Monday, 8 December 2014

Why they stay with abusive partners

“There were probably many factors that kept the relationship going and kept your love alive. There were all his promises. "I promise this will never happen again." You believed him the first time. And the second. As the abuse continued, he became increasingly remorseful, his promises more insistent. You continued to believe him; you wanted to believe him. After all, you loved him.

Then there were all the apologies. He seemed truly sorry. You forgave him. Now, however, when you think back, you realize the apologies were conditional. They blamed you! "I'm sorry, but if only you hadn't..." They always made his abuse somehow your fault. You may have begun to believe this, and you may even remember apologizing to him. You began to believe that if you were careful about what you said or did, you could prevent the abuse from happening again. As the abuse escalated over time, the blaming became more obvious. "I didn't mean to hurt you, but if you just weren't so [stupid, ugly, careless, dumb, etc.], this would never have happened." Time after time you were made to believe that every act of violence or abuse was your fault. Day after day you were made to feel that you were unworthy of him.”

“The abusive man’s high entitlement leads him to have unfair and unreasonable expectations, so that the relationship revolves around his demands. His attitude is: “You owe me.” For each ounce he gives, he wants a pound in return. He wants his partner to devote herself fully to catering to him, even if it means that her own needs—or her children’s—get neglected. You can pour all your energy into keeping your partner content, but if he has this mind-set, he’ll never be satisfied for long. And he will keep feeling that you are controlling him, because he doesn’t believe that you should set any limits on his conduct or insist that he meet his responsibilities.”

“An abuser can seem emotionally needy. You can get caught in a trap of catering to him, trying to fill a bottomless pit. But he’s not so much needy as entitled, so no matter how much you give him, it will never be enough. He will just keep coming up with more demands because he believes his needs are your responsibility, until you feel drained down to nothing.”

“I am living in hell from one day to the next. But there is nothing I can do to escape. I don't know where I would go if I did. I feel utterly powerless, and that feeling is my prision. I entered of my own free will, I locked the door, and I threw away the key.”

Monday, 29 September 2014

A great article explaining marital abuse

Anna is a woman in her 40s. She has been in a conflicted marriage for years. Her husband insists on morning sex, even though he knows it will make her late for work. She gives in to get it over with.

Tara, newly married, is upset because her husband has been having sex with her while she is asleep. She likes sex but doesn’t like to be waked to him penetrating her. He says she agrees in her sleep. She feels violated.

Caren is in her 30s. She feels she has no say about when and where she and her husband will have sex. He often refuses when she initiates. But he’ll get furious if she doesn’t immediately fall into bed (or the bushes) with him when he wants it. She gives in rather than have yet another fight about it.

Kayla, age 18, writes that her husband regularly slaps her around and then forces her to have sex saying that he just knows she loves it. She does love him. She doesn’t want to leave. But she honestly doesn’t love domination as part of sexual intimacy.

These women are all married. Is what their husbands are doing a form of rape? The simple answer is “yes.” It’s not what many people think of as rape. The man isn’t a stranger. He isn’t holding a gun to the woman’s head. He isn’t abducting her. But it is rape nonetheless. Rape is forced sex. He is getting off. She is getting violated.

Let’s go through those cases again. Rape is the word for forced or coerced sex. It is when the woman hasn’t had the opportunity to freely give consent or she is unable to give consent.
Anna’s needs aren’t being respected. Her husband is demanding sex despite the fact that it is inconvenient and not welcomed.

Tara is asleep! She wants to be awake, aware and involved when she and her husband have sex. Being waked from a sound sleep to penetration doesn’t feel loving or safe.

Caren feels coerced by the threat of yet another fight if she doesn’t give in.

Kayla is being physically hurt by the person who says he loves her.

