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Raped many years ago - any practical steps I could take now?

(45 Posts)
beth12345 Sat 08-Sep-12 22:12:50

I now have a lovely DH and DC, but over a decade ago I spent a couple of years in an abusive relationship. My boyfriend at the time never hit me, but he forced me to have sex on numerous occasions (sometimes violently, sometimes just hideous constant pestering to wear me down).

I never reported any of it at the time. But it does prey on my mind that he is very probably still behaving in much the same way towards women, and I do feel some responsibility that I did not take any action at the time. I am sure that he is still behaving in a similar way as his actions were based on a strong belief system of his (whereby he was the centre of the universe, women were only really appreciated for their looks, and he felt that he was 'owed' sex on a very regular basis). He also believed that once physical contact had reached a certain point, there was no going back in that the man 'had to have sex'. He refused to acknowledge the word rape in relation to how he behaved (to the point where I questionned it myself at the time -and still do really - I don't consider that he raped me he just forced me to have sex - though I know that doesn't really make sense).

Every few months I google his name, just to check there are no news articles about this person being charged with rape.

Does anyone know if there are any practical steps I could take now? Would the police think I was being ridiculous if I reported him now? What would happen if I did (I wouldn't want friends/family knowing what happened to me as I still feel ashamed that I allowed myself to be treated that way by him)? Ideally I would like to just be able to log this information with the police so that if he is ever accused (by someone else) of rape, then perhaps it would be of use to their case if the police had a statement from someone else who had been through something similar with the same man??

EatsBrainsAndLeaves Sat 08-Sep-12 23:05:39

I am so sorry this happened to you, and yes you were raped. It can be scary to admit that is what really happened to us. You are not to blame for his abuse and rape of you, or any other subsequent abuse or rape he has went on to do with any other woman.

I cant advise you what is best to do legally. But perhaps rape crisis would be the best port of call. You dont have to call it rape to ring them, and it doesnt matter if it happenred 60 years ago, you can still contact them. They will have a much better idea of the both the legal processes and realistically what you can do.

Thedoctrineofennis Sat 08-Sep-12 23:41:20

Yes you were raped, I am so sorry.

I think from other things I have read you could make the kind of statement you mention but Rape Crisis would know for sure so I would agree with Eats that it would be good to call them.

We believe you x

beth12345 Sun 09-Sep-12 22:12:18

Thank you for your kind replies. If anyone is still reading, I have one other related (but more sensitive) question.

I hadn't thought of contacting Rape Crisis, as I thought they were more for emotional support in the immediate aftermath, rather than legal info at a later date. However, when I do contact them, there is something else that may (or may not) be appropriate to talk to them about, and I am wondering whether this is something that I could raise with them or not.

Sorry if TMI, but as well as raping me my ex partner would (much less frequently) make me take part in oral sex. Although it was much less frequent, this is something that is affecting my current relationship. Basically DH and I have not done that for at least 5 years, mainly because I could not enjoy it because it reminds me too much of my ex partner (I think I am fine with 'normal' sex as DH and my ex partner have such different body shapes so I feel perfectly safe when I have my arms around his torso, but the differences are not so different 'down there' so I end up being reminded of my ex partner and find it so suffocating, espcially if DH tried to touch my head/hair). As time goes by I am feeling more angry that the way my ex treated me is affecting my marriage. DH is very understanding and is aware of how my ex treated me, but I still worry about this. DH is the only person I have ever spoken to about this and I wonder if it is something that it would be helpful to talk about with someone from Rape Crisis, or whether it is not really relevant to them?

I guess I wonder how relevant it is because (as far as I am aware) rape refers to normal sex not oral (for example I've never seen media coverage of stories about rapists where oral sex is mentionned), and I think it must seem odd to some people that it is possible to force someone to perform oral sex. Also, this information is obviously really personal and sensitive, and I wouldn't want to go into the detail only to have someone say that this is not really something they would usually see as relevant to them?

Sorry if I have upset anyone with this level of detail, and sorry it is a bit long, thanks for reading.

BoerWarKids Sun 09-Sep-12 22:25:52

Maybe counselling or CBT could help with that issue? Rape Crisis could probably advise.

Sorry you had to go through that experience, what a disgusting man angry glad you got away from him.

