Do you tell others about the sexual abuse? — by Barbara Roberts

In addition to other forms of abuse, many victims of domestic abuse suffer sexual abuse from their partner. And it’s really hard to talk about. I’m wanting to explore several challenging questions in this post:

  • How many of you (victims / survivors) have stories of sexual abuse as part of your domestic abuse story?
  • What kinds of sexual abuse did your spouse do to you?
  • Did you tell anyone about it?
  • If you did confide or disclose it to someone, who did you tell? Your pastor? A counsellor? A male or a female?
  • If you told someone, what was their response?
  • Did their response help?  Did it hurt, or hinder?
  • What do you think would be a good way to for a pastor or counsellor to respond to a victim’s disclosure of spousal sexual abuse?
  • Even if you did not experience sexual abuse in your abusive marriage, please tell us that too. It would be interesting to know how many survivors say “I had no sexual abuse whatsoever.”

I’m asking this not just out of general interest, but because I have to write a chapter about how Christian professionals can best respond to such disclosures. The chapter is part of a secular book which is being written to guide various professionals who deal with victims of intimate partner sexual violence (IPSV). My chapter is the Christian input into the book, and I’m aiming my words at pastors, counsellors and paid pastoral care workers.

Can you help me? I would love to hear your answers to any or all of the above questions. Even if you normally use a name (real or invented) on this blog, you can comment on this post anonymously if you wish. Since I’m one of the administrators on this blog, I will be able to see your email address on the admin page (and so will Jeff and Anna), but I promise not to email you unless you specifically write at the end of your comment “It’s okay to email me privately.”

July 2012 update: I’ve completed my  chapter, so I’m no longer asking for your responses to help me with that.

But your sharing and comments on this post will be valued just as much as earlier people’s comments have been. I hope this post becomes a repository of stories and comments that will help all who have suffered sexual abuse within marriage.

To help you think about the kinds of sexual abuse you might have suffered, here is a prompt list (not comprehensive; you may be able to think of more items to add to it):

  • grabbing or groping your sexual parts without you having given consent
  • coercion to do stuff you didn’t feel comfortable with (e.g. sodomy)
  • pressure to be sexual more often that you wanted to be
  • unwanted or forced sex of any kind, including but not limited to rape (rape is non-consensual penetration of any orifice)
  • unreasonable withholding or denial of sexual intimacy
  • emotional blackmail in relation to sexual intimacy
  • denigration of your sexual parts, behaviour, or history
  • use of scripture to “justify” the sexual abuse (which scriptures in particular?)
  • use of pornography
  • exposing you to sexually transmissible diseases
  • demanding sex when you were sick, had just had  a baby, or had a urinary tract infection
  • demanding participation in group sex
  • making you be a prostitute
  • bestiality
  • attacking and/or injuring your genitals and sexual body parts
  • talking about your sexuality to others in ways that embarrassed or denigrated you.

Also, I would love to know how you thought internally about this from your Christian perspective. In your own mind, did any particular scriptures require you to put up with and endure your spouse’s sexual abuse? If so, how did you eventually deal with that ‘scriptural entrapment’?
Thank you.   –  Barbara Roberts
and by the way, to comment anonymously, write “Anonymous” in the name line, and nothing in the URL line. You still have to give your email address but that does not show up publicly on the blog.

Related posts at this blog

Pornography as fuel for abuse

Sexual abuse in marriage – what should a Christian wife do?

The Bible’s view on pre-marital sex – is the remedy always “get married”?

The unique nature of sexual intimacy makes its abuse uniquely destructive

Defining domestic abuse by a list of behaviors is never going to capture it

Related posts at other blogs

The Challenge of Dealing with the Effects of Sexual Addiction, Pornography, Pedophilia by Family Members or Friends  by Julie Anne Smith, Spiritual Sounding Board

280 thoughts on “Do you tell others about the sexual abuse? — by Barbara Roberts”

  1. I will reply to my questions myself, to start the ball rolling.
    In my first marriage there was coercion to have vaginal sex on many occasions when I did not want it. There was some pressure to allow sodomy which I was able to resist. There was lots of invasive grabbing of my boobs and genitals while I was (say) standing at the sink preparing dinner. And there was no recognition of how his verbal and emotional abuse had destroyed most of the sexual desire I had had for him. I was expected to do sex no matter how much he had been sarcastic, verbally abusive, or had chucked a rage recently. I was denigrated for my ‘frigidity’ but he never acknowledged his contribution to making me feel no sexual desire. I was told that the problem stemming from my childhood sexual abuse was the whole and only problem, and I had to get counselling to ‘fix myself up’ so I could be a normal wife like any other wife. He used this to completely evade his own responsibility for my (by his standards) lack of interest in sex. And my ‘failure’ in counselling was my fault, of course. And once the marriage ended, he attempted to spread private and personal sexual information about me in the community where we lived and I worked as a teacher. Fortunately, the people he targeted (my boss, and another woman in the community) refused to listen to him.

    In my second marriage, there was no sexual abuse whatsoever. He was not sexually coercive, did not denigrate me sexually at all, never commented negatively on my ageing body, and he showed tenderness and patience with my post-traumatic problem from my childhood sexual abuse, so much so that my body, mind and soul was truly healed from all that ancient damage. Can you believe it? I think of it as a gift from God. The rest of his conduct became progressively abusive as the marriage went on to its sad and sorry end, but he never once mistreated me sexually.

    Oh, and I never told anyone about the sexual abuse from my first husband, at least, not until many years after the marriage had ended. And I only told other survivors. This is my first ‘coming out’!

  2. I have experience the grabs as well – especially when I had my hands full for some reason.

    I think the lowest was when I was in bed after a grandparent’s funeral silently crying due to grief. My child was in the crib at the end of the bed asleep. We were in a hotel room – out of town. There was no comfort offered – just the push for sex. There was no stopping him even after I asked nicely for him to back off. He wanted what he wanted, and my needs at that point did not exist.

    You can email me.

    1. This is what Morven Baker sometimes says to her female clients when they disclose how their husbands come up behind them and suddenly grope them.
      “So he thinks it’s fine to grab your boobs or grope you while you are occupied with everyday tasks. But he wouldn’t like it if you came up behind him and grabbed his testicles unannounced, would he? “

      1. Actually, my husband thinks that is great! All I know is that I am very confused as I am realizing that I may very well be a victim of abuse by my husband. I also know that I do not feel “safe” by his touches, they are not comforting, loving, trustfull. They make me constantly on guard, I don’t trust him. I am looking for answers.

      2. Thanks for your comment Deb. I can’t explain your husband’s response to being grabbed in his privates from behind unexpectedly, but I’m guessing it might have to do with how he is constantly looking for an opportunity to have sex, and so any ‘invitation’ will do, even ones that you or I might find scary or disturbing if we were on the receiving end of them.

        If you are constantly on guard against your husband’s touches, that is telling you something. You say his touch does not feel comforting, loving or trustful. I would encourage you to keep paying attention to your gut feelings, as you seek for answers. Have you read Lundy Bancroft’s book? Or Patricia Evan’s book? Check out our Resources page for further info. And welcome to our blog! 🙂

      3. My husband clearly would love it if I just grabbed him. I have gotten to where I don’t even hardly kiss him cause he thinks that means I want it. He use to constantly grope me but has gotten better. He is always putting his sexual stuff in my face […]. I cant have sex without intense pain anymore and I have been physically very sick for a while. When in hospital he was constantly trying to get me to have sex. The last two time I was physically ill and in a lot of pain he didn’t wanna hear that I didn’t feel good he just says whats new you never do.

        He then took me to bed and proceeded anyway. I lay there lifeless an trying not to cry cause it hurts an he says he just wants me to enjoy it an he wants to bring me pleasure. I don’t and it doesn’t. I can never give him enough and I’m told hes tired of me making him feel like crap over desiring his wife. The last time he left for work afterwards and I just cried uncontrollably for hours like 5. I get told he needs lovins I’m not loving I’m useless hateful mean an wrong for rejecting him. Its my fault if he looks a porn. I honestly don’t want nothing to do with him. He says I’m not a loving Christian wife and I don’t show him any respect.

        We were separated but when I got sick he said he wanted to take care of me. So now I pay all the bills he uses his money on food sometimes but mostly trying to take care of court cost or blows it. Then he expects me to help with fuel costs so he can work and if I’m broke I’m suppose to pawn my stuff cause he has none an he gets the money and I’m the one stuck trying to get it out later.

        He will help with house work but expects lovins in return. I’m about at the point I don’t care if it hurts him an he starts using again not that he completely stopped but I wanna kick him out. I battle with is that loving or forgiving? I just want free. My kids don’t wanna come when he is here. Its cause of him I lost custody. Just wanna run away I’m tired of running.

      4. Oh dear sister, I feel for you! He is pressuring you into sex knowing it is painful for you. This man is DEFINITELY abusing you and you have every right to kick him out. It would be loving to kick him out, because it would be showing him that you are not willing to comply with him sinning against you all the time. Every time he sins against you he is adding to the cup of wrath which God will pour out on him on the Day of Judgement. That is why it would be loving of you to leave this man and deprive him of opportunities to keep abusing you.

        It would also be loving to yourself! And that is just as important, if not more important.

        You are not responsible for his choices. If he chooses to use drugs again, that is HIS choice. He may try to blame you for it, but that blame-shifting is just another tactic of abuse.

        I deleted a bit of your comment that would have probably identified you to your abuser, if he happened to find this post.
        And I changed you name to Want Free as you’d given your real name, which is not safe in your situation.

        Welcome to the blog. 🙂 We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

  3. I generally don’t tell people that I have been sexually abused. Even members of my immediate family don’t know. The only times I have revealed it are when I reported the incident to the relevant authorities, in counselling where I hoped it would provide healing, to my church session in order to protect the youth of the church who I felt were at risk because of something the church was doing and to other survivors who had shared with me their experiences. I am still too vulnerable to be able to stand up and publicly and openly admit it all. In telling the relevant authorities, I was only further hurt as they dismissed my complaint and failed to understand the damage this person had inflicted on me. In telling my church session, I was only further hurt by their lack of understanding. In all, I have not had good come from revealing what has happened to me. Survivors are the only ones who understand. It is a shame that so many of us are so hurt that we remain silent and fail to be that understanding ear to our peers. That being said, we survivors understand why others stay silent.

  4. My story sounds a lot like yours Barbara, lots of inappropriate groping -also in front of the kids when they were younger, innuendos-also in front of the kids, he would insist on sex when they would be asleep in the same room(hotel rooms)-want sex when I was going through a terrible emotional crisis or just felt bad(would claim it would make me feel better) I told him I was the best judge of what would make me feel better. Tried sodomy, but I refused- wanted to do other kinky stuff earlier on, but I refused. Would insist on practices that just made me uncomfortable, contorted my body into whatever position he wanted it in and when I questioned where he was getting all these ideas, he said he did nothing but fantasize all day. I’m wondering if wasn’t his cheating and porn that fueled this even tho I have never caught him looking at it-but he definitely has cheated, several times and given me an STD but I somehow was convinced that it wasn’t him who gave it to me until years and years later when I finally wised up.
    He would insist that every kiss was a french kiss, then every kiss had to be on the lips, he would intrude on me by shoving his face in front of mine while I would be sitting down and not leave until I kissed him-then he would laugh at my discomfort. This went on for years until I refused to kiss him at all. He would wait for me at the bottom of the stairs and wouldn’t let me pass until I hugged him-he would pat his lap expectantly and wait til I sat down on it and then laugh again becuase I obviously didn’t want to. He used guilt on m every time to make me do these things. I felt like I must be a horrible wife because I wanted to be as far away from him as possible. Before we got married, he would always want to have sex in public places.

    1. Are you sure you didn’t marry MY husband? Wow, the traits are so similar, all along in this post. It is difficult to believe that things could be so similar, but since it is the same spirit of lust, licentiousness and fornication, I guess I shouldn’t be shocked.

  5. To add to the above- I have only told one person about the sexual part, and I didn’t even tell her all of it. She believed me because she herself had been married to an abusive man. It is just embarrassing and shameful to talk about. I can’t imagine telling my pastor because what I have told him, he doesn’t seem to understand and seems to believe my marital problems are mutual. He said he needs to talk to to my husband to get his side of the story. I told him, my husband doesn’t have a side.

  6. Gee, where do you start? Even if everything else were to be repaired, I just could not imagine sharing a bed with him ever again. He will never know how much he destroyed any chance of me contemplating reconciliation, just because of his sexually abusive history.

    I was pretty misled by the messages I received from the church throughout my married life. One of them was that a Christian wife had to always be available. Once, after I was forced, I plucked the courage to speak to a pastor’s wife, and I had to really press her for an answer as to whether rape was wrong. I wasn’t testing her – I just wanted to know if I was going nuts by feeling like it was so wrong. She admitted it wasn’t right but she didn’t tell me that it was a criminal offence.

    Another time, I cautiously spoke to a mutual friend who was concerned about us, a mature Christian, and revealed how repulsed I was after many close incidents of verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and how I couldn’t even stand him touching me, and his response was a laugh and a “sex can’t be THAT bad?!”

    He was sexually abusive in too many ways to describe. I am not only reluctant to go anywhere near this topic in general, but I am guessing my details would bear many similarities to other survivors anyway. Maybe one day I will be ready to really admit how horrible it was and take a good hard assessment at the damage it did. At the moment, my only reactions are primitive rage and the desire to maim him where it hurts.

    1. I am suddenly reminded of an old Pat Benatar song :”Stop Using Sex as a Weapon”
      They do it in a million and one ways- and the church just makes things worse.

      1. On this subject since the church ignores any kind of abuse, they gang up with the abuser and use the wife, by constantly directly telling her that SEX is her responsibility to fullfill, if he cheats then she was not fullfilling her wifely duties for her husband….still be a millionaire for one nickel everytime I heard that. Pornagraphy aslo if in his weakend state of a man being, partook, well then HELLLO? Wifey? Why are you not fulfilling his fantasys? ugh!!! and barf!!!!

    2. Anon- This evil is particularly ugly because it is so much of a betrayal and it is so damaging. It shames, it dehumanizes, and effects a myriad of other evils. Because it is so evil, most people don’t want to hear about it. And I might say that especially Christians don’t want to hear about it. Why? Because we unbiblically deny the existence of evil among us. And why do we do this? Ultimately for selfish reasons. We want only nice things and illusions. Thus the victims go without being heard.

      Isaiah 30:9-11 ESV
      (9) For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD;
      (10) who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions,
      (11) leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”

  7. Please excuse the length of this comment. I have never shared with anyone, the sorrow I lived with in regard to sex. Thinking about and typing about my memories has stirred up anger, humiliation, shame, but I also think getting it out can be healing.

    • How many of you (victims / survivors) have stories of sexual abuse as part of your domestic abuse story?
    Thank you for asking about this. For me, this is the most difficult to think about and / or share. I know as I type answers to your questions, the memories will cause grief and anger. However, I think this can be part of my healing.

    • What kinds of sexual abuse did your spouse do to you?
    See Below

    • Did you tell anyone about it?
    I don’t think I ever talked to anyone. What would I say? I was married and I felt ashamed and embarrassed.

    • What do you think would be a good way to for a pastor or counsellor to respond to a victim’s disclosure of spousal sexual abuse?
    Listen. Affirm the person’s feelings, thoughts and give suggestions how to stop the abuse.

