Category Archives: Relationships

Not My Shame

            I have been wanting to open up for a long time. I was so afraid to hurt certain people. But I am now to the point in my life where I cannot feel bad for his mistakes. I have so much hatred for this person that I never, ever wanted to hate. I am pretty certain that the day he dies I will NOT cry, as a matter of fact, I may clap and do a little dance. This is no longer my shame to hold on to.

          So for those of you that I haven’t opened up to, please take a moment to read this. In such a short time I have found myself in a place I never thought I would be. I was in a homeless shelter at the beginning of 2012. After a brief split with my now ex-husband, we made the decision to make one last attempt at our marriage. Probably, looking back, not the best decision I ever made. However, it did cause me to gain the life of my beautiful daughter. You see I had been told my chances of conceiving for a second time was .0001% and after feeling extremely blessed with my son, I was ok with that. This second miracle was the reason I now see that I tried the one last time.

          So on to the reason I am writing this. After leaving him for a second time, I knew that this time had to be the last. He was disliked by most of my family for the things he had put me through. When we made the decision to get back together, they were not happy. They were even angrier when I informed them I was pregnant again. After all of the things he had already put me through, I had forgiven him and allowed him back into my life. They were worried for me and with good reason.

          We did really well for the first few months. He increasingly became more hostile towards me and even towards our nearly two year old son. And then it is like the light in his eyes lowly faded. You see, he was one of those guys that had the most beautiful life-filled eyes. But as time went on, it faded. I still to this day do not know where everything went wrong. Now looking at his pictures (recent not old) that light is gone completely. As a matter of fact they are almost dead.

          What I do know, is that on September 24, 2012 my life was forever changed. This was the day after I had celebrated the coming of my beautiful daughter. I am saddened by the events that took place on that day. My feelings towards almost everything changed that day. This was the day that the man who was supposed to love and protect me, slammed my head into a wall during an argument and physically forced me to have sex. That is correct, my husband, raped me. I know now after a ton of soul searching and research, that what he had done to me was NOT okay by any means. Just because I was legally married to him, he was not allowed to rape me. A marriage license is not a license to be raped.

          After two and a half years of freeing myself from this person, my life slowly becomes more of what it should be. Peace and quiet. I feel more alive now than I think I ever have. I have a passion inside me to do something to help others like myself and many of my friends. I cannot by any mean find it in my heart to forgive him. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s better for me if I do. The anger and pain drive me to be who I am.

          I do however fell sorry for 4 very precious people in this entire situation. They are his 4 beautiful children (2 of which are mine biologically). These children now have to live with the stigma that their father is an abuser who rapes women. But even still, this is his shame to carry not mine, and not his children. His family shouldn’t carry that burden of shame either. As angry as I am at some of them for having nothing to do with my children, they need not carry that burden either. It is his shame, and his shame alone. I dread the day I have to explain to my children why he isn’t around. But it’s ok. They know their mommy loves them to the end of time.

          Then I look back and realize why some people treated him the way they did. They knew who he was and what he was. They knew I’d never in a million years believe he was capable of the things he has done. I know deep in their hearts they wanted to tell me, but knew I’d never believe it. I remember people telling me they saw the toxic relationship and were honestly scared for my safety. I of course didn’t want to hear it.

          Basically to get to the point, when you have survived abuse in any way, you do NOT have to forgive the person to move forward. I do strongly believe you have to figure out how to let go of the shame. Shame is a burden and we have held their burdens long enough. So to end this I will speak this and believe it even more THIS IS NOT MY SHAME, IT IS HIS. I AM DONE CARRYING THE SHAME, IT IS YOURS NOW AND FOREVER!!!!!!!