LastMangoInParis Sun 09-Sep-12 22:30:33

As others have said, contact Rape Crisis. Nothing you've mentioned above will be considered or treated as irrelevant and they will be able to direct you to other organisations and support systems if they are not the most appropriate to provide the support you need.
Warm wishes and good luck.

Thedoctrineofennis Sun 09-Sep-12 22:33:34

Beth, forced oral sex is rape too. I'm so sorry that happened to you xx

beth12345 Mon 10-Sep-12 23:01:24

Thank you, this is all very helpful.
I have to say I am very surprised to have found that forced oral sex counts as rape, as I really had thought it would be called sexual assault (at the worst). I thought that most people would not think it was possible to force oral sex - I would expect most people to take the view that the woman should just bite/keep their mouth closed. I wonder how many women (and men) are aware of how broad the definition of rape actually is (as I would consider that I am a reasonably well educated person!).
I had also expected that forced oral sex happens to very very few people, but perhaps that is not actually the case at all (hence why I had imagined it may not be something that I could talk to Rape Crisis about as I would worry about shocking or upsetting them).
Thanks again x

Thedoctrineofennis Tue 11-Sep-12 08:54:54

Hi Beth, the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 defines rape to include penetration of the mouth. I don't think all countries do but English law does.

Some people might think what you suggest about biting etc. Those people believe in rape myths. The person penetrating needs to have consent. The onus is not on you to defend yourself, it was on him to check you consented first and if you didnt freely consent then the onus was on him to stop.

On phone so can't link to MN's We Believe You campaign but you might like to search for it.

Do you think you will call Rape Crisis? Xx

Bobits Tue 11-Sep-12 12:38:53

Hi beth, sending you so many hugs xxx
Im so sorry this has happened to you,

I wanted to say how brave you are posting here, as it is difficult to talk about something so sensitive and personal to you - and when you are unsure how the reaction will be.

Your ex partner's behaviour was so unacceptable and if he did make the decision to hurt someone else that choice and responsibility lies completely with him, you should not feel responsible in any way at all. xx

I recently reported a historic rape (3 years ago).
My situation was different in that I was in denial and stayed in a relationship with the perpetrator, we had a child together.

In my circumstances, I found it very difficult and a hard process, it was very painful to go back.

The outcome in terms of the police was a decision not to prosecute, which was a difficult thing to hear, as it was a decision that told me he had gotten away with it.
However I focused on beyond the decision (as it wasn't something that was in my control.).
This was very important for me as in relation to the crime I was reporting - it took me back to a time of feeling vulnerable and scared.

I decided whatever the outcome - I was doing the right thing, and if he did it again it would help as the woman would be believed if she reported as he'd done it before.

It is a very big choice to make and in some ways if you don't report at the time, you have the added advantage of being able to take your time to make the decision.

You are able to contact the police and ask their advice as well if you do not want to give your name or the perpetrator's name. (As long as you were both consenting adults at the time.) This might give you a bit more information from the police which might also help you decide.

This website has much useful info too

Whatever you choose to do, do what feels right for you.
I send you strength xx

Bobits Tue 11-Sep-12 12:47:28

I am sorry, but I forgot to mension - once you give the police a name the police make a decision based on the information you give them whether it will be considered for trial and court.

This is based on the amount of evidence and if it is in the public interest to prosecute. I don't think a victim is able to influence this.

It is worth bearing this in mind as this is a stage where the process is beyond your control. And can feel very difficult. xx

beth12345 Tue 11-Sep-12 20:24:36

Bobits Thank you for telling me about your experiences. Sorry that this happened to you. You were so very brave in reporting him, and as you say even though your case is not going ahead, your action means that he will not get away with this if he attempts to do the same to someone else. That is exactly what I would hope to achieve by reporting my ex boyfriend.
If you don't mind me asking, I have read your thread about how you were treated well by 2 policeman but not by a third policeman. It sounds like all 3 policeman that you dealt with were male - was that the case? Did you also have contact with female police officers and could you have dealt just with female officers if you had wanted to? I am asking because if I do contact the police I would not want to speak to a male police officer. I think I had been assuming that police forces have female police officers who can deal with women reporting rape, but maybe that is not always the case.

