Support for Women Sexually Assaulted by Male Partners
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"It is well past time to bring partner rape out of the closet and recolour the war zone into a society with warmer shades of support and validation"
~ Patricia Easteal AM ~

All About Aphrodite Wounded


Nice things to report for 2017

My third coedited volume, Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Sexual Violence: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Prevention, Recognition, and Intervention (Routledge UK) IS NOW AVAILABLE. Please find out what it's all about here.

What's New?
UPDATES July 2016: Tidied up dead links and added more survivor stories
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People I Love...
The Gold Coast Centre Against Sexual Violence for their intimate partner sexual violence awareness pins., Teal is the internationally-recognised colour of sexual assault awareness, and purple, the internationally-recognised colour of domestic violence awareness. IPSV represents the overlap between both issues; it is not "either-or" but "both-and." Hence, the awareness ribbon below, designed by the GCCASV features the awareness colours for both issues.

If you would like one or several pins, they will soon be available for $5 each from GCCASV. Please contact Di Macleod at director@stopsexualviolence.com

Although sexual assault in relationships is a form of domestic violence, information about Intimate Partner Sexual Assault (IPSV) itself has been limited (though in the twelve years since I've had this site open, this is changing. Yet partner rape, according to studies, is the most common and most ignored type of rape.. Sexual assault by somebody you have been sexually intimate with is often not seen as 'real' rape. Society takes the dangerously limited view that 'real' rape happens in alleyways or parks, the rapist is a lunatic stranger - not a man a woman has had a relationship with. Such attitudes are based on the premise that having given initial consent, a woman is not free to withdraw it. This makes wives and girlfriends 'unrapeable', and also permits sexual violence against them to continue. It is true that there are laws in most western countries which make rape in relationships a crime, but because of underlying attitudes about what is real rape, they are often ineffective.

Sometimes women raped by partners are themselves unable to name their experiences at the hands of partners as rape. When they can call it rape, they are often aware that there will be little validation for them, and this can make finding healing resources difficult. People can also tend to make negative and wrong inferences about a woman's intelligence or character if she stayed in the relationships - such people rarely understand the dynamics of violent relationships.

But partner rape is real rape.
It may happen once or many times.
It may involve coercive pressure or battery and torture.
It happens in very violent relationships, or in those that are otherwise respectful.
Women are raped by men they love.

Where IPSV/rape is acknowledged as having happened, it is often not seen as a 'real' trauma. Yet studies indicate that women can be severely traumatized for a long time after. Women raped by partners often face the prospect of ongoing contact with their rapists via school, shared children or other. Sometimes, they deeply and genuinely love the perpetrator, and struggle to come to terms with the magnitude of the betrayal. They balance this with fear of recurrence. Women being raped by their partners are also statistically more likely to be murdered by them (Bergen, R, Wife Rape: Understanding the Response of Survivors and Service Providers, Sage Publications, California, 1996) Please go here for more information on the effects of partner rape.

Survivors often feel as if they are making a mountain out of a molehill - society at large affirms this, making it harder to seek healing, and exposing women to further assault.

I am a survivor of IPSV, and I was lucky to get out of the relationship alive. When I did, I could find little that related to my experiences, so I concluded there was something abnormal about the level of trauma I felt. If you read my story, you'll find out how and why I became so passionate about creating resources - this site and my book - for my sister survivors of IPSV. I am also very pleased to gather and make resources available to professional and other people wishing to learn more about IPSV.

People who might find this site helpful are:
  • Survivors of sexual assault in marriage
  • Teen survivors of sexual assault by boyfriends
  • Women sexually assaulted by live-in partners or non-live in partners
  • Women sexually assaulted by men with whom they had been having affairs
  • Women sexually assaulted by men who were ex any of the above
  • Survivors who are seeking to understand their experiences of IPSV many years later
  • Any person who cares for survivors and is interested in knowing more about IPSV and its effects.
  • Professionals who intersect with survivors of intimate partner sexual violence
Hello Sister. I'd like to share with you a little of what you'll find on this site. We have statistics about IPSV, information about healing, safety issues, seeking help and much much more. If you were sexually assaulted by a current or past partner, you are not alone. Whether you are still in the relationship or are some years out of it, you may find something informative and validating on this site. Teenager girl survivors of partner rape and sexual assault are also most welcome, and there's a special page for you here.

There are many survivor stories on this site. At least some of those survivors will have felt exactly as you do, and I hope you find the commonality comforting. You can read (or listen to) my story here. And if you would like to, you can also share your story.

If you are still living in the relationship with the partner who raped you, you will NOT be told that you have to leave. I'd like to stress that this site is also for women who are remaining, and there's a page you might like to read here. I hope that if you are still unsafe, you will be able to change that in the future, because you deserve so much more than to live with rape. Certainly, I don't recommend remaining in a situation that is dangerous, and I provide hints on getting safe here. However, I know that women remain for many reasons, and it's not my job to tell you what to do; just to offer you support wherever you're at.