    • grabbing or groping your sexual parts without you having given consent
    • coercion to do stuff you didn’t feel comfortable with (e.g. sodomy)
    I will comment on both of these questions together. I think the sexual abuse actually began before we were married. I was firm that I wouldn’t have sexual intercourse before we were married, but I should have been more firm about other physical things. After we were engaged, he coerced me into oral sex on him. When I cried, he got mad. The night before our wedding, he was pressuring me to go ahead and have sex, afterall, we were getting married the next day. I pushed him away, but I felt disrespected and angry with him. On the car ride to our hotel after the wedding (the memory is as fresh as if it were yesterday), he reached over and grabbed my breast and said, “these are mine now!” That wasn’t romantic or loving. Over the years (32), he would grab my breast or put his hand on private places when we were in public. When I sat next to him watching TV or at a theater, he expected me to put my hands inside his pants and “play” with him, even when our children were in the room.

    Some other examples that have come to my mind while typing these: trying on underwear, bras, lingerie in a store dressing room for him, having sex in a public park during the day, insisting I go braless in public, which I HATED to do!

    Not sure where this fits – but he was very critical of over weight women and my continual fear was he would leave me if I got FAT. Weight, staying thin was an obsession for me. He would compare my breasts, my butt with other women we would see in public. If I didn’t fix my hair, dress neatly, wear make up, he would make comments, criticize me. Physical appearance was a huge issue for him. BUT, he was over weight much of the time.

    • pressure to be sexual more often that you wanted to be
    He expected to have sex at least once every day, unless he was “punishing” me and giving me the silent treatment (which was a relief). When we were newly married, I would be already to go to work and he would tell me if I was a submissive, loving wife, I would take off my clothes and have sex with him before I went to work. How inconsiderate and selfish. When our oldest daughter was a baby and toddler, even when she was in bed with us, he would insist on having sex. I finally told him no on that one. If I didn’t initiate sex or if I was affectionate, but didn’t intend to “go all the way”, he was hurt and shamed me for not being a good wife. No matter what was happening on the weekends, he expected me to stay in bed with him in the AM until we had sex – many times just oral – for him

    • unwanted or forced sex of any kind, including but not limited to rape (rape is non-consensual
    • penetration of any orifice)
    There were times when he wanted to put foreign objects (banana, soda bottle, whipped cream, ice cubes, etc.) inside me. I was resistant; sometimes he would just laugh at me and say he was kidding; other times he ridiculed me. AND I always said no to anal sex, but he repeatedly badgered me about it and tried to get me to do it. Never forced it, but it was humiliating and frustrating to continually have him ask and be called prudish, rebellious, etc.

    • unreasonable withholding or denial of sexual intimacy

    • emotional blackmail in relation to sexual intimacy
    This was ongoing and very hurtful. If he did something for me or gave me a gift or took me somewhere special, I was expected to be all over him, craving him, appreciating him, admiring him. A simple hug and sincere thank you were never considered appropriate. He would be angry, hurt – tell me he didn’t know why I couldn’t be more appreciative – meaning – more sex! He would go a week or two without interacting with me as a result and then after that period of time, he would say – “are you going to be mad at me forever?” OR, I would snuggle up to him and apologize for something I thought I did, so we could be back to talking again. It was usually put out there that the break down in our relationship was my fault; not being submissive enough, doing my own thing, being rebellious, etc.

    • denigration of your sexual parts, behaviour, or history
    The first week we were married, he made derogatory remarks about my vagina, that forever made me feel self conscious. Also, he badgered me for a long time to tell him what I did with former boyfriends (I had never had intercourse, but “played” around more than I wished I had). He convinced me that my husband should know everything. Then he used that information to shame me, ridicule and embarrass me.

    • use of scripture to “justify” the sexual abuse (which scriptures in particular?)
    1 Corinthians 7: 3-4 “…the wife should not deprive her husband. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, so don’t deprive each other of sexual relations”
    Colossians 3:18: “you wives must submit to your husbands…”

    • use of pornography
    Porn was introduced into our marriage early on: first by magazines when we were staying in a hotel, then videos when they came out (1982 or so). I did some research at the time and most advice, even from Xians, was whatever a husband and wife do in their own home is between them. It seemed to bring some amount of peace into our sexual life. However, as time went by and videos became more and more raunchy, I would not watch them with him. He would get up after we went to bed and watch porn on TV or computer. This seemed to bring out his rage more than ever before. He didn’t demand that I do the things in the videos, but he just seemed more angry. When we were in Las Vegas he bought tickets to a topless show and thought I was a prude when I objected. Of course, I went with him, but knew it wasn’t the right place for us to be. At one point, he read or heard a sermon and decided that porn wasn’t good for him. However, he tried to tell me that it was my responsibility to keep him from watching porn. According to him, if I kept him satisfied sexually, he wouldn’t need to watch porn. As you can imagine – I never gave it to him enough. Sometimes, I would wake up and realize he was watching and go downstairs and get him to come to bed with me and we’d have sex. After a while, I decided to let him take the responsibility for himself.

    • exposing you to sexually transmissible diseases
    see below

    • demanding sex when you were sick, had just had a baby, or had a urinary tract infection
    For many years of our marriage, I suffered from migraine headaches, once or twice per month. I had to go to bed and sleep to get rid of them. Invariably, he would come, get into bed with me and give me a massage, rub my feet, but always demanded that we have sex – even oral sex when my head was pounding and I felt sick to my stomach.

    • demanding participation in group sex
    No, but we did watch porn movie about that

    • making you be a prostitute
    If I wanted to buy something or go somewhere with girlfriends or wanted him to do something for me – he’d say – I’ll pay you $$ to do that if you will have sex. Degrading and humiliating. I guess that isn’t really prostitution, but it felt like it sometimes. I also fantasized about being a prostitute when having sex with him – cuz that is how it made me feel.

    • bestiality

    • attacking and / or injuring your genitals and sexual body parts
    When we were newly married, we had sexual intercourse several times a day. I developed a strong pain, but he just thought I was complaining. When it got bad enough, I went to the dr. He said I had genital herpes. At the time, I didn’t realize that was a sexually transmitted disease, so there was never any discussion about how I could have gotten herpes. About 7 years later, when I was pg with our 2nd child, I read a magazine article that said if you had ever had herpes break out and were pg, to tell your dr. My dr. was quite upset with me that I hadn’t told him before. I didn’t KNOW to tell him. Fortunately, I never had another break out.

    • talking about your sexuality to others in ways that embarrassed or denigrated you.
    I have a sense that my husband did this, but right now, I don’t have any specific memories to share. Once in a while, a friend or family member will tell me something they remember that my husband said or did that was mean, disrespectful, etc. and I don’t remember. When there is ongoing verbal, emotional, sexual abuse, being able to survive means shutting outcome of the ugly stuff.

    I remember attending a marriage conference with my husband. There was a female speaker who shared that she had prayed that God would give her a strong desire for her husband. She blushed and giggled and said, “Ladies, God answered my prayer!” I thought at the time that maybe I needed to pray that same prayer, so for several years, I asked God to give me a sexual desire for my husband. I also prayed that I would be able to experience sex in the pure way that God had designed sex to be. That never happened. After being separated and now divorced from my abusive husband for over 2.5 years, the idea of ever having a sexually intimate relationship or being married again repulses me. I never want to be used as an “object” for sex again.

    You may e-mail me

    [December, 2021: Paragraph breaks added to enhance readability. Editors.]

    1. Kay,
      My heart is broken for you and your pain- I dont understand why you had to go through such terrible abuse-it makes mine seem very mild. I wish I could tell you why God ordained this -I wish I could tell myself. We just pray for strength and courage to go on and live victorious lives for God’s glory.

    2. Dear K, I have just read your comment and been crying out loud, weeping, making fists in the air, groaning, and loudly and physically being angry about what was done to you. (Don’t worry, I only share this house with my dog, and he’s fine about how I express myself!)

      What else can I say, in this first moment, except I’m so sorry you experienced all this, and so glad you shared it with us, and thank you, thank you for doing this and having the courage to face this stuff. I hope you have a good friend or counsellor who you can debrief with about what you’ve shared, because it’s likely it will be churning around in the front of your brain for some time. ((hugs))

      1. God didn’t ordain this kind of abuse. We live in an evil, sinful world and others around us have free will to either love or abuse. Thanks Barbara for your kind note and private e-mail. You made ME cry. To have someone understand and empathize means so much. Thanks again for giving me the freedom to share.

    3. Kay, my heart is breaking for you. Your story is my story… over and over and over during the past 26 years of marriage. I could have written all of that. Thank you for your honesty and bravery in sharing.

      1. Susan: Since I got this e-mail today, I am guessing you must have sent it recently. I am so sorry you had to experience such pain. It grieves me so much!!! Are you still in the marriage? I left 3.5 years ago and God has done incredible healing in my life. I pray He will do healing in your mind and heart and soul. Blessings to you!

    4. Oh Kay!
      I am so sorry for all you have endured! May the Lord heal your broken heart and your broken spirit!

    5. Dear Kay! I want to give you a big hug!! I UNDERSTAND!! it sounds like we were married to the same man. I know you probably left out many, many things. I know I can relate to almost everything you shared. If I didn’t personally experience it exactly the same way, I experienced a parallel! ie: I didn’t “fantasize” about being a prostitute, but I came to understand how they can do what they do, (“allow” men to use their bodies) I often prayed that God would take away my emotions (because I was taught that the real problem was that my emotions got in the way) I often just prayed while he was using me. it helped me block out what was happening. Of course, he demanded that I tell him that I was enjoying it. I did what I had to do to keep an evil man from killing me, my children or even my animals. Why did I stay? He controlled me financially, yet where I live, my “household income” was too high for me to qualify for any type of assistance! If I hadn’t had children with him, I would have been able to start over much easier. (one day I’ll share the miraculous way God took care of me, and I am still believing God for the rest of my story to be worked out in His way and timing)

      I am a survivor of a narcissistic sociopath and I have experienced tremendous healing through God and this blog (as well as others) and yet….reading your story brought forth tears for both you and for myself. I would like to share my story, but I will have to figure out how to share it without giving identifying details. ie: I didn’t mention the abuse during our divorce, but HE brought it up and claimed that I made false allegations of abuse. That made for a fun time to be had by his lawyers… mocking and ridiculing me while I was on the stand. I had to describe to a court full of people, a TINY portion of what the monster that I had married, did to me sexually. (I no longer think that he was “my husband” – he was NEVER a husband to me.) NO, it wasn’t taken seriously, there is still the widespread belief that it isn’t rape if you are married to the perpetrator.

      Kay, thank you for your bravery in sharing a small portion of your story! I pray that you are able to heal.
      big hugs to you Kay
      (yes, admin, you may email me)

      1. Hi Anonymous, thank you and bless you!

        I am no longer needing to email survivors to obtain their sexual abuse in marriage stories. The chapter I needed to do that research for has been published now in a multi-author book. 🙂

        But I’m so glad you shared here, and so glad you found the thread helpful.

    1. Dear Jody and Kay and all other readers who puzzle about whether or not God ordained any abuse, I don’t want to weigh in to this debate here as I think the question of God’s sovereignty and whether every single thing that happens is ordained by God is a doctrinal debate which has gone on for centuries amongst theologians. It’s far too big and deep for me to go into, and I’m not qualified. I think it might be best to defer that kind of discussion to another blog that Jeff might want to write at a later stage.

      I know one thing: Jody and Kay and all of us here want to support and affirm each other and I’m so glad this desire is winning through in all our discussion and sharing. Bless you.

      1. I know that God does not ordain it, but He definitely uses it somehow for a higher purpose. Even in the pain and horror of reading some of the experiences here, bringing it out of the darkness and into the light will, I pray, begin the healing process.

        I have had some similar experiences (without the groping), most of which I have shared in other writings. My husband was addicted to porn, which I discovered after we married, and its effects continued throughout our 20 year marriage. He wanted to do things I was not comfortable with and at one point wanted to get a trapeze for our bedroom. That was a big ‘no.’ He would treat me like dirt during the day and then want me to be all hot to trot at night. Who wants to be vulnerable to someone you can’t trust? There was definitely pressure to perform, and he would let me know if I wasn’t meeting his expectations. He also told me he complained to his buddies about my failure as a wife where his sexual expectations were concerned, and they apparently agreed that he was sexually neglected. Frankly, I didn’t care. I didn’t want to be intimate with him and avoided being with him whenever possible.

        The most humliating experience was when he broke me down emotionally, made me confess before our children that I was a lousy wife and I was responsible for all of our marital problems, sent the kids to bed, and then relished ravaging me as I wept. Gross. I wish I had had the strength then and there to send him packing.

        He attacked me sexually one time toward the very end of our marriage one night when he was drunk and ended up passing out on top of me. It was completely humiliating.

        I never told anyone at the church and never would have imagined doing so. I told my husband, though.

        I also wondered if I really was just a cold woman until I re-married the love of my life. Let me just say that it is nice to fully enjoy being completely and happily vulnerable to a man like I want to be with my husband.

      2. For those coming along later and reading these posts like I am, God does NOT ordain this kind of treatment for ANYONE. The tower of Siloam that fell and killed those 18, Jesus said they were not worse sinners than anyone else but unless you repent (of thinking that God goes around throwing down towers on people just to kill them) you shall likewise perish. The PUNISHMENT for sin has been taken out on JESUS…and if we still have to pay for our sins then Christ died in vain…which He did not, so we need to repent of thinking such thoughts as these. This is difficult to do.

        At the time that I am writing this, I am sitting in a motel room that I and my 4 children will have to vacate on Saturday (this being Thursday) unless a miracle comes and we are able to pay for another week. The house that we are moving into will not be ready for at least a week. I took the children away across the country to leave the constant badgering of my ex-husband and his family spy for reconciliation (or retaliation on their part?)–I went through God’s open doors and have had last minute rescues yet lost my oldest daughter as she eloped with a man just like her dad, drove a 16 ft. moving van while trailering a car for @1750 miles without incident but I alone drove the rig all the way except for 2 hours. Now I sit here in the motel room and am tempted to believe that God has brought me all this way so that He can destroy me without a trace. BUT GOD WILL NOT DO THAT AND I REFUSE TO BELIEVE SATAN’S LIES ABOUT GOD ANYMORE!!!!! Repentance has to have SHOES on in order to be real repentance, just like faith. So this is the place where I will have to WALK out what I know.

        No matter what comes, God is always good. Remember that. And remember, too, that “Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe, Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow!”

      3. Oh Laurie, I am praying for you and grieving with you for that situation re your daughter. I will pray that you will get a safe and affordable roof over your heads and that really soon. Thank you for sharing here. Lord, please bring Laurie and her family into a truly safe and relaxing harbor, and let her recover from this grueling journey without having the extra worry of immediate accommodation.

  8. Barb, thank you for sending me this link, sister. What a fantastic resource for “Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst” and for Christian and other survivors in general. It is particularly important to address the issue of Intimate Partner Sexual Violence – not least so that women know they’re not alone, and because of the dangers, for example, women being raped by their partners are more likely to be killed by them than women who are battered only.

    Anyway, I’m not here to spruik stats, just to share a little of my own story, and support others. 🙂 In the interest of fair disclosure, I am not a Christian, but I am a survivor and friend of the terrific Barb Roberts.

    First ((((((hugs))))) to all who want them.

