Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

My partner was raped and I think he needs help!

I just knew that my gay boyfriend was raped a week ago.
He have been trying to act normally with me for the last week but refused to see me.
We finally met today and he was hesitant about telling me but he finally decided to tell me because he feels like he can't love or care for anyone anymore, including me. He told me that everything around him seems distant and that he can't feel anything at all.

He hardly told me any details about the rape saying that he doesn't want to talk about it. he only said it was a relative who once had tried to sexually harass him when he was young. he also said it happened at his house and the rapist broke in because he knew he was there alone.

He said he went to a therapist seeking help and told him about everything as he read a little about rape trauma syndrome. but, the therapist bullied him for being gay as our community doesn't really accept it. he didn't tell anyone except me and the therapist, even his parents because they don't even know he's gay and he's afraid of coming out or talking about the rape.

He asked me to be best friends. He is feeling horrible about this because he is afraid he won't feel anything or love me again and he doesn't want our relationship to end and he also knows that I love him so much.

I accepted his request because I know he can't help it and assured him that it's not his fault at all and that I'm going to stand next to him waiting for him to love me back again even if this takes forever. I also told him that I'm ready to listen to him whenever he needs to talk and that I'll always be there caring about him. And I made sure he doesn't have any thoughts or suicide or hurting himself.

I feel devastated because of what happened to him and I'm horrified of the idea that he may not be able to love me again because I love him so deeply and we had just got through some problems together wanting everything to be great again and it feels like everything suddenly crashed and broke. but despite those feelings, I never said this to him because I know he needs me to be strong for him right now and knowing about such feelings would only make him feel worse.

I really need to know if I'm dealing with this right or wrong and how can I help him and us get over this and relieve his pain.

 

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One thought on “My partner was raped and I think he needs help!

  • Katie says:

    Hi Marcus

    You are doing absolutely everything right. Everything you are doing will be helping him. You have said all of the right things and you could not have done any better. It’s hard for me to even suggest anything because you are doing amazingly well at supporting him. Keep doing what you are doing.

    I was raped by a man and I went through a very similar period where I tried to break up with my long term (lesbian) girlfriend at the time. It’s partly because of the shock – it numbs you and makes you feel like you can’t love. The distancing your boyfriend is experiencing is completely normal – it’s a protection mechanism to shield us from the pain. Reassure him that all of his feelings are completely normal. Any reaction to rape is normal. If he froze and didn’t fight back this is completely normal. There is a lot of good information out there about rape e.g. on Rape Crisis website.

    It was also for me partly because I blamed myself and didn’t think I deserved anyone as good as my girlfriend. She said she wasn’t going anywhere, she kept coming around, giving me support, being my friend, until one day I was ready to tell her the whole story – why I blamed myself and all of the shameful things I thought I had to hide. I wished I had told her everything sooner so she could listen to every detail and tell me it wasn’t my fault sooner. If there is one thing you can do for him then offer him that. He may not be ready to tell you yet, but reassure him that you are open to listen to any details, no matter how disturbing, and will not judge him or blame him. Make sure he also knows that it’s ok to not talk to you and you can just hang out and keep him company or sit in the other room so he is not alone – whatever he wants.

    My girlfriend and I have since married. All because she didn’t give up on me and believed in our love at a time when I could no longer see that it existed. Reassure him that he will feel again, and that you don’t need to break up – you are happy to be with him whilst he feels this numbness.

    Remember it’s really early days and whatever he is feeling will not last forever. He doesn’t need to make any big decisions about your future together whilst he is in shock. It’s best if he doesn’t.

    The therapist sounds awful and it’s probably best he finds another one who is more equipped to deal with rape (and being gay). It’s best to quiz them about their opinions on this before he goes to see them, to make sure they are suitable. Maybe there will be one in an area a bit further away if nothing close by.

    Look after yourself as well as him and know that this isn’t personal to you – you haven’t done anything wrong.

    You are doing the best you can. That’s all you can do.

    Katie