Support for Women Sexually Assaulted by Male Partners
Educational Resources for Professionals
Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Author Site Contact Louise Pandora's Aquarium Share Free Website Translator
"There is no difference between being raped And being run over by a truck Except that afterward men ask if you enjoyed it. "
~ Marge Piercy~

Frequently Asked Questions

Survivor Questions | For Men |  Linking/Usage | Silly Questions | Miscellaneous Questions

"IPSV"="Intimate Partner Sexual Violence"

I've been raped just now - what can I do?
Your first priority, if you are able to do it, is to get to a safe place away from the perpetrator - whether it's to a refuge or the home of a trusted friend or relative. You can have a rape crisis worker (go here for hotlines) and/or a good friend accompany you to a hospital to have injuries attended to and you won't be required to name the perpetrator. May women raped by partners suppress the experience and try to forget about it because it's painful and confusing. However, you may benefit from getting the earliest support possible to avoid long-term trauma symptoms. If rape is a recurring part of your relationship, you may be so battered emotionally that you've come to believe that one more time hardly matters. But you matter, and you deserve support now. Whether you leave or not, don't keep it a secret.
Please also see this page of suggestions about what to do following rape.

I'm so depressed and alone I'm thinking about ending it - what do I do?
Hang in there, my friend - it's more than likely that you don't want to die, you just want the pain to stop. Many of us have felt as you do, and we know that there is an end to the pain. Please, see this site for resources - and get support - you don't have to feel this way alone. You may also be experiencing clinical depression - speak to a doctor because it's treatable.

I'm afraid my children will be removed if I seek professional help
This is a frightening prospect that keeps many women silent and in relationships of abuse. Many professionals are mandated reporters, and in some jurisdictions, any abuse must be reported. I do stil urge you though, to reach out to a domestic violence crisis line - you don;'t have to give your name, and you can ask about how you and your children may best seek support to get to safety.

My partner won't stop raping me - what do I do?
It's likely that by now, you're very traumatized, and sometimes it can be hard to think clearly in that space. You may also be blaming yourself, or accepting your partner's reality - i.e. he may tell you that you "provoke" it, that it's your duty to submit, or it's just "making love" and there's no harm in it. Although you mightn't believe it, you deserve much better than to live with repeated rape. You really need to start putting your safety first. Please, do engage some counselling to help you look at other options to living this way. See this page for some hotlines. If you call one, make sure that you dial an alternative number when you end the call so that he can't press redial and know who you've called. You may want to use a friend's phone.

My partner raped me and my church/family/friends say I should stay with him. What do I do?
Unfortunately, because partner rape is often not seen as real rape or a real trauma, other people might not take the danger you're in seriously. It's YOU living with it and you who have been hurt by it, so you, and not they, know best what you need to do. It can be hard when facing opposition from others, particularly if you've had good relationships with them. They may have loyalty ties to your partner or may place values like saving marriages over your safety - and this means they're not best qualified to advise you. Get validation and support for yourself - you can start with a hotline (see this page). Join a rape survivor board, or a domestic violence board, and seek support from others who've faced the same things as you.

If I call it rape, does that mean I have to leave my partner?
This is one reason precisely why many women have trouble calling abusive sex by a partner, rape. You may not wish to leave, and that's okay (though if you're in ongoing danger, your safety must always come first). But the only things you have to do is what's right for you. Don't suppress the knowledge that you were raped - admitting it and healing will mean that you can make an informed choice about your future.

My partner raped me and I still love him. Am I crazy?
No! Many people believe that hatred for somebody who raped them is the only appropriate response. But they're applying rules that apply to stranger rape - which is, of course, seen by many as the only real rape. Those rules just don't necessarily apply to partner rape. It may be that there are many things you love about your partner outside of the abuse, and it's not at all crazy. Possibly, the fact that you love him is what makes it hurt all the more. Please don't confuse loving him though with an obligation to put up with abusive behaviour.

My partner raped me - should I report it?
Nobody can tell you whether you "should" report it or not - that's a very personal decision. Partner rape is still hard to prosecute because of attitudes about what is real rape - but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. Please speak with a rape advocate about prosecuting; they can help you make a decision. Remember though that delayed reporting leads to loss of evidence - as well as (unjustly) bringing suspicion upon you. You might like to see this page.