    I was once a church member, and I’ll say more about that soon. I was battered and raped repeatedly by a very violent man, and I consider myself lucky to be alive. I eventually got away with my two kids. Did I tell anybody about the sexual violence? No, not at the time, the shame felt too great. However, after getting away, I had stabs at telling people. The response was generally not good. It’s one thing to say you’ve been raped., but there’s just nothing like that blank stare you get when you say it was your partner (Like, “Huh? That’s not rape. I mean, you stayed with him, didn’t you?”) It took on a host of behaviour; rape with battery if he was angry or jealous or if I threatened to leave. Just rolling on top and having his way if I was tired or ill. Touching, inflicting pain on my breasts. Calling me filthy, degrading names. It often happened after beatings because he wanted to pretend everything was okay and I knew that if I didn’t capitulate, the violence would begin again.

    I was not married to my abuser, but engaged and looking for a way out. Like many of us, a mixture of fear and guilt and inappropriate responsibility for his feelings, besides decreasing self-esteem entrapped me. I did disclose to my pastor, but his view was that rape was the wages of sin for living in a relationship without being married. If I’d left and been right with the lord, he contended, it wouldn’t have happened. I’m not sure he actually believed me, or even saw it as rape, Evidently he, like many people, didn’t know that the danger of further sexual assault increases as a woman is leaving. Many abusers recognise rape as a way of repossessing, forcing reconciliation, or regaining control.

    I decided it wasn’t worth telling anybody, and after I left, I determined to forget about it. Ha, what a non-wisdom. My ex-partner was charged with murder 6 months after I was married to my current husband, and it all flooded back. I was a mess, and I decided to try and get help from a rape crisis counselling. This was helpful to an extent…but while they understood rape, it wasn’t really understood in the context of domestic violence. And domestic violence services didn’t have a lot more understanding either…I am a committed feminist, and really happy that the sisterhood has proclaimed that women always have a right to their own bodies always. But in some ways the response to PARTNER rape has been a bit disappointing. I felt as if because my rapist wasn’t a stranger lurking behind bushes, what happened to me didn’t really count, or that I was somehow “less” raped than women whose assailants were strangers.

    All this silence and not-telling was awful. I truly felt as though my feelings of fear, trauma and sickness must be an over-reaction on my part.

    Anyway, after years of quiet thinking, I began to heal, and I began to rebel. I decided that there was NOTHING wrong with my feelings about having been raped. What was wrong was the social response to partner rape at all levels – that’s law, the church, medicine, the guy next door who believe that partner rape is just sex one more time with a partner.

    In my rebellion, I decided to make resources available for survivors of partner rape who might be feeling just as alone as I had. I coauthored a book, and built a website, Aphrodite Wounded which I hope anybody will feel free to visit.

    In answer to the question “Do you tell others about the sexual abuse?”, yes, now I do! There is no power sufficient to shut me up again, and I want to encourage any other woman living with sexual violence to find a trusted other to tell. It isn’t your fault – not ever – and you don’t deserve to live with it alone. You deserve support. Please know that if you have told, and you had a rotten response, that response was wrong. YOU are not wrong for wanting to confide in somebody.

    Thank you, Barb, for the opportunity to share.

    1. Thank you so much, Louise. Your words are incredibly helpful. I really appreciate hearing your story, and especially the appalling things you pastor said to you. I am so angry at that man. How dare he misuse the Word of God, and the Spirit of Christ, like that! If he had validated you and supported you to leave your abuser, you might have become more interested in becoming a Christian. Sadly, there are way too many pastors like this. I hope some of them come to this blog and read your comment. They need to learn better.

      1. Thank you, Barb. At least I wasn’t advised to stay, like so many women are, as if their violations don’t matter. My response is quite different than that given to many married women, I imagine. xx

      2. Yes, Louise, you were denounced because you were having sex before marriage; a married woman would probably have been denounced because she wasn’t submitting enough to her husband. In both cases, the man’s crimes would have been discounted and ignored, and the woman shamed and blamed. That’s what often happens in the warped world of phoney or lukewarm Christianity. But God hates all those who side with the evil man, especially when they used God’s name to do it!

    2. Because my relationship to my abuser was publicly an engagement, and only secretly a “spiritual” marriage–and because my conservative parents did not know about this and would not understand a non-legal marriage–I felt I had no one to tell while it was going on. I couldn’t tell my parents, even though his sexual abuse and manipulation was happening in their house. It was only later, after the breakup, when I finally confessed to one of my friends what all had happened. From what I recall, I told several of my college friends. It’s good to have support, and not keep that inside. I’m sure that helped with healing.

      1. Thanks Anon. Yours in an interesting variation on an old old story. I gather you mean that he was saying “We’re spiritually married already, so it’s okay to be having sex before we legally get married” ? Weasel words. So many men have told that to the Christian woman they lust for.

  9. Looking back and over your list I must say, the one thing that seemed healthiest in our marriage was the sexual part. I will say though, after we separated I wanted to keep the marriage bed alive in order to facilitate reconciliation. I never initiated a visit but was always available when he did…except for one time…when I declined he had me pull out scripture to remind me that my body belonged to him, and his body belonged to me and that I was not to neglect that. I chose to stick to my No, thank you. And he filed for divorce literally the very next morning.

    1. Cindy- My husband would also make me tell the children that I was a lousy wife. The night he was arrested, during the fight he called my mom and made my 6year-old tell her that “She didn’t love him, Mommy didn’t love him, Grandpa didn’t love him, He didn’t love any of them, He didn’t love anybody but daddy and no body but daddy loved him.” After my husband was arrested (becouse my mother new there was somthing VERY wrong and called the police) the first thing my baby wanted to do was call his grandma and tell her that he was sorry and that he really did love her.

  10. I am going to share my situation here too when I have a chance to get my thoughts together. Mine was one of little or no interest on his part and how that was so damaging.

    1. Yes! There are not as many of us who have experienced the other side of the power and control dynamic. The pain of [the abuser’s] purposeful withholding of affection as a punishment.

  11. Kay,

    I could have written most of your post with some left over. You are certainly not alone. I’m over here offering some cyber commiseration and wanting to pound your ex for you.

    I wrote a series of articles about this a while back but, just for the record, I didn’t write everything for sure. This is a terrible, difficult subject and probably one that makes me the most angry as so many Christian authors and pastors seem to answer the way anonymous wrote above: “Another time, I cautiously spoke to a mutual friend who was concerned about us, a mature Christian, and revealed how repulsed I was after many close incidents of verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and how I couldn’t even stand him touching me, and his response was a laugh and a “sex can’t be THAT bad?!””

    … to which I’d like to reply, oh really? How about we swap places for a few weeks and see if you change your stupid mind?

    One of my husband’s favorite games involved bondage. Bondage! Can you image the terror of a teenage girl being tied to a bedstead by a man who pushes her against the wall, gropes her every time she turns her back, seems to relish her screaming for him to stop? Who loves to climb on top of her and hold her down until she is so terrified she hyperventilates? And all with the blessing of the pastor who says anything goes and the husband has a right to his wife’s body at any time.

    Some days, I don’t think I’m a very angry person. Other days I remember I am.

    1. You be angry Ida Mae, and I’ll defend your right to be so and be angry right alongside you along with everyone else here! It is a righteous anger! And how can it be that so often a church may diminish the effects of this kind of behavior on a woman’s heart and soul, as well as her body? It is horrendous. I am so sorry, reading your story and everyone else’s stories here. And, we know it continues in “Christian” homes everywhere. God forbid.

    2. Ida, I do remember reading some of your articles. It was very validating to know that I wasn’t the only one subjected to that sort of thing. And like you, I sometimes think the anger is gone or at least subdued! But when I re-visit stuff like this, I feel like I could rip his head off. Which is why I don’t really want to say too much, or some expletives might start flying and I’ll get banned from this site!

  12. By the way, you may have noticed a few anonymous comments here with my photo beside them. That’s because I’ve received these comments via email and the authors have given me permission to post them here using the name “Anonymous”. Just explaining in case you were wondering.

  13. I am not sure whether it constitutes just abuse or sexual abuse but in my marriage there was an inequality in the sexual relationship.  To begin with he was very very interested, overwhelmingly so.  I felt like every time I lay in bed next to him he expected sex.  When I tried to explain to him that I was feeling overwhelmed, he took it as me rejecting him and from then on he told me that initiating sex was my responsibility.  This happened within the first month or so of our marriage beginning.  Then when I did approach him and try to initiate sex I was accused of being “too horny” (I detest the word horny) and he created a nickname for me that was very very derogatory. When we did have sex, I did all the work and he just lay there.  When I tried to suggest that he participate, he did not like that.  When I tried to suggest we try something new, I was cast as being dirty and distasteful.  When he wanted sex and I didn’t, he expected me to manually relieve him, I felt like a prostitute.  
    We sought counselling several times and I distinctly remember getting the message from one minister at least that I was not serving my husband well in this area.  

    During the course of my marriage I had to be on medication for large amounts of time.  When this medication interfered with my libido, he insisted that I go off that medication.  This caused lots of conflicts and problems with my doctors as well as between us.  In the end I elected to stay on the medication against his will and this was a big problem because I had not respected my husband (in his opinion).  I also know now that I have a medical condition that directly affects my libido (I probably had it back then too) and it is very hard to live with.  It is a relief to know that was has been happening has a source and a reason and I am not a deviant as was implied on multiple occasions throughout my marriage.  Having revealed much of this to the confidant (a minister) who then went on to sexually abuse me after my marriage ended, and feeling like he understood, just made the impact of his abuse even deeper and harder to get over.  The church body then rejecting my claim of abuse further added to the devastation.  I don’t know whether I will ever trust another man again.
    I said that when he wanted sex and I didn’t, he expected me to relieve him.  It was never reciprocal.  If I wanted it and he didn’t, I had to survive any frustration I might have felt alone.  I did not masturbate during my marriage, I caught him at it once and he denied it and when we came to discuss this in counselling with a minister, the minister told me that there was a big difference between male and female masturbation.  It was legitimate for a man to masturbate because he had a physical build up of fluid that had to be released or it made a man uncomfortable.  A woman was not in this situation, hers was just self gratification and that was sinful. 

    1. “the minister told me that there was a big difference between male and female masturbation. It was legitimate for a man to masturbate because he had a physical build up of fluid that had to be released or it made a man uncomfortable. A woman was not in this situation, hers was just self gratification and that was sinful.”

      I have news for this minister. I first heard about this build up of fluid that made a man feel uncomfortable, from (would you believe) a minister. Don’t worry, I wasn’t alone with him at the time! He was leading a ladies bible study in my house for survivors of domestic abuse…. yeah, he was an extraordinary minister and supported survivors well. After saying this about the fluid, he went on to say that wet dreams are the way God has provided for the release of this fluid naturally and without sin. And he said Christian men ought not masturbate because the adulterous fantasies that accompany it are sinful (Matthew 5:28).

      In relation to the minister who counselled the anonymous lady above, I would ask “Where does he get off?” – with pun partially intended. (Sorry to be a little crude here, but I’m really angry at the double standards some men have.)

  14. I just want to cry – such harm in an act that God created to be beautiful and special and loving. I am angry at all this abuse and so sad, knowing the women who are sharing here are just a small group of a much larger group of women who don’t yet know there is help and freedom from the abuse. I want to be a voice and a help for other women. A BIG HUG to all of you!

    1. I Just want to say that all these stories sadden me deeply! I lift you all up in my prayers!

      Im not sure if I can consider what i go thur with my Husband abuse but it definitely feels like it most of the time. I however dont think this is his intention I believe hes ignorant in our vows we made to each other! He sees the scripture to say “be submissive” and takes it in a worldly since. However I have tried to talk about this with him in a calm and loving way but it seems as tho he thinks Im interpreting it my own way bc i dont want certain things sexually. I do study what i read in the bible so that im not mislead on what im reading and the meanings and symbolic meaning of it.

      I will admit i wish i wanted to be with him more sexuallly, than i do as I do think its important in a marriage. However I feel like bc of how my Husband treats my sexual parts it has droped my desire to have sex with him. I know women and men are very different in the sex department. Men tend to view love as physical(sex) and Women need that emotional connection neither is wrong except that they were meant to go hand and hand.

      I love my Husband very much! and I know he loves me but our marriage is definitely strianed and hurting. bc of they way my husband treats my body I notice myself being unhappy, angry, short tempered with him resentful and disrespectful and I dont want to treat him this way. Also hes unhappy and feels like im a nagging fridged, no fun wife. So its a vicious circle. He is always groping my breast and genitels and I always tell him that it makes me feel like an object and also that its for the bedroom and not just to do any ol time he wants and he says that it makes him happy to touch my breast and that I should let him. Heres the thing he say let him, I dont let him I always ask him not to and he does it anyways, relentlessly until I have to push him away or yell at him. I dont like yelling but this is the only thing that works but as a result hes mad at me for yelling or pushing him and deems it disrespectful and hurtful and then i feel bad for my reaction but at the same time its after ive said please dont do that I dont like that I feel like an object ect… I always tell him sex is a gift from God for married people to have a small glimpse of the Gods love for us and Im not sure how much insight he takes from it bc this is an everyday fight in my house. It makes me sooo very sad! I just feel like this treatment has made me less desiring of him. And I really want to desire him and feel those sexual and emotional feelings toward him again. Oh and we have young children and I just dont want them to see this and grow up to think this how to be with their wives. Any advice or opinions. Gods Blessings

      you may email me.

      1. My story is definitely insignificant to these stories and my heart is heavy for every women spilling their heart out. I guess to add to this I just need some encouragement of insight myself.

      2. I have just come across this comment from an anonymous lady, 4 years after it was posted. I notice that no one replied at the time, which I think was probably an oversight.

        I wonder if you are still looking at this site and how you are doing in your journey to understanding what is going on in your marriage? You mentioned that you are not sure whether it’s abuse but that it feels like it. I wonder if you have read the books recommended on here which would help you to evaluate your relationship for yourself? Why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men by Lundy Bancroft is the first one most people recommend.

        I have prayed for you in your situation. God is with you and on your side.

        I haven’t posted on this site before although I have read a lot and learned a lot from it. My situation is different to most commenters in that, while being in a good marriage myself, I have a close relative who is in a difficult marriage and who we can only pray for atm [at the moment]. The books I referred to have helped us.

      3. Hi Debs, thanks for your comment, and welcome!

        You may already have read it, but I would like to encourage you to read our New Users’ Info page again. Not for the tips for safety we give there, but for the part where we talk about how to speak to other survivors.