Being married doesn’t change the social rules. Just because a woman said “I do” to marriage doesn’t mean that she has said “I do” to sex whenever, wherever, and however her husband wants it. Married sex, like all intimate, loving sex is consensual. It is a way that two people who love each other express love and caring and communicate tenderness. It is not one of the following situations:
Forced sex.This should be obvious. But some men have the mistaken idea that marriage changes the rules. It doesn’t. If a husband holds his wife down, pushes her, or imposes sex by hurting her, it’s rape. Making love doesn’t include making someone cry.

Sex when the wife feels threatened. If a husband forces sex through verbal threats of harm to the woman or to people or things she cares about or if he comes to her in a barely contained rage, she can’t consent. She can only comply rather than risk being harmed either physically or emotionally.
Sex by manipulation.If a husband calls his wife names, accuses her of not being a good wife, or blackmails her emotionally by suggesting she’s so bad in bed that he will go elsewhere, he’s manipulating her. Some men even threaten to leave and take the kids with him if their wives don’t comply with demands for sex. When a wife falls for these tactics, it isn’t consent. It’s rape.

Sex when the wife can’t give consent.Loving sex is genuinely consensual. If a woman is drugged, asleep, intoxicated or unconscious, she obviously can’t give consent. Even if she says “yes” in such circumstances, the “consent” isn’t valid or truthful. She’s in no shape to consider the consequences or to participate as a willing partner.

Sex by taking a woman hostage.Some men keep themselves in a position of superiority by controlling all the money, by making contact with friends and family difficult to impossible, or by making sure there is no way for her to get transportation out of the house. The woman becomes a hostage in her own home. Like many hostages, she gives up and gives in to whatever he wants — including sex.
Sex when the woman feels she has no choice.Giving in isn’t the same as giving consent. When a woman feels that it’s just easier to give in to sex than to respect her own needs, she is being raped.
Let’s be clear: Being married doesn’t make any of the above situations okay. Wives do not belong to their husbands. Sex is not a “right” that goes with marriage. It is not a wife’s duty. A woman does not give up her right to say yes or no the day she gets married. Sex should be based on respect, equality, consent, caring, and clear communication.

No woman wants to feel like she’s living with a rapist. Good men don’t want to be one.
A couple can sometimes back away from hurtful sex on their own. But often, anger, disappointments and the emotional hurts that are the result of forced marital sex are so intense that it takes some specialized treatment to heal the relationship. If a couple wants to stay together in spite of an incident or pattern of marital rape, a couples therapist can help partners heal the hurts and develop a healthy way to be sexual with each other.

But if the husband refuses to take responsibility for inflicting emotional and physical pain and even feels justified in his actions, it may be that the only way for the wife to stop it is to leave. It may be frightening for the wife to cut loose, especially if she is financially and emotionally dependent on her husband. But sometimes it’s the only way to save herself.

Partner Abuse Overview

Some great resources on


Sexual abuse and assault happen in relationships that may not be overtly abusive. However, partner rape itself is domestic violence, and since it is an act of control, we shouldn't be surprised when it coexists with other forms of abusive control.
These might be any of the below:
  • Physical abuse i.e. battery. Studies do indicate that the tendency toward partner rape increases significantly in men who batter. (Bergen, R, Wife Rape: Understanding the Response of Survivors and Service Providers, Sage Publications, California, 1996) Physical abuse also takes the form of throwing objects, hurting pets, or pushing and shoving.
  • Emotional Abuse: Putdowns, emotional blackmail, shaming, making jokes at your expense, withdrawing affection as punishment, deliberately embarrassing you
  • Mental Abuse: Negative comments about your intelligence, "mind-games" such as insisting something didn't happen when you know it did; calling you crazy or trying to drive you crazy, "second-guessing" you.
  • Social Abuse: Insisting on accompanying you on all social outings or refusal to allow you to go at all; isolating you from family and friends.
  • Financial Abuse: Insisting that you work in the family business for no money; preventing you from earning your own money, making you account for every cent, giving you an "Allowance", controlling any money you make.
  • Spiritual Abuse: Mocking your religion, insisting that you embrace his religion, preventing you from going to church, distorting and quoting scripture to manipulate you into submission
  • Using "Male Privilege": Claiming the right to do as he pleases while the same right doesn't extend to you because you're a woman. Male privilege may also be a part of sexual assault; for example he may say that as your husband, it's his right to have you whenever he wants you.