What Consent is (and isn’t)

This entry comes courtesy of Blair Robertson, and takes a look at an important subject: consent. She discusses what consent consists of, as well as what does not constitute consent. She also takes a brief look at how rape culture plays into this issue. This may be triggering, so please proceed with caution, and stop reading if you find yourself being triggered.
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“What is your definition of rape?” This question came at me, seemingly out of nowhere, one afternoon recently. Annie and I were sitting at a local brewery, having a beer with a couple of guys who work out with us at the gym. One was a man around my age; the other was a young guy, about 25, who is quite nice-looking, but shy and somewhat lacking in social skills. His looks, combined with his lack of self-confidence, leaves one often with a sense that he is arrogant and aware of being a “lady’s man.” I understand that this is not true, but I’m also sure that his physical expression is far more confident and practiced than is his verbal expression. The conversation had turned to a blind date the young guy (let’s call him Joe) had had the past Friday night, how much he had liked her, and how he had become too intoxicated due to his shyness around girls. She had ended up having to take him home and put him to bed. In the midst of this, he looked directly at me and asked, “What is your definition of rape?” Knowing nothing romantic had taken place on his date, I was taken aback by the question, and Annie immediately “received a phone call” and had to leave the table. I responded to him, “When both people don’t actually say YES. Not saying no is not enough, Joe.” He looked at me, confused, and said, “What do I say, then? How do I ask? ‘Wanna bang?’” He chuckled in embarrassment, then continued, “Won’t that ruin the mood?” I responded, “That probably would. Saying, all along the way, ‘Is this ok?’ or ‘Do you like this?’ will let you know that you’re not overstepping any lines, and will probably enhance the mood, because she will feel that she can trust you. The guys then, in their discomfort, began to joke amongst themselves about rape, and I had to excuse myself, because I don’t find anything about the subject funny.

That is a serious question, however, for men, old or young, who are uncomfortable with verbal expression, who are initiating sex with someone they don’t know well, who have been conditioned by our society to think that expressing themselves sexually is a natural thing, and that women couldn’t possibly have any objection if the mood has turned romantic. How does one ask? This is something parents should raise boys with more awareness of, something they actively discuss with their sons, something boys should be taught should NEVER be taken for granted, even if it is someone they have had sex with before, or are even married to. Actual rapists don’t care; the victim saying no has no effect on their intentions or actions. All men, however, become rapists when they continue just because the woman does NOT say no, with no clear idea of how she is feeling or what she is wanting. (Yes, I know the victim can be male as well as female. For the purposes of this article, however, I will have the victim be female.) And society still seems to think that is okay. It’s not. It is the part of rape culture that will make it almost impossible to overcome rape mentality, because these men don’t think they are raping. If she didn’t actually say no, she must actually want it, even if her body language is saying something different. She must be shy, or coy, or playing hard to get.

A woman close to my age was discussing this with me the other day, and said, “Oh, I don’t think men actually have to ask. They can tell what the mood is.” I couldn’t believe she said that. Hasn’t she seen the way men’s eyes glaze over when they are in the “sex zone”, doesn’t she know how difficult it is to break through that with so many men, to get them to listen at that point? I, myself, have been in the midst of sexual encounters that I thought I wanted to be in, when at some point things didn’t feel right. Sometimes it was someone new, sometimes it was with men I’d had sex with before, some many times before. I knew I immediately stiffened up, and said, “no, STOP.” I have been lucky enough, most times, to be with a man who respected that and stopped, however reluctantly. A few times, however, I have not. In my younger days, rape culture was not talked about, and if we got ourselves into the situation and they didn’t respect our request to stop, we were taught to chalk it up to a bad night.

Rape has been around as long as there have been people. Sex and power are often inextricable from one another, and rapists exist. But the sexual atmosphere leading to today’s rape culture is, I think, more specific. Through the 1950’s, girls and boys were both taught that “nice girls didn’t,” that girls should be virgins on their wedding night. The nuclear family was more intact, and I think boys were raised with a protective attitude toward their moms and sisters that translated to a similar attitude toward a girl they may like or love. The sixties came along with flower children, protests against war that acquired the slogan, “Make love, not war”, and the era of “free love” was born. This was a double/edged sword: it removed a lot of the stigma of women having sex outside the institution of marriage, and at the same time put more pressure on her not to say no. If love was “free’, why should anybody stop it? Because society was then and is now patriarchal, it actually just became an easier time for men to pass women around, and to pressure them into sex, because it no longer was a death sentence to their reputation. Or so they told us. Men could have all the “free love” they wanted, but women became sluts and were slut-shamed if they did the same. And there was no attention given to the rights of women. They were supposedly liberated, but liberated to do the bidding of men. Perhaps more women than ever began to suffer in silence. I remember seeing a short documentary in the early ’80’s called “The Silent Scream”, illuminating the horrors of abortion, but I always thought the title particularly appropriate for all women everywhere. We have had no sexual voice. Our “no” can’t really mean no, and our silence is tantamount to a resounding “YES.” My momma always said, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”, and that’s kind of what the sexual revolution became for women. Free lunch was a man’s ticket to free sex, and the implications are myriad from there.