  15. I told you all that I would get back about my story. Things have been busy, so I wanted some time to put my thoughts together. For me, the lines are blurred on whether I consider his low sexual desire in itself as abuse, though he was verbally and mentally abusive. Now having been emotionally and physically detached from him for years, I’ve concluded that his lack in this area was due to his own fears, a mental block within him, and his low level of manliness. (he never had much drive and initiative). Nevertheless, as a young bride I certainly did not count on that, and felt severe rejection, frustration, confusion, and the idea that I must not be desirable. It was such a letdown. Through our short few months of knowing each other before marriage, there were tons of abuse red flags, but I thought a little encouragement and love was all he needed. I ignored the heaviness I felt inside. After our wedding we were heading to the place we would be staying and I remember being nervous, but secretly hoped he would ease all my anxiety that night and lead me in loving intimacy. I looked forward to that part of our life. So we got there, and I got ready, and there was something missing. There was no anticipation in him. He became ill, and felt sick in his stomach that night. I tried to pursue, but it only ended up in more rejection and frustration. I just thought that on a honeymoon, it was supposed to be wonderful. That night was just the beginning of what would be years of this. He didn’t want it to be this way and in the first few years, suggested odd ideas of things he thought could help. I don’t remember exactly what, but they made me uncomfortable. I never spoke my mind much though with him. It was pretty early on that I learned not to. We did have contact sometimes, but it always seemed like a chore for him. When I was pregnant, he felt uncomfortable with sex. I can remember after having my first baby, I had so much desire for intimacy, but he didn’t want to do it because I was nursing. After so many years pursuing him, and the whole thing being more of a fiasco, it became less and less a desire for me, and the thought of being with him in that way grew into a large wall for me. Whenever there was an occassion in the last half of the marriage, I had to force myself to take part as my discomfort with him had grown, and the whole thing had negative connotations. It felt more and more ucky as the years went by. Before we moved to different rooms, the disrespect and distance had grown to where I would cling to the end of far side of the bed. I was so uncomfortable around him. We are still legally married but that is all. I am making my steps to being financially ready to live on my own. In every other way, I am so ready to move on. And this part is good, he does not pursue me about wanting sex. That part suits me now. I still hope that in the future, if there is ever another marriage, that this area could still be wonderful. I don’t think I detest the idea, I’ve chalked it up in my mind that this was his demented issue, and had absolutely nothing to do with any lack of appeal or beauty on my part. But I’ve had years to formulate these things at a distance. I’ve stepped away from the intensity of the pain of the sexual rejection and the emotional abuse, but when in the midst it was like being in a big dark hole. I’m really at a loss for words to describe it. I became the embodiment of how I felt about myself. I had let myself go weight wise, and didn’t carry myself well, but over the past couple of years, I lost weight and stand up tall. I take care of myself, eat better and get more exercise.

    1. Dear anonymous, I am so moved by your story. I read it out loud to myself… it was utterly believable, compelling, sad, tragic, and convincing – the way you responded at first, and how your responses changed, and your feelings congealed and scabbed over, and it became so fixed and so sad and so lonely. I feel so much for you I want to hug you and say Thanks for sharing your pain and your journey. And you hope. You still have hope. You have “chalked it up in your mind that this was his demented issue, and had absolutely nothing to do with any lack of appeal or beauty on your part.” Well done: well thought through, dear sister! This is right. It wasn’t you; it was him. And it hurt like crazy, but you’ve seen and grasped and held on to the truth.

      You said “I’m really at a loss for words to describe it” – but I think you described it very well!

      Your sister in Christ. Barbara
      PS. Your story will resonate with many other survivors. You have given an inestimable gift to these ladies. Some of them will never be able to comment here, because they are still too afraid of repercussions from their abusers. But they will kiss you in heaven.

      1. Thank you so much Barbara. I felt a warmth overcome me upon reading your reply, like your hugs were right there. Lonliness is the biggest thing I have faced over the past few years. I have had to cling to the Lord, and still must. I value my sisters, which are my dear friends. I now seem to have them spread about in different states and even another country…that’s you…and ultimately heaven. Wow, Barbara, I cherish the words of your last paragraph.

    2. Way to go, Anonymous! You are on the right path. What a long way you have come. One must wonder why he got married in the first place? I am sure you have wondered about that many times yourself (I mean, wondered about his motivation for marriage). Was there any indication he had been into pornography before the marriage?

      1. Yes, he shared about some things when he was younger. He had certain magazines. I don’t think he realized ahead of time he would be so scared upon marrying me. He thought everything was going to be ok, but some fears must have grabbed him, and he felt pressure to perform. I never expected performance and just wanted to be near him and for us to work with and enjoy each other. Whatever he told himself made it so he backed off almost altogether, which just compounded the problems. He also had a short marriage before ours. I’m not sure if it was an issue in that relationship, but they did have an exciting time before their marriage. That marriage ended 2 years later with mental cruelty papers. That was one of the red flags, but he had become a Christian! I was very naive, and had little experience with relationships, and always believed the best. Also his lack of initiative spans all areas of his life, like pursuing better work, home, everything! Thanks for the way to go!

  16. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

    Philippians 4:8

    1. Interesting input, Maree. The topic of this post is far from lovely: there is nothing admirable, excellent or praiseworthy about sexual abuse. But the reality of sexual abuse, and what people have shared so compellingly, so gut-wrenchingly, is TRUE. And there’s the rub. We are exhorted to think about what is true – and many survivors have truly suffered horrible sexual abuse from their partners – and we are exhorted think about lovely, excellent, praiseworthy, admirable things. How do we do both at once? How do we think on the truth about sexual abuse, and think about what is admirable and lovely? The two seem so opposed.
      I would be interested in others’ comments here. But this is what comes to mind for me:

      To tell the truth about one’s sexual abuse is admirable. To bravely wish to expose and declare the truth, as a step in one’s own recovery, or to help other survivors feel less alone, is (I believe) a noble and praiseworthy thing. But at the same time, if by declaring and/or hearing about sexual abuse, one’s mind gets so triggered and haunted by feelings and memories that one cannot cope, then one can apply the restorative antidote: “whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

      It can be as simple as admiring a flower, or reading a feel-good novel, or singing praises to the Lord, or meditating on a Psalm, or (my favourite) watching the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice for the hundred and one-th time.

  17. I lift my eyes to the hills –
    where does my help come from?
    My help comes from the LORD,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

    Psalm 121:1, 2

  18. UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


    Without wanting to give Jeff a big head, I want to say something about the fact that he’s commented on this post. I think it is really helpful for women victims to hear a man and a pastor say validating things like Jeff said, when they have disclosed abuse relating to s_x.

    Many women, myself included, have attempted to tell the tip of the iceberg of some of their sexual abuse pain (or sexually embarrassing history) to a male church leader, and gotten blown off by a comment like “You need to talk to some of the older women in the church about that.” This rejecting comment tells the victim that the pastor doesn’t want to hear about her pain, or doesn’t want to get his mind dirtied by hearing that kind of stuff, or (YIKES) maybe he even is afraid that if this woman starts going into detail about sexual stuff she’s suffered, he (the pastor) will start having sexual fantasies. It makes the victim feel really dirty and ashamed.

    So I think the validation Jeff gave in his comments would have meant a lot to female readers. They would have realised “One man doesn’t find me ‘untouchable’ .” (in the OT sense of unclean). Does anyone else resonate with this, or am I the only one?

    1. No Barbara, you are not alone in this. I felt cared about and validated by Jeff’s post to me. He said, “way to go” about my progress and that just blesses me. He also brought out a pertinant question that really was an issue in his past. Jeff has also been really helpful in some emails with my various questions. I feel as if I’m being cheered on and not put down!

  19. Today is Mothers day and the sermon my pastor preached on was when a man loves a women. I thought maybe I should leave because the message might be to hard to handle. But I stayed and the pastor was telling men how they really need to treat women and how to do this and he also wanted the women to know they are valuble, honered, respected,Beautiful. I needed this part of the sermon because I do not feel this way. I made my husband leave at the end of Aug 2011 after he went and hurt my son with a fork. I was in a abusive relationship for 11 years. I have 5 chidren ages 10 to 3months keep us in your prays. some day I feel so alone in this thank you for your blogs.

    I’m putting in a section from my story I have wrote about my life it tells of the sexual abuse.
    I was sick and the children where sleeping in the bed next to us and my husband wanted sex and I said no but he did anyway. I became pregnant yes I was on birth control but antibiotics cancelled out the birth control. This is the first time I told anyone that he raped me and if I think back I can remember other times. What women in her right mind first would want sex with your children in bed next to you and having a urinary tract infection not me. I myself was pulling away from him I did not want him to kiss me when he did I felt like I was choking and it made me gag. I did not want him touching me. And he would want to do things that I was not comfortable with sex wise. I would say no but he would do them any way. I should also let you know that he had to have sex every night no matter if I was sleeping he would wake me up so he could get off. The verbal, mental, physical abuse was taking its toll on me and the children.

    Ok back to the abuse we would fight and I would try to leave but he would stand in my way so I could not leave, he would take my phone or the keys. he would push me, grab me in a tight hug, I have been thrown a few time on a bed or couch, he has pined me so I can not move, then there are the times in bed and he would want sex he wanted every night and if I would say no he would pout a few minutes and then he would just take it. Other time I just let him and would cry well he did what he wanted. You see he would be worse during the day if he did not get sex the night before so I gave in so he would not hurt the kids the next day.

    In April of 2011 Kevin went out of town with my brother on a job the only thing Kevin wanted to know is what I was doing, wearing, he wanted a picture of me, he never asked about my day or how the children were. One of those nights I hung up on him because I was tired and he would not let me go so I could go to sleep he called my phone 6 times that night well after midnight. He also would leave hateful messages on my phone during this time and other times. In June of 2011 I was to go get my tubes tied so I could not have any more children. In May I know when I should not have sex and my husband forced me to have sex during that time and I became pregnant the baby is due January 2012. Marital rape was not in my vocabulary but I have come to find out that my husband is a repeated offender in this area he not only forced vaginal sex but oral, and anal the last two I could get him to stop but the first one he did every night. Don’t get me wrong I did let him have sex once or twice a week I tried to do my duty to him but nothing I did pleased him. there is more but this gives a good picture of what happened and how i felt i did not have any one to turn to and tell and i also thought who would believe me.

    1. There is another blog on this site which I think will really affirm you in the courageous decisions you have been making. It is called “Staying for the kids?” by Barbara Roberts, and I have a post on that one too: Staying for the kids?

      1. Heather, you are amazing, determined, brave and full of faith. I just know you and your kids will be blessed and the respect will come back from your boys. I read your reply and I’m speechless. I am so glad you have taken every step to keep yourself in a place that you can raise your children in peace, and God is providing! He is your shelter and strength!

      2. am asking everyone to keep me in pray this week we go to court Friday for a pretrial and to set up visitation with the children but half of them do not want to see him. so please pray

      3. thank you for your prayers today. my husband got supervised visits with the children. not what I would have wanted but its better then him getting visits unsupervised. still a long road ahead keep praying.

      4. Well as you say, Heather, it’s not the worst outcome. Not the best, but not the worst. Are the supervisors professionals trained in domestic abuse? Are they going to document how your kids behave on access, and what your ex does during the visits, and whether they ever have to intervene to protect the kids from some emotionally abusive tricks he might try to get up to? These would be good things to find out. And is there a safe way for you to drop and pick up the kids from these visits?

        BTW, when I get round to it I may (if I’m clever enough) try to transpose Heather’s prayer request and the comments about it over to the Prayer Requests page. Please don’t worry or take offence, Heather – I know how easy it is to get a little off topic when commenting on a post, (and it’s not all that “off topic” anyway, because the abuse is all connected, isn’t it?) but just to try to keep the sexual abuse topic focused, I’ll have a go at doing that.

      5. Heather, I’m glad you shared the outcome. I’m glad he will be supervised. I prayed for you. I know it will be a long road for you, but I admire your courage. There is also alot of support, as I am now finding out post-abuse, but it still helps as I get ready to cross a few more major hurdles. Keep up the good work, and keep us posted!

    2. I was so touched by your story. Thank you so much for sharing. You are very courageous, much more than I was. I allowed years of underhanded and overt abuse to go on when my children were young, all in the name of holding a marriage together. The Lord hates when anyone offends His little ones, so allowing this was so much worse than the divorce word. Oh, that I would have seen that then, but even if I did, I was very dependent, and probably would have hesitated, wondering if I could handle it all. I didn’t even have as many kids and they were spaced at that. You are in a challenging place, but you did what was right for you and your children. Be sure you get as much support around you as possible. If you have parents, church people, or others who can help with the kids, that would be so helpful. Maybe there would be some forms of support your state or county can offer as well. I was moved by your story. I don’t know how you managed when he was with you, with him hounding you every night and keeping you awake. I just cannot imagine how dreadful that was. As it is, being a young mother is probably the hardest journey there is, but you are going to make it! My children are older now, and I’ve found some healing. I’m not in as difficult a place now, but even so, the support I have gotten from people who have been through abuse has been so uplifting in my preparation to move forward. I encourage you to keep connected. The people on this blog are amazing, and really care.

      1. thanks Liz for your encouragement.
        some days are hard expeciely when the boys really act like their dad. the disrepect is the hardest but I wil not go back. I prayed for years for God to let me leave and each time I tried I felt confusion so I stayed till one day God sayed it its time. He told me that on tuesday that I was to leave on Friday I said ok on friday he was not home I sent the kids to school and I went to town to the victiam assisstiances told them what happened the night before how he threated to break one childs knees, twisted one of their arms yelled and screamed all night, and got mad at one for not eating his green beans, he got so mad he punched the table then picked up the fork with the green bean and shoved it in our sons mouth. the lady told me I needed to file a report with the sheriff and to come back when i did. as i was leaving she said that there where no judge at the court house but by the time I got back there was a judge waiting to here my story. that day he went to jail, I got to stay at the house, God provided money for me to use to pay th bills, and I became a survivor that day. Gods timing is the best timing because if I had left any sooner I would not have been able to take care of me and the children and most likely would have gone back several times. I tell myself everyday that I am Happier, healther, and safe. the stress i had with being with my husband was going to kill me if he did not because he tried a few times. I have got to say it has taken me months to find people that are supportive of my choices and belive what I say has happened to me. my faith has seen me through and educating myself on what God really says about abuse and divorce and that is how I have come to find this blog and Barbs. I feel education on abuse and divorce is a one key to being able to heal and to help others.

  20. My husband continually tells me that he thinks God would approve of all the “acts” he wants me to perform in the bedroom for him, and that God meant it to be that way. He is trying to say to me that if I don’t do those things, then I would be displeasing God, because God is “for” it — and I am against it, so I am against “God”. He quotes the verse that the marriage is honorable among all and the bed undefiled, to say that nothing you do in the marriage bed is wrong, because you are free to do anything you want. I don’t believe our relationship is really about God and it certainly isn’t about me, it seems it is just about him.

    My husband uses Song of Songs to support his claims, although he has never read it! He just read something in a book that he purchased in a book store, to defend his position on “freedom” in the bedroom via Song of Songs. I wonder whether anyone else here has or has had this experience? Has anyone else’s abuser used Song of Songs to justify his demands for peculiar sexual activities?

    I see Song of Songs as Christ’s love song to His Bride, the Church. I know it has been taken as a sex and marriage manual, but I do not believe God intended its writing for that purpose, although it can be applied to marriage in some respects. Just my opinion. It really isn’t about God, and it certainly isn’t about me, it is just about him.

    1. Anonymous, I am so sorry that this is happening to you. At the same time, I’m really proud that you can see it for what it is – about him. (Ab)Using scripture in the way he is doing is spiritual abuse added to sexual abuse. Take care x

    2. Yes, books or sermons on the Song of Songs were frequently quoted, although he wasn’t much of a reader otherwise, and I don’t think he really delved much into the actual book in the Bible, but it was certainly useful to quote it! I Cor. 7:1-5 was also used to condemn the withholding of one’s body – he challenged me to find a passage that allowed a spouse to say no.

      1. Many people do not realise it, but 1 Corinthians 7:4 is probably the clearest verse in the whole Bible that says a woman can say no to sex!

        For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

        The husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. This means she can tell HIS body to not do things to HER body. She has the authority to tell his body what it can and cannot to do her body!

