Support for Women Sexually Assaulted by Male Partners
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"People who judge don't matter. It's the people who matter that don't judge."
~ Unknown ~


Persephone by Kris Waldherr
Persephone, the Goddess of Spring, had another name, "Kore", which means "maiden" or "girl." Here she is picking a flower set as a trap by Hades, who plans to rape and force her into marriage.

If you are a teenage survivor visiting this site, you’ll have seen that much of it is geared towards adult women. Although you might have noticed some similarities with adult women, there are also some differences for teenage girls in abusive relationships.

First, you may not know whether what you're experiencing is sexual assault or not. Please see this page here - it may help you understand what is happening better.

Many teenage girls see jealousy and possessiveness as normal parts of a relationship, or even as romantic. The more traditional views a teenage girl holds about relationships, the more likely she is to accept sexually violent or coercive behaviour. So, you may see your your partner’s behaviour as normal and perhaps you wonder why it makes you feeol so bad. Repeated experiences of sexual assault and coercion may have harmed your feelings about yourself so that you feel that you deserve what your partner does to you. Teenage girls have fewer social and legal resources and may not be in a position to change schools or neighbourhoods, which may have increased a sense of entrapment and left you more vulnerable to your abusive partner or ex-partner 1. It’s also more common for teenage abusers to blame their girlfriends for the abuse, but you do not deserve to be sexually or otherwise assaulted. It is NEVER okay for anybody to hurt you.

If you are a teenage girl caught in an abusive relationship, know that what happens to you is not normal. You may feel very lonely and think that nobody could understand. This is a feeling that many girls and women who have been sexually assaulted by their partners share, but that doesn’t make it true. Sexual assault is not your fault, and you can reach out and get help.

The thought of talking to an adult might be really difficult, and you may feel as if you can’t stop seeing the boyfriend who hurts you or that other people will blame or disbelieve you. But there are people who can help you, and you can find suggestions about that below.


If you’ve been sexually assaulted, these are some of the effects you may be experiencing 2:

  • A sense of loss of personal integrity - You may feel worthless and ashamed of being you. People have done things to you and said things to you that made you feel bad so you "act" bad.
  • A sense of Loss of Control - One or more people have done things to you against your will, so you believe there is no point in trying to control anything in your world. Also, you may have trusted your boyfriend, and the sense of betrayal caused by his violence may
  • Damage to Emerging Sexual Identity - Sexual exploration and curiosity is a natural part of developing as a young woman. But sexual assault may have caused you to feel that sexuality and womanhood are bad, and maybe you feel ashamed of your body.
  • Personality changes - Perhaps you have outbursts of anger, and people are asking why you are suddenly so moody. You may have become withdrawn because you're frightened that people can "see" what happened to you, and you want to make yourself "invisible." You may feel depressed - or you may actually be experiencing depression. You can get help - please see "Getting Help" below.
  • Lowered School performance - You may have stopped trying to achieve anything as the effort doesn't seem worth it. Perhaps the sexual assaults and other abuse are playing on your mind and emotions so much that you have trouble concentrating.
  • Withdrawal from school or social activities - Perhaps you were outgoing, but now shut yourself in your room. Your friends wonder why they can't talk to you. You're in trouble a lot for truancy. Many girls experience gang-rape or other sexual assault, and find that other people who know spread the news, saying it was consensual and calling the survivor terrible names - if this is you, you will naturally be terrified of going to school.
  • Flagrant promiscuous behaviour: Because sexual things have been forced on you, you may believe that you and your body are of no value, and that you have to give sex to whoever wants it. If you were raped after saying no - or were otherwise unable to say no - you may actually be too frightened to say it again, or you might believe it is pointless. Sexual abuse may have taught you that you actually don't have the right to say no. You may also be seeking to be loved.
  • Drug and Alcohol abuse - Perhaps you feel distanced from the pain in your life when you've used drugs or alcohol.
  • Eating Disorders - Starving yourself may be a way that you feel you can have some of the control over your body that rape took from you back. Conversely, overeating and excessive weight-gain may be a way of trying to protect yourself from being sexually assaulted again.
  • Risk-taking and other self-destructive behaviour: You may believe your life is of little value, and so you do things that you know are very risky, such as driving with drunk people, taking drugs, or placing yourself in situations where you may be sexually assaulted again. You may self-injure as a way of punishing yourself, or because the physical pain helps dull the emotional pain. Maybe you have sex without protection from STDs and pregnancy.
  • Alienation - Maybe you feel that the dark secrets you keep are things that nobody else could ever understand. You feel completely alone, and matbe a sense of loyalty to your abusibve partner is also keeping you from reaching out.
  • Super-achieving and trying to be "Good enough" - Perhaps you believe you were assaulted because you were bad, and you try to be "good enough" to stop it from happening again. Straining to achieve and be perfect may be a way that you try to hide your inner sense of shame from the world.
The first step to getting help is to tell somebody. Even if you have told about the sexual assault/s and were not believed, there are other people who will believe you.

If you've been raped or sexually assaulted, there are services that help teenagers. Even if it feels very difficult to discuss, reach out to a counselor who is trained in working with sexual assault. You won't be expected to tell them about the assault/s straight away - these counselors understand that this can be difficult. Please see this page for services you can contact. You might also like to read this page on telling here.

If you are over 16, you are most welcome to join Pandora's Aquarium. We have many members who were or are in the same situation as you, and they will give you support.

If you are under 16, we at Pandora's Aquarium believe that you deserve special help that an online board can't offer you. Read this page for suggestions for help, and please reach out. Please also feel free to come and join us when you've turned sixteen if you still need support from other survivors.

Do consider telling somebody, even if you begin with a confidential hotline. You are definitely not alone – there are many stories by teenage survivors of rape and sexual assault on this site, and you can read some of them here.

  • Wilson, K.J., When Violence Begins at Home: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Ending Domestic Abuse, Hunter House Inc .Publishers, California, 1997
  • Wilson, K.J., When Violence Begins at Home: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Ending Domestic Abuse, Hunter House Inc .Publishers, California, 1997