What does 'Survival Sex' mean to you? TW - sexual abuse

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Fen Starshimmer

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Re: What does 'Survival Sex' mean to you? TW - sexual abuse
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2017, 04:39:52 PM »
Sceal - you just reminded me that some people may be getting triggered by my post. You didn't make me feel bad. I have to be careful too... especially during my research, which I only do in small amounts. It's really helpful to me to hear what people think about this term. I think more needs to be said and written about it to clarify it from the victims' point of view. Some news sites are describing survival sex as sex work  eg stripping, escorting, brothels, prostitution, saying that homeless youth are more likely to 'engage' in it to keep off the streets, get a meal etc. They make it sound like a choice.

Sceal said:
[/quote] From what I've read in the media here about cases going to court, if the victim was already mentally ill, that doesn't nessecerily play in the victim's favour. It has on occation put questionmark to the victim's validity. Which I think is just plain awful!  But this isn't things I've personally known, simply read about.
[/quote]

Yes, I have heard this too. Mental health issues can be used like a weapon against you by the other side in court to destroy your credibility. So, if you're already a victim suffering the effects of abuse, CPTSD etc and you end up in a survival sex situation, you would be unlikely to get redress, eg compensation, justice, for what you have suffered. That's just my opinion based on talking to people and what I've read. 

I have just found out that Scotland introduced an "I Just Froze" campaign earlier this year to educate the public and jurors 'that when subjected to a violent or sexual assault many people "freeze" rather than fighting back'. So that is at least a small step in the right direction. Only Scotland though.
Freedom is:
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When your spirit and soul and life are in harmony
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ah

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Re: What does 'Survival Sex' mean to you? TW - sexual abuse
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2018, 06:49:03 AM »
I hope this still helps, even though it's been a while and then the forums went  :fallingbricks: and then came back.  :)

To me the term itself is very triggering, I read the title and my mind went blank. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing if what you're looking for is awareness in people who wouldn't be triggered but would just have no idea what survival even means. Survivors may not read it though. I'd probably find it too triggering.

I was also thinking 'survival sex' could mean any number of things, it could be interpreted in so many ways, contradictory ways. It could even be taken (very mistakenly, by readers who are clueless and haven't been in such dangerous situations) as some sort of free choice or personal taste, like saying "This is what survivors like!"  :doh: it's beyond wrong but I can imagine it going in that direction too.

By 'survival' is the emphasis on having survived things in the past, or surviving the present moment? Or maybe both?
If it's past violence that they survived, then yeah, the data about stereotypes about mental illness and/or trauma could maybe change how readers might understand the term.

If the intended audience is people who don't know what trauma feels like, it may be interesting to use the term without explaining what you mean at first. Let people wonder about it at first, maybe.

Just my two cents / random thoughts.

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miaoue

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Re: What does 'Survival Sex' mean to you? TW - sexual abuse
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2018, 08:31:02 AM »
[same tw- sexual abuse- for my post in particular]

the term gave me a jolt, too. i never heard it before. but in a way it really speaks to me. in my mind, it evokes the sex i had with my mostly-ex-H. because survival was the end goal of it for me. just acting my part in this degrading show, so i could keep on living my own life after it was done.

the way i read 'survival sex', it touches on the issue of what choice really means in a way that the term 'rape' doesn't. there are plenty of people out there who think that it's only rape when there is literally no other choice at all. so they believe what happened to me wasn't rape. because i didn't fight back or scream for help, usually didn't even say no. i usually pretended to enjoy it, so he wouldn't shout or threaten me or anything worse. i even tried to get myself to *genuinely* enjoy it, because if i could get my body to respond, i wouldn't feel as much physical pain. that was my choice. but it wasn't a *free* choice. it was a choice between two types of abuse. i chose the one that i thought would be more survivable.

calling it survival sex owns the choice in a way, by clarifying what the alternative would have been. submitting to coerced sex and surviving OR facing violence, abandonment, other dangers? faced with this impossible dichotomy, i could say i chose to have survival sex, to accept the damage to my soul instead of risking my life.

i don't know if that's a term i want to use, since this is still totally mixed up in my head. i have no idea if that's what you meant by it either, Fen. but that's what i thought upon reading it.

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Blueberry

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Re: What does 'Survival Sex' mean to you? TW - sexual abuse
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2018, 10:43:04 AM »
miauoe, I'm really sorry you had to endure that at the hands of your h!  :hug:

You have certainly described it very clearly. I think it is what Fen meant. I know that her book has since been published but I don't know what she chose to do in the end.
Should is
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Blueberry

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Re: What does 'Survival Sex' mean to you? TW - sexual abuse
« Reply #19 on: February 04, 2018, 10:53:58 AM »
It could even be taken (very mistakenly, by readers who are clueless and haven't been in such dangerous situations) as some sort of free choice or personal taste, like saying "This is what survivors like!"  :doh: it's beyond wrong but I can imagine it going in that direction too.

