Unless stated otherwise, this post is taken directly from the book, Not Another Sarah pgs 133-134
Sexual abuse is the least reported but most insidious form of abuse, and often has the most devastating effects. It arouses powerful feelings that are then distorted and manipulated to make the victim feel guilty. Sexual abuse leaves horrible feelings of shame and mistrust that often inhibit a victim's ability to maintain a close relationship (physically intimate or not) wih another person. The scars of sexual abuse frequently linger far beyond any physical injuries and go beyond damaged self-esteem. It may take years before a victi is able to recognize and understand the distorted feelings and perceptions she carries in response, and even then it often requires specialized counseling to create a healthy understanding of intimacy and sex.
An abuser will seek to maintain control over the victim through:
- Forcing or pressuring her to have sex
- Stimulating sexual felings within her through unwanted touching
- Pinching, slapping, grabbing or poking her breasts and genitals
- Forcing her to view pornography
- Degrading or ctiticizing her sexual ability and/or body parts
- Using sex as a manipulation, punishment,reward or argument
- Forcing her to participate in perverted, unusual or painful sexual activities
End of quotes from the book. The rest of this post is mine.
I married a man that was victimized by a neighbor when he was 6. I didn't know about that until 18-20 years after the marriage. I did, however, know that his father gave him pornographic materials when he was 12. I was young and thought that marriage and love could overcome his addiction to porn and sex. How very wrong I was. It has now become his favorite abuse form.
Some examples of his early abuse: he would get up in the night and go to his hidden stash of porn and then come back and undress me while I slept. I would wake up to him doing this. I then had to finish what he started or he would wake the baby with his anger and keep me awake until he got what he wanted.
He left me alone with 5 kids under the age of 8, me pregnant, sick with toxemia unable to get out of bed without going into premature labor and/or dying while he went to a strip club.
He has snuck into the bathroom while I was showering and took a picture over the shower rod. I happened to tip my head back to rinse my hair just as he did this, so I was able to confenscate the camera and delete the picture.
If it is the weekend, you can be sure there will be a fight about sex and how I "have to give it to him because he wants it" If he has been viewing his favorite sights it can get bad fast. When I say no, he starts pressuring and threatining and getting more and more angry. If you have ever seen an addict in the throws of needing a fix, then you can imagine his anger and lust at this moment. He will do and say anything to get what he wants. If he is just arguing and pleading, then I ignore him and go about my day. It is when his need for a fix turns him angry that I cannot ignore it because he will take it out on the kids.
I really really hate it because I am the one that ends up hurt, angry, defiled, sad and I feel like a common prostitute, except without the money to show for it. I know that there are many that will ask again- why do you stay? But that is again, a private matter between me and the Lord. There is a reason, I don't have to like it, but He (the Lord) helps me to make it bearable until I can leave.
I say often how much I hate men, how horrible they are and that once free of this marriage I would never marry again. But in my heart I know that is not true. I love men and know that many are kind and good. It is this one part of a new marriage that scares me the most because I am used to being compared to the perfect airbrushed women.
He attended a meeting for sexual addicts for about 3 months as a condition of him being able to come back into my life. He then decided that he wasn't like those men, he wouldn't do the homework assigned, and then he just quit going because he was "cured". I could tell for a long time that he was not "doing anything" but the stress and tension was very strong. I could also tell as soon as the viewing of porn started again. And then about 2 weeks ago I walked in the bedroom and he slammed his laptop shut. After some "discussion" he opened it to let me see what he was "working" on. He tried to turn it off before I could see, but I finally had the proof that I needed. No longer is it my word against his. I feel that the time for leaving is close now.
As Sarah stated, this is the most under reported type of abuse. For me it is because we are married and those that you report it to don't always believe that it is abuse. Police often say that it is just the wife being angry at her husband and using this as a way to get back. Often times a councelor will say that the wife has issues and needs to stop using not having sex as a way to get back at her husband or as a way to control him. Even bishops do not understand this problem. They don't understand how a man that goes to church and helps so many in the congregation could be doing something that is horrible and then the wife gets blamed and told to change her attitude. And then we are the victim all over again and so we stop talking.
But when we stop talking, we allow the abuse to keep growing. I have learned that I need to document every incident, tell whomever I need to tell (parents, bishop, friends). Educate myself and pray, pray, pray. I know that this is wrong, I know that it is not about me even though it affects me and my children. I also know that it does not have to continue and that he will be held accountable for it. As soon as the things that I am putting in place are there, I will leave. And it will be ok.