I'm sure no one would, but please do not mainpage this!


I am a survivor of attempted sexual assault. Long story short, there was a group of men, they were strangers, I was out by myself in a foreign place, and I got away.

I got away, and I'll always be grateful for that, although the fact that in the end "nothing happened" has made me feel pretty guilty for how I've reacted to it. There've been times when I've felt like I got off easy, like I don't "deserve" to feel traumatized, like I'm overreacting, like maybe I'm exaggerating what would've happened if I hadn't run away. But deep down, I know what would've happened, because there was no one about at that hour, and all the stores were closed—there was absolutely no one to help me. And I've had a lot of difficulty since then in my wariness in public spaces, especially regarding strange men. But the more time passes, the more I feel that my wariness in public has faded to a sensible level of alertness, without hampering my movements or causing undue stress. It helps that I now live in an area where I am harassed by strangers relatively rarely. My real problem, one that has lingered far longer than I ever would have expected, is that I am terrified to be alone with men.

The truth is, I think I'm incapable of trusting men in romantic or sexual situations. I am fine with my male friends and family, as well as all of the men I know professionally, but the idea of being alone with a man who is interested in me makes me completely shut down. I can't help seeing that interest as at least partially predatory. I don't want them putting their hands on me, groping me, trying to kiss me in clubs when I'm just trying to dance with my girlfriends, leering at me—it's nauseating. It makes me feel dizzy and physically sick. Sometimes I want to wrap up in endless blankets and sit alone in my room where none of them can see me or touch me ever again.

But at the same time, I'm straight and don't want to be alone forever, so I want to move past these feelings of fear and disgust so I can date. And on a rational level I know that the majority of men aren't rapists. (In fact, I want to be very clear about this: I know that men aren't all horrible people! I've never believed they were! Just like women, just like every kind of person that exists, men are human beings. So I am sorry if this comes off like an attack to any male GT-ers, because this isn't really about men, it's about my own personal psychological baggage.) So how do I get over this?


My question is, to you GT-ers who've experienced something awful, something that shattered your ability to trust others, how have you managed it? I'm already in therapy, but if you've got some especially effective thing you've done in therapy to recommend, I'm all ears. Otherwise, how have you learned, or tried to learn, to trust again?

*UPDATE: Thanks so much to everyone who replied with their story or with advice! Your support is really appreciated :)