If you've experienced these other forms of abuse, you may have come to doubt your own worth or sanity, and have little self-confidence. But just remember: These are tactics that abusers use to control and intimidate. Whatever you may have come to believe about yourself is a reflection of the abuse, not of truth. Please do think about seeking help - you deserve much better. Nobody has the right to control and hurt you.

(Source: Easteal, P. And McOrmond-Plummer, L, Real Rape Real Pain: Help for Women Sexually Assaulted by Male Partner, Hybrid Publishers, Melbourne, 2006)

It's a common misconception that rape - particularly partner rape - is about sex, rather than an act of power, control and violence. Here are common types of partner rape (note: They are NOT excuses for abuser behaviour, and just because an abuser is motivated by, say, power one time doesn't mean he always is; I can clearly identify times when my ex-partner was motivated either by power or by anger):
  • Power Rape: This happens to "show her who's boss." Batterers often want sex after beating their partners, and it's a means of forcing the woman to forget the fight and make up. It may happen because she said no to sex, or because she wants to leave. It may not be physically violent, but can involve sufficient force to get what he wants. Power rape occurs also when a woman is bullied or intimidated into giving in "to keep the peace."
  • Anger Rape: Anger rape is often very violent and is carried out in retaliation when a man perceives his partner "deserves" it - perhaps by calling his masculinity into question. It might be a response to her leaving, "flirting", showing him up in front of others.
  • Sadistic Rape: Where an anger rapist hurts the woman to punish her, in sadistic rape the abuser gets off on causing the pain, fear and humiliation. Cutting, biting, burning, urinating upon the victim or other painful and humiliating treatment characterizes sadistic rape.
  • Obsessive Rape: If you experienced sexual assault from a partner who was obsessed with pornography or forced you into repeated sex-acts that were bizarre or fetishistic in nature, this is characteristic of obsessive rape. It may also be repeated and constant acts of anal or oral rape - something the abuser is fixated with doing.
(Sources: Finkelhor, D. and Yllo, K., License to Rape, The Free Press, New York, 1985; Russell, Diana E.H. Rape in Marriage MacMillan Publishing Company, USA 1990; Easteal, P. and McOrmond-Plummer, L, Real Rape Real Pain: Help for Women Sexually Assaulted by Male Partners, Hybrid Publishers, Melbourne, 2006)

  • Denial: Acting as if nothing out of the ordinary happened, boldly stating that it didn't happen, calling you crazy for saying that it did, saying he doesn't remember.
  • Rationalization: "You must have wanted it" "You could have stopped me," "A husband is entitled to it"; Rationalization is also blaming you: " If you gave me more sex I wouldn't have to force you" "You are a cocktease"
  • Minimization: I didn't really hurt you" "You're making a fuss about nothing" "I just wanted to make love to you."
  • Claiming Loss of Control: "I was too turned on to stop", "You make me so angry"
(Source: Easteal, P. And McOrmond-Plummer, L, Real Rape Real Pain: Help for Women Sexually Assaulted by Male Partners, Hybrid Publishers, Melbourne, 2006)

If you identify with any of the above, please know that there is help available. Don't be afraid to call domestic violence or sexual assault services- also Pandora's Aquarium has many survivors of partner rape who will gladly support you.

