Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Boyfriend was raped

A few days ago, my boyfriend's boss took advantage of him. His boss is in a very high profile position and they were meeting for drinks to discuss my boyfriend's "career." His term at this position ends in one week, so it was also a sort of send-off. My boyfriend looked up to this person, who is ivy-league educated and extremely successful. He has my boyfriend's "dream career" and my boyfriend has spent the last six months trying to impress him.

So a few nights ago, the boss took him for drinks, began giving him shots of alcohol, one right after another. He then took him to a strip club and said "you're getting a blow job from a stripper tonight." My boyfriend said "absolutely not. I love working for you, but that's disrespectful to my girlfriend." He wanted to "appease" his boss, though so he went to the strip club and felt awkward, but stayed (being fed drinks the whole time). He continually refused the boss's demand that he get a blow job, and the boss said "I'm not going to lie I just want to suck your dick. I know it's inappropriate but I do."

Fast forward a couple of hours, they are leaving the strip club, they get into a cab, and the boss unzips my boyfriend's pants and starts giving him oral sex. The cab driver kicked them out of his cab so the boss got another cab and the same thing happened.

I NEED SOMEONE'S HELP. I love my boyfriend so much but I am struggling to accept this. He is scared, already in therapy, and when he first told me (the night that it happened - soon after) he says he felt intimidated .. like he "owed him" that because he kept disappointing him when he refused the blow job from a stripper.

My question / need is: How can I get over this? Even though I didn't witness this, I have my own imagery of what happened and it is HAUNTING me. I KNOW it wasn't his fault but I also worry - what if he is gay? what if I marry him and he leaves me to come out years later? I will be devastated. He is getting the help he needs and I am being supportive and loving (he doesn't have anyone else to talk to - except me and his once-a-week therapist). What do I need to do / think / remember so that I can heal from this? I KNOW it wasn't his fault, I KNOW he loves me and is feeling tremendous guilt, shame, and embarrassment. But I honestly feel panicky about it. I have so much anger. PArt of me wonders "why didn't you stop it? why didn't you think of me and just stop it?" I need to know WHY he didn't / couldn't stop it. This will help me accept and heal.


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6 thoughts on “Boyfriend was raped

  • Admin says:

    This was not your boyfriends’ fault. Nothing he did meant he deserved this. He did exactly what he needed to do at that time to survive. Your partner was groomed by a man who was more powerful and successful than him. The pattern of inappropriate behaviour exhibited by the boss was part of the grooming process – pushing your partner into situations he was comfortable with and making it difficult for your partner to say no. The sexually suggestive comments and inappropriate comments are all part of the grooming process. This is how sexual predators operate. The grooming process involves convincing victims they are responsible or partly responsible for being raped.

    Victim blaming in our culture tells victims they are responsible for not saying no, or how they dress or how much they drink. This victim blaming culture is manipulated by predators. Your partner is not at fault here. Asking why didn’t your partner do more to stop it is an easy question to ask but it doesn’t understand the dynamics of power in sexual violence.

    However a survivor responds during their rape is the best way for them at that time. Sometimes it’s too dangerous to stop it or say no or “fight back”. The culture of masculinity makes it difficult for men who taught they should be able to “fight back” when no one knows how they will respond during a traumatic event.

    No one should be criticised for choices and behaviours made during a traumatic event. “Why didn’t he think of me” would not have kept him safe at that time. This post on feminist self-defence might help you understand this better.

    This does not make him gay. It makes him a victim of rape. Sexual assault and rape do not change someone’s sexuality. If your partner comes out as gay later in life it will not be because of this rape.

    You need to access therapy of your own in order to be able to deal with your own anger and your hurt. But, this also isn’t just about you. Your boyfriend was raped. He didn’t choose to be raped. He didn’t do this to hurt you. He had no choice. Right now, your partner’s healing is most important.

    Rape Crisis have some basic information on their site although they deal specifically with women and girls.:

    how to help
    what not to do
    sexual contact.

    You can also find some information here by the NHS. There are a number of services which support men.:

    Survivors UK

    Both of these organisations can help you to help your partner.

  • Liz says:

    I hope so much that you can get through this and direct your anger where it belongs – towards the rapist. I can imagine how devastated your boyfriend would be if he loses you on top of suffering this trauma. You may not realise you are engaging in victim blaming, but I’m afraid you are. He obviously feels loyalty to you – he didn’t want to follow his boss’s suggestion, but then this was used as a kind of excuse for assaulting him. Your boyfriend also trusts you – he came straight home and told you about it. Unfortunately your reaction illustrates why those of us who have been abused and raped so often stay silent. We don’t want to be ‘that girl who was raped’ or ‘that girl who was abused’ for fear of what will be said about us behind our backs – or to our faces. I hope you can be strong for your boyfriend and help him heal. The day may come when you will need the same help from him, although I hope it doesn’t. If it does he will remember your support now and hopefully want to reciprocate.

    • Redskies says:

      I believe you and I believe him. He was raped and is having to deal with it and you too are having to deal with it. You feel how you feel and, given our culture and attitude towards rape and masculinity,it is a natural reaction. However, hold onto the thought that it is our culture and the rapist who have manipulated you into this. your boyfriend is not at fault and you are not at fault in any of this.

      You know you need help dealing with those feelings, which is the first step. I agree with the comments above – there are organisations who have sadly seen this all before and who will be able to recommend a therapist who can help you. I hope your boyfriend and you both find healing for the emotional injuries inflicted by the rapist.

  • Robbie Knight says:

    When a partner is raped, the relationship itself is raped.

    Your confusion and pain are absolutely normal and you need support just as much as your partner does. In order for you both to recover, you both need support. You have both been brutalized by this act.

    If you can find a therapist of your own to support you it might be the best investment you can make, not only in this relationship, but also in your own sanity.

    I’m sending you good thoughts. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through.

    Take good care of you.

  • Claire P says:

    I am so sorry that you are both going through this. You will need to take time to be strong for him, but there are charities that can help you, and can perhaps absorb some of your frustration and anger to enable that.

    Samaritans are, as ever, there for you to just listen. if e-mail support is your thing, they offer that. Rape Crisis are excellent, and more specialist help if that’s what he feels most comfortable with can be found from http://www.mankindcounselling.org.uk/.

    Everything you have said I have heard from male partners of rape victims. he may be the primary victim but this rapist has also made you a victim, albeit differently, and you deserve help also. please use that to be there for him, now when he needs you. he’s disclosed to you: that shows enormous trust that you should be proud of. Have faith in him and use the services out there all you need.

  • Laura Gustine says:

    I understand your fear but please give all the support you can to your boyfriend. Male victims of assault struggle to find the support they need. I hope you can be strong for him. Please believe me: your boyfriend is not gay. An assault of this kind has nothing to do with desire or sexual orientation. This is about power. While your boyfriend may have looked up to this despicable individual it is clear that he felt threatened by your younger, intelligent boyfriend. He may have heard that your boyfriend is tipped for a great career, that he is a star of the future. This incident was his attempt to show your boyfriend that he is senior to him, that he has power over him. Men use rape to assert their authority, they make themselves feel more important by debasing others, particularly those they feel threatened by. It must have been devastating for your boyfriend, his boss meant it to be. Try to help him survive this and come out stronger. He deserves your support, your trust and your faith.