What if I slept with him again after he raped me - is it still rape?
Yes. If somebody robs me and I forgive them and lend them some money, does that mean that they didn't initially rob me? If you're struggling with this, it may be that you've internalized views about how a "real" rape victim conducts herself - i.e. doesn't sleep with the rapist again. But once again, these are rules that apply to stranger rape. It may also be that - like many survivors of partner rape - you didn't realize at the time that what happened was rape. Please look at this page for more on myths about partner rape - and remember that the fact that you returned to him doesn't make your wound less real or deny you the right to heal.

I think I was raped but I'm not sure - can I write to you?
The journey towards defining what happened to you is an intensely personal one. However, if you are struggling for a definition, please take a look at this page. You can certainly email me to talk about your confusion with. At this stage, it's very important that you know that what you call it matters less than the fact you need support for something that has hurt you.

I'm terrified that if I leave my partner he'll kill me/kill himself/take my children away. What can I do?
If you've experienced violence and threats like these, you will be terrified and perhaps due to past circumstances, you know that your fear is justified.. Please call a hotline to discuss options with - see this page - and remember that other women have made it to safety who were as frightened as you are. You may also want to look at this page.
There are no simple answers, of course, but you deserve to live free from violence.

My partner says he doesn't remember assaulting me - what do I do?
You'd be surprised how often I hear this. The important thing is that YOU remember. Don't buy into his denial - you have a right to heal whether he remembers (or will admit to remembering) or not.

Do you offer counselling to survivors who write to you?
No. That's not my role. If you exchange mails with me, we are two survivors sharing experiences and ideas.

Can I email you to talk to?
Absolutely. And don't forget you can also connect with other survivors of partner rape at Pandora's Aquarium..

Your site has been very helpful for my healing - can I let you know?
I'd love you to. It's always a pleasure to know somebody is drawing positive things from my site. It makes my work so worthwhile.

I emailed you and you didn't reply - did I annoy you or something?
I get a lot of mails and am often busy or running low on energy so some of them fall through the cracks.
I'm really sorry to disappoint anybody - I do reply to most mails I get - please try again.

You seem really strong. Do you ever still have bad times around what happened to you?
For sure - although with healing has come the ability to manage bad times better.

Will you put my story on your site?
I'd be honoured to. See this page
I am a male survivor of partner rape
I acknowledge that men experience partner rape too, from male and female partners. Although this site is primarily aimed at women, here is a page of resources you may find useful.

I sexually assaulted my wife/girlfriend and I want to make amends. Is it okay if I write to you?
Men who sexually assaulted their partner have written to me in the past, and I've thought long and hard about this and am going to have to say no. I know that some men truly love the partners they've assaulted, and do want to make amends.
However, I can't run the danger of colluding with a perpetrator who is trying to manipulate his partner to remain or come back. My first allegiance is always to the woman and her safety - and since you and I are people behind computer screens, I have no assurance that she's safe unless she tells me herself. If you really want to make amends, you will not manipulate or attempt to control her at all - and you will seek individual - not couples - counselling and take responsibility for yourself. Never minimize what you did and don't expect her to ""get over it" because you've said you're sorry. Rape by a partner is a shattering trauma and healing takes time.
Remember that forcing sex on your partner is a crime, not a right. You may find this page and this page helpful.

I'm a man who wants to help end sexual assault. Do you have any suggestions?
Men Can Stop Rape is a terrific initiative. Click here.
Can I link to you?
Yes please - if you're not a rape-porn site or somebody using what's said on this site for negative purposes. . You can get a banner here, or a text link to www.aphroditewounded.org will do nicely.

Would you be interested in linking to me?
Certainly - email me your URL.

Can I use material from your site for my survivor/DV/SA site, essay or other?
Yes! Please see this page for terms of usage.