For Survivors of Marital / Partner Rape

Have you been forced into sex with your partner? Perhaps it involved you being beaten or threatened with weapons, or your partner may have badgered you, withdrawing affection or refusing to allow you to sleep until you give in. You may have been drunk or drugged, or your partner set you up for gang-rape. Maybe it happened many times, or maybe once - and once is once too many. Please know that there is compassion and support available for you. At Pandora's Project, we recognize the unique issues that survivors of sexual assault by an intimate partner face. First, there is the fact that social attitudes often minimize marital and partner rape and do not believe it constitutes a serious trauma. Research, however, has shown that intimate relationships are one of the commonest settings for sexual assault, that partner rape entails the highest levels of repeated rape and physical injury, and that the trauma may be longer-lasting than for survivors of other types of rape (please see this page for research and citations).

Ideas about what "real" rape is combined with other issues like society being slow to name this problem and assumptions that being in a relationship equals unlimited consent, means that survivors of partner rape, even if they are traumatized, have a hard time recognizing that what happened was rape. This can delay healing and prolong danger for them. Some survivors, however, unequivocally know that they were raped and struggle with frustration at the lack of validation they receive - for example, church, family or friends advise them that it isn't really rape, and to remain with the perpetrator.

Partner rape may happen in relationships that are otherwise respectful and egalitarian, but it frequently does involve other forms of abuse and control - please see this page. People often don't realize that leaving can be extremely dangerous for a woman who is being raped by her partner. The risk of more violence including battery, rape and homicide escalates after separation.

If you have been forced or coerced into sex acts with your partner, what is happening to you is a crime. Please see this page for definitions of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse. Please don't let anybody minimize it. Just as importantly, even if you don't feel that what happened to you can be called rape or sexual assault, if your partner is doing things to you sexually that are causing you pain, you deserve to get support.

What you may be feeling

This is not an exhaustive list but what follows are some very common ways that survivors of partner rape feel.

You may be some years out of the relationship and still struggling to define what happened to you. You may feel ashamed that you kept it secret for so long, and wonder if you can call it rape so long after the fact. Some survivors report "feeling like liars" in calling partner rape by it's name. You may be afraid that people will blame you because you remained in the relationship after being sexually assaulted, or may say that it couldn't have harmed you too badly. You may be so traumatized that you've attempted to forget about it but find that it emerges in nightmares or flashbacks. This may be triggered by ongoing contact with the perpetrator via custody of children, or attendance at the same school. If your partner presented as a good person socially, others may not have believed you, or may have been hostile to you, and you perhaps now feel that there's nowhere to turn. You may feel as if you're "overreacting" by being upset by it.

If you are still living with the partner who sexually assaulted you, you may feel isolated, frightened, deeply betrayed and hurt. You may feel reluctant to call a partner you still love a rapist, or may feel as if you're committing a betrayal by talking about it. You may be deeply ashamed and wonder what it is you're doing wrong, or scared that others will blame you or demand that you leave. If you are contemplating leaving, you may be frightened for your life (with good reason), or afraid that you will be a bad parent. You may be afraid of seeking help, or you might squash your pain with drinking and drugs.

These are all very normal reactions. It is important that you know that whatever your situation is, you have the same right to healing and support as any other survivor of rape.

What does Pandora's Project offer survivors of marital and partner rape?

Marital Rape researcher Raquel Kennedy Bergen found that what survivors of partner rape most frequently want is support groups comprising other survivors who have shared their experiences (Wife Rape: Understanding the Response of Survivors and Service Providers, Sage Publications, California, 1996). Our messageboard and chatroom, Pandora's Aquarium, has many members who are survivors of partner rape. They will make you very welcome and help you feel less alone - whether you are still in the relationship or not. We have a forum for survivors of relationship violence where people post about all sorts of situations - somebody has felt as you feel. There are specific discussions for those who feel able to participate - recent ones include:

  • Abusers and their denial
  • Relationship Violence and pregnancy
  • The weird things abusers do
  • The adultery
  • How has the physical violence effected you?
  • Mind Games
  • Why do we stay?
  • The rape
You can post in this forum or anywhere else you like. The forums are private and survivor-only. Please note that this isn't a substitute for professional help, but is all about peer-support - or getting you support from other people who have shared your experiences. Our chatroom is safely moderated, and most forums are private and survivor-only. Please be sure to read about safety online, particularly if your abuser shares your computer.

