Category Archives: intimate partner rape

Ask 10,000 Men….

It seems to be a matter of semantics, sometimes…. Unless you’re one of the survivors. Still, this article on Smithsonian about a study where men in six countries were asked if they had forced advances, without using the word “rape,” revealed affirmative responses from a quarter of the respondents. For only 1 in 10 of the respondents, the woman wasn’t their partner or acquaintance.

Ask 10,000 men

Following the link to the AP article outlines further information collected in the study:

• most respondents (70%) noted that they felt entitled to sex
• only 1/2 reported feeling guilty about what they’d done

While it is important to note that this particular study did not include the US, it did outline the problem with the general perception that rape is only committed by strangers – a criminal – jumping out of the shadows. And this is from the guys perpetrating the crimes, whether or not they realize or consider what they did a crime.

According to the National
Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 2010 Summary Report, by the CDC, National Center of Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention, 1 in 5 women in the US have been raped sometime in their lives. More than 1/2 were raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance.

The link for this report is here

So, even in the US, rape is not the sole domain of the criminal stranger. Though, really, I’m thinking more about that 70% of respondents in the first study saying they felt entitled to sex. That seems to me to be a main contributor to the problem. Is that belief because of what I went through with Sam? Because I know he felt he was allowed to force sex with me because I was his wife? I don’t know. It most certainly plays a part in my response in reading the reports….

Providing help and support for survivors is important. However, in order to get those numbers and statistics to drop, we need to work towards countering the sense that one is entitled to sex. That idea seems pretty clear to me, even if the how-we-get-there part is not.

Advertisements

Today I came across an article telling part of a young man’s (Trey Malone) story. Not all of it, by any means; there is always so much more to a person than can fit into an article, or even a series of articles. What it details are after-effects of an unthinkable act committed against him and provided a link to his heart-wrenching and very eloquent suicide note.

I’m struck by several things as I read the story (here’s the link) and Trey Malone’s note, published in full at The Good Men Project site (link here) with his family’s permission.

The Huff Post story, while it outlined sexual assault as a contributing factor to Trey Malone’s decision to end his life and cited allegations that the college has failed to adequately respond to and address sexual assaults on their campus, and failed to provide adequate support to victims, provided only a single support resource link at the end of the article: to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. It did not provide any phone numbers or links to support resources for rape and sexual assault survivors. I do hope the oversight will be corrected.

The Malone family, in allowing the note to be published, shows incredible courage in the face of heartbreak. I would like to thank them for allowing the publication and offer my sincere condolences for their loss.

To fellow survivors trying to deal with victim blame, depression, feelings of isolation and / or shame, myself included, I would like to offer the following:

NOTHING you did, or did not do, justified having your will, your sense of safety, your sense of self, shattered and ripped away like it was. You did not “allow” it. You did not “ask for it.” The fault lies not with you. No matter what you may have been told, or how you yourself might feel, you are not weak. Having survived the physical, emotional and psychological effects so far is a sign of strength.

May we find peace, healing and continued strength.

R* and Attachment Parenting

It’s scary sometimes where searches for information on current political events can lead a person. I certainly didn’t expect to find the following link to two topics I never expected to see together in the same post. hisveganmama didn’t even go into the level of detail that other bloggers went into in response to Mr. Akin’s ignorant (to put it politely) statement back in August 2012, but it certainly triggered a strong response in me. I wasn’t looking for information on his statement, and I’m not certain I can re-create the path that got me from the 2012 presidential campaign to hisveganmama‘s post…

Here’s where I ended my search earlier in my lunch hour:

R* and Attachment Parenting

It caught my eye, because, well, because of what I went through with Sam and because I am strongly drawn to the parenting philosophy of attachment parenting. I don’t know why I was so surprised to see the two topics together, because my belief in attachment parenting and desire to raise Max under that philosophy was one of many topics that would result in an hours-long diatribe about my intelligence, suitability as a wife and/or mother, or other unacceptable behavior by Sam towards me.

Her description of what she struggled with as being a rape survivor and a mama is shedding light on issues that I have struggled with, but which I wasn’t even aware enough of to have attributed to being a survivor.

It seems my list of stuff I need to work through keeps growing, but I’m not really sure that I’ve truly addressed any of them, much less healed. I’m not sure that feeling will ever go away, either.

Insomnia

I’m having trouble sleeping again. I’m so tired, but I can’t find the off switch for my mind. I’d have thought that with the recent court hearing on the visitation issue (I probably need to write that out – maybe in the next couple days), that I’d be doing better.

