LIFESTYLE

Rape Survivor Opens Up About Why She's Stopped Blaming Herself In Powerful Video

09/12/2015 13:10 | Updated 09 December 2015

Sheeva Weil was raped during her first term at university and spent years asking herself what she could have done to prevent it.

In the powerful video above she explains why she's finally decided to stop blaming herself.

"It took me a really long time to recognise what had happened to me and even longer to understand that I hadn't done anything to deserve it," she says.

"In fact, it's taken me almost four years, a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and three therapists to get to the point where I can say with conviction that I was not to blame for what happened that night."

Weil says one thing that was particularly hard for her to comes to term with was the fact that she didn't scream and run or turn and fight her attacker.

"When they teach you about the fight or flight response, they forget to mention the third automatic physiological reaction - freeze," she says.

rape survivor

Weil explains that the technical term for freezing under pressure is tonic immobility. It's when your brain calculates the risks and decides that the safest option is to play dead. You have absolutely no control over the stillness of your body.

"Studies show that 37-52% of sexual assault survivors report feeling paralysed. I wish I had known that when I was busy blaming myself for not preventing my rape," she says.

Weil didn't tell her friends that she had been raped for a long time but has recently opened up to some about her experience. She was surprised to hear that many of them have also experienced sexual assault in the past.

Some have been molested by friends, others have been raped by boyfriends, but none of them have reported the incident and few have been to therapy.

"It's seriously shocking the most women, let alone men, still feel too guilty and ashamed to speak about their trauma," she says.

"I'm not ashamed anymore and no other survivor should have to be."

SEE ALSO:

8 Dumb Comments About Rape Made By Powerful Men

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