Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Was it rape? (content note)

I'm not sure where to start. I met my partner when I was about 22 yrs old, I had been married previously and had two children who were 2 and 4. In the beginning I really didn't think much of him, he wasn't super attractive and he had kind of an old fashioned attitude about what women should be doing. I don't know really what made me look past that instead of recognizing several red flags. He started pressuring me for sex pretty much right away, inviting me to his place, trying to touch me while watching movies even when I said no several times, it didn't matter, he'd stop for a minute then start again. Although I didn't like it, I completely shrugged it off and continued dating him. A few weeks into dating I agreed to have sex with him. When it came down to it, and clothes were coming off, I realized how uncomfortable I felt and I started to procrastinate. He reminded me that it wasn't like I'd never had sex before. I don't know why, but his words cut me. It was like he was telling me to just lay back and let him do what he wanted because I wasn't much more then a whore, after all, we hadn't known each other very long and I was willing to put out. Wanting to stop but not wanting to make him angry I went through with it. He was rough, manipulating my body in ways he wanted, I told him several times to be careful, that what he was doing hurt. He continued to remind me it wasn't my first time.

We continued to have sex anytime he came over to my apartment and I was careful to use protection, my biggest fear was that I'd get pregnant again and at that time in my life I was in school and actually doing good on my own, I had only been divorced for about 2yrs and I was finally making it by myself. I was very clear about not wanting to have more kids at that time, I shared my thoughts with my partner and he assured me that he couldn't get me pregnant anyway, he was sterile because of an infection he'd had as a child. Still, I didn't want to take the chance and I insisted on using a condom. It wasn't long though before he started hinting that it was uncomfortable. " I can't feel as much", "It's hard to orgasm", " it's too restrictive" were just a few of the things he started saying to convince me to have unprotected sex. At first I continued to say no but eventually he wore me down. I agreed that we could try it as long as he pulled out before finishing. I realize that the pull out method doesn't work, but I believed he really couldn't get me pregnant and that the use of protection was just a precaution, I had convinced myself that he would do the right thing and stop when he needed to. Everything was okay at first, then things started to get more heated and we ended up moving to the floor. He turned me over onto my stomach like a sack of potatoes. I hadn't completely gotten over the feeling of being uncomfortable and completely exposed but I had gotten good at ignoring it. As he had me on my stomach and he was on top of me I could tell that he was getting close. I told him to be careful, he didn't answer me. A couple more seconds, I tell him "Stop!.. you need to stop". He ignored me. At that point panic set in, I tried to buck him off me, I tried to wiggle away and out from under him. He grabbed my arms and pulled them up and over my head, pinning me down so I couldn't move. After that I don't remember much, just the weight of him on top of me and my face being shoved into the carpet as he reached his climax and ejaculated inside me. I knew instantly or at least felt that he'd tricked me. I felt violated and betrayed and I started crying. Suddenly he was comforting me, telling me it was okay, that I was okay. I asked him why he didn't stop when I said stop and he told me he couldn't, that he was to far into it to pull out. A few weeks later I caught him screaming in my two year old son's face while he grabbed his arms and I broke up with him. Fast forward to a few months down the road. I was in class when I started to feel sick to my stomach, I tried to ignore it but couldn't so I excused myself to go puke. I knew immediately that I was pregnant. At first I didn't know what to do, I felt ashamed of myself and worried that my family would be disappointed in me. I thought about not telling him, and just doing it on my own, I didn't want him in my life. But he came back one night, showing up at my door and apologizing for how he acted towards my son. He wanted another chance, he seemed sincere. I let him in, and eventually I told him that I suspected I was pregnant but hadn't taken a test to confirm it yet. He was ecstatic, he wanted to go to the store right away and get a test so we did. The test confirmed what I already new.
I believed him when he said he wanted to take care of me, that he wanted to be there for me and our kids. I told him about my past, about some of the abuse I'd experienced growing up hoping that he would understand why I was shy about sex, why there were certain things I didn't want to do and maybe, he would stop asking me. Like any relationship there was a honey moon period, we got along well, he was a good father to my two older kids and I really felt like he had so many things he could teach them. But gradually we moved into a comfort zone, we had another baby, he worked, I stayed home. It took awhile before I realized what was happening and even then I didn't know whether to call it abuse. I had been abused physically, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually as a child and this was different. He didn't hit me, but he would posture like he wanted to, sometimes he would put his face right down in mine to scream at me, one time he shoved me to the floor, and anther time he kicked me in the arm. The excuse I made for his behavior was that I was overreacting to things he said or did which made him angry. If I didn't overreact so much then we wouldn't fight. Sometimes he commented how he could make me disappear because he was a heavy equipment operator and he could dig a hole so that no one would find me. He would laugh as he said this as if her were joking but sometimes I wondered.

