PARTNER RAPE
IS

REAL RAPE


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A PERPETRATOR'S PERSPECTIVE


"Keith" submitted the following via the story sharing forms. I felt that it was appropriate for it to have it's own site page. While there have been some very valid concerns that some perpetrators may use this to know the "right" words to say to manipulate their partners, I hope that other men may be challenged by it. Keith's letter is also a useful insight into the dynamics that commonly underpin partner rape/sexual assault, and whether he is genuine or not, I still think it represents a worthwhile educational perspective.
For those interesting in seeing it, I also chose to make a reply to Keith below his story.

*I WOULD WARN SURVIVORS READING THIS PAGE TO BE VERY CAREFUL OF TRIGGERS*

Keith wrote:

I realize the site is designed for women who have been assaulted or raped by their partners.  My wife asked that I read the stories offered here to better understand what she has gone through.  After days of reviewing and meditation,I have felt a nudge from the universe that I would try to provide some insight from an abuser's view to possibly help even one person with their search for answers and for healing.  You see, I am someone who has violated the boundaries of my wife. The awful truth is hard to say, let alone place in writen form.

I understand what I have done and further comprehend the damage it has reaped.  My wife is an incredibly kind person, insightful and caring and has stayed with me through over 21 years of marriage.  The marital bond was riddled with my inability to comprehend that the verbal abuse (not obscene, not physical abuse, but abuse nonetheless) that I subjected her to was driving her away.  It undermined her self worth and her development as a fully actualized being. Eventually she sought out refuge in the arms of another man and created a dual life to allow herself to escape in a sense.  The affair was brought to light, and the decision was made to try to make a reconciliation.  Unfortunately, without identifying what element that drove her away in the first place it was an impossibility no matter what measures I tried.  She went back to him while maintaining a presence in our home, but hid it from me due to apprehension or apathy (perhaps both?) of what I may do. 

What happened after was a overwhelming blend of distrust, hurt, betrayal and feeling utterly emasculated all whirling in my head and burned into my heart.  This negative energy was there, not truly acknowledged, supressed by the desire to still make the marriage "right".  This energy came washing over me, creating a feeling that I was right, that I was the one disrespected, that I somehow deserved what was being given to this other man and not me, and every other thought that could somehow overcome my revulsion of what took place.  In my actions, my forcing myself on her without her wish, destroyed entirely that which I had held so dear to me, so precious.  Her soul.....   I know what I have done is so wrong, so hideous that I cannot even look at myself in the morning mirror reflection.  I accept this and despair.  I can only tell you this is because I had swore that I would never be this kind of man, ever. Had issued a vow to not view women as objects or possessions. Endured a sexual assault as a child, was victim of this very same thing. The type of partner who held women as beings of creation and beauty, to be protected, revered, never to be harmed.  Even my chosen profession is one of healing, one long held by women,all of which should prevent this from happening. In my confession and to my great dismay and misery, I can tell you it does not. 

In the end I have realized beyond measure, that that anything intimate without the express permission of that  person is wrong on all levels, regardless of circumstances involved. It must not be allowed, ever.

Even now, I do not know what I can do to make it right.  Allowing her time to grieve has been one of the most important interventions I can provide.  Offering her security and safety from the individual who thought of himself as a protector, by locking doors, seperate rooms.  Even a simple act of touch of her hand requires her acceptance and permission, to lessen the revulsion of the contact.  By listening and acknowledging her pain and frustration. I have even wished and offered to be incarcerated for my crime.  She declined this only of the impact it would have on our children. Once the trust is broken by a person who was so close to her, how can it ever be restored?  I do hope, but if not, I also accept that this may be my lot in life and just will try to help her in what way I can.  Again, this is being offered to create possible understanding to anyone who wishes to read this and it is my deepest hope it can reach and help even a solitary person it was worth the pain of telling my failure.

Sitemistress reply:

Dear Keith,

First let me say that I can be quite cynical about letters such as yours. Are you genuine? Well, I would like to think so , but here's the thing: many abused women have experienced remorse from abusers that looks genuine, or perhaps is, but is transitory until their abusers become angry again. In speaking to other survivors about your letter, some have said that it looks very much like an abuser in a remorse phase based on similar correspondences survivors - myself included - have had from abusive partners. I am but a woman behind a computer screen, so I have no way of knowing whether your wife is truly safe, or whether you're trying to get some sort of validation with which to guilt her. These are common tricks by abusers - there is very little that many won't say or do to manipulate a partner and others, even if that means admitting some of the abuse. Thus, I believe that it is playing with fire to assume uncritically that you are genuine in your professed remorse. If I was to accept that you are without question genuine, the risk of betraying your wife is just too great and for me, it's always survivors first. Nevertheless, Keith, abusers can and do change sometimes, and if you are genuine - which again, I would like to believe - I hope that the following will be challenging in a positive way to you and other abusive men. If you are not genuine, you will probably not even read what I am going to say to you, and I hope your wife is able to leave and find the safety she deserves. I do not want to seem harsh, and have to wish to beat on somebody in pain, but I am speaking from the voice of long experience and will therefore give you my honesty.

If you are genuine, you show a rare honesty and courage in facing up to what you've done to your wife. First, I'll get out of the way a couple of red-flag issues for me and other survivors I've spoken to: You speak much of the pain you are in. If it is pain born of genuine regret that will bring about change, I am glad you felt you could put it out here, and for that you have my empathy. Yet, abusers often do focus on their pain in an attempt to garner sympathy from their audience. They may even profess how much they hate themselves for what they've done, but they actually have no real intention of stopping, and will even use the pain as an excuse to inflict more abuse. This happened to me; I ended the relationship, my ex-partner assaulted me and said it was because of the pain I had put him through. Bullshit. In any case, no amount of pain ever justifies inflicting a lifelong scar on somebody else. Socially, too, because abusers are good at manipulating family, friends and even counsellors, it's all too common for people to say "poor him" rather than holding him accountable for abuse, and supporting his partner. Sympathy-seeking is a transparent trick for the more seasoned of us. I hope that you are sparing when talking to your wife about your pain, and that she doesn't feel responsible for it. Please always let her know that she isn't.