        So if a husband says “You must let me do this to your body because I have authority over your body”, the wife can say back to him “No; I have just as much authority over your body as you have over mine, so if I say you CAN’T do that to me, you must not do it. Our authority over each other’s bodies is equal and reciprocal, so neither of us can force the other do to anything they don’t want to do!”

        Sexual is supposed to always be engaged in by mutual agreement and for mutual enjoyment. If one party does not feel comfortable with something, that thing shouldn’t be done. Sex is supposed to be about BOTH people loving and giving pleasure to each other, and never forcing one person’s will on the other or making them feel uncomfortable. There is no other way of understanding verse four.

        Women have been trained to think that they have no authority in the marital bed and that men have all the rights. But women have just as many rights and just as much authority as men in the marital bed.

  21. I never truly had consensual sex. I just got tired of trying to talk him out of it, and he sometimes didn’t hurt me as bad if I just laid there and took it. It always hurt. And the after it was over burned every time. I would end up in the bathroom cursing under my breath because it burned so bad. There was no relief from it. And then when that burning went away he would be doing it to me again. I wanted him dead.

    He started raping me soon after I turned 16. I kept telling him I didn’t want to be more than just friends, trying to talk him out of it. Nothing could stop him but a bullet, but I was too young to own a gun.

    He was a lot older than I was.

    People in the town thought highly of him and told me I was lucky to have him. I didn’t want him. I was scolded for being a “racist” because of course that is the only reason a white girl wouldn’t want a black man raping her. They were basically saying that I would be fine about being raped by a white man and was only complaining because my perp was black.

    I learned the hard way that I had been lied to about my rights. I was taught in sex education class that I had the right to say ‘no’ to sex. I learned when I tried to say no that if the man wanting sex was a black man that I had no right to refuse.

    No one stood up for me. No one stood up for my right to abstain. I was waiting for marriage. I learned that I wasn’t really allowed to wait.

    Even today, about twenty years since he first started sexually abusing me, people still accuse me of being racist for talking about it. Saying anything bad about a black man if you’re a white woman is obviously forbidden.

    I married him because the bible had a passage about if a man rapes an unbetrothed virgin that he was to marry her. And because people in the church told me I was committing the sin of fornication and that I could stop it if I wanted. He wouldn’t stop no matter how hard I tried to talk him out of it. So, I married him to stop the sin because I was afraid of going to hell.

    During the marriage he did it often. He would tell me I deserved it. He would sometimes press his whole body weight on the back of my neck while doing it that I thought he would break it. I still have chronic neck pain. I divorced in 1999.

    I have brain and neurological damage from him beating my head and body into a wall, medicine cabinet, and heater all in one beating that seemed to last forever. He smiled in my face while he did it. He got off watching me hurt.

    I couldn’t even get a night’s sleep. I would go to bed and wake up with him already doing it to me. I would often pretend to sleep through it hoping he wouldn’t do anything else to me.

    I could not sit in a chair much of the time without him coming up to me and sticking his fingers in me. I ended up pretending to like it because if I didn’t he would do it harder and make it hurt worse. I knew I didn’t like it though. I had already learned I had no right to say no. Your rights are only as good as the people with the power to enforce them will allow them to be. I learned that the hard way too.

    I became so out of it mentally from the constant sex abuse I was totally losing my mind. Sometimes, he would sexually assault me several times in one day. Other times he would go days without talking to me. I never knew what he was going to do next.

    He would even bite me while forcing oral on me.

    He kept pretending like he was going to force anal on me and then would stop and shove it in me hard vaginally and laughed if I showed any emotion from the pain.

    Sometimes he would hold me down and force hickies on me. He told me once that he could do it all over my body and turn me black too. He would often make cracks about white people.

    But ‘I’ am the racist one.

    1. Dear Marie, I’ve just read your story. I am whimpering for you and with you. The horror you suffered. The injustice you suffered! Being told you were “racist” for objecting to a man’s actions because he was black!

      It WAS rape. The color of his skin is irrelevant. You did not consent, he never allowed you the freedom to refuse and he enforced himself on you regardless of how you felt. He is a criminal; his crimes were serial rape and sexual assault – and that’s only his sexual crimes against you, I imagine he could probably have perpetrated many other crimes against you as well.

      You wrote, “I married him because the bible had a passage about if a man rapes an unbetrothed virgin that he was to marry her. And because people in the church told me I was committing the sin of fornication and that I could stop it if I wanted. He wouldn’t stop no matter how hard I tried to talk him out of it. So, I married him to stop the sin because I was afraid of going to hell.”
      I am so very very sad and ANGRY about what was done and said to you, and how scripture was distorted to condone and prolong the horrors you suffered from this man.

      Note: When I first wrote this comment I included a discussion of that OT passage about when a man raped an unbetrothed virgin he was to marry her. I’ve now revised and expanded that discussion and put it into a post on its own. You can find it here:
      The Bible’s View on Pre-Marital Sex – Is the Remedy Always “Get Married”?

    2. Marie I feel so bad for what was done to you. I am thankful you are not in that situation any more thank God. I will pray for you God bless

  22. On the Freedom Program [a recovery program for survivors of domestic abuse] the sexual abuse tactics are separated into three different areas:
    1) How does make us have sex when we don’t want to?
    2) How does he use sex as a weapon to degrade and defeat us?
    3) How does he use our love and desire for him to abuse us further?
    We do this because they actually are three very different aspects and without separating it up in such a way we can miss some of the key issues around abuse.

    I think a pastor or counselor should respond to a victim’s disclosure of spousal sexual abuse like this:
    Fully believe what is being said and understand it will just be the tip of the iceberg.
    Let the person know that it is not okay and that they are not to blame, it is not their fault in anyway.
    Ask if they want to tell the police and ensure they know what has been done to them is a crime.
    Be supportive both practically and emotionally and understand that disclosure is only the very start of the healing.

    In terms of Bible verses, these were the ones that were problematic me:
    I thought the “women submit to your husbands” verse meant I had to have sex with him whenever he wanted it
    If I agreed to do something sexually when he whined and went on, and then I changed my mind, I felt I had to let him carry on because I’d said yes, a kind of perverted integrity and “yes be yes, no be no” thing
    The teaching I’d had on sex before marriage, meant I thought that once I’d had sex with him, I was married to him.

    1. How can women protect themselves from ever getting mixed up with someone like this? It seems in Ida Mae’s case a switch just flipped after they were married and he went from Dr. Jekyl to Mr Hyde. I never want to be married again.

  23. I read this several weeks ago and stopped abruptly. Me? Sexually abused….surely not…it was that bad. Then I read what defines sexual abuse and I wept. It was only in January I realized I had just left an emotionally, verbally, and budding, physically abusive marriage. I left after years of anguished prayer, guilt, and torment. I didn’t know why I was leaving, only that I had to go. Here is my story. I was raised in a “proper” Christian home. I was taught the single, most precious gift I would give my future husband was my virginity. So I waited.
    I married at 21 to a man I had dated for three years. I was eager, he was cold and unresponsive. He had insisted on a virgin for a wife, had questioned me about every detail of each of my prior relationships. I thought it would be awkward, a little embarrassing, and maybe a little funny. I thought we loved each other, that we would figure it out. He had no desire for me at all. I thought he was nervous and offered to spoon up together and try the next day. He was furious. It finally happened the next morning. Out of the blue. No foreplay, no tenderness. Just him heaving over me, me trying desperately to keep my face blank and to blink back the tears. I remember looking at the ceiling tiles thinking, “wow….and I waited for this….” He hurt me. I thought if I could just get through it, we would be over the hump, and we would surely get better at it. Less than an hour later, I was on the floor at his feet while he raged at me, screaming how he had waited for this, that I was such a disappointment, that he had been gypped.
    When you think marriage is forever, you hike up your boot straps and try harder. When we got home, I tried in vain to tell my mother. She told me to be patient and to pray. Over the years, he told everyone I was frigid, despite my attempts to be available even though it still hurt. At one point he revealed a porn addiction. I forgave him, hoping it would be a new beginning. It wasn’t. I was never pretty enough, sexy enough, available enough. He wanted a virgin wife that knew all the tricks of a porn star. He beat me about the head with scriptures on submissiveness.
    I got pregnant with our first child. I had the sort of morning sickness that resulted in hospital stays. I remember gagging into a bucket while he demanded sex. He got his way. Always. He was upset with me, at nine months, when the sex became really painful. He complained how ugly I looked. I had a difficult birth. They used forceps and my son’s shoulder had to be dislocated to get him out. It took them an hour to sew me back together again. He insisted on sex, six weeks to the day of giving birth. I bled on the sheets. Soon after, I got pregnant again. He was “disappointed” in the way my breasts turned out after nursing, despite the fact he had insisted. He finally told me, he couldn’t bear to have sex with me while I was that fat and ugly. Another rough birth. Six weeks later, I sobbed into the sheets as he took me again. I tore my stitches. The sheets were red with my blood. The porn was always there. Because of my “appearance”, having had children and all, I had to dress the part. I felt like a whore in the outfits he wanted me to wear. Some things are too base to describe, but then most of you probably have experienced them. I ended up deeply depressed. I was taking anti-depressants that killed whatever libido I had left. He demanded I stop them immediately. I did. I spiraled further into darkness.
    A non-Christian friend opened my eyes. She said, “I don’t know if I believe in God. But the God I know you believe in, weeps for you misery. I don’t think it is a sin for you to leave, but if it is, I know the God you have shown me will forgive you.” I started my plans to leave that day, believing somehow God loved me enough to forgive me, if leaving was indeed wrong. He led me here. Thank you for you honesty and vulnerability here. You are helping to heal me.
    It is okay to email me privately.

    1. Dear Jenn, I’m weeping and crying for you. Dear dear sister. Thank you, and thank God, for what you’ve shared here. And for you getting free and beginning to heal.
      I LOVE your non-Christian friend! Please tell her that I think she’s cool! What a brilliant way for a non-believer to advise a Christian victim of abuse. I think God may have put those words in her mouth.
      What you have shared here, Jenn, the pain, his spreading slander about your ‘frigidity’ (taking no responsibility for how his boorish behavior and abuse killed your desire), the porn addiction, the making you dress like a whore, the compulsory sex during morning sickness, the torn stitches, the blood on the sheets, the insistence that you not use antidepressants… I believe these are things many other survivors will relate to. You have blessed us all, with your sharing.

      I suspect your ex was addicted to porn long before you married him, and it had conditioned his sexual response so much that he was unable to relate to you normally on your wedding night. The way he’d wired his brain, it was brothel or nothing. Sex totally disconnected from love.

      “Less than an hour later, I was on the floor at his feet while he raged at me, screaming how he had waited for this, that I was such a disappointment, that he had been gypped.” He lied. He shifted the blame to you, when all the blame belonged to him. Even if he HAD waited for marriage to have intercourse (which, of course, could have been a complete lie), feeding at the porn-pot before marriage is not the righteous way to wait for marriage. It’s the way to train your brain to see women solely as sex objects.

      May the Lord bless you and continue his wonderful healing in your body, emotions, mind and spirit. (((hugs)))

  24. My now Exhusband (sociopath) continually used sex as a tool to manipulate and abuse me.

    I was told “you aren’t sexually compatible with me” if I didn’t agree to allow him to sodomize me. If I did give him that I was then told “you give me everything!”. I was later told by my counselor that this was part of the brainwashing he used to continue to get his way.

    No matter how sick or exhausted I was if I didn’t give him what he wanted he cut me down and detached completely so that I felt compelled to conseed to him.
    He gave me herpies then tried to make it seem like I must have given it to him. I was always faithful. Then the excuse was that I “must have gotten it from a toilet seat.”
    I caught him in an affair with his married co-worker. This was not the first affair I am sure but it was the one I could actually prove. Je told me the affair was “your fault, you weren’t meeting my needs!” He said “I’ve felt nothing for you in years but you’d netter not file for divorce.”
    I did file for divorce. I wanted out!

    Once I had him out of the house and I had the locks changed. I had to take my laptop in for reapairs. The hard drive was rittled with viruses. The geeksquad was able to break his password protected side of my computer. What I found was disgusting!

    The emotional and sexual abuse I suffered with this man over the decade I was with him nearly killed me.
    I still fight him daily. We share custody of our 7 1/2 yr. old son. He makes everyday a struggle. Co-parenting is a nightmare. He still comes to my door and barks demands at me in front of our child. I tried to get a restraining order but because he is not doing any physical abuse the courts won’t help me. I worry constantly about what our child is being exposed to while in care.

    He convinced the woman I caught him having the affair with to leave her husband and 2 kids for him. He claims he’s “reaching for the stars” and that “I was holding him back with all my negativity!”. Whenever I call him on his abuse or catch him in a lie and point out the lie his response is that “you are just negative…”. It’s a classic selective technique. My counselor says he’s a master of lies and manipulation.

    I have spoken with my counselor and my co-parenting counselor about much of this. The counselors seem to understand and reccognize his abuse. Friends and family have been pretty supportive. The judicial system isn’t aware of most of what has gone on. It seems there really is no way to approach this that doesn’t put me into a position that makes me look like I’m the one with the problem.
    It’s ok to email me to discuss this further.

  25. I wanted to add to my previous post. I apologize for the typo’s in the first post, it was sent from my IPhone which is known to have a mind of it’s own…

    I didn’t clarify that I had not reached out to anyone at my church or to my pastor. I noticed some of what I did disclose in my previous post was edited before it actually went up. I suspect what was edited must have invoked much of the same response I might have gotten from my church. Most likely no one would have wanted to hear it or they would have ignored it in order to keep their rose colored glasses on.

    I will say that one of my dearest and longest lifetime friends is a pastor. I have confided much of the abuse I suffered during my marriage to him but I never discussed the sexual abuse in any depth. I only brushed the surface with him. supportive and is always there for me and my family if I need him. I felt more comfortable discussing those issues with a female counselor. It’s not that I didn’t think he would have been supportive, I just think it would have felt uncomfortable for me. I didn’t want my dear life long friend to feel uncomfortable either.

    1. Dear readers, just letting you know that I’ve talked this over with Anonymous (above) by email and we think that some of her comment must have got lost in cyberspace by some glitch (maybe God might have not thought it wise for her to write some things in public?). Anyway, she is okay with it all, and we (both Jeff and I) want you all to know that we are not trying to control what people write here in any ‘holier than thou’ or rose colored glasses way.

      Now, to Anon, Thanks for sharing your story.
      When you wrote:”I was told “you aren’t sexually compatible with me” if I didn’t agree to allow him to sodomize me. If I did give him that I was then told “you give me everything!”, I think this might be an example of the tactic Bait and Switch.

      I wish I had answers to the family court debacle and the way children are being handed to abusers. It’s chilling. It seems to me that the justice system in America is sowing the wind, and will reap the whirlwind when these kids grow up.

  26. I’m adding links here to some posts by our departed friend and fellow survivor Danni Moss.
    (Thanks to one of our readers, Allpeople Gifts, for reminding me of these wonderful posts by Danni. I read them all years ago, but haven’t revisited them since then.)

