Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Making Victims of Victims

(Content - discusses child abuse and uses gendered insults)
Being a transsexual woman I've been called a rapist repeatedly by some feminists. Some days I can cope with it and some days it triggers what I can only describe as a kind of PTSD. I don't know how to describe this.

I experienced sexual abuse by an adult friend of the family regularly from the age of four. This may have a different slant because I have changed gender and my abuser was a woman, at the time I was ostensibly male. I have never known who to talk to about this, I've tried therapy but have each time ended up lying to the therapist because I could't bring myself to talk about it.

Before transition I was terrified it would lead to a denial of much needed medical care, afterward having now made a good life as a woman I assume other women won't want to know and I have no intention of talking to any cis-man about it. I feel scared it will always be used to judge or erase my status as a woman. Viewed as he poor mad-tranny or just an abused kid made delusional. That is not how things are. There are issues of gender identity I had to seperate from the abuse related problems and I think I did but that's a whole other discussion.

I still feel an immense sense of shame when I think about the mechanics of the act and I don't feel ready or able to describe it, or if it's even necessary. The abuse also came with threats to keep quiet or everyone in my family would die. It lasted off and on for a couple of years. I coped by trying not to think about it. Instead I had panic attacks, sometimes nearly constantly and used prescription tranquilisers and alcohol to self medicate at times.

As I got older, after I completed transition and treatments I reached a point where it was important to me to be open about my transsexual history. This brought me into contact with radical feminists on line. I had always known the radical position on transsexual people and had even had encounters with radical feminists who read me as a cis woman in real life. But the online experience has been devastating. I know female abusers are a rarity, but they do exist and I had to grow up, come out and be rejected at 17 for being transsexual by my family all while this woman was still welcomed by them.

Being called a rapist unleashes a fury of emotion that ends with suicidal feelings. I'm not willing to back down, because that is giving in to the bullies, it is hard at times to keep it together.


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7 thoughts on “Making Victims of Victims

  • Admin says:

    Lillith, thank you so much for your post – we believe you.
    I am so sorry that you have experienced abuse in childhood and victimisation an adult. Online abuse seems to be on the increase where people are Othered and abused on a daily basis and it is understandable that it is triggering. I am recognising that this is hurting you at the moment. I am wondering if you are accessing any support? If you would like to, please contact us and we can help you to find relevant support in your area. In the meantime, please check our support page for organisations that may be able to help.
    Thank you for sharing your experience x

  • Lillith says:

    Thank you for saying those things and for publishing my experience, that validation has surprised me in how important it is. I’m coping. Writing it was cathartic. I’ve only recently decided to try and sit with the experience consciously, and will in time find some support when the emotional fog lifts a little. Thank you again for the work you’re doing and your kindness.

  • Dana Taylor says:

    I hope this was able to help you heal! Stay strong, sister.

    • Lillith says:

      Thank you Dana. Healing is a long road, I think some things never heal, writing this down made me understandand I’m comfortable, if that’s the right word, with that idea now. I hope more people share their stories so that blaming and bullying the victims of abuse becomes less common. It’ll never go away – but we can be each other’s eye witnesses, I think it was Alice Miller who described it that way. All a child (or anyone suffering abuse) needs to survive is one eyewitness who believes them. Take care x

  • Ashleigh says:

    Hi Lillith, thank you so much for writing that article. It is quite rare, but women can be abusers, and having people deny or downplay your experiences must be so disheartening. Stay strong, you’ve been brave enough to accept who you are, something that not many people can do x

    • Lillith says:

      Thanks Ashley. I’m really aware of the rarity of female abusers, I think that’s a big reason I struggled with keeping things to myself. There is so much gendered abuse and violence directed at women and organisations and individuals who love to amplify any wrongdoing by women. I admire EVB a lot for their honesty and courage, and all of the women who speak out against abuse and victim blaming.

    • Lillith says:

      I apologise for misspelling your name. I can’t edit my comment to correct it. Sorry. L.