Verbal consent is a relatively new concept in today’s society, and a ludicrous one to a lot of men. A mood-breaker, an inconvenience, an unnecessary and uncomfortable bit of conversation to have. But it is the beginning of a voice for women–a voice long ignored, and a necessity a long time coming for women. Verbal consent is the first line of defense in the rape culture of today. Parents, teach your children well–teach your sons to wait to hear that word “yes”, and teach your daughters to make their voices HEARD.

A letter to my abuser

*Trigger Warning*

This contains details that may be hard to read. If you need to stop please do. Your saftey and self preservation are important to us. If you choose to continue, thank you so much for reading.

To whom it may concern,

You……. Looking at this, I hate you. I hate you for what you put me through. I hate you for giving me something false to believe in. I hate you for putting your hands on me. I hate you for making me feel like I am not worthy of love. I hate you for being that man that feels as though I have no right to tell you no. I hate you for raping me. But most of all I hate you for distancing me from so many people. I hate you for telling everyone what I “did” but not telling anyone what you did.

I am 35 years old and I am scared to allow any other man near my heart because of you. You have left me in such fear of life in general. I am scared to be happy because at the very moment you and I reached the depths of happiness you changed. You became someone I don’t even know.

I sat and looked at your prison mugshot and just cried. Where did you go? The person in that photo isn’t you. Your eyes used to hold so much light and energy in the bright blue, now they are this blank grey that I am not even sure that is a good color to call it. You have this darkness in your face that I don’t even know any more. The man I met and married would’ve never done the things you have.

I very clearly remember September 24, 2012…… I like to hope you were very messed up on something as the you I knew wouldn’t have done these things. So here goes…………. On September 24, at 7 months pregnant, we were fighting in our upstairs hallway, screaming about the entire lack of being able to have sex. You didn’t understand it hurt, and it was dangerous for me and our daughter. You didn’t care. I told you to go to hell if you didn’t like it. Big mistake. You grabbed me by the face and slammed my head into the wall. I fell to the ground sobbing, you had never put your hands on me before…….. Then you grabbed me by the throat and dragged me into the bedroom and forced me physically to have sex. I cried the entire time. My husband, you, the man who was supposed to love me, had just hit me, and was now raping me. You made me feel so dirty, so lost, so empty. All of this happened with Leland watching from his bed. Later that evening, while making your dinner, Rhonda and Heidi sitting there, I was scared to tell her what had happened; Leland reached up on the counter (nowhere near the stove), you grabbed his wrist so hard that his fingers began to turn blue. I screamed, Rhonda screamed, and after arguing for a few minutes, you went upstairs. I made the decision as you were walking up the steps to be done. You again forced me to have sex with you when I got into bed, crying the entire time. You raped me twice in a single day.

Then a couple months later I found out the other things you had done while I was pregnant with Sara. To drug me and get strange men off of the internet and have them come to our home and rape a drugged pregnant woman whom you were supposed to love, is sickening to me.

Then there is the repeated breaking the restraining order. Why would you make me more scared of you than I already was? To make me afraid to leave home, to go anywhere or do anything. I couldn’t even go to the doctor. I was made a ghost patient when Sara was born because I knew you would try to find me. I also knew that if you found me you would come and try to take her and since I had a c-section I couldn’t allow any chance of that. I also ensured Leland was safe where you couldn’t get to him either.

I do want to tell you thank you. Because of what you did to me, it has given me a passion for helping others endure the court system while dealing with the pain of domestic violence. That’s right I am in college. That is something you always swore I couldn’t do. Well guess what? I am, and rather well might I add. You always disregarded my intelligence, there is not a single person I have come in contact with, that has made me doubt that. Every single person that I have met here has encouraged me. Something I am not used to. You didn’t have to beat me daily, weekly or monthly, your words over the years had beaten me down enough that you were never forced to lay your hands on me but the one time.

