Donate Now
  
my profile | directory login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » the person in MMS:sexual abuse

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: the person in MMS:sexual abuse
Mr. popsicle
Neophyte
Member # 95951

Icon 11 posted      Profile for Mr. popsicle     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
okay, i really need help with this sexual abuse thing we talked about over MMS... it's bothering me. [Frown]
Posts: 11 | From: Somewhereville | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hey there, Mr. Tickles. Glad you found your way to the boards where we can talk in more depth.

So, where we left off, you'd recently disclosed being a victim of sexual abuse/assault to your girlfriend, but after you two had engaged in sex where you both felt it was first-time sex for you.

But, after you disclosed this, your girlfriend became upset, and has refused to acknowledge that what you consider abuse, and not chosen, consensual sex, was that, but considers herself that that was sex for you because your body was physically involved. Do I have that right?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mr. popsicle
Neophyte
Member # 95951

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. popsicle     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
yes. that's exactly it. she says she loves me no less, but i can't stand that she thinks of herself as my second. i never told her out of shame... until after we had already had sex... alot. nowit changes her whole opinion on herself, and i can't stand it. but yes, since my body was involved in what didn't even physically feel like sex, but was technically sex, i wasn't a virgin at that point...
Posts: 11 | From: Somewhereville | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Let's maybe think of it like this -- and explaining it to her these same ways might help, too:

• During an OB/GYN exam, a doctor uses a gloved hand to do a bimanual exam, with those fingers inside the vagina: but saying that's the same as consensual manual sex because body parts are doing the same things they are with manual sex isn't sound, because the people in those situations have different intents and feelings.

• During a mugging, the person who steals a wallet or purse may come up to someone and demand their money, and the person may give it over. But saying that's the same as giving someone a charitable gift, or money because they want to, would not be sound.

• I used to spar with a partner during boxing. We'd both try and hit each other, and often succeed. But suggesting that would be the same as someone attacking someone out of anger, even though bodies would be doing the same things, wouldn't be sound. Our aim was fitness and grace, not harm.

• Breastfeeding vs. adults engaged in sex where they are sucking on breasts. Really, need I say more?

Sex isn't just about bodies and body parts. Our bodies can do all kinds of things -- and have things done to them -- that they can or do do during sexual activities, but that doesn't mean all those things are always sexual activities. What makes things about sex or not isn't just body parts, it's about our thoughts, feelings and motivations, too.

Not disclosing a history of sexual abuse or assault to people out of fear or shame is very common, all the more so for male survivors.

And your history isn't about her at all. It's really unfortunate for both of you she's making it be about her.

Virginity is a social/cultural term, one with no clear meaning. It also, for pretty much all of history, wasn't even about men, at all: it was only applied to and about women. But no matter what, the definition has always been very arbitrary, but what it usually meant for people was that someone had not engaged in sex. And sexual assault and abuse may be sex for the perpetrator, but it isn't for the victim.

Are these things you think your girlfriend can understand? As well, do you think she's up to recognizing the person really suffering here is you, not her, and that she needs to put her own stuff aside first to really deal with this and not traumatize you further?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mr. popsicle
Neophyte
Member # 95951

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. popsicle     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
oh, she's definitely not suffering... she just calmly and respectfully sees it that way. i don't know... she isn't really making it about herself, it's really that i'm flipping out that she believes she wasn't my first. i tried explaining that that was... traumatic. and idk if she'llever see herself as my first, buti can try to put things in perspective for her. i can't force her to believe a certain way, and regardless of what she believes, i'll always be there for her, because i love her. i just wish she'd realise that was something we indeed shared, and that what happened should not count as sex. but it's her mind, her thoughts, and her perspectives. i can't change that.
Posts: 11 | From: Somewhereville | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
But see: that IS her making this about her.

In other words, she's upset because she's decided that your history of abuse -- which see is framing as sex -- says something about her status with you or her sexual value as a "first." Get what I mean?

By all means, you can't force her to change how she thinks.

However, as a sexual abuse survivor, and a person, period, you do need to think about what's healthy for you. And being with someone who refuses to acknowledge your abuse AS abuse, and instead frames it as consensual sex, is a pretty emotionally dangerous thing for a survivor, and certainly isn't an environment of healthy emotionally support.

You seem pretty dedicated to staying with this person, so something has to give here.

I don't suppose you can ask her to try putting the shoe on the other foot here? Try asking how she thinks she might feel had she been sexually assaulted or abused?

Sometimes it can help to reframe with other contexts like I did in that example up there. To give you another one to ask her to think about, how about asking her if someone who was hit by a drunk driver was someone who took an active part in that collision or not? What if someone was suggesting being hit by that driver was that victim's fault or their doing? How would she feel about that: would that seem sound to her?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
(Also, I'd be happy to suggest some books for her on these subjects if you think she, like you, is pretty dedicated to this relationship being a god one, and would thus take the time to read them.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mr. popsicle
Neophyte
Member # 95951

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. popsicle     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
how did that post again? wtf? sorry. :/ she realises it was abuse, she just says it's technically sex is all. say this person had never been in a car accident, and prided him/herself on that. if a drunk driver hit them, they still were physically in an accident, regardless of who was at fault. i'm not saying it's right, but that's just how she sees it. and as for it being dangerous, it's been a LONG time, and i had baggage that she helped me unpack. i just have to explain some things to her. thank you for your help. [Smile]
Posts: 11 | From: Somewhereville | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mr. popsicle
Neophyte
Member # 95951

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. popsicle     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
how did that post again? wtf? sorry. :/ she realises it was abuse, she just says it's technically sex is all. say this person had never been in a car accident, and prided him/herself on that. if a drunk driver hit them, they still were physically in an accident, regardless of who was at fault. i'm not saying it's right, but that's just how she sees it. and as for it being dangerous, it's been a LONG time, and i had baggage that she helped me unpack. i just have to explain some things to her. thank you for your help. [Smile]
Posts: 11 | From: Somewhereville | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mr. popsicle
Neophyte
Member # 95951

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. popsicle     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
i think i may be doing something wrong. sorry. :/
Posts: 11 | From: Somewhereville | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Can she say what "technically sex" means?