    Here is where Dannni tells her own story of being repeatedly raped by her husband:
    Is It Rape When Your Husband Does It? [Internet Archive link]

    And here are some other posts on Danni’s site which discuss sexual abuse and rape.
    Does Rape Feel Good? [Internet Archive link] (this post explains that if a person has an orgasm while being raped, that does not mean they enjoyed being raped, or ‘it wasn’t really rape’)
    The ‘Not Rape’ Epidemic [Internet Archive link]
    What Happens When Someone Is Sexually Assaulted series

  27. I just want to tell everyone who wrote “you can email me” that I’m nearly fininished the chapter I have to write for the secular book and (woe is me) I’m already over the word limit without including any of your stories. So I’m just going to cite the URL for this post and tell people to read all the stories here. Thanks so much for your contributions. Even if I haven’t quoted any of you directly, your stories have enabled me to write a better chapter than I would have otherwise. I’ll let you all know when the book comes out! Bless you.

    And pray for me that I can cut the word length down to what the publishers require. The word-culling tool is out, and it’s a matter of every word having to make a good case for its own existence. Watch out, words!

  28. My first 3 therapists dodged the topic of my husbands assaults on me. Almost everyone saw what is legally defined as rape (were it a stranger) everyone including medical doctors were reluctant to acknowledge it as sexual assault much less rape. Most wanted to talk about marital harmony and some felt i was unrealistic to think he should wait for me to get over the rape. when i stated i could raise our child with him and stay married to him much more easily if he agreed not to bully me about sex, they said, you seriously dont think he has a right to have sex?

    1. Excuse me while go and growl at the stars! Those therapists and doctors were (GRRRR) so wrong! And to insinuate that your husband’s ‘right’ to sex was more important than your right to be treated with respect. They were just being allies with your husband. We have much to do, to turn this male-entitled thinking on its head.

  29. Obviously, i meant he had up to then treated me as a purchased appliance who had no right to refuse. My loving husband regularly would say if i wasnt cooperative in bed he was under no obligation to stay nor support the family. In effect we deserve to be abandoned if we fail to perform sexually, satisfying a husbands sexual needs is our primary job akin to doing laundry (before caring for children). And since its a job… Where we are paid with a roof over our families head, then we can be fired like an employee or hooker. Yes i am the sick one because i stopped drinking to endure sex, i am the sick one who needs to submit, and sick for putting my families safety at risk by considering saying anything other than yes about being touched.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Diana. Being treated like a sex worker is awful, and it sounds like your husband did that very blatantly, more blatantly than I’ve ever heard of before. I’m glad you stopped drinking, but if I may ask, how did stopping drinking relate to helping you endure sex? Don’t answer if you feel you don’t want to. I know this stuff is really hard to talk about.

  30. Thank you, thank you for this blog post. I have searched and searched for a Christian response to marital rape, and other than Aphrodite wounded, everything is about how it is the wife’s fault for not consenting, or how marital rape is not possible. My only support has been secular.

    I was a virgin when I was married, my only experience had been sexual abuse by various Christian men in my life. I was very scared of sex, so I had long conversations with my fiancé about sex. I asked, and he agreed, that sex would be slow and gentle, that we would talk about it, stop if I was scared. When we went up to the hotel room after the wedding, he took off my dress, did not respond to any of my words, questions, thoughts. He would wont talk to me or look at me. He shoved me onto my back and shoved it in. I was completely motionless through the entire experience. Later, he told me I was crying while he did it, but I dont remember anything but trying to hold down the vomit. Afterwards, I tried to talk to him, to get him to look at me, but I couldn’t get any response. I wanted To be held, but he told me he couldn’t sleep if I was touching him. He shoved me away. I woke up 7 times that night to him forcing entry. By the next morning, I was bruised and still bleeding. I have never slept through a night since then, even though I have been divorced over a year.

    By the third day of the “honeymoon”, my vagina was completely swollen shut. He would still attempt to shove it in, but couldn’t force it in anymore. He looked at me with disgust and left to go outside. An hour later he was trying again. It didn’t matter that I said no.

    He would also try, sometimes successfully to force anal sex on me. I would always verbally and physically resist that, though I no longer resisted vaginal or oral sex, even when the sex was violent.

    Throughout our 3.5 year marriage, this pattern was a mostly daily experience, frequently 2-6 times a day. I would wake up to it in the middle of the night, at any point during the da, he might spring on me, especially if I was in the bathroom or shower. He would walk by and shove his fingers up my butt, too. It never mattered how much I cried or protested.

    He would restrain me or handle me too roughly, leaving bruises, and he would drive abusively, too, causing two car crashes and not letting me out of the car when I was scared. He would not let me drive, either. However, I was always confused because he never outright beat me or punched me, and yet the sexual violence felt so severe and relentless.

    I never considered leaving him because I never knew that this sexual behavior was wrong. I just knew it hurt me. I thought I could only leave if he literally beat me, or if he cheated on me. I used to pray that he would cheat on me so I could leave. Even if he beat me, I felt confused because it seems like the bible says you can only leave if he cheats on you, and even then its better to stay.

    Finally, I got to the point where I prayed every night that God would let me die. I looked at the homeless on the streets and I was so jealous of them. All I wanted was to disappear and sleep on some unknown street for the rest of my life. When I took a step back, and realized that I was fairly seriously considering suicide, I realized that divorce cannot be anymore wrong than suicide, so if i was going to sin, I might as well get a divorce.

    Also, through that time, God was speaking to me about my value. He told me I was of greater worth than gold and silver through 1 Peter 1:18-19. He also provided a female pastor to speak love and worth into me, to pray for me once a month, and two dear friends who would meet up with me regularly. One day, when I could stand it no longer, I prayed for help again. I saw a vision of myself being drowned by a snake that represented abuse. I cried out to God for helping, asking a question that tore my heart apart: “is it your will for me to die here.” He said, “come to me.” I stood up and killed the snake with a sword, and followed him.

    The next day, my ex began yelling and throwing things. Something in the way he looked at me made me fear for my life. After he left the room, I grabbed my purse and left and never went back.

    Over the next couple months, I tried counseling with him with various counselors. He never swayed from the viewpoint that I was crazy and made up all the abuse. He said the only problem was that I had not worked out my past of sexual abuse.

    Other the the three people I mentioned, I have received so much criticism and opposition from Christians. My former small group leader told me, how dare you call yourself a Christian? Others find more subtle ways to blame me, like saying, ” that’s why you shouldn’t get married so young”. However, God has given me grace to reject the lies, though I am tired of the fight.

    My greatest support and affirmation has usually been from nonChristian counselors. My Christian counselor even told me that she thought I had been raped, but after talking to my ex, said the biggest problem was communication, so we should continue in counseling. I said, lying and calling me crazy is not a communication issue. It’s lying.

    I have never heard a church address the issue of sexual abuse and rape in marriage at all, except the publicated cases where a church says marital rape should be legal. I wish that I had a church that would educate young people about healthy sex in marriage, and provide support and validation for those who experience rape. I wish someone had told me when I was a teenager that sex should always be consensual, and no one should ever hurt you during sex. Those two sentences, combined with biblical support, would have changed my life.

    I have to thank God for the ability to tell my story. He has saved me from great, systematic oppression because of His great love for and protection of me. No matter how deep the darkness, God is deeper still. He Has been so good to me! I know that God can and does rescue anyone, no matter how dark the circumstances.

    1. Anon- Thank you for telling it. Ugly, ugly, and all the more reason for putting it right out there in the light. No sense in protecting the guilty by hiding the ugliness of what he has done. We can never deal justly with abuse victims until we have a clear picture of what “abuse” is, and sadly, most Christians and pastors do not. So glad that the Lord has granted to such a great exodus.

      1. I will NEVER apologize or question if I am being too harsh towards a church that has allowed such evil to be in their midst. Anonymous, I am enraged, or severely triggered by your story, you are the bravest person I know. Along with a few other posts here, I too suffered years of sleep deprivation because of fear….but I am not as brave as all of you, but I am speechless, and heart sick, and a little broken …and so, so, so angry. 😦 I avoided this page due to the subject matter being afraid of what I would feel, and the pain I would no doubt read about….I guess being able to come and read, and share is good starting point? You all are angels, and amazing people.

    2. Dear Anonymous sister, I read your story with my heart in my mouth. Rape, rape, relentless rape. From the very first night.
      And you had so conscientiously and with such good communication explained to your fiance about your fears, and he’d promised to be gentle and take it slowly, and he was LYING all the time. Setting you up, sucking you in, so he could then ravage on you and know you would have such a tender conscience you’d be reluctant to divorce him.
      He sound reptilian. And he probably knew that because you’d suffered sexual abuse previously, and were understandably fearful, it would be that much easier for him to wreak his evil on you. Wicked wicked man.

      When you described what the rapes did to your vagina, my heart started racing. I cannot imagine how awful that would have been. And how terrible your spirit would have felt, living in that hellish existence for years.

      I understand you feeling envious of homeless people. It reminds me of stories I’ve read of women who killed their abusive husbands and were immediately arrested and imprisoned… and in prison they felt SAFE for the first time. Its safer in prison than it is living with a monster.

      As you put it so simply:
      Sex should always be consensual.
      No one should ever hurt you during sex.

      I love your vision of killing the snake with the sword. That was real. You overcame the evil one with the power of God and the sword of the Spirit. And He led you out. When you saw that look on his face the next day, you grabbed your purse and left. And no amount of crappy Christian counselling or namby-pamby advice from believers has stifled your knowledge of the truth, or your boldness in speaking it out.

      Thank you for telling us your story. I’m pretty sure that some readers will identify closely with specific points. I pray that those who are still in the nightmare will hang on to your final words like lifebelts in a raging storm:
      No matter how deep the darkness, God is deeper still.
      God can and does rescue anyone, no matter how dark the circumstances.

    3. I’m at a loss for words upon reading your story, but it makes me feel heavy hearted. I just can’t fathom how hateful this man is, and how deliberate he was in all of his hurtful ways, even knowing your fears. It saddens me as have so many readings on this blog to which I have not responded to because I’ve been at a loss. I just can’t imagine the terror.

    4. Such courage to stand up to the abuse and to share with us. I pray God will continue to heal you as He is healing me from many years of verbal, emotional, sexual abuse. God bless you.

  31. I realize that I’m late to the conversation here, and new to this site, but I cannot walk away from having read all this without saying “thank you” to Barbara for starting this discussion, and to all the other courageous individuals who responded. I have been searching for a faith-based perspective on this issue, but have found very few resources.
    I approach this issue from 2 very different standpoints. 1) My husband left me nearly 10 months ago, and I now consider this to be a blessing as I am still learning just how abusive his behavior truly was. And 2) I am a licensed mental health counselor. I am deeply saddened how so many have had their stories and pain marginalized, left completely unvalidated by mental health professionals. Especially counselors, professional or otherwise, who claim to be believers.
    Confession: I am still struggling a little with the fact that I am trained to help others, but was able to miss what was going on in my own marriage, and I am not currently practicing as I am working through my own healing process. I hope to return to the profession when I sense that it is appropriate and with the Holy Spirit’s leading.
    My husband was emotionally, verbally, and (I’m not learning) sexually abusive throughout the 4 years we were married, and the 5 years that we were together before becoming married. We began dating just months after I was sexually assaulted while at college. He was so sweet and considerate of my pain at the time. But it was only a matter of months before he began pressuring me for sex. He would use the lies about how it was ok b/c we were going to get married anyway. He’d say “it’s the only sin that eventually stops being a sin.” I was not in a healthy state of mind after the assault, and instead of being the loving, Christian man he claimed to be, and realizing my vulnerability, he exploited it to meet his own needs.
    He used to badger me to perform oral sex on him, a practice that he began during our dating relationship and that continued until the month he left. The first time I did it, I sobbed the entire time. He would often grope me when I was either busy or when we were in public and he thought no one would notice. He would also smack my butt when we were around friends or other acquaintances, when I believed such a thing, though minor by comparison, was inappropriate. When I told him I didn’t appreciate it, he had a million reasons why I was wrong and how I was being too sensitive.
    In marriage, he would tell me how unsatisfying sex was…basically b/c I wasn’t dirtier about it. He never used the word “dirty”, but that’s how I would describe it. Behaviors that one would see in a porn film, not the kind of sexual intimacy I wanted to share with my husband! He always wanted vaginal intercourse to fast and hard…to the point that I would sometimes cry out in pain. Afterward, I would feel so alone, dirty, and used to the point that I would have to stifle the sound of my crying. It was always something I just had to survive. Just get thru it and it’ll be over. Nevermind the fact that it wasn’t at all enjoyable for me.
    He constantly pursued anal sex. Relentlessly. Even though I’d told him that I thought it was wrong, he’d keep asking. He eventually gave up asking and decided once while we were having vaginal intercourse that he would just do it anyway. It threw me into a full blown trauma reaction where I could not move, speak, fight back….nothing. Afterward, when the shock had worn off, I told him that I was bleeding and that it was incredibly painful and I never wanted to do it again. But it was not the last time that it happened. He would tell me that in marriage, everything was acceptable (meaning anal sex was ok) and that as his wife I should be available to him in whatever way. He also told me that if I truly loved him that I should WANT to do these things for him – anal and oral sex in addition to the rough vaginal sex.
    His verbal and emotional abuse escalated to the point where he would scream things at me that I dare not repeat while punching the wall, or the pillow behind my head, or slamming furniture (in front of our toddler and infant daughters). All the while he would be blaming me for everything. He’d go on to explain that I didn’t really love him and that I should show him how I loved him. That’s when he’d expose himself and expect “enthusiastic” sexual activity of some sort. Before he left he would also tell me about how he was thinking about other women because I wasn’t satisfying him orally (b/c it caused me to gag). He would tell me it was my fault that he was thinking of other woman and that I needed to do better sexually in order to keep him from sinning.
    He took something that was supposed to be a blessing in marriage and made it as dirty and demeaning as the assault that I’d already experienced.
    I have only ever given a close friend just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the sexual abuse, basically that he made sexual intimacy uncomfortable, even though she knows all about the rest of the DV. And I have told my pastor/counselor the same version thus far. My counselor is a male and he hasn’t tried to dodge the subject yet, but I haven’t given him the full story either. Part of that is my own decision…I don’t think I’ve been ready to go there.
    I hope that when we do get to this part of the healing process, that he will be genuine in his response and be willing to “go there” with me emotionally. Uncovering the thoughts and emotions that are tied to the abuse. I hope that he will not be quick to offer the standard “Christianese” answers others have been given.
    Sorry for the length of my post. This is the first time I’ve really explained anything more than I’ve told my friend and my counselor.
    You may contact me, though it sounds as though you no longer need input. Thanks for allowing me to share and for being willing to “go there” on a difficult issue that many would prefer to think doesn’t exist in faith-based marriages.

    1. Dear Anon, thanks so much for your comment and it is not too long, not at all!
      Firstly, I want to reassure you that you are not the only commenter / survivor on this site who is a mental health professional. So don’t feel bad about that. Abusers are so clever at putting on the “Garden of Eden” when they first hook and capture us, and that garden can last for a good length of time with some abusers. The incremental change-over to their inner natures is usually so gradual and so subtle, and so laced with invitations for us to doubt ourselves, that no-one is immune from being victimized. We can learn the warning signs, but those warning signs don’t necessarily occur in the really early stages of the relationship, and if they do occur they can seem so minor. That’s more or less what Lundy Bancroft says, and I consider him the world expert on this stuff. (I’m re-reading him at the moment, and getting so much out of it at this second reading. If only I’d re-read him before going into my second marriage, but that’s another story!)
      I hope you are not being hard on yourself for not recognizing your husband’s abuse even though you are a mental health professional. The training for most mental health professionals is pretty woeful when it comes to domestic abuse. Picture a blindfold over society, and the blindfold extends to most mental health professionals as well. That’s how it is with domestic abuse. The abusers have done an excellent job of spreading myths about domestic abuse, and most people believe those myths. We hope it will change, and we are working in that direction, but that’s how it is at the moment.