I have learned so much about myself in the nearly two years since ending our marriage. I am a good person. I deserve happiness, love, respect, and that I am beautiful. I now can say these things without hesitation. I can look out at the world and know there is a place for me and I am allowed to search for it. I am allowed to be happy. I am allowed to wear whatever I want to. I can wear my makeup how I want to. I know you don’t think you were doing anything wrong, but you were. You controlled me and every move I made. That is not a life any one should live. I deserve better.

I want you to take a moment of your pitiful life and look at where you are. You’re sitting in a prison cell because you lost sight of love and life. You became someone who do not want near my children. I say my children because you don’t deserve to call them yours. You had ample time to see and spend time with these 2 precious lives. You chose not to. You chose to completely turn your back on them. I am not going to tell them until they are old enough to really understand the depths of what you have done. As long as I can help it, you will have nothing to do with these kids.

I think the thing I want to say to you more than anything though is I am ready to forgive you. I want to forgive you for making my life so different than anything I ever imagined. I want to forgive…….. I do forgive you, but not for your sake for mine.

I am going to include lyrics to a song…… My song…… A song that has touched my heart since the day I heard it.

 

Warrior by Demi Lavoto

This is a story that I’ve never told I gotta get this off my chest and let it go I need to take back the light inside you stole You’re a criminal And you steal like you’re a pro

All the pain and the truth I wear like a battle wound So ashamed, so confused I was broken, and bruised

And now I’m a warrior Now I’ve got thicker skin I’m a warrior I’m stronger than I’ve ever been And my armor, is made of steel, you can’t get in I’m a warrior And you can never hurt me again

Out of the ashes, I’m burning like a fire You can save your apologies; you’re nothing but a liar I’ve got shame, ‘I’ve got scars That I will never show I’m a survivor In more ways than you know

‘Cuz all the pain and the truth I wear like a battle wound So ashamed so confused, I’m not broken, or bruised

‘Cuz now I’m a warrior Now I got thicker skin I’m a warrior I’m stronger than I’ve ever been And my armor, is made of steel, you can’t get in I’m a warrior And you can never hurt me…

There’s a part of me I can’t get back A little girl grew up too fast All it took was once; I’ll never be the same Now I’m taking back my life today Nothing left that you can say Cause you were never gonna take the blame anyway

Now I’m a warrior I’ve got thicker skin I’m a warrior I’m stronger than I’ve ever been And my armor, is made of steel, you can’t get in I’m a warrior And you can never hurt me again

Nooo oooh yeaah yeaah

You can never hurt me again

 

Sincerely,

Your EX-WIFE

What an abuse survivor wants from a new love.

What an abuse survivor wants from a new love.

I would have to say the first thing I want from a new love is understanding. Understanding that I am scared. The last man that I gave my heart to hurt me. He was supposed to be the one that protected me, instead he is the one who hurt me. He took my love for granted. Understanding that when I tell you what I went through it’s not because I want you to feel sorry for me, I tell you because I’m still healing and will be for a very long time and I want you to help me heal. Understand that even though deep down I know you’re not that person I still somewhat need you to prove it. Understanding that when you go to put your arm around me and I flinch, it’s not because I am scared of you, it is because his hands weren’t that sweet. Understand that when you go to kiss me or touch me sexually and I back away, it isn’t because I don’t want you to, it’s because I wasn’t given a choice with him.

The second would be trust. Simply because I wasn’t trusted, with absolutely no reason for mistrust. Trust me that when I say I am going to the grocery store, that’s where I am going. Trust me to work and be faithful to you and only you. Trust me not to check everything I do or say I am doing. Simply trust.

The third thing would be words. Use your words wisely. If you think I am beautiful, tell me. That person that did all of the damage wasn’t so kind with words. Think about how you say something and the words used to say them. There is a lot of venom in words and some just don’t see the damage they can cause.

The fourth would be compassion. If we are still feeling pressure from the abuser, being stalked, court dates and so on, let us know you are there. If it is possible go with us to these things. Never make us feel that the fear is silly or unwarranted. There is a reason we are scared. If we ask you to hold us, it is a feeling of safety that is needed. Compassion that sometimes we are just scared, and all it takes is you letting us know you are there and that you will do all you can to ensure our safety.

Another would be sympathy. Some if not most of us do not seek counseling in the aftermath, sometimes because we fear our abuser will be following us. Most of the time, those of us who suffered extreme abuse or sexual assault from our abuser, suffer from PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This disorder is complicated and there is no sure way to beat it. If we refuse counseling there is a reason.

