Now that there are so many cases of domestic violence being reported on a daily basis, I decided to touch on a rather sensitive subject. That of sexual abuse in relationships and marriages. And while a section of people hotly contest that there is no such thing as sexual abuse particularly in marriages, I tend to disagree. If it makes you feel degraded, humiliated and a nobody then it is definitely sexual abuse whether in a marital or non-marital union.
One of the websites I visited http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/subtle_sexual_abuse.html, clearly outlines the many forms of sexual abuse in a relationship. Some of them were surprisingly familiar to me as things I have heard of in the past and never thought of them as that serious.
The website categorically states that one of the earliest warnings of sexual abuse is excessive jealousy and derogatory attitude toward women generally. There are cultures which actually participate in instilling a derogatory attitude toward women in men. This greatly influences negatively, the sex attitudes that the men have. In such societies, women are hardly accorded the respect they deserve. Women are treated as beings incapable of making decisions for themselves including decisions concerning their own bodies. Women are relegated to the roles of giving birth, taking care of children, running the home and satisfying the husband’s needs.
Women are only to be seen and not heard. If she speaks up, then she deserves to be silenced and often harshly. Women in such societies will watch in dismay, while their husbands marry other wives and bring them to the same compound automatically expecting all the women to live in harmony. In such societies, women have been socialized to suppress any negative emotions they might experience but only comply silently to what is the norm. Sadly, a woman in such a situation may not even realize it when she is being sexually abused in a marriage.
The author goes further to expound that sexual abusers will force you into sexual acts you are not comfortable in or that leave you feeling disgusted. I read in horror quit recently, about a Kenyan woman whose husband assaulted her physically in the home, then proceeded to rape her in front of her children and househelp. All those people contesting that there is no such thing as marital rape better open their eyes to this.
Yet another woman, in a certain talk show I watched, talked about a husband who would purchase stripper attire for her so that she could entertain him sexually in them. She had never been comfortable with it yet had to do it because her husband forced her to. Sex and sexual acts I believe have to be consensual. If one party is unwilling to go along with it or feels degraded doing it then there is no other word to describe it other than sexual abuse.
Some sexual abusers want us to cover up in public, others want us to wear provocative or sexy clothing so that they can show off their conquests to other men is yet another point I found quite important in the same article I was poring over. We sometimes take it lightly when a man we have just started seeing immediately embarks on dictating our style. Quite a number of women can confess to a point in their lives where they were dating someone, who kept on insisting that they needed to dress in a certain way. Others have been encouraged to show more skin and curves even though some may not be comfortable portraying themselves in such a manner.
There is nothing to be dismissed about a control freak. If he did not like the manner in which you dressed, he should not have shown an interest to date you in the first place. We meet and fall in love with people who are compatible to us therefore comfortable with how we are as individuals. Someone who requires you to change drastically was never your compatible in the first place. Women should be highly cautious of men who want them to be something they are not.
They will ask us about our previous sexual partners and encounters then call us sluts or throw sexual indiscretions back at us as proof of our being sluts. Another outlined red flag.
I once did a post http://www.definitelylorna.wordpress.com/ladies-there-is-absolutely-nothing-wrong-with-having-a-chequered-relationship-history where I talked at length about men who want to know about a woman’s sexual past. Again, culture contributes greatly to this chauvinistic view in men. In some societies, men are allowed to pursue sexual conquests all in a bid to prove themselves as being more manly. Women are expected to be pure.
In changing times, we have single mothers raising their children singlehandedly because of one reason or another. We have women who have delayed in getting married. So if all men were to employ this attitude of questioning a woman’s sexual past then using it to judge her present, we will have so many women walking around with dented self images.
I’m not an advocate of promiscuity, far from it! But a man who is keen on finding out about a woman’s sexual past only to use it to degrade her, has no business being with that woman in the first place. Last time I checked, we didn’t ask men about their sexual past which they hardly discuss.