      “it’s the only sin that eventually stops being a sin.” That’s a new line I’ve never heard before, though I’ve heard similar reasoning in different words. Funny how that line never appears in the Bible, eh?

      When I was reading about how the vaginal and oral and then anal sex was for you, this phrase came to my mind (prepare yourself as it may be triggering):
      – He used his penis as a weapon.

      “He would tell me it was my fault that he was thinking of other woman and that I needed to do better sexually in order to keep him from sinning.” I know I’m just stating what readers here already know, but this is blame-shifting, pure and simple. Classic abuser-ese.

      Yes, I’ve finished my chapter, but this post is always open for new comments and sharing. I am sure your comment won’t be the last. Thank you once again for sharing, and please have some ((((((hugs)))))) from me.

    2. Dear Anonymous: I feel sick that you had to endure such cruelty. I posted about sexual abuse in my abusive marriage too – the first time I ever shared with anyone on this subject. I pray that God will heal you and give you joy and peace in your life. He is doing that for me.

      1. Kay, I’m sorry that you too have endured sexual abuse within your marriage. Are you still married to this person? I pray that you have found serenity.

    3. Anon, your story sounds so much like mine. My husband was a Christian and we were missionaries overseas. He told me it was my duty to please him and wanted me to do things that were either painful for me or that I didn’t feel were correct. I do know how to enjoy sex, but only when it is not under pressure and I’m made to feel inadequate. I understand also how you as a professional counselor missed seeing the abuse you were living with. I too am a professional counselor and it was when I started studying for my masters in psychology and counseling that I realized that what I had been experiencing my my marriage was not right and was abusive. The more I tried to talk to my husband about it, the more he pressed for more and listened to me less and less. One day he told me I could not speak to him again about what hurt me during sex or tell him that I didn’t agree with something he was doing to me. I was in shock. I said “I want to make sure that I understand you…are you saying that if you’re hurting me during sex, I can’t say ‘stop please’ or ‘that hurts, please don’t.’ ?” He said “Yes, that’s what I mean”. I asked 3 times to make sure I hear right. When I finally realized that I no longer had a voice or say-so in our sexual relationship, something broke inside of me and I started planning my escape. Not an easy thing to do when you’re a missionary and supposed to be the role model for those we served.

      I can say that today I’m happy and married to a wonderful, gently man who respects me in every way. I have written an eBook that will in on Amazon by November of 2012: “To love and to Cherish…facing sexual abuse in marriage”. I hope you will find it helpful.

      Best wishes to you and blessings from above.
      D. Anne

      1. D.Anne – Increasingly I am seeing the pattern. Wives of pastors, wives of missionaries, children of missionaries, are telling us about the abuse they suffered or still are suffering at the hands of their pastor/missionary spouse or parent. No wonder no one wants to know about these things! It tells us that we have been and still are in worse shape than we ever thought. I hope and pray that enough voices will grow so loud that this matter of sexual and domestic abuse in the churches cannot continue to be denied.

  32. I am crying after reading the post because I too am a survivor of domestic abuse, including sexual abuse, and because such treatment IS so opposed to God’s view of love, marriage and relationship, and how he created us! No one deserves abuse, and it’s never o.k. with God! I have been learning that through this process of healing as I have studied God’s view of sex and relationships, including working through the book “Mending the Soul”. I would like to add to your post, Barbara. You may e-mail me if you have a questioner, and I’ll post response her later. Thank you for your cry for justice!

    1. Dear Heather, I’ve completed the chapter I had to write on this topic so I’m not needing any more accounts from survivors for that writing project. But you are very welcome to post your experience of intimate partner sexual abuse here. So glad to hear you are finding help from Mending the Soul. That book is excellent. They also have a workbook too, of the same name. Blessings in Christ, Barbara .

    2. Heather, my heart breaks for you and I hope that you are no longer in the abusive relationship. This is a topic that is silent…maybe because is it so private and personal, and maybe because the abuser has caused us to wonder if it’s all in our heads, and nothing unusual is going on…

      I pray that you will find peace and healing!
      My book “To Love and to Cherish…facing sexual abuse in marriage” will be out by the end of November 2012.

      Blessings and peace to you!
      D. Anne

  33. I too was a victim (or survivor) of marital sexual abuse for 27 years, to a Christian man and we were actually missionaries. I can relate to “all of the above”. I am now marriage to a wonderful man who respects me in every way!

    I am about to publish my book “To Love and to Cherish…facing sexual abuse in marriage” as an eBook on Amazon. I hope to have it for sale by November of 2012. The manuscript is complete and I just need to get it formatted for Kindle and later for Barnes and Noble.

    I can say that there IS serenity on the other side of this and I welcome anyone who wishes to correspond with me:

    God meant for sex between a husband and wife to be mutually pleasurable and where each partner feels loved and is heard.

    Blessings to you all and remember that you don’t have to continue in an abusive marriage.

  34. Barbara, I see that you don’t need any more input since your chapter is written, but I’ll comment anyway. I did ask a fellow missionary once, early on, if bleeding after sex was normal. A look of horror came over her and she said “No honey, that’s not normal at all!” I was too embarrassed to go into any further detail. I saw my gynecologist later.

    I can identify with almost everything that others have shared above and I’m sure that there are many other women who are dealing with a husband who demands his way, forces himself on her, makes her participate in things that she feels are wrong, and more.

    My heart goes out to these women, especially the young women who may not know what’s normal or not. After all, we go into marriage expecting our husband to love and cherish us!

    I hope my book “To Love and to Cherish…facing sexual abuse in marriage” will be a blessing to many women and will open up the communication on this topic that touches so many. The book will first be available as a eBook on Amazon, hopefully by November of 2012.

    Blessings to you and your ministry!
    D. Anne

    1. I went into my marriage a virgin from a very sheltered home. After I got back from my honeymoon, I remember asking my mother in vague terms, if what I was experiencing was normal. She was embarrassed beyond words at the few things I had shared, told me to keep trying, and that was that. We want Christian women to be pure when they wed and I am not saying they should not be pure. I am saying that I should have known that my ex-husband’s treatment was barbaric, I should have felt free to ask my mother, and my mother should have overcome her reticence. It took me 14 years of marriage to understand his treatment of me was not normal. We need to equip our daughters to recognize abuse. We need to teach them what to do if they find themselves abused. They need to hear from us that divorce is not the worst thing that can happen to them; that abuse breaks the body and spirit. My daughter is 7; my son is 9. I will raise them to save themselves for marriage, but they will know how a healthy sexual relationship should function, how to treat another person with respect and love, and what to do if they are being abused. Purity should not equal ignorance. I wish I had known.

      1. Very true. Purity should not equal ignorance! When purity is combined with ignorance and prudish reticence to talk about sex, the pure are being inadvertently set up for victimization at the hands of any barbarian who happens to find them. And barbaric men GO to church to find virgins. That’s how evil and cunning they are.

  35. Way late on this discussion…but Anon… are strong and courageous to share your story. And Heather, and all those who do understand because it happened to you, too. I am so sorry for all you suffered. When the church will not listen or believe, it is a deeper infliction.

    It took me 3 yrs to admit to a friend that ex was sexually abusive to me…and 2 yrs into counseling that I told my counselor. When I finally shared with them, the details were so much like yours. I was too embarrassed to ask anyone if forced sex in the middle of the night was normal, and why was I bleeding so often? A really good friend of mine, who had shared that she was sexually active at a young age and throughout college….looked at me with shock when I told her that and said, no one had every treated her this way, ever. Not even the guys she didn’t really like. That’s when it finally started to sink in what was and had happened and why I was in a constant state of panic and physically sick.

    Praise God for freedom from this today. And Prayer to our Father for your healing as you walk through recovery. Not being afraid anymore to share the truth is a tremendous step in your own recovery and healing. And I pray too, for my children to be protected now from their own father.

    Thank you so much Barb, for addressing this in your book.

  36. Not sure if this is how to leave a comment or not. Hope this comes through.

    Short story of it is five years ago my husband got drunk and cheated, I forgave him and stayed we have two kids 5 and 2. Couple days ago I woke to my husband sodimising me with his hands while I sleep. I have a lot of trouble with insomnia so take sleeping pill ever so often this was one of those nights. I think he got scared I would wake up so few min after I layer there still cause I wanted to make sure I was fully aware of what he was doing before accusing him. He got up to go to bathroom I assume to finish. When he got back I confronted him and he apologized and said he was discusted with himself but next day acted as though nothing happened. I have sence talked with him about it again and he still says how sorry he is but it has left me feeling abused. I started looking in to it and found this site. After reading everything I am wondering if you would call this abuse. Also I have now from this blog, had other things brought to my attention. Like he also gropes me at inappropriate times and he too will pressure me into sex. He will just keep asking until I give in causeni cant stand to hear him beg. Wouldnyou confided this abuse?

    I’m at a loss cause as a Christian woman I don’t agree with divorce unless there are extreem cases. He is such a wonderful father and husband other than these few things. He never has abused me physically and never puts me down. I have not told anyone about any of this cause I love him so much would hate for people to look at him anyother way then the way they see him now which is amazing

    I dint know what to do

    1. Private – I am sure that Barbara and others will have some very, very good advice for you. Thank you for sharing this. The fact that you can talk about it is a good sign. First, yes, this is indeed abuse. It is exerting unjust and wrong power and control over another human being for selfish ends. Beware of people who would tell you that this is somehow your fault! It isn’t. You feel abused because he has abused you. I suggest that (if you can do so safely) you draw some clear boundaries with him. Make it clear to him that he is never to use you in this manner again. The groping is to stop. The pressuring you into sex is to stop. And you can decide on some appropriate consequences to lay out to him should he violate your boundaries. It is always very hard for an abuse victim, especially a Christian, to sort all of this out because it is so confusing. On the one hand you see him as a wonderful father and husband. And yet there are these flagrant abusive actions that if anyone else did them to you, you would consider to be crimes. I can assure you that once you set out these boundaries and stick to them, you are going to quickly find out whether or not your husband is truly a wonderful father and husband or not.

      I recommend that you run right out and get a copy of Lundy Bancroft’s book, Why Does He Do That? [Affiliate link] and start learning about abuse. The probabilities are that you will find more behaviors in your husband that are abusive that you haven’t recognized yet. You will learn how abusers put on a very convincing facade, what tactics they use, and what motivates them. And you will no doubt find out just how much you have been suffering from the abuse, probably to a degree that you don’t realize right now.

      Stay with us in our little community here on this blog! We want to help you work through this and be a safe place you can come and “talk.” Blessings on you in Christ.

    2. UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


      Dear Private, Jeff has said so much of what I would have said to you that I probably don’t need to add much, except THANKS for coming to our blog and sharing. I agree with all of Jeff’s advice and comments. And I want to say that if you are tight for money, I am happy to arrange for my book Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion [Affiliate link] to be posted to you at a safe address (maybe your workplace, if you work?). No pressure at all, and take up the offer any time. (just send me an email You may not be ready for looking at the topic of divorce yet, but when you are, I can assure you that the Bible allows divorce for domestic abuse.

      You are only at the beginning of considering this issue of abuse, and it is a tough thing to wrap your mind around.
      I encourage you to try to find face to face support locally, as well as coming to this blog and sharing as much as you like. Maybe you can disclose to a trusted friend? Maybe you would consider phoning a domestic violence hotline to find out your local domestic abuse support service and / or a sexual abuse support service? They can answer your questions and be supportive, no matter whether you want to stay with your husband or leave him. They won’t tell you what to do, but they will help you think through your situation and your feelings, and can advise and guide you regarding safety issues for you and your kids. Don’t worry about how those professionals use the term Domestic VIOLENCE. In their jargon, ‘violence’ denotes any kind of abuse, whether it be verbal, emotional (like coercion), sexual, financial, social, physical or spiritual abuse
      All abusers use emotional and verbal abuse. Most use at least some and often many of the other kinds of abuse as well.
      This is probably quite overwhelming for you at the moment. Take it step by step, and look after yourself emotionally as you explore this topic. We are here for you. Also, check out the Resources page on this blog.
      And yes, your husband HAS abused you sexually. What he did was actually rape you: rape is any kind of penetration of any orifice, by any means, that is done without the other person’s consent. May I send you hugs over the internet?
      love, Barb

      1. I really just don’t know his to handle the situation. I have to go about everyday life cause I have my two kids. We were gifted a hotel and dinner for next weekend for our anniversary it will be 7 years. I know he will expect hus to just act like nothing happened and have a gild time but I’m dying inside. With all that has come out over these years all I cant help but winder is if I forgive a move on what will happen next how will he disapount me next. Even today we went to church came home did lunch and when he found me in bathroom crying he said what’s wrong when I said I did not want to talk about it he just said I was weird, he was like we were just watching Tv nothing was wrong now your in here crying. I told him why I was upset and he just acted like still?

        Where do I go from here. How do I move past it to fix this marriage. I have always been the fighter to keep this going I just don’t know how much fight I have left.

        Jeff I have put up boundaries and explained to him that I will not behaving sec with him again until I feel ready, he is acting like I’m completely blowing this out of proportion. I told him I think he has a sexual addiction and he says all men have a higher need for sec then women. I don’t know to do or believe. I think by him asking me for sec right away cause he sauys it makes him feel like we still have a connection and we r close

      2. My reply got cut off. He manipulated me in to having sex with him only a week after he cheated on me saying it would make things better. I have told him that is not gonna happen this time. But like I said he thinks this is unreasonable.

        He said he will respect it but still wanted to know well how long is this gonna take

        I’m so hurt don’t I matter and his I feel

      3. Dear Private, well done for telling your husband you are not willing to resume sex with him at the moment. The way he has reacted to your announcement of boundaries is TYPICAL of an abuser. I think you have the full blown abuse scenario here, without a shadow of a doubt.
        Most women whose husbands are abusing them don’t realise for ages that they are being abused, and that their husband is an Abuser with a capital A. It takes a long time to see this evil for what it is. And you have had a wake-up in one of the worst ways: by him raping you while you were asleep. It is a deep violation of your most inner being, and no wonder you don’t want sex with him at the moment! In fact, I would think it was utterly normal and healthy of you never to want sex with him again. Why would a woman ever desire to have sex with her rapist? It goes against nature. I support you in saying you don’t want to resume sex with him.

        Now, the way he has reacted, trying to make you feel guilty for your perfectly natural and healthy feelings of pain, grief, fear and revulsion against him, is the way all abusers react when their victim draws a line in the sand against further abuse. He is pushing HIS needs and trying to manipulate you into backing down. This refusal to accept your “No” is abuse in itself. An abuser does not respect the other person’s “NO”. Abusers are self-focussed and self serving and their underlying mentality is an attitude of entitlement. You can read lots about this elsewhere on this blog.

        Now, I fully understand that you want to keep things going pretty normally because you have kids. I cannot tell you what or what not to do, but I do encourage you to seek support SOON from a domestic violence support service
        (ring the US Hotline 1800-999-SAFE) and talk things over with them. They will help you consider your options. They will not tell you ‘Leave him!’ They will simply support you emotionally and they can do a risk assessment of your situation which can give you ‘the big picture’ They can inform you of the various options you might like to take.