And last but not least, RESPECT. If I say no respect me and listen. If I give you my opinion on a subject, respect it even and more so if you disagree. If I am trusting you enough to give you my opinion, respect it please. If I am crying, angry or even very happy, I am sharing my feelings and emotions with you, RESPECT them.

When Justice is Served

What happens when you get justice?

I have told my story to you all, that in itself was very healing. But today I would like to talk about what happens when justice is handed down.

This man who was supposed to be the man that protected me, that loved me, that was my soul mate. Hit and raped me. When I finally got up the nerve to leave, he would harass me to the point where I was afraid to leave my home. Finally he moved to another state with another woman. He did to her what he did to me except a bit worse. He was charged and convicted on 2 counts of domestic assault, 2 counts of kidnapping to facilitate and one count of criminal sexual assault. He was sentenced to 14 and a half years in prison and ten years probation, so I have 25 years before I have to worry about him.

This has left me feeling conflicted.

I am happy that he is out of my life and behind bars where he can’t do this to anyone else. I can move forward with my life, not feeling like I have to look over my shoulder every time I step out the door. I no longer feel like I can’t live and breathe. My children have a chance in living a normal life. They don’t have to see mommy nervous, scared, angry, hurt, or sad anymore. I am so happy that they no longer have to worry that their father is going to attempt to steal them.

Then there are the other feelings. Anger, I am angry he is not the man that I loved. He was an illusion. I am angry at him, I am angry at myself. I am sad that the happy days were just an illusion. I regret wasting ten years of my life with him. Though out of that ten years I did get 2 beautiful children. I am hurt that I allowed myself to be put in that situation. I am angry that I am now alone with two small children.

So my emotions are all over the place, most of them feelings of relief, happiness, and just plain excitement to see what the future holds. Plus anger hurt and regret.

No matter what the feelings are now, I did get out with my life and I am succeeding with everything that he once told me I couldn’t……….

One Survivor’s FAQ

A very dear friend of mine wrote this in response to some questions she has often been asked about abuse and her history in particular. She has been generous enough to allow me to share them here. All links are set to open in a new window/tab. – Amanda

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I have been asked so many questions about my abuse. So I am going to shed some light on those. These are my personal answers to those questions.

1.       Why did you stay so long?
Well there are several different answers. First and foremost I did love him, and I honestly didn’t realize how bad the verbal abuse was until he put his hands on me. Second I was scared of losing everything including my kids. You know having seen shows and movies where the courts gave the abuser custody because they had the home. Third, I really thought he would change since he seemed to every time I left. Lastly, Because I wasn’t sure how to leave, or if I would be safe if I left.

2.       How did you leave?
Well I have explained this before. I waited for him to go to work and filed a restraining order. Luckily the police were on top of it because the moment he came home from work he was served with it and was never again in my home.

3.       How can I leave an abusive relationship?
There are assorted ways you can do this. You can do things how I did. Or you can contact your local domestic violence shelter and ask for help.  Sometimes a police officer can force the abuser to leave if you can call them.

4.       What do I do if someone tells me they’re being abused?
First of all believe them. They may only speak out about the abuse once and if they do and aren’t believed it could possibly cause them to never speak out again. Offer any help you are comfortable giving, a place to stay, money if possible, a safe place to use resources (telephone, internet, or friends and family visits) as that is how isolated these victims have become. Do NOT I repeat do NOT tell them to leave, suggest it yes, but never force the issue, if they are not ready they will not remain strong if they do leave. Just be a listening ear and a positive reinforcement for the person confiding in you.

5.       Who can be abusers?
The answer to this is simple, while it is mostly women and children who receive the abuse, men can receive abuse as well. Gay and lesbian relationships as well can result in abuse.

6.       What are the different types of abuse?
Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse, Financial Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Spiritual Abuse

Another helpful hint for those of you that want to know what the lasting effects are from domestic violence click here 

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If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call your local authorities or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233). If you are not in immediate danger, but need someone to talk with or help finding your local resources, please contact me either on my Facebook page Hit Me No More or at my e-mail HitMeNoMore@gmail.com – Amanda

Why is my hot stove burning me?