Also, In speaking of your wife's affair, it may be that you are simply trying to illustrate was going on at the time. If mentioning this is, however, an attempt to use it to justify what you did, it is most important that you don't blame her. While adultery and rape are both wrong, there is no moral equivalency between the two. I hope it goes without saying that what you did is not to any degree her fault - you are responsible. I am also glad that you seem able to percieve how damaging and degrading emotional abuse is on a partner. It sounds like there was perhaps a pervasive pattern of escalating abuse.

 
Keith, you may or may not know that many men sexually assault or rape their partner because they fear losing her for whatever reason. Men are socialized to "own" and control women - sometimes it isn't even conscious that this is the case; they just are, (which I guess is not an excuse but a contributing factor to a man committing violence even though he may have vowed never to view women as objects or possessions). There is often also a sense of entitlement to possess a partner sexually and otherwise. When ownership is threatened, it's very common for sexual assault to occur - and it doesn't matter what sort of gentle, nurturing, new age sort of a person the man might be or what his profession is.  I hope you'll agree with me that of course the common nature of this crime doesn't make it okay. Neither, I might add, is it a "mistake" in the accidental sense of the word; it is consciously chosen. You may have been hurting badly and very confused, but you do know you chose to rape her, don't you, and that it wasn't justified? We need lots more abusive men to question assumptions of ownership and entitlement, and I hope Keith that this is something you are able to do. It's something that only a few abusive men do, unfortunately because they derive too much benefit from the control.
 
Raping your wife was doubtless a way you felt you could regain some power in the situation you were both in. I hope you understand now, even if all-too-belatedly, that rape as a means of having power over somebody is just not on, ever. The trouble with many abusers is that they value themselves and their power more than they value their partner's humanity and rights - which they pay lip-service to valuing only while it suits them. I would like to think this is not you. Please also be very sure that, unlike many abusers, you resist minimizing the act or it's consequences for your wife. You are right, it is a completely heinous act.

You have acknowledged that what you did was a crime, which is a good thing because it most certainly is. I do hope that when your wife talks about the impact of going to the police on your children, you are able to acknowledge that any such impact would in any case be down to your actions.

Another part of your story interested me, Keith, chiefly where you say you had planned to be "The type of partner who held women as beings of creation and beauty, to be protected, revered, never to be harmed." I could be wrong, but I'm wondering if you, like much of society, have held a "Madonna/Whore  view of women? If you don't already know what this is, it means holding a black-and-white view of women - i.e. women are either "good girls" who deserve decent treatment, or "bad girls" who don't.  This is reflected in the courts, where a woman who has been raped must prove she was next door to a saint in order to prove she did not "encourage" or "deserve" the assault. The Madonna/Whore view can be held of the same woman. Let me explain: My ex-partner had this reverential view of me as some sort of angel, but when I fell from that totally unfair pedestal, he devalued me as a "whore" and he felt that punishment was justified. A woman who has had an affair may also be deemed a "whore" who deserves punishment such as sexual violence. But women are neither Madonnas nor Whores, Keith, we just are what we are, the good and bad. We should never be pushed to fit one or the other, and we never deserve to be raped no matter what way we are perceived.
 
Also, a man's notion of "protectiveness" toward women can simply be an ideal of ownership trotted out in another costume. It's more socialization about what a real man is. My ex-partner swore that he would kill anybody who harmed me - harmed "his" woman - but felt justified in hurting me himself. Who would protect me from him? Can you see what I mean, Keith? A "protective" attitude towards women can actually be terribly dangerous to us.
 
I am so sorry you were sexually abused as a child, Keith. Perhaps you might benefit from some counselling that explores this, and also patterns of coercive control that need change. It is also true though that men don't abuse their partners because they had bad childhoods, but because of their mindset - one of entitlement and a right to control with violence. I might add that you don't seem to be blaming your childhood, which is also a good thing.
 
If you are genuine, it seems to me that both you and your wife love one another and are working towards healing. If you remain together and you pursue a course of honesty and respect for her, not controlling her in any way either outside the bedroom or in it, her violated trust and sense of safety  may hopefully be restored. Trust must be earned and it can take time as well as sustained and deep change on your part. It isn't impossible - I am aware of a few situations in which it has happened. You must stay safe. Value her. She deserves it.
 
You are not a bad person; you did a bad thing, resorting as you did to a criminal act of ownership and control. Don't ever do it again. If you do ever do this to any woman again, Keith, then I would hope that due justice awaits you.
 
I wish your wife healing and support for the crime that will have utterly shaken and shattered her, and I'm not sure you can ever fully understand the impact, but if you are genuine I'm glad you at least seem to be trying to do so.

Lastly, Keith, I'm aware that I've used the words "perpetrator" and "abuser" a lot on this page. I dislike reducing anybody completely to a term, and I don't like to dehumanize or objectify, even despite behaviour that might warrant designation of a certain term. A friend of mine pointed out that you seem to have thje potential for decency, and I agree with her. I think you are more than than those terms; I think you can be more. It's ultimately your choice.

Thankyou very much for your insight, Keith, as well as permitting it to be shared. I believe it is a valuable addition to this website, and my hope is that it will be valuable for other men who have done the same thing to their partners and who honestly desire to change.
Take care,

Louise

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