A Cautionary Note: Please be aware that some of the site content could be very triggering if you are a survivor. Please don't be afraid to engage support. If you need help right now, please see the Emergency Contacts listed on this site. With respect to triggers, I have had a correspondence indicating that the imges on this site may trigger. If this is the case for you, you should be able to find instructions in your browser options that lets you download text but conceals images.

It's through this site that many survivors come to recognize that they have in fact been raped/sexually assaulted by their partners. While most survivors find this liberating, I am aware that it is not without some cost. Recognizing, naming and owning partner rape can seem to make it "more real" and, while this is a necessary step toward healing, it can be extremely painful. It also can throw up implications if you are still living with the partner who assaulted you. If at anytime you start to feel overwhelmed, please seek support. Here are some sexual assault and domestic violence hotlines. If you'd like the support of other survivors of IPSV, you can get it at Pandora's Aquarium - and I'll just tell you a little about that:

Messageboard & Chat: I am a Director of Pandora's Project , a non-profit organization hosting Pandora's Aquarium, a thriving and safe online messageboard for survivors of rape and sexual assault. What can Pandora's Aquarium offer to survivors of IPSV? If you need the support of other survivors who have shared your experiences and feelings, please see this article. For safety reasons, you must be 16 years old to join Pandora's Aquarium. If you are a young teenager, please see this page and this page for resources. Crisis lines for young people can also be found here.
Please note: You'll have to register before you can view or post in private forums* Please note that for safety purposes, you must make 5 posts before using the chatroom.

Safety Online: At the top of all pages, you will see an "Escape" banner. This banner wil scroll down the page with you, and if you're in danger of being caught reading this site, hitting any part of the banner will take you straight to an "innocent" Google search page. O0n the top right of hi page, there's a link you can click to find instructions for concealing your online activity if your abuser shares your computer. Stay safe.

If you are interested in looking more deeply at IPSV and healing, please see my book here. A discount is available should you purchase it through this site.

Please remember that no matter how many times you returned, no matter if you still love him, you have the same right to support and healing as any other survivor of rape.

If you're unsure where to begin, why not have a look at the sitemap?

If you are somebody who works - or who is looking at working - in the counselling, medical, clerical, legal or other relevant field, you may be seeking to know more about Intimate Partner Sexual Assault. That's great - survivors need the people they turn to to be informed. I have several pages you might find useful comprising studies, journal articles, training programs and other. While some of the studies cost to download, many of the listed resources, including an excellent DVD on responding to partner rape, are free. I will also advertise any seminars, workshops or other that I become aware of.

Please feel very okay to contact me with questions you have - if I cannot answer them, I'll bet I know somebody who can - I have made some contacts with lovely professionals striving with the issue of IPSV over the years.

If you wish to hold an IPSV-related event for your organization, the professional pages will direct you to programs developed and offered by organizations, or materials that you can use to develop workshops. Again, please feel free to let me know about anything you're hosting - I'll gladly advertise it on this site. I also advertise my own skills as a speaker, writer and presenter on this topic, which you can view of on my professional website.

I do hope you will find something useful for your purposes here. .

If you are here because you are supporting a survivor of IPSV, she is lucky to have you. I have a special page for you here - though you may also benefit from a browsing of the site in general. The loveliest people I have met have often not thought about rape as something that happens in relationships - we are products of our socialization, and even I have had to overcome stereotypical thoughts about what "real" rape is. If this is you, thank you so much for being open to learning about IPSV so that you can care for your survivor. Don't forget also to take care of you, and strategies for this will be suggested on your page.

If you are a counsellor, or you are part of a helping organization that intersects with survivors of intimate partner sexual assault, I invite you to please place your service in one of the IPSV survivor-friendly service databases on this site so that IPSV survivors needing help can find your service. If you go to this page, you can read about why outreach to IPSV survivors is important, and then pick the database or databases most relevant to the service you offer.

You are also invited to let me know about any IPSV-related event you are hosting, attending or know of; I'd love to help advertise it. Contact me, and I'll get you to word a post and send any relevant flyers or links. Please also let me know about any resources, initiatives or other you know of that are not currently on this site.

Thanks for the wonderful work you do. I'm seriously jubilant when shifts and changes are happening around the issue of IPSV.
Researchers: Are you conducting research into IPSV, sexual assault, domestic violence, trauma or other relevant aspect? Are you looking for the perspectives of survivors? Great! The more that is known the better. I frequently assist researchers in gleaning respondents.See this page for more information.

Journalists: Writing a feature article or putting together a televised/radio feature and requiring survivors to speak to? See this page.