Rape Dreams | Interpret the Meaning and Message
How to Interpet Dreams about Rape
Some of the most powerful and traumatizing dreams involve rape. Females and males have rape dreams. The first possibilities for symbolism to consider revolve around non-sexual definitions of the word. Think of uses in everyday conversation when it means something other than physical rape, such as when one side dominates another in sports or video games. Rape can mean to exploit the natural resources of the planet. It’s an expression of helplessness and anger.
Rape means domination, exploitation, violation and humiliation. Dreams enact alternate definitions of the word rape, turning them into scenarios of sexual rape.
Symbolism of rape in a dream = coercion
Another way that dreams use rape is to express the feeling of being forced to do something you don’t want to do, or be someone you don’t want be. It’s a theme found frequently in the dreams of people who resist living up to cultural ideals and expectations of their gender. Some females resent having to wear make-up and heels and are discriminated against when they don’t. Some males don’t want to act tough and distant, or dominate, or spend hours in the gym buffing up. Cultural pressure to live up to gender ideals can be intense, and the consequences of defying it can be extreme. Even when a person tries to live up to gender ideals, it can still feel like being coerced or forced. It’s not necessarily “consensual.”
A man I spoke with at Reddit Dreams asked why he has recurring dreams about being raped. It connects with being forced to hide his homosexuality. Instead, he tries to force himself to feel and act straight and be attracted to women. Rape sums up how he feels.
This use of the symbolism arises more often in dreams about being raped by a group of men. It’s a way of saying “men in general.” On the other hand, imagine the male whose father berates him to “be a man why don’t ya” and attacks him psychologically. This sort of situation is readily turned into dreams about being raped by a man and the dream character won’t necessarily look like the dreamer’s father, but something will symbolically connect them.
Gang rape in a dream can be an exaggerated way of expressing the idea of being ganged-up on. It can express the feeling of everything and everyone being out to get you or hurt you. It can express a dynamic about your inner life.
Dreams exaggerate to create symbolism and be memorable. Dreams amplify to express your feelings and bring forward what you might otherwise overlook or minimize. The dreaming mind does not care that rape is a delicate topic. It uses the most effective means to tell the story and accomplish the objectives that underlie it. Of course, it’s a different situation for people who have been raped, and a whole mess of personal associations come into play that their dreams can use to create symbolism, express emotions, and address dynamics.
Rape dream: a graphic representation of your inner life
Rape in a dream can have roots in your inner life. In a graphic way, it shows how you treat yourself. One part of yourself overpowers the others. Your ego is coercive, threatening, takes what it wants. If that’s how life is in your head, it’s likely to show outwardly. Some people are best described as rapists just based on their personality and character.
Rape in a dream can have sexual roots. People who have been raped are likely to dream about it. It seems cruel to bring up a traumatizing event like that, but it actually helps by creating a psychological cushion between the present moment in time and what happened in the past. Once the dream is over it’s in the past, and when something can be thought of as in the past it creates personal distance. The same sort of process happens with other traumas such as combat and abuse.
On the other hand, rape dreams can show that you’re still chained to the experience even though you have the potential to move on. For example, a woman dreams about finding her rapist working beneath a car. She coldly pulls out a gun and pumps rounds into him. The dream is an expression of her thoughts of revenge. She didn’t report the rape because her best friend’s brother did it, and it’s eating her up inside. Her thoughts of revenge rip open the scab and keep the wound fresh.
Rape in a dream: an exaggeration of how you feel
Rape in dreams can be used to exaggerate a situation related to sexual tension or exploitation, such as when a person is used as a sexual plaything. Rape symbolizes exploitation, in this case.
A dream about rape might connect with a recent or ongoing situation that’s dangerous, or potentially so, sexually or otherwise. It’s the sort of comparison dreams are known to make because dangerous situations such as passing out at a party can lead to rape. In which case, dreaming about rape connects with putting yourself in danger.
A rape dream can come in response to feeling vulnerable, powerless or disrespected. For example, after being hit on at a gas station by a creepy guy, a woman dreams that night about being raped at that gas station by a similar guy. It’s an expression of feeling raped in the sense of having her dignity attacked, compounded by recognizing her vulnerability to men who are stronger than her.
Dreams can act as simulations, and a dream about rape can be a way of acting out an issue related to it. For example, you hear a graphic story about a friend who is raped then dream it happens to you. It’s a way of really understanding what that friend went through, or express fear of it happening to you. Or you have a rape fantasy and dream about rape. Something about the idea of domination and humiliation turns you on.
For example, a young man with a rape fantasy had two dreams that when looked at together present a choice. In one, he has normal sex with a girl he is attracted to, an imaginary character, and in the other he rapes a random girl. The dreams are showing him his choices. On the one hand, sex with someone he’s attracted to (normal sex) appeals to him but lacks the stimulation he feels at the thought of raping someone. The rape dream shows that the stimulation of rape comes at the expense any sort of intimacy. He can have one or the other but not both.
If you have found this post because you were raped, dream about it and want help, try dream rescripting, used for chronic nightmares and treatment of ptsd. Search online for general info, and use this link when you’re ready to get to work: Dream rescripting worksheet.
Also, read my thoughts about nightmares.
You deserve to have your life back. Your dreams are trying to help you do that, to heal.
I also suggest Peter LeVine’s book “Waking the Tiger.” Its insights and exercises can help you feel safe and in control of your body again.