Andrew
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
One in Three Campaign

When Words Rape and Beat Spouses

It's amazing looking back how things change in your mind, how things you normalise you eventually accept were anything but normal. I guess I should start off with saying that I'm Andy, I'm nearly 34 and for 23 years I suffered a combination of pshychological abuse from family members that started out at the age of 6, being sexually assaulted on a high school camp on the verge of turning 16 that my high school covered up and where I was intimidated into silencce, and an 18 month long ordeal of domestic violence and serial rape.

It's the last of these I want to touch on with this article, to try and show people a side to domestic violence and rape in this electronic age which they've probably never even considered. Heck, it might even seem an anathema to most people.

It was late 2006. I'd met this girl Sarah. We had issues but things were going ok. Then something came up to cause me to act in an atypically sensitive manner. At that point I figured I had to come clean, even though I wasn't ready, so I fessed up - I was a survivor of child abuse [actually the psychological abuse from family members was still ongoing if I was going to be accurate]. Unfortunately the recception I got was far from compassionate. Though she wasn't callous about it, she didn't believe me. I was gutted and wounded, I made an excuse to leave and when I got home, I called her and told her I needed to think. After a week of no contact, I broke up with her. That was on a Friday. The following Wednesday she died in a head-on car crash.

I was a mess, lonely and trying to fill the void. At this time I'd moved to a new city for university and didn't know anyone so chatrooms filled the void.

It was there that I met Kristy. She lived interstate from me, but we hit it off, and things were great, we actually spent the whole first night talking and before I knew it, it was morning.

Anyway she sent me her pic, and to be honest, I goofed after putting pressure on myself. To say my response was clumsy was an understatement. After a period of apologising and reassuring her, I thought things were ok.

However things started to change. To be honest, so much of it is a blur in terms of the order it happened, like an 18 month long nightmare. We were both poor university students, yet I was expected to pay for my phone bills and her phone bills. Initially this meant burning through prepaid phone credit over the space of a few months, so I decided to go on a mobile phone plan. The first month of the plan I take full responsibility for going over on to the tune of $800, so I upgraded to a plan which allowed for $1200 worth of calls a month. However she soon managed to make sure I was in debt $600 a month on phone calls, this time emotionally blackmailing me into staying on the phone longer than I could afford to, or accusing me of being cheap.

This financial abuse extended into the area of presents, where I was constantly told how cheap I was and how I didn't really love her. On top of the phone debts, I was expected to spend over $100 on gifts for her when either birthdays, Valentine's Day of Christmas came up- on a student wage that was only roughly $200 a week. Meanwhile, besides the first birthday I had when we were together, I received no Valentines Day present, no Christmas present and had I not demanded a birthday present, I doubt I would have gotten it either. Forced into debt, I was forced to work, soon at the cost of university, to try and avoid bankruptcy due to her financial control.

The finances were the least of it though. Early on in our relationship, I got porn spam with a nondescript subject line and when I clicked on it, there was a picture there. Between clicking on the email, realising what it was and then closing it, it would have been no more than 10 seconds, but because of that, I was forbidden from watching anything that even implied sex may have taken place or where a woman was in bed with exposed shoulders. At the same time she constantly sent nude pics of herself to other guys.

At the same time I was told who I could and couldn't talk to and at the slightest mention of something even remotely inappropriate by anyone, even if it was a facebook share that everyone on someone's list got, I was forbidden from speaking to them. Meanwhile she'd emotionally blackmail me into not only letting me flirt with other guys, but have cyber-sex with them, playing on her supposed case of social phobia.

There's far worse, which I'll get to shortly, but I want to deal with the elephant in the room which I imagine people must be asking themselves even now.

Why did I stay? Why didn't I just walk away leave? It's not like she was close by so how on earth could she stop me from leaving right?

The truth is that she knew how to control me and looking back, within a few months of being with her, I didn't know which way was up where she was concerned.

I'm sure part of it was the vulnerable state I was in from the aftermath of Sarah's death, but she knew how to press my buttons. On one hand she knew just how to wound me and what to say to really wound me hard in the right spots to do damage. Not even the child abuse I endured was off the table for her to use as a weapon. On the other hand, she played on her physical beauty - telling me not only that I was lucky to have her but that noone else could ever want me (I'm incredibly lucky that my fiance has proven that a lie). However there were also just enough "good days" to leave you suspended in false hope that things will get better - but they never do. But that false hope and your love for them is enough to trap you into staying where the fear fails to trap you. When someone presses the right buttons whilst repeating something as toxic as that, it's amazing what you'll believe after a while and the perpetual state of fear they'll leave you in.

I'm now coming to the worst of it. I got really good at, at least trying, to think how I worded something with her. Because if I worded something even slightly wrongly, I'd be punished with one psychological weapon or another.

However this leads me to the worst of it. Part of this was where the psychological abuse went sexually. She'd constantly make me come up with these increasingly violent and sadistic fantasies to voice over the phone as we had phone sex, where I'd be constantly told it "wasn't hot enough" and it "make it hotter". When I told her I didn't like it, I was told that she was doing it all for me. To make things worse, this wasn't in isolation from my "punishment". Often it would lead straight into this from my punishment where the psychological blows she'd use would have left me paralysed and then I'd be terrified into capitulation. When that failed, she'd finish the job with emasculating me by telling me I was more of a girl than she was and then dealing more blows to finish the job. Worse still was where she'd make me do voices of other guys and be sexual with her whilst making me self-denigrate.

Contrary to all conventional definitions of rape, I was raped by her and she never even had to lay a hand on me. I may not have been penetrated or enveloped by her, but the serial sexual violation and the psychological scars she left from it are far worse than those from when I was sexually assaulted on a school camp when I was 16.

The only reason I got out was that she pushed things too far one time by telling me she'd only stop if I agreed that not only was she the most beautiful woman in the world, but that I was the most hideous man in the world.

When I refused to do the later, she finally struck something core enough that it knocked me to my senses and I walked away whilst telling her that while she was physically beautiful, that her beauty was only skin deep and that she was a truly ugly person and that people would only want her for one thing. It wasn't my finest hour by any stretch of the imagination.

She kept trying to call me to convince me to take her back, and I foolishly relented. However it was only so she could end things on her terms.

Article originally appeared on One in Three Campaign (http://www.oneinthree.com.au/).
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