That's sort of what I understood when I first saw the thread so I didn't look at it till sometime in November. So I learned something!

What I precisely understood was 'the type of sex survivors engage in later, as adults'. There are survivors of CSA who have sex later as adults. Obviously. They have children etc.  In my case it really is 'None.' though. In many ways, lucky me. I can mostly stay out of that minefield of triggers.

Other parts of your post are thoughtful as usual  :thumbup: ah. I know Fen's book has already been published but it doesn't hurt to keep discussing here on the board.
Should is
never good,
for me.

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Fen Starshimmer

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Re: What does 'Survival Sex' mean to you? TW - sexual abuse
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2018, 01:34:45 PM »

 - TW -
Take care please

Thank you for your thoughts on this murky phrase Ah, Miaoue and Blueberry. All very interesting and useful.

Yes, you're right Blueberry. I decided against using the term in connection with my book, because after posting on here and reading the discussion, I realised how ambiguous and confusing the term could be.  It could be interpreted in any number of ways, some of which Ah has noted. And the people who might interpret it as I intended could easily be triggered by it.

Ah said:
Quote
It could even be taken (very mistakenly, by readers who are clueless and haven't been in such dangerous situations) as some sort of free choice or personal taste, like saying "This is what survivors like!"  :doh: it's beyond wrong but I can imagine it going in that direction too.

I wouldn't be surprised either... Or it could be associated with outdoor (wilderness) survival!

What gets me most annoyed is how 'survival sex' gets thrown around in articles, especially academic ones, describing young people 'engaging' in it, making it synonymous with prostitution. I think this is harmful, and trivialises the seriousness of the effects of forced or coerced sex, muddying the waters between exploitation, rape and prostitution, giving people who prey on vulnerable people (especially CSA victims, who have been shown to be the most vulnerable) an almost foolproof protection against being charged with an offence. Victims of 'survival sex' are therefore less likely to find sympathy and the kind of help they need to recover.

Miaoue, what you said here is in line with my thinking:
Quote
calling it survival sex owns the choice in a way, by clarifying what the alternative would have been. submitting to coerced sex and surviving OR facing violence, abandonment, other dangers? faced with this impossible dichotomy, i could say i chose to have survival sex, to accept the damage to my soul instead of risking my life.

It's a kind of rape... which has been mentioned before in this thread. That's the nub of survival sex in my opinion: submit and damage your soul and your health, or risk your life.

And if you have CPTSD already (and most people still are unaware of CPTSD), you are less likely to find an escape, more likely to feel trapped in it, and become further damaged by the situation.  :doh:

Freedom is:
Living authentically
Freedom of expression
Being allowed to be YOU
When your spirit and soul and life are in harmony
No more people pleasing
No cognitive dissonance
Being ME

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sanmagic7

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Re: What does 'Survival Sex' mean to you? TW - sexual abuse
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2018, 03:12:50 PM »
this has really been interesting.  i'd not heard the term before, didn't know what it might mean, so i was making stuff up in my mind.  my own stuff didn't make it to the level mentioned by others here.  that means that, if there are others out there like me, it would be a very good term to bring out in the open and have explained.  my opinion only.  i don't know if it should be referenced on a book cover - maybe to pique interest? and be explained in the body of the work, or what.

but, if the back of a book were the only place i saw the term, i wouldn't really understand the depth of the concept and all the nuances involved.  just my 2 cents.
learn something from everything.

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miaoue

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Re: What does 'Survival Sex' mean to you? TW - sexual abuse
« Reply #22 on: February 06, 2018, 01:01:00 PM »
thanks Blueberry :hug: it means a lot to me.

Fen, i found myself thinking i might like to read your book, but i don't know if perhaps you didn't want to post specifics in this forum? well, if you are comfortable, feel free to link me to it :)

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Fen Starshimmer

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Re: What does 'Survival Sex' mean to you? TW - sexual abuse
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2018, 11:30:47 AM »
Sanmagic said:
Quote
  i'd not heard the term before, didn't know what it might mean, so i was making stuff up in my mind.  my own stuff didn't make it to the level mentioned by others here.  that means that, if there are others out there like me, it would be a very good term to bring out in the open and have explained.  my opinion only.

Yes, agreed Sanmagic. I think it would be beneficial to have this term openly discussed and explained. Maybe an OOTS blog topic?

Miaoue, thank you for your interest in reading my book. That's really great!  :) There is  just one drawback... I've thought about it quite hard, and I don't think I'm ready to post details in this forum. For now, I'd just like to keep a low profile if that's OK with you. Thanks for your understanding. 
Freedom is:
Living authentically
Freedom of expression
Being allowed to be YOU
When your spirit and soul and life are in harmony
No more people pleasing
No cognitive dissonance
Being ME

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miaoue

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Re: What does 'Survival Sex' mean to you? TW - sexual abuse
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2018, 10:19:39 AM »
sorry Fen i didn't catch your post last week! no problem, i understand :hug: