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Archive for the ‘Animal Rape’ Category

Animal skull (c) Lynda Bernhardt*******trigger warning – animal, sexual, and ritual abuse*******

I have discussed animal rape on my blog before, but I do not believe that I have shared my specific story. I don’t know if it happened only once or several times, but I have recovered a very detailed memory of one incident. Trust me – one incident is more than enough to traumatize a child.

I was in my place on the table as usual, lying naked on my back. The bonfire was going as my abusers brought in a brown boxer on a leash. They led the dog up to me, and he raped me – simple as that. Someone took photographs of the rape taking place. To this day, the sound effects used on TV for a professional camera completely wig me out.

I do not blame the dog for what happened – he was merely the instrument used to perpetrate the rape. The dog went right to work, so this was clearly not the first time that the dog had been used to f@#$ a child. The feeling of being raped by a dog is indescribable. Anyone else who has experienced animal rape knows what I am talking about. The flashbacks include body memories that are almost too horrible to bear.

As a child, I was always bothered by our dog’s penis sticking out. Our dog was neutered, but even neutered dogs will sometimes “let it all hang out.” Whenever that happened, I could not help but stare. Now I know why.

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Animal skull (c) Lynda Bernhardt

On my blog entry entitled Recovering from Childhood Animal Rape, a reader asked the following questions:

I know that discovering what was done to us by our parents when my inside started to reveal stuff etc..with the use of animals knocked us clearly off our healing journey. We felt even more disgusted with ourself and could not get our head round this, we are still recovering many memories of all types of abuse. but the AR recalls always floors us for a long time … I suppose what i am trying to say is how did you get through your memories of the animal rape. Does it still hit you smack in the face or am I just feeling sorrow fro myself and looking for an excuse to feel this way when we recover these memories. To be honest we are more determined to heal than we are to breath at times. I suppose we may push ourself to hard for quick healing. Not sure just wondering to be honest ~ anon

I think the hardest areas of healing are those in which we attach the most shame. For my sister, the animal rape has been the most difficult form of abuse to heal. For me, it was the vaginal rapes. This is because we each felt more shame with our respective areas of abuse.

Don’t get me wrong – the animal rape memories definitely rocked me. In fact, when I experienced my first flashback of the animal rape (while talking on the phone with my sister, who accidentally triggered the memory), I experienced an emotional freefall that I wasn’t sure I would survive. I went into the chat room at Isurvive, and, thankfully, a moderator was there who knew me well. She knew how to talk me down and got me through the night.

I have one friend who knows all, and I would share each memory as it came. I had a very difficult time looking her in the eye after recovering the animal rape memory and even questioned whether there were some forms of abuse that made me subhuman. Fortunately, I had already begun working through my feelings about the vaginal rapes, so I was able to draw from what I had already learned about healing and recognize, once and for all, that nothing that another person does to me has the power to devalue me.

I suspect that is where you are stuck because that was a biggie for me, too. You are a priceless diamond that your abusers buried under a huge pile of manure. Your abusers held a mirror up to you, showed you the manure, and told you that was who you are. However, no amount of manure has the power to devalue the diamond underneath. A diamond is still a diamond and still of immense value whether it is buried under manure or cleaned off and polished. The healing process is how you “unbury” the diamond and polish it.

Today, it does not hurt to talk about the memories. I can even see the breed of dog that was used without getting triggered most of the time. As with all areas of abuse, you can heal from this. You need to recognize that no form of abuse has the power to devalue you. Once you understand that at a heart level, the shame will lose its power over you.

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I have shared before that the article I have written on this blog with the most page views is one entitled Recovering from Childhood Animal Rape. That one blog entry has had over 6,000 views. I also wrote an article for eHow.com entitled How to Heal from Animal Rape. That one article has had over 12,300 views.

I believe there are two reasons for these high numbers: (1) There are many people who have experienced animal rape; and (2) there are woefully few healing resources for this form of abuse on the Internet. Whenever I search for the term “animal rape,” I only see my own writings available as healing tools.

This changed a few weeks ago when I stumbled across a message board for survivors of animal sexual abuse called Animal Sexual Abuse Survivors. I joined the forum and then carried on an email dialogue with the board owner. It looked like the board was not very active. I learned that the board owner had only recently launched it. I offered to advertise it on my blog and, hopefully, get some discussions going on this very important topic. I just noticed that she has posted a link over to my blog from there. :0)

Until finding this resource, the only place I found to talk about my own experiences with animal rape was over at Isurvive, which remains my favorite online healing resource. We have had quite a few discussions on the topic of animal rape in the Survivors of Ritualized Abuse forum.

My experience has been that many child abuse survivors are reluctant to discuss experiencing animal rape. When I first recovered my own flashbacks, I felt a level of shame that ran so much deeper than any I had experienced to date, even though I had already been working through memories of mother-daughter sexual abuse, ritual abuse, and other shame-inducing forms of abuse. For some reason, the animal rape memories rocked me so much deeper.

I am not trying to lure anyone away from Isurvive because that place is near and dear to my heart. However, if you feel the need to be even more anonymous and talk about your feelings surrounding animal rape somewhere that nobody will know who you are (even by your online name), this might be the place for you. As that message board grows, you will hopefully find strength from healing alongside others who have survived similar forms of abuse.

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Dark Skies (c) Lynda BernhardtThe most popular article on my blog is one entitled Recovering from Childhood Animal Rape. That article has already had over 300 views. I am not telling you this to toot my own horn. (Most articles have far fewer page views.) I am sharing this information to drive home that you are not alone.