If you are in danger, we espouse a policy of safety first and we suggest that you make use of crisis resources. We hope that if you are in danger, you will find help to the freedom you deserve. But nobody will tell you what to do, blame you or minimize what happened to you. We are committed to offering quality peer-support for survivors of partner rape. You can post as much or as little as you like, or not at all - some survivors just feel comforted by reading the words of other survivors. If you would like to know how to join Pandora's Aquarium, please see this page.

Why did she stay with her abusive husband?

The hardest part of what I’m going through is hearing my beautiful girl question why she stayed with him for so many years. The main reason she believes she stayed with him are:

  • She feels she put her family through a lot when she was forced to choose between him and them when she got married at a younger age, feeling responsible for the pain he caused and feeling that she had to do everything she could to make the marriage work.
  • She distanced her from the relationship, doing what it took to please him and stop the abusive behaviour in him, treating him as a friend. 
  • She felt the only person being caused paid was her and she could deal with it, she was committed to the marriage and to loving him and tried everything to make it work.
She is coming to terms and asking herself the questions of why she stayed in the relationship, I think this is a good thing, but at the same time it’s stirring up old emotions that I don’t think she has dealt with before. She never saw herself as a victim, and she does not see herself as a survivor. She knows he was manipulative, but at the same time does not see him as an abuser. She still defends his actions, and that’s the really hard part for me to see. It’s almost like she is still trapped in it, and until she understands what happened to her she will not be able to move on fully. She blames herself for staying in the relationship but does not understand the physiology of what he did to her, to keep her in the relationship.

To put this into context here is some information from

Reasons for why people stay in abusive relationships is uncovered by learning about the so-called "cycle of abuse." In a typical instance of domestic abuse (where one partner is abusive towards the other), abuse tends to occur periodically (cyclically), rather than constantly (all the time). There is no clear beginning to the cycle of abuse, but for purposes of describing it, we can start at an arbitrary stage along its progression. Something event occurs, whether real or only imagined by the abuser, that generates feelings of anger or even rage. These feelings then lead to the second stage of the cycle, which is where the actual abusive behavior occurs. Such behavior may be verbal, physical, emotional/mental, or sexual in nature. If the cycle stopped here and stayed constant, most victims would find it very easy to leave and not endure abuse for long periods of time. However, shortly after the abusive event occurs, the abuser frequently expresses remorse or guilt and wants to apologize. The abuser will swear, "It will never happen again" and may shower the victim with gifts and demands that the victim forgive him or her. There may be so-called "makeup sex" which can be quite pleasurable and provide the victim with a sense that he or she is valued, and really loved. In a parent/child abusive relationship, guilt over abuse may be expressed as special privileges or gifts for the child victim. Following the guilt and making up stage comes a "honeymoon" or latency period during which things are good for a while between the partners. Inevitably, in truly abusive relationships, the latency period ends with the beginning of another abuse episode; the abuser again feels angry, disrespected or treated poorly in some way and the cycle starts all over again.

Though such cyclical abuse is repetitive and predictable, it is also intermittent, and the rest of the relationship might be perceived as good enough or even loving. In this context, victims often rationalize that they aren't really being abused, that their partner really loves them despite being abusive and that makes it okay, that the abuse really isn't all that bad, and other similar statements. Victims are motivated to generate excuses their abuser, to think of each abuse episode as a "one time" thing (even when it isn't), and to focus on the good aspects of the relationship (particularly those positive things that during the guilt/latency phase of the abuse cycle) and convince themselves that the relationship is really a good one and that everyone has some problems in a relationship, i.e., my partner just occasionally loses his/her temper when really stressed at work, etc. Or for those with poor self-esteem, the rationalizations may be thoughts such as “I don’t deserve any better” or “this is the best relationship I’ve had in my life.”