I've seen something on your site that is improperly sourced. Can I tell you about it?
Oh, yes please. As you will see, I am a fairly punctilious referencer but something may have fallen through the cracks. If you see something, I'd be grateful if you'd email me
Do you hate all men/think all men are rapists?
Hardly - I'm married with 3 sons - even if that is really beside the point. Hating sexual violence does not equate hating men, and it's not my fault that most perpetrators of rape are men (note: If you choose to read that as saying "most men are perpetrators of rape" that's your mistake not mine). Please don't email me with your defensiveness. Honestly, I'm sick to death of women being accused of male-bashing every time they open their mouths about rape.

Note: A big thank you to the men who write to me who actually get it.

I hate anti-rape feminazis like you - don't you feel bad for encouraging victimization of men with the common false accusations that happen?
False accusations are not common - and don't waste your time with the mails; they'll be ignored. Oh, and "Feminazi" stopped being twee Limbaughesque cleverness some years back.

All you talk about on this site is women as victims and men as perpetrators. Men are raped by their partners too - don't you care?
Frankly I'm tired of the "what about the men" earache I've copped. It's always phrased so self-righteously! This is a space where we explore male violence to women (which still constitutes the world's single greatest form of human rights violation); I am allowed to have this focus and I make no apology for it. Those who object would be better off spending their energy researching and working (as I have) to create resources for the groups they think need them. Also there are some very good male survivor organizations around and I would never dream of attacking them because service to women is not part of their mission - I stand behind them all the way. My final word on this tedious issue is: Build up, don't tear down. If you email me about this, I will ignore it.
BTW this page perfectly elaborates my own thoughts on this subject: What’s wrong with saying that things happen to men, too?

All this goddess stuff on your site is idolatrous wickedness. Can I write and tell you you're going to hell?
No. Please respect that I don't share your belief system.

Don't you know you're undermining family values by interfering in people's bedrooms?
Where 'family values" lead to the oppression and abuse of women, I would hope I am undermining them.

Oh come on, surely you don't really believe that forced or coerced sex with somebody you're doing it with anyway is really as serious as being pulled into bushes by a stranger?
Surely I do and I have no interest in debating the issue. And please bear in mind that women being sexually assaulted as well as battered by their partners are more likely to be murdered. See more information here.

Ewww! I hate this pink floweriness you've chosen for your site design. Honestly, I want to get a bucket to be sick in. Will you change it?
Nup, I love it and I think my visitors deserve something pretty.
How come I don't see anything about Gay/Lesbian partner rape?
I am aware that sexual assault happens in GLBQT relationships. I best understand heterosexual partner rape, but here are some resources for gay and lesbian survivors of sexual assault and relationship abuse.

Why don't abused women just leave?
Why don't abusers just stop abusing them? If you're asking because you really want to know, please look at this page. If you're asking because you basically believe abused women are idiots who like the abuse and you want to insult them to me, you really need an education. Please don't email be about this if you mean it in a demeaning way.

Your definitions of rape are very elastic - why are you calling it rape if she didn't say "no"?
My definitions of rape are legal in Australia, the UK and the USA. It can no longer be taken for granted that submission to coercion or just laying there equates consent. Now, instead of the sole focus being on what the woman did or didn't do, sexual partners are being called to account for what they do or don't do - i.e. seeking real consent. Also, just because a thing isn't recognized legally as rape, doesn't mean it isn't; for example until recently, marital rape was not a crime but was still rape.

It seems strange that you would use the name of the Goddess of love and sex to name a site about rape.
Why did you choose it?
The name of this site comes from my belief that women have a goddess of sexuality and love within them. Being raped by somebody we love can be very damaging to the ability to express our love and sexuality in subsequent relationships. But that damage need not be permanent

Are you a Pagan?
No - though I am open to different forms of spirituality. You see Goddess representations on this site because I love mythology and have found that some of it contains powerful allegories to healing.

What qualifications do you have?
I have an associate Diploma in Welfare Studies, during which time I studied partner rape and domestic violence extensively. Because of my books, this site and ongoing study I have a measure of international recognition for holding some expertise in the subject of intimate partner sexual violence. I've also counselled abused women in the mental health setting, and have worked as a court supporter for battered women. for more on my professional work and qualifications, please see my professional website.