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Was this marital sexual abuse/rape.

(15 Posts)
wcl4110 Sat 05-Sep-20 01:21:57

I apologise if this post is long but I just wanted to know other people’s thoughts on some issues regarding domestic abuse/relationship problems and it won’t make sense if I don’t explain it in some detail.

To give you some background I met my future husband when I was 17 and he was 32. I left home at 18 to go to university and ended up living much closer to him at this time. We married when I was 21. He had difficult religious beliefs which included him enforcing that he was the head within the marriage and also that I should limit my contact with people who didn’t share his beliefs, including my parents. I was very isolated and had no meaningful contact with my family and had no friends apart from my husband and his friends, who had very unconventional religious beliefs. We had our first child 6 years after we married and then 2 more children by the time my eldest was 6. I work part time in a highly regarded profession and he was a cleaner who worked part time but has now been unemployed for the last 2 years. I have always been the main breadwinner. He had always been prone to angry outbursts since even before we were married and regularly threatened to leave me. I am very non-confrontational and had a strict religious upbringing and literally never argued back and did everything to appease him always, especially when he was angry and always remained calm even in the worst of situations. He would swear and shout at me and throw things at the walls and punch things frequently but never hit me. He was highly critical of me and everyone else and felt he had some special religious calling. He would be thrown into a rage by the slightest criticism from someone else, I made sure I never criticised him in any way to avoid this and any opinions contrary to his were met with such anger. These outbursts became much worse after our second child was born and he became violent to our 2 year old toddler then and frequently smacked her in anger and rage claiming he needed to break her will and also directed his anger verbally towards me. Our life was a living hell. I had no friends during this time and no one to confide in and lived in total isolation whilst also working at a very emotionally demanding job. Things eased somewhat after about 2 years and we had our third child. Around the time our third child was 2 we started to attend a local church which was very friendly and there were other families there too. I started to make friends for the first time in my adult life (by now in my mid thirties). I attended a toddler group (which I had never done before) at the church with our third child and attended other meetings with my children. At this point my eldest was 8 and I had never been able to leave my children with him to do something for myself since she was born as he refused to look after them and said it was a mother’s work to care for the children. His anger began to escalate greatly at this time and he insisted that this church didn’t believe what he believed (its a very mainstream ordinary church) and that we needed to leave. I felt this was my last chance for some sort of normality in my life with the friends I had met there and in absolute desperation confided in the minister and his wife everything that had happened over many years. They immediately saw how abusive my marriage was and helped me to see this and have spent literally hours listening to me, and continue to do so, with me telling them my story while they built up a support network for me of friends I could confide in and who constantly made contact with me and cared for me. Around this time, when my husbands anger was escalating, his verbal abuse worsened and he would constantly threaten to leave me and tell the children I was a useless wife and mother and that he wished he had never married me and did everything to try and stop me meeting with these friends and even drove aggressively past church as I went into toddler group etc. It became an absolute horrendous existence for my children and myself. At this time he started to become much more sexually demanding. We had never had any sexual issues prior to this point although there could be a couple of weeks or so in between each time we were intimate but there had never been a suggestion that he was unhappy with this. It just had never seemed an issue before. He would become angry if I wasn’t enthusiastic about having sex and I would often be exhausted from working and caring for three children. If I didn’t want to have sex he would storm off downstairs to sleep on the sofa. I would lie in bed feeling guilty and would stay awake and eventually give in and have sex with him just so I could get some sleep and to take the guilt away, it would often be 1am or 2 am by this time. If I didn’t give in I would be subjected to significant verbal abuse the next day and the children would suffer terribly by being smacked and shouted at. I would always give in then that night as I couldn’t bear the turmoil in the house any more and having sex caused his mood to improve for around 24 hours before it would start again. Due to his religious beliefs he believed I had given my body to him when we married and that I was disobedient to God to refuse him and I genuinely believed him and wanted to do what was right. I had to switch off to get through sex and not think about what was happening to me as due to the way he had treated me for so long I felt his touch and any contact with him to be utterly repulsive. There was never any non-sexual affection during the day and I avoided being anywhere near him as it always led to him wanting sex. He blamed me for his anger and said it was because I wasn’t willing to have sex with him when he wanted and told me I was a weirdo and not like other women. This escalated to me giving into sex about once or twice per week and it felt like I was being tortured. I literally dreaded my children going to sleep at night or having a day off work. Not only did I have to have sex with him but he insisted I enjoy it which is difficult to act when you’ve mentally detached to get through it. I detested every touch of his. I had sex with him just so I could have coffee with a church friend or attend a church meeting and to ease his vile behaviour for a short time to us all. I felt my children were suffering because of me. He reluctantly still attended church with me during this time. I felt so certain that all our marital problems were due to my lack of sexual desire for him and that is also what he constantly told me and I felt it was totally my fault so I couldn’t see any way out of this problem. It was so hard to confide in my pastor and his wife about this area of our relationship but after about 18 months of talking to them I did. Around this time his anger was so great he was leaving hand prints on the children when he smacked them in anger and I confided about this to my friend and she said if I didn’t leave she’d report him to social services. Amazingly I somehow managed to make him leave when he once again threatened to leave me and for the first time ever I told him to actually go. This was now a few months ago. My pastor says that I was repeatedly raped by him. I suppose that may be the correct term as I only acquiesced to sex with him to help reduce his severe anger to me and the children and to be able to do normal things like meeting a friend. I absolutely would never have had sex with him ever again if I hadn’t felt I had too. I am still struggling at times to know if all our relationship problems were due to my lack of willingness to have sex with him and I still feel guilt about this and also feel really traumatised as this went on for at least a couple of years before he left. I just had lost all respect and anything even remotely like love for him by this point in time and just couldn’t respond to him sexually other than by being psychologically forced and switching off. I can’t seem to find any resources regarding this specific problem of marital sexual abuse (if this is what it was). My pastor thinks I should divorce him. I’ve had support from Women’s Aid which has been helpful. I just want to do everything to help my children recover now and be happy. He still sees the children 5 days a week at my house but doesn’t stay at night (2 of the days I work a full day) and he hasn’t tried to have any sexual contact with me since he moved out. He is now much kinder to the children and never smacks them and only rarely shouts at them but continues to try and force his religious views on me sometimes and will be abusive at times to me when he gets angry which is usually witnessed by the children. My children watching him treat me the way he has has affected their relationship with me, especially the older two and I’m working hard to repair this. (Ideally he wouldn’t be coming to the house anymore but it is sort of working at the moment and I’ve had to work during lockdown with the children off school). My church friends are like my family and are wonderful and continue to support me hugely. I mainly wanted to know people’s thoughts on whether this appears to have been rape/sexual abuse. I have only really written about the tip of the iceberg in the post in terms of what has happened over 20 years. I’m also just coming to terms now with the fact that I’ve been in an abusive relationship for so long without realising it.