Victims may have any number of low-self-esteem type beliefs that also keep them paralyzed and willing to accept something that is merely "good enough." They may believe that they will be alone forever if they go out on their own. They may believe that they are so damaged that they would only pick another abusive partner anyway so why not stay with this one? They may believe that they don't deserve any better than to be beaten or raped on a semi-regular basis. Abusers may reinforce this lack of self-worth by saying that abuse is normal, that they are over-reacting, etc.

Victims that do try to break away from abusive partners may find that abuse escalates to dangerous proportions. Abusive partners may stalk victims who try to leave them, beat them severely, or otherwise attempt to control their ability to exit the relationship. If they don't threaten to kill or harm the victim or the children, they may threaten to harm themselves, and by so doing, guilt the victim into feeling sympathy for them and then staying to prevent the threatened suicide from happening.

The combination of internal self-esteem deficit, intermittent actual abuse, makeup sex or other positive attention obtained in the wake of abuse episodes, and escalating threats when the victim tries to get away is enough to convince many victims to stay put. Every time a victim forgives an abuser, that abuser is reinforced for being abusive, and it becomes that much more likely that the abuser will become abusive again in the future. The net effect is that the abuse tends to continue forever until the victim finds the courage to leave or is abused to death (e.g., murdered, in the most serious, violent cases). This truth is frequently lost on both the abuser and the victim, however.

Throughout all of this she could not see that he was abusing her, not violently, but emotionally, mentally and sometimes sexually.

Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.

Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. It happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused—especially verbally and emotionally, although sometimes even physically as well. The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it’s coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.

Abuse is not always about violence, below is an extract from a great website helping people get out of abuse relationships by sharing the experience of others. The main part is to know you are not alone. You are not week for staying with an abusive partner, you are strong for realising that it was wrong.

Although I do not know the full story, both of the below feel like they are similar experiences to what the love of my life went through. She has shared some information, but at the same time I see it in the echo’s of her past and the way she reacts to things. To give you an example; I may not hear her when she talks quietly, so I say pardon, and she instantly apologises says she is sorry for mumbling. When she goes out with friends, colleagues or family she walks back into the house and expects an argument as this is what she experienced for years. If her mum calls she apologises for being on the phone too long and worries how I will react, the truth is, I’m so happy she has reconnected to her family and friends. I see all of the past, and with time I will show her she can be herself and I will never control her. My love for her is so strong and I can see her for the beautiful soul she has.

My marriage was an experiment. I was the proverbial frog in the cooking pot – it heated up so slowly that I didn’t notice. That was, I didn’t notice until the blisters appeared on my soul. I finally escaped. With the help of some amazing people, I escaped.

What follows is a typical day in the life with my ex.

Saturday morning the alarm doesn’t go off but I wake up early anyway. My husband, Joe, is still asleep so I quietly creep out to the family room and settle on the couch to read my book. About an hour later Joe comes out and looks at me.

“Good morning,” I say, looking up.

“What do you think you’re doing? I’ve been laying in back there waiting for you to come back to bed.”

“I didn’t know you were up, I wanted to let you sleep.”

“Yea, right” he growls, going into the kitchen. He comes back with coffee and cereal and turns the TV on. I get up, and he looks at me, “Where are you going now?”

“To get some coffee, do you need anything else?” “Does it look like I do?” he yells, turning the TV up.

After breakfast he goes into his office and I clean up the kitchen, then jump in the shower. When I pull back the curtain, he’s leaning against the sink, glaring at me. Startled, I ask what’s wrong.

“You didn’t tell me you were going to take a shower.”
“You were working so I thought I’d get ready to go to Sam’s club.”
“I would have taken a shower with you.”
“I’m sorry, I just know that you complain you always have to wait on me to get ready, I thought I’d get started early.”
“So you can complain about waiting on me!” He screams.

Driving to the club, I turn towards the store and he suddenly punches the dash board, “WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING?”

