This is a very difficult post to write. For so many reasons. My husband and I are in a really good place right now. I have been able to function without any PTSD flare-ups for a while. And my memories are sparse from this time period.
But it won't go away. It needs to be written. It is an area that I have just begun to process, so there is still a lot of pain; my heart is racing and tears are streaming as I write this. It still hurts so much.
I do not intend to be offensive. I do not intend to be descriptive. However, I totally understand if you know me (or us) and don't want to read this.
Sexual abuse in marriage is a tough thing to judge. Only recently have laws changed that even acknowledge it. For so long, being married meant consent -- no matter how it was taken advantage of. Legally, there was no such thing as rape in a marriage.
Luckily, we aren't that blind anymore.
But abuse is a difficult thing to judge much of the time, no matter what kind. When does it cross the line?
For years, I knew I was unhappy. I knew something was terribly wrong. I knew I was not being treated as a daughter of God should be. I was not treated with value as a person. But I wasn't sure it was abusive. Now I am.
I have already written about how my husband was emotionally abusive. How controlling he was. And how I had no defenses against it. I have hinted at other abuse. But this time I am saying it.
For years, my husband was sexually abusive in our marriage. To the point that I could have pressed charges? I doubt it. To the point that I should have divorced him? Absolutely.
If I had known then what I know now, I would have. If he were still like that now, I would. Things have changed.
But I feel like I need to address this for others. There are others who have experienced this or are experiencing this or are doing this. They need someone to stand up and say it's not right.
I am standing up. It is not right.
It's not about sexual practices. It's not about whether or not to use toys. It's not about location. It's not about role play. It's not about having a difference of opinion on what is appropriate and what is not.
It is about one person forcing their wants on their partner. It's that simple.
Sometimes in a healthy marriage there is negotiation. I don't really want to, but I will because I want you to be happy. That's not what I'm talking about.
Honey, I am so uncomfortable with that. I really don't want to. Please don't ask me to do this. Please don't make me do this. Please don't do that. No. I said no. Please, no. Begging and pleading to be excused. And so many tears.
That's what I'm talking about.
I am talking about becoming emotionally violent when he didn't get his way. I am talking about refusing to speak to me for days until he got his way. I am talking about being extremely mean to the kids until he got his way (men quickly learn that women will do almost anything to protect their children, even sacrifice themselves). I am talking about withholding money until he got his way. I am talking about punishing me and/or the kids in any way he could until he got his way. I am talking about making me feel worthless for not meeting his needs; no, not needs - wants. I am talking about expecting that it was my job to be the whore from porn movies. Whenever and in whatever way he wanted.
I'm not talking about demanding sex. Although, if one person is demanding it I think that is abusive. I am talking about more than that. I am talking about asking me to do things I found offensive. I am talking about forcing things that were painful. I am talking about taking away all of my value as a person and making me an object.
He had become my world. He was the father of my children and the provider for our family. He had become my lifeline. He had rescued me from my life so he owned me. Unfortunately, I think we both believed this.
I did not talk to anyone about this. I was ashamed. And it was taboo. It was my problem to fix.
But he was my husband. It was a mutual relationship. What right did I have to say how the relationship would be?
It took me so many years to understand what was wrong. I violated many of my principles for him, because he demanded it. And then I felt so guilty. I felt like it was my fault for giving in. I felt so worthless for the thing I'd let him turn me into. It's horrible to feel more like a whore than a wife.
We make the sacrifices we need to in order to survive. That's what I did. I used the only tool I had: compliance. Giving in.
It was the only way I knew to try to give my kids a normal life. A life not filled with hatred and anger and fear. A life where their dad loved them and loved their mom.
It's not like this anymore. I have learned a lot about myself and my power to choose. I have learned that in a sexual relationship it takes two yesses to make it right. And only one no to make it wrong.
I have learned to trust and value myself. He has learned a lot, too.
He didn't see it. I have watched him grow to understand. He will probably always be the gas and I will always be the brakes. But I need that power to feel safe.
He knows that if that power is ever taken away from me, we will no longer be together. I am worth more than that.
There is still a lot of pain. Our past colors so much of our present. Any type of anger in conjunction with sex can send me into instant PTSD. We have a long way to go to heal this.
But I believe we can. Because both of us have opened our eyes and seen what it was. And we both hate what we see.