Thedoctrineofennis Thanks, I have read through the We Believe You information/discussion links today. I think I do need to try calling Rape Crisis at some point in the next few days. I have found the last few days quite difficult as I am thinking a lot about what happened, and over the last 10 years I have generally coped best by not thinking about any of it. And that has meant that I've kind of opened a can of worms in that I am remembering other things that happened too - aside from the rape, there were other things that would probably be considered sexual assault and I won't go into detail about them suffice to say they are humiliating to remember. (I paint this awful picture of this man - and he was a monster in many ways, but in my defence obviously he could also be lovely and I loved him very much at the time.)
I do also have some logistical problems with getting the chance to make the phone call in the short-ish window that the helpline is available for (namely will my daughter nap at that time? and will DH be working from home, as I have not talked to him properly about any of this for such a long time and I don't want him to worry about me). But yes, I am planning to try to get through to Rape Crisis x

Bobits Tue 11-Sep-12 20:58:11

Hi, I don't mind sharing what happened with you of my experiences if it helps you, however people are all so different, so it very much is luck who you meet with in the police to speak to and how sensitive that particular induvidual is, and that is something that is outside of your control unfortunately.

The 3 police were all men but there are women in the police and you are able to ask to speak to a woman if you feel more comfortable with that I think, though because I didn't, I am not 100% sure of this, sorry.

I do think speaking to a woman is not nessecarily a guarantee that the process will be more comfortable. The reason I have for this is that I was raped by a taxi driver when I was 15. When it was reported through school 6 months later a female officer came to take the statement and made reference to me being in the wrong for drinking underage - which was very damaging for me at the time as it sent me a message that being raped was my fault.

During the most recent incident of reporting the police asked if I knew the seriousness of the crime of rape (i guess because it was historic and because of the fact we had a child together) I felt this inappropriate as 'obviously I did or I wouldn't be here?!' It also triggered my answer inside me of the two incidents and all the damage the police could not see.
When I called the dept. for some information I spoke to a female officer and queried this question, and she mentioned that it was a fairly standard question 'as some girls don't know'. So a female doesn't always equal sensitive in my experience and opinion.

Sorry for the long reply, I do wish you all the very best with whatever you decide to do - and again as you perhaps have a little bit more time to make up your mind and come to a decision, if you do decide to go ahead I would suggest you try to have a good support set up for during the process, people who you can offload to during it and hopefully this will help make it less painful

Hugs xx

beth12345 Tue 11-Sep-12 22:07:17

Thank you Bobits - that makes sense to me now. Sorry that you did not have a better experience with some of the police you have encountered.
I am sure you are right about the support network if I reported him and the case was taken further, however I was actually hoping that I would just be able to make a statement and it not be taken further. I feel I need to report him so that if someone else reported him for rape they might be taken more seriously because I had already reported him, but I do not actually want to have to go to court myself and go through that experience. Therefore I am hoping that I could report him and actually not have to go through telling and talking to family/friends about what happened.
Though from your experiences it is clear that the woman is not the person who decides whether the case goes to court (I guess I am just hoping/assuming that it would not go to court given that it was so long ago and there would be no physical evidence). x

Thedoctrineofennis Tue 11-Sep-12 23:40:11

OP on this board you never have to speak in your defence for staying in a relationship with your rapist. We know that happens and we still believe you.

Re the police statement I think the formal status is witness so they do formally make the decision but I'm sure you could talk through with them before beginning any statement what you were happy with doing and go from there.

beth12345 Wed 12-Sep-12 09:45:52

Can I ask something else related to rape myths, it is something else that I have remembered over the past few days. I hope won't upset anyone reading but this is something I could not find anything about on the We Believe You links (though I may just have missed it).
Is it still rape if the woman has an orgasm? After I said no repeatedly my ex would then make it his personal mission to try and make that happen - I think probably just to feel a personal sense of vindication for his actions. Sometimes he did actually manage to make that happen - although I did not enjoy it and it was actually very upsetting as my feelings did not match my physiological response at all.
Then the next time, he could say that although I was saying I was upset/angry/ill/meant to be somewhere else entirely, clearly I had said that previously but actually it had not been true, and it 'had all been worth it' as I had 'enjoyed it in the end'. This was also part of the reason why he refused to acknowledge his actions as rape on the occasions I tried to talk calmly with him about it.
I also am ashamed to admit that I probably encouraged him in this by starting to fake it sometimes just so that he would stop - which I know was probably just fuelling his belief that he 'knew I wanted it really'.
Thank you for reading.