Sex was a constant battle, he wanted it all the time and didn't like to take no for an answer. At night I started staying up late reading, hoping that by the time I got to bed he'd be asleep and would leave me alone but that rarely happened. If I said no he was persistent, he'd start pulling my underwear down, I'd pull them up and tell him no, he'd put his hand between my legs, or reach around and squeeze my breast, he would rub himself against me and try to insert himself inside me, sometimes he would grab my hand and wrap it around his penis, begging me and telling me how much pain he was in. I always gave in, I'd lay there and let him do what he wanted feeling like a hole in the wall. I continued to be sexual with him, sometimes even enjoying it, other times wishing he would just get done and leave me alone. Sometimes he was gentle, other times he wanted me to try new things some of which were painful but when I'd ask him to stop he would continue but I still allowed it so he wouldn't get angry. Towards the end of our relationship he spent more time locked in our room after work. He isolated more from the family, spending most of his time watching t.v., browsing porn on his computer, or playing video games. I felt like we rarely spoke to each other but that didn't stop him from wanting sex anywhere, or anytime including when the kids were around. A couple times our fights would escalate to the point of one of us sleeping in another room, we'd ignore each other during the day but at night I'd wake up with him in bed next to me trying to push himself into me. Like all the other times I'd try to make him stop but eventually he'd wear me down. The next day the fight was over and we were back to normal. The last time it happened, I went out side on the deck the morning after. He had come to my bed the night before wanting sex and I finally gave in, afterwards I thought that at least things would be back to normal, at least he wasn't ignoring me anymore. When he came out on the deck he was quiet for a minute and then he said " We need to stop letting that happen". I was crushed, and all I could think about was how I'd told him repeatedly to stop, to leave me alone. to get away from me. He finally decided that he was done for good a few months later. It's been six years now since I left with the kids. I'm a single mom, I'm in recovery, I go to counseling every week, I'm moving forward but I can't seem to get past this. The way I got pregnant with our first child, all the times I allowed him to have sex with me when I didn't want to, all the times he ignored me when I said he was hurting me, or I was tired and just wanted to sleep. I know that I was violated in numerous ways and I have read similar stories about other women who's husbands have done these things to them who consider themselves victims of spousal rape... so why is it so hard for me to say " My spouse raped me" ... Why don't I feel like I have the right to say that? Or am I wrong in labeling it as rape? I know that in our society some people consider it rape and others don't so where does that leave me? How do I get past this when I don't know what to call it?


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6 thoughts on “Was it rape? (content note)

  • Polly says:

    I’m really sorry this horrible person did what he did to you. Sex and intimacy is about sharing – it is something you choose consciously every time.

    This was rape – I’m so sorry that this is so hard to accept. You deserve so much better than this. I think it is very hard to say ‘my spouse raped me’ because when someone does something bad to us, if we believe that it was in some way our fault then it gives us a sense that perhaps we can prevent it in the future. But the fault is always the abuser’s. A decent person would not do this to you. It is a long journey to move forward from this but there are people who will support you along the way – you can do it! It was not your fault.

  • Michelle says:

    I wish I could hug you and tell you the one thing I’ve learned through a similar experience to you is that the important voice you need to listen to is yours. You told him to stop, you were in pain and that is all that matters. Now all that matters is that you and your children find security, safety, strength, but happiness and love you deserve all that. Your mistakes can be forgiven so forgive yourself, he chose to abuse and rape you were just using survival techniques, you and your children are alive and free ☺ xxx

  • Admin says:

    You are not wrong. What happened to you is rape. You have every right to use that word.

    Being put in a position where you cannot say no is rape. If a condition of consent (withdrawal before ejaculation) is violated, it is rape. Being harassed into acquiescing is rape. Consent must be freely given without coercion or harassment. You are not responsible for what for being sexually assaulted and raped by your ex-partner.

    Domestic abuse isn’t just about hitting someone. It is a pattern of coercive controlling behaviour that can involve physical and sexual violence, as well as financial, psychological and emotional abuse. Please know that you did nothing to deserve this behaviour. You are not to blame and we believe you.

    These are the free phone numbers for the national rape crisis organisations in the UK. The phone lines are staffed by trained volunteers who are there to listen. You can also find local support services on their websites. Please reach out to one of these organisations if you do not feel comfortable speaking about your experiences of domestic abuse and rape with your current counsellor.

    Rape Crisis Scotland: http://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk
    Freephone 08088 01 03 02
    (Every day, 6pm to midnight)

    Rape Crisis England/ Wales: http://rapecrisis.org.uk
    Freephone 0808 802 9999
    (12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm every day, and 3-5.30pm weekdays)

  • Derrington says:

    Hon, youve been through the mill and yes, youve been repeatedly raped. I’m so sorry to say those horrible words but this man is a rapist. The reason you find it difficult to know your experience as rape is that as very young girls we are groomed to think we should serve men and not put our wishes equal to theirs. The fact that this guy said ‘we need to stop letting this happen’ is proof how society grooms men too into thinking a female’s no doesnt count as much as a mans yes. Keep on healing and growing and read a bit of radical feminism, you are not alone in your experience at all and the more you read up, the more youll realise that. Much love xxx

  • Jane says:

    I am around 4 years out of a relationship like this that lasted over 10 years off and on. Like you I went into therapy again ( been in and out due to childhood abuse) and now have reached a place of peace with what happened. Radical feminism helped me to do this because I realised that women are conditioned to accept abuse and women like me – with serious childhood abuse – are often sitting ducks for abusive men. Although it was hard to accept, once I did so I took my power back – left the shame and disgust behind and grew into a woman in charge of my own choices and life. I am most proud of my son who is a staunch advocate of women – he saw me tear myself away and I showed him that women are worthy of respect. With the hard work you are putting in, you will be at peace too – I promise.

  • Lula says:

    Yes it was rape and reading this made me cry. Being abused as a child and then again in relationships as well I know how hard it is to not feel guilty (for dating the wrong people, not saying no, not fighting back hard enough, not breaking up early enough, letting it happen again etc etc) but please know you are not alone. I wish all the people who hurt you would feel the pain and guilt instead of you.