I wrote this a while back, when a friend asked me to explain what an abusive relationship was like. Yes, there’s certainly more I could have put into it, but this was enough to answer my friend’s questions, so that is where I stopped. I am sharing it here, for those of you who may not understand what it is like to be in an abusive relationship. Also, while it is written from the perspective of a female being abused by a male, women are not the only ones capable of being abused, and men are not the only ones capable of abusing. Anyone can be abused, and anyone can abuse. But no one deserves it.

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A woman may be touching a hot stove, and wondering why it burns her. Her friends all tell her that she needs to stop touching this hot stove, but she refuses, saying that she loves the hot stove. When her friends point out her burns, she makes excuses, saying that she turned up the heat too high or that she did not touch it the right way.

When she shows up in the emergency room with burns on her hands and arms, the nurses in triage ask her if she has been touching a hot stove. She denies it, claiming she is just clumsy.

She loses contact with her friends and family, because all she has time for is touching this hot stove. She wonders why this stove is burning her, when all she wants to do is express her love for it.

Her counselor tells her that the hot stove is burning her because that is what hot stoves do. She refuses to believe this, repeating her excuses about how she turned up the stove too high, or did not touch it in the right way.

If you are touching a hot stove, please know you are not alone. I was touching a hot stove up until just over three years ago, when I finally got the courage to walk away. There are people willing to help you if you will only let them. If you know a person touching a hot stove, please do not give up on them. They need you more than ever, even if they will not admit it.

This is how it is in an abusive relationship. A woman may be in an abusive relationship, wondering why she is being abused. She does not understand that an abuser abuses because that is what they do. She makes excuses and denies the abuse, thinking it is her fault. But it’s not. She did not do anything to make them abuse her. And she cannot do anything to make them stop.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call your local authorities or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233). If you are not in immediate danger, but need someone to talk with or help finding your local resources, please contact me either on my Facebook page Hit Me No More or at my e-mail HitMeNoMore@gmail.com  – Amanda

What is rape?

This entry is going to discuss how rape is defined, and what it looks like. This topic may be triggering, so please proceed with caution, especially if you have been abused, raped, sexually assaulted, or otherwise traumatized. If you find yourself unable to handle reading this article, please stop, and do something else. Your safety is of utmost importance to me, and if that means you don’t read what I have written, I am alright with that. All links are set to open in a new window/tab.

According to the RAINN website, rape is defined as “forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object.” Force, in the case of rape, is defined as violence, threats of violence, coercion, or if the victim is unable to provide consent (unconscious, drugged, disabled, injured, under age, or otherwise unable to clearly indicate consent).

That definition is rather broad. Hopefully I can help clear up some of the ambiguity that it leaves. Rape can occur under many different conditions or in many situations. There is partner rape, which is what it sounds like – where you are in a relationship (dating or marriage) and your partner rapes you. There is statutory rape, where the victim is below the age of consent as defined by local law. There is acquaintance rape, where the victim and rapist know one another but are not dating. And, there is stranger rape, where the rapist is a stranger to the victim. All of these are considered rape, and all of them are crimes. None of them are the victim’s fault. Period. Ever.

Before I continue, I want to emphasize something VERY important. It does NOT matter where you were, or where you were not. It does NOT matter what you were or were not wearing. It does NOT matter what you had or did not have to eat or drink or smoke or shoot up. It does NOT matter how your body reacted. Rape is rape is rape, and it is ALWAYS the rapist’s fault! Please don’t blame yourself. There is NO victim who has EVER “asked” to be raped. There is NO victim who “deserved” to be raped. And rape is NOT about the sex. It is about power, control, and intimidation.

I have been raped more times than I will ever be able to count. And not all of them were the same. (All of these names have been changed, and can be read about in greater detail in My Story.) There was Alex, who I didn’t even realize had raped me. I’d always thought it was sexual assault. But as I got more involved in doing what I’m doing with outreach work in the areas of abuse, rape, and sexual assault, I realized it was actually rape, since he penetrated my vagina with his finger. Then there was Phil, who I’d been in love with for almost three years, and who I’d dated off and on that whole time. He raped me in my sleep one night while I was staying the night at his place. (Which I had tried to get out of, but couldn’t come up with a reason he didn’t have an answer for.) And then there was Ben, who raped me more times than I’ll ever be able to count. He raped me in my sleep, frequently after I’d told him “No,” already. He would insist on sex immediately after fighting, with no apology or making up of any kind. If I refused, he would simply wait until I was asleep, and take it from me then.

