Yesterday I discovered Project Unbreakable, which "has featured over two thousand images of sexual assault survivors holding posters with quotes from their attackers."
I spent the whole evening reading their Tumblr page, full of signs like the ones pictured below, and I realized something. Up until now, I've been saying, "Well, it was usually a little like rape," when I talk about how my relationship with my ex functioned.
But, you know what? It was rape. Even though we were married. Even though I loved him. Even though I really longed to be loved in return. Because as far as he was concerned, I didn't have the right to say no, for any reason. And with the emotional abuse that was intrinsic to our relationship the rest of the time, I wasn't usually interested in sex. I quickly learned not to fight, even when I desperately wanted to say no, and I spent years trying very hard to enjoy myself like I was supposed to.
Eventually I discovered I could manipulate him with the threat of calling the police if he refused to accept my answer ... which is a terrible, terrible reality. Why did I have to manipulate him to receive such ... "consideration" ...?
I identified with the images below, and added a remembered quote of my own at the end. (Thankfully, I don't remember all the things he said. I really hope my memories of those times don't return.)
These women are BRAVE! I respect and admire them for posting these words and moving forward in their lives like the survivors they are.
... and I was also told this when he came to me for a finish to his evening ...
(I had just caught him cheating online, 2-3 years into our marriage.)
... and this, after we were going in for marriage counselling ...
... and during the last year before I moved out, he said this ...
Thankfully, my friends stepped in yesterday evening and pulled me out of a slow spiral into depression.
- Mica stopped in for a quick chat even though she's sick, and gave me my new avatar, which will be up on google shortly. She created a silhouette of my face and added so much beauty in the design that I can't remember it's me and just think how pretty it is.
- Nick bounced into chat right after and distracted me all evening with ideas for his business and the website I'm helping him design. I laughed a lot.
- Ree chatted for a bit, too, just before I fell asleep.
I was expecting nightmares.
Instead I had pleasant dreams of visiting old friends and talking on a terrace, looking out on gorgeous mountain scenery. What a relief!
Edited to link to others who speak out:
Hope, of Hope Wears Heels, could have been quoting me in The Day My World Fell Apart. "How could I allow a man I trusted my heart, my body, and my soul with touch me again after seeing so clearly that he had been violating me for over 15 years? The thought was untenable."