I think it’s a plus that I’m not constantly getting up and checking all the locks and windows, but I’m so tired. And I’m finding it hard to follow my ‘get to sleep routines’. What’s going on? I’m not sure…

Project Unbreakable

A story I found via Pandora’s Project Facebook page from the Guardian: Project Unbreakable

Struggling — again

20120117-113737.jpg

I don’t know what it is lately. We’re gaining sunlight… It’s gorgeous outside with the frost and snow covered trees… I’m so, so close to a personal goal… And the depression is weighing me down again.

And what I’ve only told my therapist about: The desire to self-injure is so strong again. My sister, who I’ve told about everything else, the depression, the abuse, the rapes, doesn’t even know that I SI. I haven’t told her because I’m afraid she’ll equate it to suicide, and it’s not about that at all.

I’ve been told to work through how I feel when the urge hits, what I think SI will accomplish… OK…

I feel heavy, faded, hazy, unreal, unworthy, untouchable, disjointed. I’m afraid of myself, for myself, and by proxy then, for Max. Because if something does happen to me, he’s left with Sam. And that thought alone is enough to send me into a panic, because, Max… Max does not deserve to be treated the way Sam treated us.

What do I think SI will do for me?…. I’ll feel something physical. Something else to focus on. A different type of pain, one that I can control. I’ll feel HERE, less faded. Does that make sense? It does to me. It’ll bring at least one thing into very sharp focus.

After it’s done though, I’ll have to hide my arm again. Long sleeves. Vague sense of shame, but at the same time, in a very sad way, a sense of accomplishment. I can do this. Even if this is SI.

What have I done instead? … I’m writing here this time. Is it helping?

Oddly enough. Yes. Slowly. And… I’ve promised myself that I’ll let me get a tattoo where I usually SI when it heals and the scars fade more. A few lines that I love from a poem by Adrienne Rich:

The woman who cherished her suffering is dead. I am her descendant.

I love the scar-tissue she handed on to me,

but I want to go on from here with you

fighting the temptation to make a career of pain.

It’ll be just that much longer to wait if I do SI.

Here’s a link that I’ve been visiting lately that might help any one else struggling with SI (it will open a new window): http://www.palace.net/~llama/psych/fself.html

I’ll be adding a copy to my Support Resources links, and any others that I find.

Self-Defense Trigger

I should have realized there would be triggers in the self-defense class I’ve signed up to take.  But other than acknowledging that I want to (NEED to on a very visceral level) take self-defense, I’ve been trying to ignore the fact that the Rs ever happened.

Before I go further, let me say that I understand that’s not the best way to deal with R; I’m just so tired of dealing with it, with the fallout from it, with ME. Because I’m the only one who HAS to deal with it. HE certainly doesn’t; Sam still thinks he did nothing wrong. I’m so tired of dealing with him – every flippin’ weekend he has our son.  So every weekend, I have to deal with pick-up time and seeing the piece of filth that calls himself a man and a father.  I just want to ignore it, but I can’t.  I can’t and I can’t keep doing this.  When do I get to just BE? To be ME, not me-the-R-survivor or me-trying-to-heal-from-R?

Already, I’m off-track.

Last night was just the first night of the class – the fill-out-the-release-form, disclose-any-medical-conditions-that-may-need-to-be-considered night. And apparently go over information about the myths vs. realities of R and the statistics for R in our state.

According to the class instructors, who are or were police officers, our state has had the dubious honor of being No. 1 in the nation for the number of reported Rs per capita– for 23 of the past 30 years.  1 in 4 women in our state will be R’d. In this class, which is only for women, there would be 2 of us.  They also discussed making the decision to fight or submit. That whatever the R survivor decided to do was the right decision; that the important thing is to SURVIVE.  They did a very good job talking about it. Of clarifying submission is not consent.

I’m off track again.  I think I’m going to be talking in circles here, and I’m sorry for that. I really need to get this out and I don’t even really know what ‘this’ is…

I don’t remember how it was tied in, but it was; the instructor stated very clearly, very adamantly that R is a heinous crime. The way he said it, I believed it, I believed him, I believed that he believed that statement.  I understood, at that moment, that just because the judge in my divorce and custody case, and my lawyer, who heard Sam admit to R-ing me in the hearing, put it down to a euphemism and down-played the effect of Sam doing that with Max in the same bed, doesn’t mean that it had no effect on me – or our son. It doesn’t mean that I should, or have to, pretend it didn’t happen – happen repeatedly.

Which I guess is what I’ve been doing…  Pretending, ignoring…

When the instructor started talking about if you were attacked, “whatever you did, you survived.  That’s important.  There is no shame in surviving, no matter what your options were if it was to submit or fight, to press charges or not. You survived.”  It was all I could do to not break out in sobs and run out of the room.  I think I actually started getting out of my chair then and sat back down.