All of those count as rape. None of them were wanted. And none of them were my fault. Also, none of them were reported. Rape is a highly under reported crime, which makes the statistics hard to compile. I chose not to report because I was ashamed, and because there was no proof other than my word. It doesn’t help that my own mother told me I deserved what had happened with Alex because she felt I’d broken the rules. It took me many years to realize that she was wrong, that it was not my fault.

I’ve said it before about abuse, and I will say it now, about rape. It is not just men hurting women. Men can be raped, too. Women can commit rape. No one is immune from being raped, unfortunately. And absolutely NO ONE deserves to be blamed for their rape.

I hope this has helped answer what rape is, and what it may look like. If you would like to learn more about rape, please click the link above to the RAINN site where there are many resources available. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call your local authorities or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233). If you are not in immediate danger, but need someone to talk with or help finding your local resources, please contact me either here, on my Facebook page Hit Me No More, or at my e-mail HitMeNoMore@gmail.com – Amanda

Why is it easier to tell strangers?

Today’s entry comes from a dear friend. She makes some very accurate observations on why it is easier to talk to strangers about having been raped, abused, or assaulted, than it is to talk to your friends and family. – Amanda

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Today I want to talk about the reasons why it is easier to talk to complete strangers rather than trusted people in your lives about whatever abuse you suffered.

First you have shame. You tend to be ashamed of “allowing” this to happen to yourself. Ashamed of the time it took you to leave or escape. You are ashamed of the resentment you feel towards society, religion, basically anything that you once held so high in standards. You have this feeling of not being worthy of people time, a lot of times because you have been told this by your abuser. A shame that runs so close to your soul’s core that you fear telling a loved one will shatter their core because they had no idea.

This leads to resentment towards your “trusted” family and friends. These are the people that are supposed to love you even at your worst, and yet when you did finally reach out for their hand, they pulled back. Especially, resentment towards the criminal justice system and their lack of knowledge of any form of domestic violence situations. In my case I made it to where he wasn’t able to come back into my home, by getting a restraining order, changing my locks, and following the courts rules regarding the restraining order. Yet, he texted my phone telling me what time I was leaving, when I was coming home, what I was wearing, what our children were wearing (which he couldn’t have known if he was outside of the 500 feet that he was ordered to stay away from me). When taken to the prosecutor in my town I was told “It’s just text messages.”  I asked them “So he is allowed to stalk me?” Their reply made me so angry “That’s not stalking, it is telecommunications harassment” That is why we tend to resent the criminal justice system. Resentment I feel is a bigger part of telling complete strangers rather than those whom are supposed to be your trusted confidants.

Then there is fear of judgment. Things such as: “you were not raised to take that from anyone” why did you stay so long?” “Why didn’t you leave the first time” Judged for the things you “allowed” to happen to you. When talking to police or anyone in the criminal justice system (if you are brave enough to go that route) you tend to feel this sense of negative judgment. They do not understand because they have never been where you are.

And last but not least, we have fear. Fear that we won’t be believed. Fear, that if we have children, they will taken out of our custody and horrible things said to them about us. Fear that if we tell the people we trust the most we will turn on us and side with the abuser.

Fear, judgment, resentment, and shame………. The reasons telling a complete stranger is easier than a friend or family member.

Mothers of Victims

Today’s entry comes courtesy of Blair Robertson. In it, she takes a look at child abuse. In particular, she looks at the reactions of mothers married to men who have abused their child(ren). It may be triggering, particularly if you were abused as a child, so please proceed with caution. And if you find yourself being triggered, stop reading, and do something kind for yourself. – Amanda
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How on Earth did that mother continue to allow her husband/boyfriend to force sex on her daughter? That was one of the questions I heard the most when I worked with child molesters, and a way more complicated question than it seems.

I wondered the same thing when I started facilitating a group for spouses, so that’s where we started. Little did I know that the answers would be coming, in bits and pieces, for months.