Again, would she say, then a gynecologist exam is also "technically sex?"

Really, the way she's conceptualizing abuse is just really...well, wrong. And very victim-blaming.

Even if she can't change her thinking right away, can she recognize the way she's thinking about it right now basically denies that sexual abuse and assault IS sexual abuse or assault? And suggests that the victims of sexual assault are basically sullied in some way and don't have any real agency?

Perhaps better yet, would she say the sex you have with her is the SAME as someone sexually assaulting her? I'm guessing (and hoping) not, and maybe getting her to look at the differences might help her evolve in her thinking.

But she also has to want to, and hopefully she can at least understand that for you to not be held back in healing, she's really got to.

It can't have been THAT long since your assaults either, unless you're far outside the age group we usually serve here. healing from any kind of abuse or assault really is a lifelong process, and intimacy with people who victim-blame or deny assault is what it is truly can do us harm, or at the very least, keep us from really healing.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
(Per repeat posts, if you're using a cell phone, sometimes we've noticed posts get posted twice. It happens, no worries.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mr. popsicle
Neophyte
Member # 95951

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. popsicle     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
she just thinks that since technically, by all rights i did have sex. it isn't fair, but i did. i think it may be a matter of convincing her that tha wasn't sex. it didn't even feel like sex. just disgusting. but i can see her point, it's just that it wasn't sex to me, it was more of tourture. but she just looks at it from a different angle. she sees it from a more literal point, and missesthe big picture: that was not sex for me. that's the big thing. as for healing, sex felt bad before her... she helped me to let go of everything... it dosen't bother me anymore. we talked about it long ago, i just hid the other person. THAT was the really shameful one... but she convinced me that it wasn't my fault. she washed away all the fear of sex bestowed by both people, without even knowing it. just being there, and not judging me, and making me feel important does alot. idk if i'm over analyzing this, but could it be that she is being too literal? missing my point? she said emotionally, she's my first, but not physically... i talked to her... she sees more of what i'm saying. she may just have been upset, i don't know. thank you for all your help and support. the world needs more people like you. [Smile]
Posts: 11 | From: Somewhereville | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sexual assault doesn't usually feel like sex because for the victim, it isn't. Sometimes it isn't for the perpetrator, either, but that's a lot more complicated.

I really -- and I say this both as a survivor myself, as an advocate for survivors, and as someone who has done years of work and reading around this subject AND who is highly educated around human sexuality as a whole -- don't think that sex is something that can be compartmentalized, where we say something was sex with a body but not with the rest of a person, because we can't separate a person from their body.

And once more, I really want to go back to talking about GYN exams, even if it seems pedantic, because it's a pretty good comparison.

When your girlfriend gets her GYN exams, is that "physically sex" because her gynecologist is doing things with their hands that a sexual partner, when everyone involved IS sexually motivated, could do and WOULD be sex?

I don't think you're overanalyzing this. I also don't know that I'd say she's being too literal so much as I'd say it sounds like there's something really central to both consensual sex AND sexual abuse or assault she really, really isn't getting.

I also maintain that she's still making your abuse about her: about it, and her making it somehow your doing in some way, ruining the story she wants to tell herself about her first-time and about sex.

And I also think it's important for you to hold a line here for yourself, because I think if this is going to be a healthy relationship for both of you, she really needs to find a way to think differently about all of this instead of holding on to ideas and feelings and frameworks that simply don't hold up with what we know about human sexuality and about sexual abuse.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
(Btw, I know I'm being a little intense about this, and I'm trying to find a balance. But I am also, from the outside, seeing a sexual abuse and assault victim who -- from my view -- has clearly internalized some victim-blaming from this person already, and I know, given the work I do and have done, how damaging that truly can be, even if this person has been good for you in other ways.

Taking in someone saying -- someone who I assume hasn't experienced being abused or assaulted themselves -- you had a sexual experience when you were victimized is a big thing, a terrible thing. And something I really, really hope you can learn not to do, whether this person is doing it or anyone else. It's also something -- so much of this is -- that can be so much harder for male survivors, because you're going to meet with that attitude more often in much of the world. Ideally, the places you can count on NOT meeting it are with the people with whom you have the most intimate relationships, where you're the most vulnerable.)

[ 06-05-2012, 04:13 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mr. popsicle
Neophyte
Member # 95951

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. popsicle     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
thank you. i know, this topic is sensitive... and she's starting to come a round a teensy bit. and i know she will. she always does. i can see where she'd think what she did, but she's gonna have to realise it wasn't sex. it was hurtful, and mostly at this point, frustrating, and irritating. i can tell by all the conflicting emotions i haven't dealt with a problem that occured over ten years ago, and stopped around 6 years ago. never the less, i think the ideas and help you've given me are going to work fine. plus, she's going to go whatever route she has to, to believe she's my first, because that means more than the world to her. i felt uneasy about posting all of this for anyone to see, but i now hope that this helps someone, somewhere dealing with similar demons to my own. thank you for all of your help. fate will repay you for what you're doing.
Posts: 11 | From: Somewhereville | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Get the Whole Story! Go Home to SCARLETEEN: Sex Ed for the Real World | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3

Google
Search Scarleteen