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Rape/sexual abuse or nothing? I need advice..

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Rape/sexual abuse or nothing? I need advice..

Postby kasika » Sat May 26, 2018 12:33 pm

I know there are probably hundreds of these threads, so sorry for adding to the number.

I don't think what I experienced is rape per say, but I have horrible feelings about it.

Five years ago I dated a guy, it lasted for three years in total. I made him wait 6 months before we first had sex, and from the very first time we did, I experienced excruciating pain (I still do and have no idea why). After the first time, I asked him to wait before we tried again and he did. From then on, we'd try and it'd hurt and I'd ask to wait a week or two. After a few times of this, he started getting annoyed and impatient, especially if I asked to stop midway through. I think it was the third time we tried, he guilt tripped me midway through after I asked to stop and so I stayed quiet and let him finish. This happened almost every other time we had sex. And when he did agree to stop midway through, he'd guilt trip me into giving him oral despite me being in almost tears and having a panic attack. The entire process was humiliating for me; asking to stop, being in pain, having him guilt trip me and be annoyed. This went on for about two years in total. The only ways I found to avoid sex was to make up excuses (headaches, tired, period etc). And after a few months of managing to avoid sex, he broke up with me and told me I was manipulative and horrible to him.

I know it isn't technically rape (at least by the legal definition I assume). But I have no idea what else to classify it as and saying it was just a bad sexual experience doesn't seem right - it lasted for two years and has put me off sex entirely to the point where I have a panic attack if I sit too close to a guy. I didn't feel in danger because of his actions (sure it wasn't nice, loving sex, but he didn't shout or use physical force) but I did feel terrified of saying no/pushing him off (especially scared of physically pushing him off/away or using any force against him), and that might be to do with past abuse, I don't know.

The entire relationship was toxic and he was borderline abusive generally (I'm always hesitant to say that). I wonder if sexual abuse is a more fitting classification for my experience? But even then, I don't feel like what I experienced is enough to be under any classification.

Sorry for the rambling. This happened two years ago, and it's always been on my mind but a recent date-gone-wrong made it all resurface and now I'm having nightmares and panic attacks every other day even though it doesn't seem like something that should cause those things.

I'm not even looking to do anything about it, I don't even particularly want to talk to a therapist about the whole ordeal but knowing what to think of it helps massively (as opposed to me just thinking I'm overreacting and I was actually just unfair to him)..
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Re: Rape/sexual abuse or nothing? I need advice..

Postby avatar123 » Sun May 27, 2018 9:25 am

Sorry you had to endure that. I think you're right that it's difficult to classify. It wasn't rape or assault in the legal sense unless he didn't have your consent. It sounds like he got your consent through manipulation and guilt, which was abusive in terms of the effects on you, while not stepping over the line into legal abuse. It was part of the general negative pattern of his relationship with you.

It's clear that he saw sex as an obligation that you owed him, and in his mind that justified the pressure he applied to you, which was really unhealthy. Obviously if you were in discomfort or pain, that would take precedence over his wants or needs, or should have. To push you beyond that was very wrong. Also to tell you that you were manipulating him, when in fact the opposite was true.

It sounds like your understanding of what happened is pretty much on target. You have a right to be upset, to view his behavior as wrong, and to recognize it had a negative impact on you, Whether or not it legally qualifies as abuse is not that important, it was abusive for you, and you have some of the same symptoms of abuse that others experience. So you deserve the same care and empathy as any other survivor of abuse.

The pain you experienced would not be normal, so you might consider seeing a gynecologist to find out if it has a medical cause. If there in no medical reason and it's psychological, then your doctor might be able to recommend someone for you to talk to. I know you don't want therapy but maybe it would help to at least understand what's happening, so it doesn't have to affect you negatively in the future. That might also help with the other symptoms, such as panic and nightmares.

You aren't alone, some people find sex uncomfortable, or just aren't that keen on it. With a loving partner who understands, or maybe even feels the same way, it should be something you could work out together, without guilt or manipulation.
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