OP’s posts: |
TooTrueToBeGood Sat 05-Sep-20 01:35:46

Coercion is not consent so yes it was rape. Add to that, his behaviour in other ways has nothing to do with his religion and everything to do with him being an abuser. He is an utterly vile human being and you are well shot of him. I would seriously suggest you consider counselling for yourself as you clearly have not healed. It's good that you are getting support from your church but you need someone who is professionally trained to help you.

Flamingnora123 Sat 05-Sep-20 01:37:03

Oh wow, this is heartbreaking to read. Yes you absolutely were in an abusive relationship, none of the issues are your fault for not wanting sex with that monster. He raped you as it was coercive sex, repeatedly, for years. You need to get therapy to help you to work through that, no wonder you're traumatised.
I don't think he should be near your children at all - he has repeatedly terrified and assaulted them. If he must be then it should be agreed through court and always supervised. You shouldn't have any contact with him at all other than to discuss your children. He belongs in prison.

SleepingStandingUp Sat 05-Sep-20 01:44:19

TooTrueToBeGood

Coercion is not consent so yes it was rape. Add to that, his behaviour in other ways has nothing to do with his religion and everything to do with him being an abuser. He is an utterly vile human being and you are well shot of him. I would seriously suggest you consider counselling for yourself as you clearly have not healed. It's good that you are getting support from your church but you need someone who is professionally trained to help you.

All of this.

Sorry WC but yes he raped you, he physically abused you, he did and is still verbally abusing you, he's physically abused your children, and he's continuing to psychologically abuse them.

Ditheringdooley Sat 05-Sep-20 01:51:26

That was a heartbreaking read OP and I’m glad you are getting some support.

Religious beliefs are not a get out of jail free card for abuse and mistreatment. You have been horrifically treated and coerced and abused. I am sorry that you went through this and wish you the best in extricating yourself from this awful man. Visitation with your children should be limited as they are at physical and psychological risk of harm from him.

Please seek out whatever help your church or the organisation you referred to are able to offer.

If you doubt whether there was sexual abuse, I will quote back at you that you had sex when you didn’t want to in order to be allowed to see another person for coffee, or to manage your partner’s abusive moods.