Shocked, I say “To the club.”

“You should’ve turned down the next street. This one has too much traffic and too many lights.” “I’m sorry,” I reply, “I’ll remember that for next time.”

I hate it when he gets angry. He’s never hit me but I’ve seen him destroy furniture, appliances and kick in a door. I have no doubt he could easily kill.

While shopping, he places an expensive tool chest in the cart. He really doesn’t need it since he doesn’t do much around the house.

Cringing, I look up, “We can’t afford that right now.” “Why not?” he sighs.
“The car payment and utilities are due.”
“So what happened to all our money!”

“Bills and groceries.”
“I think I need to take over managing our money.”
“I’ve tried to go over our budget with you before but . . .”
“Oh, alright, as always I never get anything I want and we have to do whatever you say!”

At home, I start cleaning, wearing my iPod, when he runs into the room, screaming at me. I take the buds out of my ears and say “What?”

“I’ve been calling you for ten minutes. Don’t wear that around the house, it’s like you’re going around with your fingers in your ears saying ‘Nanana, I can’t hear you!’”

“What did you need?”
“Nothing now, since I had to come upstairs.”

Later, fixing dinner, he comes in the kitchen just as I spill a can of tomatoes.
“Hey klutzy.” I look up and tell him not to call me names.
“It was just a joke, you’re too sensitive -and you have no sense of humor.” He takes over the dinner preparations and, when I ask him to go careful on the spicy, he just smiles, and tells me not to worry, it will be great. Of course it’s not, it’s so spicy I can’t eat much. After, I start cleaning up and he tells me to do it later and come in to watch a movie. Tired from the day and not wanting another argument, I sit down on couch. After the first movie, he says we’re going to watch one more. He won’t answer me when I ask what movie, just looks at me and says it’s a surprise. I immediately realize it’s Hannibal. I tell him I’m not watching this. He looks incredulous, and asks why.

“I hate this movie. I’m going to go to our room to read.” “You don’t hate this, you’re just trying to avoid me.” “That’s not true,” I reply, as I walk back to the room.

After the movie he comes back and wakes me up, “We have to talk.” “I was asleep.”

“You can go back to sleep easily. Are we ever going to have sex again?”
“I’m not talking about this now.”
“Maybe I should just go somewhere else to get it!” he yells. I look at him shocked. Through clenched teeth, he adds, “Maybe I should just force you.” Then stomps out of the room slamming the door.

I turn over to go back to sleep.

Domestic Abuse is not just about violence, is abuse, mental, emotional and sexual.

Not only did he bruise me with tv remotes, his shoes (gee, he loved throwing those things!) one time a hair gel container… anything in his reach really. But he also specialized in the ‘words’ that all abusers use…. “You’re just lucky I’m here. nobody else would stay around”; “you should be grateful i tell you how to improve yourself”; “nobody will ever love you as much as i do”; “you’re a liar- that never happened”; “you’ve got a bloody good imagination… always making things up”; “well if you didn’t do that i wouldn’t have reacted like that”; “it’s because of you that i act like this.. you make me so mad”.

I also endured the relentless hawk’s eye… i couldn’t go to the toilet without him saying “where are you going”; the phone rings “who is it?…. okay you can talk to your sister but only for 5 minutes, but she’s not coming over”.

I also had the relentless task of oral stimulation & hideously painful 3 minute penetration to relieve this man of his ‘natural urges’ and always being told “it doesn’t matter where i get my appetite- as long as i eat at home” at the end.

Domestic violence doesn’t make sense. It can be small and quiet. It can be a look, a deep sigh, a turn of the head, it can be loud smashing noises, booming voices, fists thrown, heads bashed.

I don’t know if I should help her see the relationship for what it was, or let her leave it in the past knowing that she still blames herself for what happened. I will have to trust my heart and guide her through everything in the best way I can. If you know someone that has been abused, love them, support them, and make sure you get the support you need to deal with these emotions.