The first, most predominant answer is, as you might imagine, “I didn’t know.” And, contrary to the popular beliefs of almost all outsiders, most mothers didn’t. Know. Until they walked in on it, or the child told her. A lot can go on in a busy household, and I thought that, as a mother, I’d know it all, but I wouldn’t, and they didn’t. My son, who is now 25, delights in telling me all the things he did when he was young that I never knew. Fortunately, incest wasn’t one of them. His were mostly stories of jumping in the river from a tree branch, saying “vagina” in his second-grade class, etc. Mothers are quite busy. They often work, leaving the kids at home with dad, then do all the housework after a few hours of deep sleep, all while keeping the children during the hours that dad works. Mothers need help. Most often, the abuse started while dad/stepdad was bathing the children, washing the daughter’s hair. The fun of bath time turned to inappropriate touching. My daughter’s dad gave her baths, too! What was the difference? Who knows? Whatever it is, the one thing it comes down to is integrity. You either have it or you don’t. And you have it until you don’t. And for child-molesting dads, that can change in an instant.

As things progress, the perpetrator gets more afraid of being caught. He gets clever, offering presents to the child who doesn’t tell, making it a “daddy/daughter secret”, even resorting to threats. And the threats are often not towards the child. Most men threaten to hurt Mommy if the child tells, which is far more scary to the child than a threat to hurt her, because she is already being hurt, and knows it.

So what about mothers who do find out? Well, I’ve known more than one woman who was sitting in the living room with a loaded rifle the next time dad walked in, who turned the spouse in, who got the child out of the situation immediately. Unfortunately, it’s not usually that easy or that clean. So many moms expressed to me, “Well, it happened to me the whole time I was growing up, and I’m ok.” No, they’re not ok, but they may not know it, and that’s the tip of a huge iceberg. Moms who grew up being molested may have been daughters of other moms who grew up the same way, far back into generations past. When you don’t know any different, when something is “familiar” (pun intended), how do you know to do anything about it? They may have grown up not liking what was happening to them, but they didn’t like “whuppings” either, and nobody did anything to get them out of the situation. These women often unconsciously “choose” a spouse enough like what they know of daddy/grandaddy/uncle that they practically set up the scenario to happen again, not even conscious of what they are doing.

There is also the patriarchy/money trap. Many of the mothers I worked with had grown up in patriarchal cultures where the man ruled the house, and whatever he did, they had to accept. This is often connected to the money issue, where the dad is bringing in all the money, and leaving is just not an option. What’s a young mom with several children to do on her own, with no education or job skills (often), no child care, no way to even find a place for them to live? There were many times when the child was sent away to relatives, or even given up to DSS, so the mother could stay and get the money she needed for other children or for herself.

And sometimes, the knowledge is just too painful. Denial is a powerful thing, even among the most affluent and able families. A family I know is a “model” family in a small Southern town, daddy a well-placed lawyer, mother beloved by all, scions of the local church, doing way more than tithing every year, respected by all. They walked in on the older brother sexually assaulting the little sister at young ages, scolded and separated the children, then went into denial so fiercely that the subject could never be brought up again. They had way too much to lose. The daughter finally told someone who reported it when she was in high school, and another lawyer in the family squashed the DSS investigation, so the family could still maintain their respect in the town, and the daughter continued to suffer.

Mothers told me they tried everything they knew how to, if they couldn’t report it or get out. They tried never letting the kids out of their sight. But everybody has to sleep. They tried fighting the husband, but the same patriarchy/money questions came into play. Many tried giving the husband/boyfriend so much sex that he wouldn’t need it from the child; that method just won’t work. Once the thrill of the illicit, forbidden act has started, routine, dull sex from a spouse is not going to easily replace it. And, child molestation is more about power than it is sex, anyway.

They only way to stop the cycle is for the women to be empowered, often through (free) counseling. They need to know that the generational cycle of abuse can stop, and needs to stop, here. They need to know that they can be elsewhere, that they don’t have to stay in a situation and keep their child in a situation of abuse. They need to be counseled on education, how to finance it, how to house and feed the children while they pursue a degree or a career; they need the support they have never received– emotional, financial, practical. One young woman started in my group, had been beaten by her husband when she confronted him about watching pornography with the daughter and touching her while they did. She had no empowerment in any way. Somehow, though, she reached down inside herself, reported him, managed to get a job, managed to get the law to order him to give them money, went back to school, and obtained her Master’s degree in Social Work, so she could go to work for DSS to help other mothers save their children. Many children have been saved by this young girl who had first told me, “It happened to me, and I’m fine. The girl will be ok too.”