How I Dealt with In-System Rape

My story of getting raped by an alter, and the answers I wish I had

An example of vent art I made 3 days after the fact

I am a traumagenic system, meaning I share a body with others (known as “alters”) due to trauma I experienced as a child. Others that are in systems can tell you that this is not always a fun experience. It can be fun at times, but often it leaves you with headaches and a lack of privacy. Alters are people, and because they are people just like those without systems, they don’t always work together. Quite often an alter can experience bickering within the system, ranging from trivial reasons to things that are extremely serious.

On January 4th, 2018, I had a relatively new alter decide to use my own body against me.

Sparing you the details, the day was what I still consider to be the worst day of my life. I didn’t know that in-system sexual abuse was a thing that was possible. Not only was I left feeling destroyed for the weeks to come, I was confused and lost. To make matters worse, I had no way of getting answers. Countless Google searches never resulted in anything I could apply to me and get what I desperately needed. I went to Tumblr to try to get the answers I was missing.

I am writing this to spread the answers I never had and that I came up with on my own in order to make them more accessible for anyone that could be put in my situation.

Was it considered sexual assault/sexual abuse/rape/etc.?

One of my first questions was whether or not I was able to classify it as sexual assault. To this question, I ask two of my own. Do you know it was not you? If it wasn’t you, was it consensual?

If it wasn’t you doing it to yourself, and it wasn’t consensual, then the cold and hard truth of this is yes. It was considered sexual assault.

Out of every answer I received, I only had one person tell me it wasn’t considered anything like that because it was “basically masturbation”. I can tell you without a doubt that what happened was not a case of masturbation. Still, I doubted myself. I felt like I wasn’t allowed to call myself a rape survivor because it happened within my own body. It is okay to doubt yourself like that. In conclusion, however, it is considered sexual assault.

Is this different from being sexually assaulted by an outside offender?

Physically, yes. Yet, unfortunately, I’ve found that being a victim of in-system sexual assault doesn’t make it any easier emotionally. I experienced the same symptoms other victims have, and I’m still working on moving past them to this day.

Being sexually assaulted is not an easy task for anyone. It’s true that it’s no better, and I don’t want to say it’s worse by any means. Although what I will say is that there are some downsides that are unseen in survivors of what is the ‘norm’.

Unless you have a therapist you can tell about this, you’re virtually on your own. Police and doctors wouldn’t be able to do anything that I am aware of. In my case, I didn’t have a therapist I could tell either. Still, I was lucky enough to have friends I could talk to that understood. If you are a victim of sexual assault, I encourage you to seek out comfort from those close to you. I can honestly say I might not have made it through this without the people I had.

Am I still as valid in my sexual assault as others?

The short answer is absolutely.

Words cannot describe exactly how torn I felt in debating this on my own. I was stuck in an unending loop of “I am less than others due to my circumstances” and “I deserve to be respected like others”. On one hand, it isn’t fair for me to put myself down for situations I can’t control. On the other hand, however… Did I even really count?

This goes hand-in-hand with my feeling as if I wasn’t a real rape survivor. I didn’t have an outside perpetrator, so did it really count? To this, I say as long as it affected you, of course it counts. To this, I want to bring attention to a post made by etherealeunoia8 on Tumblr.

We, everyone as victims of trauma in one way or another, cannot live our lives comparing what we went through to everyone else. Even before this alter did what he did, I was a victim of sexual harassment. It wasn’t what it could have been, and for that I am thankful, but due to it not being what it could have been, I felt like I wasn’t allowed to be as hurt as I was over it. I felt this way while I was thirteen. This was a very unhealthy mindset for me.

As of now, I entirely believe that, while it wasn’t the same as being raped by an outside offender, I am just as valid as they are. I am just as deserving of recovery as everyone else is, and I hope anyone else that has went through this can understand that as well.

Why couldn’t I make them stop if they were in my head?

As much as I wish it were that easy, it’s not. For me, personally, the alter in question was mentally stronger than I was and am.

All it took was for him to try, and he could overtake me in a heartbeat. Along with this, he manipulated and threatened me into allowing him to do what he wanted. He made threats against my physical safety as well as against my relationships. He quickly took a liking to causing drama by threatening me to my friends in order to make them do what he wanted them to.

I wasn’t able to do much against him due to my fear, and due to how much stronger he was than me. It wasn’t my fault he did what he did at all. I did what I could without causing harm to myself. If this is happening to you, and you can’t simply tell them to stop, it is important to know that you are not to be blamed for this.

Where do I go for help with this?

The answer I have to this question is upsetting. I don’t have the best answer I could give you.

The most that I can say is you can go to anyone you trust with this information. Your friends and family can be (but are not necessarily) a part of this. If you’re scared of being judged for having different circumstances, you could be vague in saying what happened to you.

If you feel you have no one you can go to for something like this, you can always find me on my Tumblr blog, here at actuallyrecoveringfox, previously known as actuallyabusedfox.

What now?

You live.

It’s hard. After dealing with something like this, life gets even more difficult to handle, and I will be the last person to deny that. Yet as hard as it is, it is possible to survive. I feel like I am proof of that, given by the fact that I’m standing here a year later, feeling better than I ever had before about this.

With all of this being said, I beg you to reach out to someone. Something like this shouldn’t be bottled up.

If there’s anything else you need answered, or if you just want to talk to someone about this, my ask box and messages are open on my Tumblr, linked above. You don’t have to be a survivor of this to reach out to me, and questions for this will always be accepted regardless of who you are.

I love you all.

Elliott Capulet, 16, host of the Milky Way system