I have been struck by the opposing thoughts that come at a woman who has been raped. For me, this added to the shame I experienced.
First, I am told that when faced with terror, that your mind unconsciously chooses to fight, flight, or freeze. I have been told time and again that I did not choose my response to the fear; voices, memories, training from my past, etc., caused my mind and body to respond the way it did. I froze.
Second, one is considered a victim when one is coerced by force against their will. Helping a victim recognize their powerlessness will help reduce shame.
And finally, I am told that I should have fought no matter what, you never go down without a fight, that I should take self defense classes in case it ever happens again. Then I can fight back. Basically, I was helpless because I chose to be.
If my mind did something out of my control, it is recognized that a victim becomes a victim because they are powerless in a situation, like when there is a knife at your throat, then all the “shoulds” should be moot, right?