Home » Ask the Therapist » Should I Confront My Rapist?

Should I Confront My Rapist?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

From the U.K.: Hi, I was raped seven years ago, but it took me a year to report it to the police as he threatened me not too. It did not go to court due to lack of evidence but he does have it on his criminal record. I see him a lot as we live in the same town and he just stares at me very angry look.

I have had therapy and been through all the symptoms of post dramatic stress, I live right next to where it took place so I have to pass it everyday and I remember it all over and over. I have come a long way since then, but I still feel fear and tremble when I see him he has moved on with a girlfriend and two kids but I still feel stuck remembering that night.

I have heard from other victims some have emailed or wrote to their rapists but no reply others have been face to face to confront some have got apologies others nothing but I have heard from a pyscholigist that a case study was done on victims confronting their rapists and it helped them move on and heal quicker than those who don’t confront,

I have heard different advice from people but I feel they do not really understand so I was looking advice if I should confront my attacker? It would be to help me heal and gain closure I am struggling on getting closure.

I don’t expect him to apolgize to me but if I could let him know how he has made me feel from that traumatic night. But he may not meet me face to face, if I was to send a letter he may not read it or report me for harrassment so I do not know what to do to gain closure please reply thank you for your help I really appreciate it! :)

Should I Confront My Rapist?

Answered by on -


The answer to your question isn’t simple. Although some survivors find it helpful to confront their abuser, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it results in retraumatization. Sometimes the abuser threatens further abuse.

The best person to discuss this with is the therapist who has already helped you so much. He or she knows the situation and probably has an opinion about whether it would be dangerous for you to try to contact the abuser for a confrontation.

I am concerned that you continue to be triggered so much by seeing the place where the abuse took place. It might be helpful to do some more work with your therapist. An alternative is for you to find a way to move from the area so you can move on. Yes, I know. It isn’t fair for you to have to move. He should. But sometimes reality demands that the survivor take care of herself by getting out of the environment and away from the abuser in order to move on. Do talk to your therapist about it.

You have already done a great deal of positive, good work to heal. I suggest that the next step is to discuss your question with your therapist. Therapy often takes a number of episodes. Do take this your letter and this response with you as a way to get into the discussion.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Should I Confront My Rapist?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Should I Confront My Rapist?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 12 Sep 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.