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Love, fear and rape

Yesterday I read an article about men who will admit to rape/sexual assault as long as you don’t use the “R” word. It makes for disturbing reading, and I found myself reading it wondering what one of my exes would answer.

Years ago I was dating a guy, it wasn’t the healthiest relationship in the world. We’d known each other for years, almost dated when we were both 18 but both met other partners, so stayed friends and over the years we drifted apart. Years later he got in contact again, and we ended up a couple.

Gradually the friend that I’d known, the kind sweet boy, became a nasty man. It was so gradual that I just accepted it. It went from him telling me I was gorgeous to him making snide comments about how I was too fat (I was a size 8, so no one can even use the rubbish excuse that he was looking out for my health), I wasn’t allowed to meet his family or friends, he stopped walking with me back to the train station after dark, wouldn’t come over to see me, and when I visited him he’d only pay attention to me to have sex.

Sounds awful right? So why was I still with him? Because I didn’t think I could do better, I honestly thought he was out of my league and I was lucky.

Like I say, he only paid me any attention if we were having sex, and he was always on at me to try anal sex. And I always said no. An emphatic no with no chance of leeway.

So imagine my shock the night he decided to try and force himself inside me.

I’d like to say that this was the turning point, that I realised he was a bully and a rapist, but as he stopped when I yelled at him to I just forgot about it. He didn’t get why I was upset, as far as he was concerned he was just trying and had stopped when told to. So it wasn’t like he’d done anything wrong had he? Why was I so upset? Nothing had happened! And for whatever reason, I just agreed with him and forgot about it. In the end he dumped me and I begged him not to.

Except I didn’t forget. Maybe it wasn’t at the front of my mind afterwards, but it definitely had an effect. I didn’t feel safe having sex after that, always worried that partners would try to force me to do what I didn’t want. I deliberately stayed celibate for 3 years after that. When asked I said I just didn’t care about sex, that I had a low sex drive. Never ever that I was scared.

Did I report him? No, what was the point, even I’d been convinced it wasn’t rape, why would anyone else think differently? It was my word against his, and he was manipulative. He’d argue it can’t have been rape as I’d stayed with him. Who stays with someone they are scared of? Who would get upset if their rapist dumped them? Makes no sense at all.

Applying cold logic to something so deeply emotional is a flawed idea.

Part of why I’m writing this now is the article above, but also that I caught a little information on the Oscar Pistorius trial. Specifically that they were using a Valentine’s card written by Reeva Steenkamp to prove she wasn’t scared of him. All because she said she loved him. As if loving someone and being scared of them are mutually exclusive. They aren’t. I wish they were though.

4 thoughts on “Love, fear and rape

  1. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully it will help someone else.

    I wish I knew even one woman who had never been sexually assaulted. What a world.

  2. When I was 20 my long time boyfriend and first sexual intercourse partner tried to have anal sex with me when I was drunk one night – and I, like you, had previously been asked repeatedly and had refused repeatedly.

    It is only in the last year that I realized it wasn’t my fault and that what he did was attempted rape. I am 47. What I used to think of fondly as one of the nicest men I’ve dated is now one of a series of abusive/violent men I’ve chosen to partner with.

    Thank-you for writing this (I found your link on the Feminist Current blog comment you left).

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