Rape Dreams | Interpret the Meaning and Message
Rape Dreams: Interpret the Meaning and Message
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 times it is used in conversations to mean something other than physical rape. It’s heard in reference to losing in sports or video games when one side is dominated by another, or someone is humiliated. It’s used in reference to exploiting the natural resources of the planet, and as an expression of helplessness and anger.
Rape means domination, exploitation, violation and humiliation. Dreams enact these other definitions of 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 that you’re being forced to do something you don’t want to do or be someone you don’t want be. It’s a frequent theme in the dreams of males and females who resist living up to the 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 to dominate, or to spend hours in the gym buffing up. Cultural pressure to live up to gender ideals can be intense, and the consequences of resisting it can be extreme. Even if 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 has recurring dreams about being raped and connects it with being forced to hide his homosexuality. Instead, he tries to force himself to feel and act straight and to 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,” not a specific man.
Being gang-raped 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.
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 is 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
Dreams exaggerate, and 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.
It 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 can lead to rape. For example, passing out at a party. 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 and perhaps fearing it could happen to you—or taking steps to prevent it. 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 is 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.