BoerWarKids Wed 12-Sep-12 12:12:20

Beth, yes, I think that's still rape.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 12-Sep-12 12:59:26

Yes, it is still rape. xx

SkaterGrrrrl Wed 12-Sep-12 18:40:33

Yes it is still rape. We believe you x

FermezLaBouche Wed 12-Sep-12 18:47:49

Yes it is.

When I was raped I remember feeling completely ashamed that during the act I became "wet." I told myself that deep down I must have wanted it and I only read years later that the body has ways of protecting itself from damage like this - i.e. becoming wet to avoid further damage to the vaginal walls.
I'm so sorry someone treated you like this.

BTW the idea that a woman "could have bitten, or something" doesn't hold up. IMO, the type of man who would force you to give him oral sex is the kind of man who would be extremely dangerous to be around if you bit down. sad

The part about men "having" to have sex after physical contact is so, so damaging.

Thinking of you x

JuliaScurr Wed 12-Sep-12 18:59:05

Hey Beth, hope you're feeling ok-ish and getting some support from talking to us on here. Many of us have been through very similar situations. We believe you, we understand how all these different aspects can make you feel you were responsible for what happened. Sheila Jeffries in 'Anticlimax' talks about the body spontaneously reacting to rape with an orgasm response and how distressing this can be. Rape Crisis were very helpful to me 30 years after the event.

Best wishes

beth12345 Thu 13-Sep-12 21:44:33

Thank you for your replies. It is so helpful to know that I am not the only one who has had this type of experience, although obviously I am also sorry that others have had to go through similar things.
When my daughter was napping today I had a window when I could have tried calling Rape Crisis but I felt a huge sense of panic and couldn't make the call.
My head is saying that I should make the phone call but my heart is saying not to. Rationally, I believe that I will feel better in the long run if I can talk about what happened, and if I can provide some sort of statement to the police to remove some of the responsibility I feel for not reporting this man earlier.
But irrationally, I am afraid of starting the conversation and what I will say. Also I am so afraid as to how I will stop talking (once I've started) and what I will say once I start talking. I think it's because I was with this man for a few years and a lot went on and the memories are very intertwined. So talking about one event is going to lead on to me recalling something else and it will spiral from there. I basically feel afraid of what I will say and how saying it out loud will make me feel.
The time that has elapsed since this all happened has also made me much more angry than perhaps I would have been if I had talked about it at the time that it all happened (because my sense of self esteem is so much higher now than it was a decade ago when I was in my early 20s - things that I had blocked out that I have recalled over the last few days just make me think 'how dare he...' whereas I never had that sense of outrage at the time).
But I guess I will just have to bite the bullet x

MoChan Fri 14-Sep-12 09:35:03

It's extraordinary what one can come to perceive as 'normal' when you are living with someone who is abusive. But it's what happens because you are living with someone abusive, and they wear you down, damage your self worth. You know this already, of course. But make sure you don't blame yourself for any of your responses.

So sorry you have been through this. I believe you. And I believe you will have the strength to bite that bullet. Going through it all may be painful, but I feel sure it will help you to do it.

Bobits Sat 15-Sep-12 00:11:41

Beth ((Hugs))

From the tone of your posts you sound as if your only just beginning to untangle alot of hurt from inside you - I'm glad you feel safe and comfortable to open up here xx

I think I can understand whet you mean when you get panic about making the call. I too found that I felt alot of anxiety when I was 'making it real' and talking about it in real life.

I also desperately wanted to talk, to get it out, (I guess a problem shared and so that I wasn't carrying the burden of the knowledge of what happened all alone) but still now find it hard. For me talking about it takes me back to a place where I feel scared and vulnerable and my mind is telling me not to go there - it's a bad place, so I think it is a natural response. Do not feel unhappy with yourself for this. Your mind and body is trying to keep you safe - let it and take your time xx

I had posted a thread and if you would like to read it, I put alot of my feelings into it and you might be able to relate?

Wishing you strength and peace xx

JuliaScurr Sat 15-Sep-12 16:31:03

Thinking of you
Stay strong smile

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