Controlling our body for his sexual gratification. An example is given of a man who will not allow you to breastfeed your child because your breasts will sag therefore be undesirable to him. I once heard of a case where a woman had visited a hospital because one of her breasts was ailing. The reason, as a breastfeeding mum, her husband had forbade her from breastfeeding the child with one breast exclusively reserved for him. We laughed it off then, dismissing it as people who were not exposed little did we know that it is only an abuser who would do that to his wife.
Sexual abusers will be unfaithful on purpose. Always cheating on you with different women therefore, exposing you to sexually transmitted diseases and the HIV virus. Your feelings won’t matter to them and they may accuse you of pushing them to do it with your so called “inadequacies”. Abusers often times employ the reverse psychology to deflect blame from them. The end result is a victim who cannot trust her own judgment and intuition. Worst case scenario is when he infects you with something and won’t take responsibility for it.
Yet other signs of sexual abuse according to the website that I decided to summarize in one paragraph, was the abuser refusing to take responsibility for birth control. He may refuse to wear a condom or remove it during intercourse because it supposedly irritates him or hinders his enjoyment. If you ended up pregnant, he would then proceed to accuse you of purposely getting pregnant to trap him then demand/ force you to procure an abortion. If you are lucky enough to get to keep the pregnancy, he will show no respect for you while pregnant by tearing your bodily changes apart, calling you fat and avoiding any forms of affection and intimacy toward you during that stage.
Indeed many women have found themselves in this dilemma. Contraceptive use should not only be a woman’s affair. If he doesn’t want to be a father yet, then he should equally participate in ensuring that you don’t also end up a mother. Women have suffered crude forms of rejection for the sole crime of getting pregnant. Take the above paragraph as a warning sign to quickly break it off with such a character.
Withholding sex and affection. Beware of men who will withhold sex and affection to supposedly punish you for some wrong or men who always want to be in control of the timing of sex. Such men will dismiss a woman for being slutty or hypersexualized if at all she happens to at times be the first to initiate intercourse. They may even feign lack of interest then, just to humiliate her further as in their view, it should only be on their own terms. Sex should not be equated to a negotiating tool and more so, by a person claiming to love you or who is married to you.
Fondling us in public places in the presence of our friends and family. Sexual abusers thrive on degrading their victims. They may continually touch us in ways we do not like despite us voicing our dislike. They may see no need to hide their overly casual view of you and subconsciously display to others just how much they are lacking in respect for you. You are not a sex toy. Therefore, any man who wants to grope and fondle you in full view of the public and people who are important to you, is not only displaying sheer arrogance but communicating his abuser tendencies to you and the rest.
No man in his right mind who truly loved and respected a woman would touch her inappropriately in full view of others. I think this is where many of us go wrong. We equate being groped and fondled in public as too much admiration for our bodies, that your man cannot help himself. As a matter of fact, he can! He only sees no need to because he does not value you as much as you value him.
Taking intimate photos and films. Before you decide to agree to filming an intimate moment with your man, you need to ask yourself these questions, “Is it necessary?”, “Do I want this on film?”, “What are the implications of doing this?”
We tend to engage in these seemingly harmless activities, only to have our nude photos splashed all over the internet by a jilted lover or our sex tapes leaked online. Quite recently, there was a video of a Kenyan lady being violated sexually by a man she thought was her boyfriend. I never got to watch the video but I learnt that more than one man was involved.
Any man who asks you to take pictures in the nude and send them to him very early on in the relationship should be avoided at all costs. So is the man who insists on filming every intimate session you have together. If you are not comfortable with it, please do not go along with it. Many sly abusers will coerce you into doing something you do not want to, with claims of everyone doing it nowadays and declarations that if you don’t, they will leave.
You are not a pornstar. Therefore, do not give anyone the mandate to treat you as one just because you are scared he might leave you if you do not comply. It is your dignity that matters and trust me, once you jeopardize that dignity, it will be hard to regain it. The abuser does not care about the consequences. He is only getting a high from it.
It should be noted however, that abusers are people in need of help, but only if they recognize that they have a problem themselves and are willing to get help for it. It is not a mandate for the victims of abusers to try and help the abuser change. If you are experiencing abuse, run before it is too late.
Heavily sourced from www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/subtle_sexual_abuse.html. Additional text from the author of definitelylorna.wordpress.com