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Factor, M. (1954). A Woman's Psychological Reaction to Attempted Rape. Psychoanal Q., 23:243-244.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:243-244

A Woman's Psychological Reaction to Attempted Rape

Morris Factor, M.D.

A young woman while in analysis was the object of an unsuccessful attempt at rape by an intruder in her home.

Twenty-eight years old, the patient lives with her parents. The family is Catholic, not very devout. She works as a stenographer but for the most part is supported by her father and feels compelled to observe certain of his restrictions; for example, she feels she must be home not later than ten at night or he will be angry. Although she has frequent opportunities, she seldom makes social engagements. She has one male friend approximately twenty years her senior whom she describes as being the opposite of her father, but in some respects is like him.

The symptom which brought her into analysis was a hemorrhagic diarrhea, which had occurred episodically from the age of eighteen and had at times been severe enough to necessitate the administration of oxygen and blood transfusions.

During analysis, as hostile as well as erotic feelings toward her father came to expression, it became clear that these feelings played a role in the genesis of her symptom. Shortly after she started therapy the diarrhea stopped, perhaps because she was able to express the resentment primarily directed against her father. An erotic component began to show itself in the transference. 'I have a lump on my breast… Say, you're an M.D. You know about these things. You could tell me.' It was at this point in the analysis that the man attempted to rape her.

Following a day in court, during which the intruder was brought before a judge, she had a dream.

I saw R [the culprit] in court. He turned around to me as I was sitting behind him. The judge said, 'Do you plead guilty or not guilty?' and R turned to me and said, 'Not guilty'; as if to say, 'Don't think you're getting away with it'.

'His expression', she said, 'meant "Go ahead now—try to prove it. I'll fix you. You're not going to get away with this." I felt bad in the dream. When I awoke, I felt sick at my stomach.

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