplish that.

I'm glad you're pushing toward more research on this subject. Best of luck to you and thanks for trying to help others in a way that not many others are, it seems.

ChildTherapist89 karma

Thank you so much. I get a lot of reward from what I do, though it can be difficult to hear what people can do to each other over and over.

LeyfLeyf96 karma

I really hope this makes Reddit lighten up on the rape jokes a little. People take that shit way too far and it hurts more people than they'll ever realize.

ChildTherapist34 karma

I agree. If this does anything to help with that, I'll be glad.

anatopism84 karma

What is your advice to friends/family of victims, when it comes to offering support, or who want to reach out? What is something everyone should understand before offering support to a victim?

ChildTherapist91 karma

This is a great question and one of the difficult parts of doing this work. Thank you for asking.

There is a lot of good information for Secondary Survivors. (one of the BEST sites for sexual assault recovery online) has a section devoted to this: and

My best advice is to listen with patience and love, do NOT judge what they say or what their experience was, IF you have a negative or difficult reaction, be honest with yourself and give yourself the time you need to adjust to what you learned.

I have a writing on this I give family members sometimes. I'll need to find it. I'll post it up here.

Ro11ingThund3r80 karma

What can we as the general public do to correct these misconceptions better?

ChildTherapist135 karma

Be unafraid to talk about them. Be the person who challenges rape/abuse myths if it comes up in conversation. Be armed with this kind of information so if someone says something hurtful, you can reply to it.

Education is the best offense.

There have been some great educational campaigns aimed at men. Sorry guys, no offense, but men are the primary perpetrators of rape/abuse. Not that women don't as well and I haven't seen plenty of mother/girlfriend type abuse.

ideasware74 karma

Ok, sorry for asking such a basic question, but if they really do experience orgasm, it has to be a very confusing time. I understand that it's rape, no question, but I feel that it has to be a lot more complex -- how do women deal with it?

ChildTherapist151 karma

No basic questions here and thanks for being willing to ask.

Women AND men deal with it in two basic ways. What's called an inhibited response, withdrawing from contacts, depression, blaming the self, a general pulling inward and away from others. And the dis-inhibited response, dealing with the feelings through uninhibited contact, promiscuous behavior, seeking out re-creation of the event or similar situations.

I'm keeping it simple here as there are a WIDE variety of responses between those two. There is also self-harming behavior from drug and alcohol use up to suicide.

nathan165367 karma

I been with a few girls who were the victims of sexual violence and who now find pleasure in controlled violence during sex (choking, restraints, hitting etc.) is there a correlation between these experiences? do women feel guilty about deriving pleasure from rape-like scenarios after an actual rape experience?

ChildTherapist74 karma

Yes, there is often a connection between having been sexually violated and connecting that experience to later sexual exploration and acting out. It has to do with linking the abusive experience to the "positive feelings" (i put that in quotes to show it really isn't positive in the usual sense, but that's how it may be seen by the survivor) that came from it.

There can be a LOT of guilt and shame around it, if the abuse wasn't dealt with. For some women (and men), once they have worked through the trauma, they find that they continue to associate sexually coercive play (forced sex/rape-play, lots of phrases for it) with strong sexual feelings. This is NOT the typical response. For far more, sex becomes difficult and scary. I want to make that clear.

solowife1165 karma

Is it common for the child that was raped to later on in life have a sort of fetish for it? For example I was molested by my father as a child. He would dope me up on tylonal pm or alcohol to make me go into a hard sleep. Then have his way with me. This went on for years while he also made sure I was terrified of him so I would not tell. Finally I got up the courage to tell someone and he is in prison. But now sometimes when I look at porn, I look at women who are asleep. Also 2 more questions. it is very hard for me to achieve an orgasm, is that a result of my molestation? And I say molestation because that is what the courts deemed it. What is the difference between molestation and rape?

ChildTherapist28 karma

Molestation is often the term we use to talk about child family or known perpetrator sexual abuse. Rape is usually the term we use to describe a forced sexual encounter by a stranger or when the survivor is older.

That isn't legally accurate, but generally what we mean. Molestation can also mean groping/touching/oral versus penetration.

I don't know how "common" but carrying those feelings forward in life and applying them to our sexual lives occurs frequently, especially in people who didn't get treatment for what happened.

cara_pox48 karma

I recently read a book called The Trauma Myth and much like this AMA, the author had to continuously made disclaimers about how molestation and rape is always bad, even though her thesis was that for most children, the molestation isn't traumatic until much later, when they realize what was actually done. They are more or less just confused, and yes, may even get some kind of physical pleasure from it.

I don't have a question, but I just want to thank you for this AMA. So many victims feel so much shame, and I'm sure most people don't understand this. So thank you for spreading awareness.

ChildTherapist25 karma

I haven't read that one, so thank YOU for the reference.

I'm glad this is helpful.

hijomaffections35 karma

Where should someone dealing with these issues find help? (I think this kind of information should come with AMAs like these)

RedErin35 karma

RAINN is one of the largest abuse support organizations. Their phone # is 800-656-HOPE(4673). They have trained staff to offer you support when you call, give you options you can take, and hook you up with a local counselor to talk to.

One of the most important things is to talk about it. Keeping trauma a secret is unhealthy and will cause you a lot of stress.

ChildTherapist18 karma

Thank you, RedErin!

I will just add that local colleges/universities have counseling centers with staff trained in this, many medium to larger cities have SARS or sexual assault response centers for immediate response with referrals to therapists in that area trained in counseling around sexual abuse/assault.

Gerwert17 karma

Being that a female orgasm is intense and very emotional experience for a woman, have you ever met a patient who developed some sort of attachment to their rapist because of this?

ChildTherapist3 karma

This came up a lot in our last AMA with women who had that very experience chiming in. Yes, it definitely can happen, far more so with children and teens than adults. For many children, the only love they experience is through the "loving" connection they received through the abuse. In those cases, it becomes very twisted in the mind of the child and is part of why treating it is so difficult. I've had cases where the child strongly defended the abusers actions and advocated for them even while going through horrible trauma themselves.

ameliorative11 karma

Do you think this is more of an issue for male or female victims?

I've heard people argue far too many times (about female on male sexual assault [incidentally, not defined as "rape" in England]) that if a man gets "hard" then he obviously wants it, and because you can't have sex with "a flaccid penis" you can't rape a man. I've personally never heard anyone outright argue that if a woman becomes aroused then she wants it, but I do bring up the analogy that if a woman is aroused, does she want it? Normally people respond with "women never get aroused during rape", the contraposition of which is "a woman who gets aroused has not been raped" and may be construed as their argument, but I of course don't believe it since arousal is generally an involuntary thing (especially during rape, obviously).

Coming forward is hard for all victims, but there is definitely a lot more support and encouragement for women than for men. Do you think the lack of support compounded with a widespread idea that "men can't get raped because they always want sex/get aroused" skewers statistics on the incidence of female/male on male sexual assault to make it less of an issue than it perhaps should be?

ChildTherapist6 karma

Short answer: yes to pretty much everything you said. It absolutely happens to men and can be far more difficult for them to admit it, come forward and get help for it. Envelopement-rape or female on male can and does happen, though honestly we don't know how much, due to the lack of reporting. Reporting is reduced often by the misconception that "guys always want it" along with some of what you said. There is that old (sadly maybe not old enough) idea that a man who is raped is "lucky."

I don't do a lot of work with men, but have sat with a number of devastated "lucky" young men who would argue how fortunate they were.