When I faced my own memories of animal rape, I was horrified to say the least. This was the form of abuse that my sister most separated herself from, whereas for me, it was the vaginal rapes. Animal rape had not even entered my radar because I was soooo not ready to deal with it.

Then, my sister and I were talking on the phone, and she was saying that there was one abuse that she feared we had suffered but did not want to face. I said it was okay to ask if I had any memories of whatever it was. She said, “It involves a dog,” and then I was free falling. I had a flashback right then and there of being raped by a dog with a camera taking pictures. I confirmed her suspicions and then had to hang up.

Thank goodness for my friends over at Isurvive, and I am so grateful for the chat room. I self-injured, but that did not help with the shame. I was so sickened that I could not look another person in the eye.

I worked up the courage to tell an off-line friend, who knows my whole story. I could not look at her for the rest of the visit, even though she was very supportive. My biggest concern was whether this was the abuse that made me less than human. How could a person participate in bestiality and still be human?

My friends, both off-line and on-line, were quick to point out that bestiality does not equal animal rape. I did not choose the sexual contact, so this was rape, just like all of the other sexual abuse was rape. It took me a while to be able to accept this truth.

Healing from animal rape was hard, but I did it. I can now talk about it without feeling even a hint of shame. Why should I feel any shame about it? I did not choose it. The abuse was an indicator of how contemptible my abusers were but has no reflection on me. I was a precious diamond both before and after experiencing animal rape. NOTHING that another person does to you can change who you are.

I have found a lot of freedom in facing my history of animal rape. Now that I have found my way to loving myself, even after knowing that I was once a victim of animal rape, I feel confident in loving myself no matter what another person ever does to me. Through this realization, I have taken back my power.

If you suffered from animal rape as a child, you are not alone. Many other people know the same pain and shame. You do not deserve any of the shame that you are feeling. That shame belongs squarely on the shoulders of your abusers. You did nothing wrong.

You are a beautiful and precious person just the way you are. Even being raped by an animal could not change the beauty and value of who you are.

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Fire (c) Lynda BernhardtAs I have shared before, WordPress has a feature that enables me to track how people find my blog. I was floored to discover that over 100 searches for the topic of animal rape led to my blog. I never fully appreciated how great a need there was to discuss this topic. If you suffered from animal rape, you are not alone.

Animal rape is a particularly degrading form of sexual abuse. When a person rapes a child, the rapist supposedly gets some form of physical pleasure out of the act. However, when a rapist stands by and watches an animal rape a child, he is clearly experiencing no physical pleasure. Watching the rape is all about degrading the child. The child’s reaction to this is often feeling very deep shame.

It is difficult for a child to put into words what he has experienced. While no child abuse makes sense, having an animal rape a child makes even less. When you cannot even label what you experience, the event seems to take on a life of its own. By calling the act “animal rape,” a person can begin to wrap her mind around what happened and heal.

Many people do not realize that flashbacks do not have to be visual. You can experience a flashback with any of your senses. Some people who have experienced animal rape struggle with having flashbacks in which they feel the rape happening to their bodies again. They can become frightened by the flashback and not know how to make it stop.

If you are struggling with this form of flashback, reassure yourself that this is a normal reaction to severe trauma. Our brains are not the only part of our bodies that hold memories of trauma: Our bodies hold the memories as well. When you experience a body flashback, your body is trying to heal by releasing the memory.

If you have this form of flashback, do not fight it. Instead, allow your body to release the memory. Keep telling yourself that you are now in an adult body and that your abusers can no longer hurt you. After you allow your body to release the flashback, you will stop feeling the need to relive that experience.

You might also find yourself getting triggered whenever you see an animal like the one that raped you, or you might react when you see a particular breed of the animal, such as the same breed of dog used in the animal rape. This is a normal aftereffect of animal rape. Use the tools that you use to manage your triggers when this happens.

You might feel as if you are the only person on the planet who has endured an animal rape, but you definitely are not alone. Truddi Chase discusses her animal rapes by a dog in the book, When Rabbit Howls. I have met people on-line who have found the courage to share that they have endured this, too. You are not alone.

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Animal skull (c) Lynda Bernhardt

In my last couple of posts, Working Through Shame After Child Abuse and Recovering from Childhood Gang Rape, I have been discussing shame that arises out of experiencing particularly degrading forms of abuse. Perhaps one of the most degrading and shame-inducing forms of abuse is animal rape. Most people are too embarrassed to discuss this topic with another person, even with a trusted therapist or friend, because the level of shame and degradation is so great. Even people using anonymous messages boards for abuse survivors often hesitate to raise this topic. If you are a survivor of animal rape, you are not alone, and the shame that you are feeling is not yours to bear.

The wording of what you experienced is important. Some abuse survivors label the animal rape as “bestiality,” but bestiality implies consent. If you were a child whose abuser chose to orchestrate sexual contact between you and an animal, then what you experienced was not bestiality – it was animal rape. What the animal did to you was rape just as surely as if a man had done the same thing to you.

Some people who have suffered from animal rape fear that this is the abuse that is beyond healing. They fear that another person could never look them in the eye again if they knew about the abuse, and they feel as if the shame might swallow them up. Please hear this: Nothing that another person ever did to you – even raping you with an animal – can change the value of who you are. Yes, the animal rape was a huge load of manure dumped on the pile, but even a Mount Everest of manure piled upon a diamond cannot change the value of the diamond underneath. You are still precious and worthy of love. Being raped by an animal did not change this.

I know several people who experienced animal rape as part of their child abuse. These people have been able to talk about it and heal from it. You can, too. The shame is not yours to bear.

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