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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Abuse & Assault » What Do I Say?

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Author Topic: What Do I Say?
Emily 249
Neophyte
Member # 28956

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Now, I'm not sure if the following falls under the abuse umbrella or not, but it's the first thing that sprang to my mind when I found out. If this is in the wrong section, feel free to move it.

My boyfriend and I recently took some time apart and are just now getting back together. A few days ago he told me that he dated another girl during our break for little under two months. She had a condition that made genital contact painful for her. In spite of that, however, she would badger him into touching her until he gave in to avoid upsetting her. Every incident would end with her crying due to the pain and him running off to go get sick. When he told her he couldn't deal with it anymore and stopped dating her, she called every mutual acquaintance of theirs in tears and told them he had been using her for sex.

Fast forward to now. The Boy feels guilty as hell and keeps blaming himself for what happened (I knew it was a bad idea to get involved with her, I should've said no, it's not her fault because she had a horrible childhood, etc). He seems terrified of touching me -- he visibly hesitates, pulls back, and apologizes even with something as simple as putting his hand on my knee. He refuses to talk about what happened, he says he never wants to have sex again, and I can't convince him that it wasn't his fault. To make things worse, now he's hiding from his friends.

I don't know how to approach this with him. I have no idea what to say or how to make him feel better. I don't know if I should even say anything at all. I want to help him rebuild a healthy attitude towards sex, but at the same time I don't want to come across as badgering him into doing things just like this other girl did. Moreover, I'll be on a sports team with this girl in the fall and I don't know how to handle myself around her without calling her every synonym for "selfish" and "manipulative" in the book.

I know I can't handle this on my own, but until he starts seeing a therapist (which he plans on doing), I feel like I need some advice on how to keep him from breaking even further.

Posts: 39 | From: United States | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Whoo boy, this is a toughie.

You know, honestly, your boyfriend sounds pretty traumatized here, and like he was throughout. That given, it seems to me that if he's willing, finding a counselor to help him sort through this would be a really great idea. Seems like he's going that route, so that's great.

It's probably obvious, but I'd also suggest in the meantime that you just make clear to him that for however long he needs, you're fine with him not feeling comfortable with sexual contact. It might be helpful for you to differentiate between what is and isn't sexual contact for you, too, so that something as simple as holding hands, or touching you in passing, can perhaps be less uncomfortable for him.

One thing when he starts therapy he might want to talk to a therapist about as a possibility is also arranging a mediated meeting with this girl to get some resolution. On the other hand, it may well resolve itself, because if this is a pattern of hers, she may put someone else in this same position, they'll likely want to get away, too, and she may say the same things about them.

(Lastly? You could extend an invitation for him to come here and talk about this too, if he likes.)

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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

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KittenGoddess
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 1679

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In terms of your having to deal with her (you mentioned you'd be on a team with her), I'd suggest to you that you keep in mind that really no good will come from you having it out with her. What would calling her out in that situation really accomplish? It's likely to have repercussions that will be problematic for everyone in the situation.

Is there a coach or someone in that capacity that you can talk to about the situation? You wouldn't have to give them specifics about the situation, just let them know that there are some problems with you and this girl due to a personal situation and that you would like to avoid being put into situations where that might spill over.

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Sarah Liz

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Emily 249
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Thank you so much for your input. I really feel like I'm flying blind here. No one ever addresses how to be there for males who have been taken advantage of, and I don't want to say or do the wrong thing. I don't know if I'm over-estimating the impact of gender differences and stigmas here -- neither have come up during his brief venting spells -- but as it stands it's making me feel especially clueless.
Posts: 39 | From: United States | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Well, these things certainly are an issue.

And I think it's particularly tricky since it's not HIM that experienced unwanted touch in terms of being touched himself, but instead, he's grappling with being coerced into touching someone when he didn't want to.

Given he continued, knowing he didn't want to, he's going to be dealing with the same sort of thing that say, a date rape survivor would. But he also has the additional issue to deal with of not only being coerced into sex he wasn't okay with, but with his actions -- however coerced -- causing someone else pain. And now that someone else misrepresenting the issue to paint him as the guilty party.

So, I'd pass on to him that this is a complex issue that's multi-layered and it's not surprising he feels the way that he does.

However, when someone coerces someone into doing something to them that they know is going to cause them pain, it really is no different than a person coercing someone into doing something they know will bring them pleasure: either way, he was coerced, and either way, the person doing the coercion was not him.

FYI, there is address on how to deal with male sexual abuse survivors, just google around: it's not that hard to find, and we also have a couple links in the resource section of the Boyfriend area on the main site. And again, for the most part, what he's dealing with here isn't that different in terms of his gender when it comes to what the fallout feels like and how it's viewed by others: survivors of any sort of sexual abuse, no matter their gender, are usually blamed for the abuse, sadly, or feel at fault with it.

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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
   

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