Ditheringdooley Sat 05-Sep-20 01:52:24

But also - you need financial advice stat. You have been supporting this dead weight for a long time and I would worry about the risk of you needing to support him after a divorce.

user12642379742146 Sat 05-Sep-20 02:00:21

Yes. I'm sorry you've been subjected to such profound abuse.

combatbarbie Sat 05-Sep-20 02:43:45

This is horrific to read. OP, please consider reporting all this to the police. He is a danger to you and your children. I don't even know how you can bare to have him in your home.

Shoxfordian Sat 05-Sep-20 08:42:40

He sounds incredibly abusive and coercing you into sex was rape. Can you speak to a counselor? Maybe call rape crisis for support?
Take steps to stop him coming to your house, can you speak to a solicitor? Look after yourself

SoulofanAggron Sat 05-Sep-20 14:01:11

Of course it's sexual abuse/rape. I'd say it's beyond coercion as you didn't have a choice because you were trying to avoid his anger/physical harm to the children. So it's a bit like being held at gunpoint. sad

Somethingkindaoooo Sat 05-Sep-20 14:13:25

Your story is so sad. Well done for breaking free.

OP
The question ISN'T ' did he rape you' ( which by the way , the answer is yes)
But, perhaps you should be looking at how you feel about yourself. You gave about a dozen examples of how abusive he is - all are perfectly legitimate reasons to cut him out of your life as much as possible.

I'm not victim blaming, by the way. I've also been in situations where I ignored low level abuse, because I felt that was the best i deserved.

Lots of hugs- if you can make this first step, then honestly, you can do anything

wcl4110 Sat 05-Sep-20 23:34:51

Thank you all so much for reading my story and for your comments and advice which have been so helpful and have validated everything I have experienced and made it much obvious to me how bad things have been and the severity of the sexual abuse which was clearly repeatedly being raped.
When I said it has been a few months since he left, it is actually nearer to 18 months now. For the first year or so after he went I was convinced I had made a mistake asking him to go and that I was responsible for everything. This made it impossible for me to move on and made me feel very depressed and in constant turmoil over what I should do. He would at times be nice and everything would seem normal, but I know, in reality, if he got a foot in the door again, things would return quickly to how they had been. For several months after he left he would repeatedly tell the children I kicked him out on the street with nothing and was responsible for our relationship breaking down. He would often say, in front of the children, that he wouldn’t be alive much longer, (he had often threatened suicide throughout our relationship anyway), and would say this often just before the children went to sleep. For the first year, especially, after he left, my children became violent to me and totally out of control, understandably as they had been traumatised by him and were also totally unsettled by his departure and him blaming me constantly for this. They had also lost the authoritarian parent and were left with a parent they perceived as permissive (due to me always having to keep the peace). Learning how to be a parent now has been an uphill struggle but I do feel I’m finally making progress and they are much calmer and happier now and I feel more in control as a parent which is something I never felt before their father left. Part of the reason I felt everything was my fault after he left was because of the way the children reacted to him leaving and he would tell me I was obviously the problem as the children were so aggressive and out of control living with just me.
I’m feeling certain now that I am not responsible for everything that has happened, which will help me make the next step, which will be to divorce him. We own the house together so I guess he could walk back in at any time so I do have to do something. I’m still supporting him financially with phone/car/food etc as his benefits only cover his accommodation mainly. I will seek legal advice to make sure I don’t end up having to support him forever. He doesn’t seem to have any plans to work again.
I am hopeful for the future now and for my children. I have 3 wonderful children, a home, a job I love and a chance for a new beginning with lots of supportive and caring friends. Thank you so much for responding to my post.

OP’s posts: |
TooTrueToBeGood Mon 07-Sep-20 09:41:39

Please do seek legal and professional emotional support. Be proud of what you've achieved so far. It's easy for people who do not understand the psychology of abuse to make extricating oneself from an abusive relationship sound easy. It is far from easy and it has taken you tremendous strength and courage to get this far. Take pride in what you have achieved and use that to give you strength to complete the journey. He may have moved out but he is still abusing you and he is still abusing your kids. He will not change so you need to change the situation with any and all support you can leverage. You owe him nothing but contempt and the money he is leaching off you is not just coming out of your pocket but your children's as well.

category12 Mon 07-Sep-20 09:51:13

I'm so sorry you've been through this. Yes, it was rape.

Best wishes for a bright new future without him.

Weenurse Mon 07-Sep-20 09:52:41

Well done for the progress you have made.
Your church sounds very supportive.
Now it is time to get legal advice on how to move forward.

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