I don’t understand why.  Why does his compassion, his understanding, hurt?  Because it does.  It hurts more than the judge down-playing it.  It hurts more than my lawyer saying that doesn’t matter, we need to talk about his alcoholism more.  It hurts more than my lawyer saying why did you put that much detailed information in your affidavit, these are public and any one can see it: your employer, the public, your son when he’s old enough to ask; that level of detail is usually reserved for criminal investigations.

Max, instead of being asleep by the end of my class, called and asked me when I was coming home.  He told me Auntie told him to go to bed but he couldn’t sleep without me there.  After class, even knowing Max was waiting for me, I sat out in my car and cried and sobbed for a very long time.

Why?

I don’t know. I’m not expecting any answers.

I don’t know if I even want to keep looking at this.  I do…. I don’t.  I want to ignore it, but I can’t, can I?

Where are my rosy glasses?

My psychiatrist told me that the more I let my sister and brother-in-law handle the pick ups for Max’s visits with his father, the worse my fear of Sam and general anxiety will get.  Oookaaaay. It kind of makes sense.

So now, I’ve made it a point to go to each one. And yes, the anxiety is kind of abating, (the fear of Sam, not so much) but the little doubt I’ve been trying to get rid of (the one that tells me the abuse wasn’t that bad, he was my husband, maybe I’m crazy…. and other miscellaneous crock of poo) is getting louder and more insistent. So are those my options? Being terrified or thinking I’m crazy? I’ve gotta tell ya, if this is my path to recovery, I’m kind of wishing for a big dose denial and rosy glasses.

Emotions

So.  It’s been a while.  I really need to write more.  This is my journal after all and getting everything out should help me work towards healing…  Right?

Well, the biggest news, I guess, is that I’m getting everything pulled together and think we’ll be heading back to court to revise the visitation arrangements for Sam.  Based on stunts he and the visitation supervisors pulled the weekend of 07/30/11.

I seriously do not understand anything he does.  Why?  Why?  Why would he think that he won’t be caught in his lies?  And they’re not even just to me – so really, he shouldn’t be able to blame it on me, right?  Will there ever be a time when he stops lying?  Have I said it here before, I don’t know: Sam couldn’t tell the truth if it crawled into his mouth and tried to jump out.  I don’t know why I keep forgetting that.  I don’t know why I revert to expecting that he’ll be truthful with some one – any one.  But I don’t think he can…  And here I sit spinning my wheels trying to figure something out that really isn’t logical and probably won’t ever be clear.

What I need to do is just accept that he lies.  Sam lies.  Actually, that reminds me of one of the songs about Joe by Corey in the movie “Say Anything”:  “Joe lies… Joe lies… Joe lies… when he cries.”  Funny.  (snerk) I haven’t thought of that movie in ages and funny, I’d always thought of myself as more like the character Diane Court rather than Corey, but here I am: Sam lies…

OK.  Back to me.  I’ve actually been pretty good so far this week (it’s only Tuesday…) I’ve signed up for a women’s only self-defense class at the local university and I’m looking to see what other evening classes I might want to take.  It’s crazy how excited I am about that.

Actually looking back over the past week, I feel a bit all over the board.  I’m down, I’m up, I’m happy, I’m scared, I’m elated…  It doesn’t feel normal.  But then for years, my feelings weren’t really mine, I guess.  How I felt was determined by how much Sam did or did not drink.  It was determined by if Sam had a really bad day at work and therefore Max and I had to tiptoe around the house – in the dark usually – so that Sam didn’t direct that anger at us.  It was determined by if Sam’s new co-workers or new boss thought he was “God” (according to Sam) (not a god, mind you, God) – because if they did, it was OK to smile and laugh.

So I guess, this is normal?: feeling my own feelings because I actually feel them.  It feels strange.

I wish I didn’t believe this guy is for real

Reading this article, which was posted in the Faith section of the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman on Monday, July 18, 2011, made me sick to my stomach, angry, hurt….

What the Bible says about a modern controversy

I know, viscerally, intellectually, that the views this guy is espousing are twisted exegesis; however the shock of seeing this in print from a local newspaper was …  I can’t even find the words to describe the shock, the horror of seeing someone so blindly support a husband’s right to rape his wife and use religion as a reason to approve it.

I would like to say I’m surprised by the article, but I’m not. While spousal rape may technically no longer be legal, it is certainly one of the most under-reported crimes, and generally, that has to do with the wife’s fears of not being believed and societal attitudes towards women who stay within an abusive relationship. We don’t have to look through too many recent news stories to see that even when the rape victim/survivor doesn’t know her rapist, society in general tends to blame victims for the assault. If she comes forward, it is her character that is generally on trial. Amplify that a thousand fold when the rapist is the intimate partner or husband.
I’m not even sure what else I want to write here.
ETA: The link to the article no longer works directly.  Attached is a PDF of the article.  What the Bible says about a modern controversy – Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman