The woman who works at the rape crisis centre does not like the term “Rape victim”. Yet I think many women raped will start out as rape victims, violated, hurt, unable to trust or open up, angry. No one need stay that way. With the correct support one might be a “Rape survivor”, having suffered this great injury yet still going on with life.
Human beings heal. While we are alive, however great the hurt, we tend towards healing, getting better. We tend towards maturing. The next, natural stage is the Recovered rape survivor, who has suffered this great hurt, and is now able again to trust and to open up and be vulnerable. It is not easy. It may take a long time.
There is the further stage, transcending the rape to a deeper maturity, where rather than being a continuing scar, always hurting, the rape becomes that moment of loss of hope which produces a new, truer hope, a greater maturity, and a greater understanding of the capabilities and strength and resources of the woman. When every experience of life becomes Blessing rather than curse. I do not mean to minimise the trauma that the person raped suffers, but I do know that with sufficient time and support in community people can get to this stage.
Recovery can be a voyage of self-discovery and personal growth. Experiences of mental illness can provide opportunities for change, reflection and discovery of new values, skills and interests.