        Many women in your situation find themselves between a rock and a hard place, to say the least. They have to make decisions between many bad alternatives. “Do I let him have sex with me again, just to get him off my back and stop him escalating the emotional and psychological abuse? Am I prepared to let him use my body like a prostitute, just to bide time and give me a chance to consider the much bigger question ‘Am I going to continue in this marriage, or am I going to flee? Or make him leave?’ ”

        They are also very conscious of how the rest of their Christian community may view them if they separate from their husband. The shunning, the suspicions, the guilting, the waggin fingers, etc. Not to mention how the abuser then ramps up his ‘nice-guy’ act in the Christian community to make it seem like he could not possible harm a fly, so his wife MUST be the crazy one to have left him. Believe me, we have heard this over and over again.

        All I can tell you is, there are many people coming to this blog who will support you and be your cyber friends, no matter what you choose to do or not to do. And we know that every little micro choice you make will be strategically chosen on the basis of your weighing up untenable options and trying to decide which way is least bad.

        And if you do decide to leave your husband, don’t worry about it affecting the kids badly. Whether you realise it or not, your kids are already being negatively affected by the atmosphere of coercive control that your husband has made pervasive in the household. Believe me, kids are pretty resilient and they can thrive when their mother separates from their abusive father. The leaving is difficult, but it does get easier after a while, when things settle down and you find ways to maintain boundaries against your ex.

        One last thing: the statistics on domestic violence show that when an abuser has raped his partner, there is an increased risk of a lethal outcome. The lethality can come from the abuser murdering his victim (e.g. by strangling her), or from her committing suicide. (Or occasionally, the victim kills the abuser in desperation.) I’m telling you that not to scare you, but I think you do need to know that yours is a higher risk situation that someone whose abuser uses (say) verbal, social, and financial abuse, and pushes them around sometimes, but has never raped them.
        Do consider ringing the hotline.
        love from Barb

  37. This happened many years ago now; I have since moved on from this relationship and married a much better man. But the emotional abuse I suffered from this person kept hurting for many years. This was not a legal marriage, but we considered ourselves spiritually married before God, so to me, the rules of staying married no matter what, applied. (We were college students, no jobs or any way of legally marrying or forming a household on our own.) My “husband” was not satisfied with normal relations. He liked to watch porn, and wanted to try anal. It was excruciatingly painful and I hated it, so I refused to do it again. But he kept hounding me to do it again. Once he tried to force it. Another time he refused to have sex at all unless I submitted to anal. He kept complaining that I have to have my way, have to be right. But I kept with him, thinking it was my duty as a “wife” to stay with my husband and forgive him. Unfortunately, when he finally broke off the relationship (probably because of my lack of “submission”), I had Stockholm Syndrome and wanted him back. The whole experience very much twisted my head and heart.

    1. Anon, yours in a variation on a story that we are hearing again and again. What is it with these men that they want anal sex? It’s sick and twisted, not to mention excruciating to the woman they are doing it to, as you say. I am not surprised you suffered for a long time afterwards. Thank you so much for sharing. You’ve taught me how strong the ideal of ‘loyalty to marriage’ can be, even when there is no legal marriage.

      “He kept complaining that I have to have my way, have to be right.” Those very words were used many times by my husband, not in relation to sex but about other things. In retrospect, I do not for a moment accept that I “had to have my way all the time, or be always right.” He criticized me like that whenever I was legitimately giving my opinion that ‘x’ is right and moral, and ‘y’ is wrong and immoral. Rather than discussing our respective opinions on the morality of an issue like a civilised human beings, he preferred to besmirch my character. Typical conduct for an abuser.

    2. Thanks Anon. Your experience and its effect on you should be helpful to others who are trying to sort things out in a similar situation. One-way power and control over another person. That is what it is all about for the abuser. And they blame, blame, blame.

  38. I read this story and several of the posts a few weeks ago and had to leave the page. I was not prepared for the overwelming flow of memeries that would flood my mind as I read. I know I was emotionaly and phisicly abused but it wasn’t untill I read this story that I relized I was sexualy abused as well. This is the first time I will be telling this story to anyone but after reading several of the posts and praying a great deal about it over the weeks since I read the story I feel that telling my story will help me heal and hopefully help others as well. My husband was my first and I had always been tought that to be a good christian wife ment that you never say no to you husband in the bedroom. When we first were married he was obsessed with sex and I grew tired of constently having to please him several times a day. I was not aloud to say no and I had to oraly stimulate him everytime as forplay. He barly ever repipricated this. after a few months I started catching him with porn. When I confronted him on it he said that he had needs that I wasnt meeting so he needed the porn. He assured me that he loved me and that he porn ment nothing. occationaly he would throw it out and deleat it of the computer in “repentice” but before long it would always be back. becouse he felt birth control was a sin and we were always having sex I was pregniant six times in seven years. I had three miscarages and every time I was not aloud to greave becouse it was ‘Gods plan that we loose that one”
    I was forced on several occations to have anial sex when I couldn’t have sex do to my period. He eventualy gave up any remorse for the porn and stated forsing me to watch it with him and makeing me come up with twisted fanticys to “get him off”. We went though two computers in less then three years becouse of the virises crashing them. I knew it was a sin but everytime I refused we would get into a big fight and he would just leave the room and go mastribate somewere else. about a year ago after our third child was born he stoped asking for sex all togeather and would just use porn to get off several times a week. When I would ask him why he said it was becouse I wasn’t attractive, I was fat, and that I was to loose. He was also always mad at me becouse I didn’t ask for sex enugh, but everytime I did ask for sex he wasn’t in the mood. which was funny becouse he was always in the mood. Afte we were finnishe we would never cuddle and he was always sure to tell me that it wasn’t any good. I got good at facking orgasims becouse if I didn’t have one before he was done he would get angry with me. Now that we are seperated I find that I have to fight the earge too look to porn as a relise or have the thought that since I am no longer sexualy pure it dosn’t matter if I were to sleep with another man, its just sex and it wouldn’t mean anything. I know it is a sin and I know I will brake the habbit but it makes me so angry that I was sexualy corrupted by the one man who is supposed to be protecting me.
    I am sorry for all the spelling errors and I hope my story will help someone.

    1. I forgot to mention that he would also buy sex toys on christmas, our aniversry, and my birthday and then force me to let him use them on me as my present. If I argued with him about it I was being ungratful for my present and should be ashamed of myself.

    2. Dear Bethany, I am sorry, so sorry. for the things he did to you and made you do. He forced you to do so many things you didn’t want to do, and he polluted and corrupted you and I understand the effects of that. I trust that by the grace and with the power of our Lord Jesus you will be able to overcome that pull to the world of darkness and sin. There is often something demonic about that stuff, and the battle is very real. My experience of fighting the enemy is that they (the evil entities) have to obey if you command them in the name of Jesus. I don’t know if that is going to be helpful to you or not, as it may not be relevant to your case, but I thought I’d say that just in case it is.

      How horrible to be not allowed to grieve those babies. He clearly saw those babies as non-persons, just like he saw you as a non-person – an object to meet his lusts and serve his will. He demeaned you very badly. Telling you those things about your body is a wicked wicked thing to do. You are not the only survivor who has been told that. Other women have shared with me that their husbands said they were ‘loose’ and ‘fat’ and other such derogatory things. Porn makes a man’s mind and spirit very sick; it poisons his soul and makes him increasingly dependent on worse sexual perversions in order to continue to get his kicks. Like any drug of dependence, the addict needs more and more potent stuff to get an effect. I would guess that his put-downs of your body were just an excuse, a way of covering up for his increasingly sick sexuality which needed more vile and unnatural things to get stimulated by. So if you can think of it that way, if you can think of his nasty put-downs as nothing to do with YOU, but only proof of how depraved he was, then you may find that helpful. Abusers love to put down their victims. If he puts you down it puts him up. A very childish mentality. Quite stupid really, but oh so hurtful when you are on the receiving end of it.

      It sounds like your husband was probably already addicted to porn before he married you, and never told you, never admitted it, never confessed it. His obsession with sex right from the start of the marriage would suggest that, and the way you started to ‘catch’ him with porn – he knew it was wrong and was hiding it at that stage – and then his porn use became blatant. All that suggests a long-standing addiction. We must indeed ‘flee from sexual immoraity’ and it sounds like he didn’t make any effort to flee, just went back to the putrid cauldron all the time.
      Thanks for sharing your story, Bethany. I’m impressed at how you have prayed and struggled in facing these memories. I’m sure your story will help and encourage others. I will pray for you. (((Hugs))) from Barb.

      1. Thank you Barbara your words helped me alot. I like so many others didn’t have a clue what a health sex life with a loving spouse looked like and didn’t even relize how abused I was. Thank you for your prayers and hugs they mean alot to me 🙂

  39. Sexual abuse is part of your domestic abuse story.
    My spouse bullied me for more frequent sex which i often accommodated.
    One night when I didnt he waited until I fell asleep and groped me to the point of penetration. I now know that this is legally rape not just because I said not tonight earlier but because I was asleep and unable to consent. I startled awake, in shock objected, and thought that was the end of it. But a few weeks later he repeated the behavior. After that I stopped enjoying sex. When he became aware of my new aversion to sex he blamed me, then a highschool boyfriend. It took a long time before i told anyone. When i did start to tell, None acknowledged the event as a rape because we are married and apparently they are ignorant of the law. Doctors and pastors and even a therapist recommended marital counseling, though they were usually the ones he spoke to first and framed it as if I was a trophy wife gone rogue. If the first few people I told had recognized it and my trauma for what it was I think there may have been a chance for our relationship to recover…but they helped bury it and helped him feel that he was being abused because I eventually became frigid after years of being threatened with abandonment and bullied into godly submission. A good way to for a pastor or counsellor to respond to a victim’s disclosure of spousal sexual assault like mine would be to acknowledge and record it appropriately asy a report of a rape, inform the victim of the law protecting them from more of the same, offer to support them in contacting a local sexual assault crisis line if the counselor is not able to be fully supportive of the victim with counseling etc. In my case the SO escalated to covert abusive passive aggressive behaviors and gas-lighting. Even though very belatedly he acknowledged what he had done (before he understood it was a felony). He maintains since he intended no harm, hence I should not feel harmed. Although I was blamed for my own ptsd symptoms for years, at the point I confronted him I was told I needed to learn to be a better wife by reading Dr. Laura’s book on how to be a better christian wife. That I have to forgive, to get over it or risk being the abuser (because sexual neglect is abuse according to his interpretation of her book, oral roberts teachings and scripture saying as much). Im having a hard time finding a church that doesnt sympathize with the SO over the victim as a practical maneuver. I have had only one person reach out to me by calling once the protective order took effect. My ex has started calling and interviewing people in hopes of garnering support for his idea that to have a problem with what he did, i must have a problem (be crazy). I dont know if there is a church i would feel safe confiding in about matters after how this has been handled.

    1. Oh Diana, your story makes me want to cry. The sexual bullying, and then the rape while you were asleep (I’ve been raped when I was asleep, and it was terrifying) – and then the repetition of rape, underlining that he really and absolutely didn’t care one bit that it had upset you the first time, and he felt totally entitled to use your body without your consent whenever he liked! I am not surprised you lost all interest in sex with him. He was blaming you for your disinterest; but he had CAUSED your lack of interest. My first husband accused me of frigidity and blamed my past, so I understand what a terrible and hopeless feeling it is to have that accusation cast at your feet.

      My first husband never realised he could have had a wife with a healthy libido if he had bothered to show real care for me. Silly silly man.

      Then the people who you disclosed to did not recognise it as a crime. Uugh. I feel for you. That hurts!

      Thank you for sharing on this post. I know it takes a lot to revisit memories like this.

      Please accept a hug from me if it helps.
      from Barb

      1. Thank you. You have helped me more than you know, when i read your paper maybe a year ago about why we stay & why did we go back it helped me understand i was in an abusive relationship and needed help. When i was first recognizing i was needing more than just counseling there wasnt much out there for christians that acknowledged sexual abuse by intimate partners or spousal rape. I decided to write my story via email and web post to any who would listen praying more women like me would come forward finally and perhaps as a force for change compel churchs to stop burying their victims with religious rhetoric about wifely subnission and how God hates divorce etc. When I was looking for a link to your article so I could share it, i found your blog and saw YOU had taken that step! It finally felt like another brick had been layed down for me. An important part of my healing is becoming active in educating on this topic. Thank you so much. And if you get a chance please help me to re locate that article? God Bless.

      2. Hi Diana – thank you! And yes, easy peasy to locate the article. It’s called “Why Didn’t You Leave?” and it’s on my old (solo) website under the Resources tab. Here’s the link:
        Why Didn’t You Leave?

        You can read it on the website, or download it for printing. I hope it gets used in many places. I would love it to be used in recovery groups for survivors, in awareness-raising classes in churches, in workshops… you name it.

        [The Why Didn’t you Leave? link was corrected to reflect the new URL. Editors.]

    2. The line you wrote ” since he intended no harm, hence I should not feel harmed” shouted at me!! So many of my counselors would say things like ” he didn’t mean it that way I am sure, you should n’t take it that way” or ” He doesn’t mean to hurt you with that statement, so you need to forgive him” or ” he has needs you should be honoring them in the bedroom” . SO WRONG!! I have a child with severe panic attacks but his dad didn’t “mean” to cause them so they are just supposed to go away!?!? IDIOTS!!

      1. Yeah.
        So when Hitler invaded Poland, everyone should have just said to themselves “He didn’t mean any harm!” – and got on with their grocery shopping and their hobbies and their gardening. Gee, we could have avoided the Second World War. What idiots we were!

      2. Learning to accept unacceptable behaviors because of assumptions made about the perpetrators motives is one of the fallacies that my therapist addressed early in in our sessions. I have a big problem seeing bad behavior as bad; I prefer to assume good motives, and as noble as that sounds it is very destructive.

  40. I have been divorced from my sexually abusive first husband for almost a dozen years. I honestly do not remember the answers to all the questions you ask in this post.

    I do remember believing that a wife’s submission to her husband was to be as complete as what I now know is sexual slavery. (My religious background is fundamentalist.) I grew up with “Me? Obey Him?” as a go-to marriage manual of wifely submission

    He’d stay up late, porning it up on the internet. I’d go to bed, and eventually he’d come in and rape me while I slept. AND I BELIEVED I OWED IT TO HIM. (defraud not one another) He would claim to have also been asleep, but the last time, I was more awake, and saw him open the door. I waited him out, and went back to sleep. A few weeks later, I was pregnant.

    I wasn’t going to comment, until I saw that other women have been sleep-sexed.

    Eventually, I told my mother, and she reacted with such horror I didn’t tell her any thing else. I did get into therapy with a licensed, trained Christian counselor, and she helped me face the facts I’d been pretending weren’t facts.

    I have a second husband, and he knows my history. He knows he can’t bother me when I’m sleeping, he can’t touch my throat. (I have no knowledge that I’ve ever been choked, but I react as if I have been, so he doesn’t.)

    but mostly I just don’t talk about it and pretend it didn’t happen

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Anonymous. Every story shared gives another survivor the sense that she is not the only one. I’m so sorry for what happened to you. Not just the incidents you described but all the others, the ones that are too many to talk about or too unpleasant to remember.
      I’m glad you now have a caring husband who is sensitive to your potential triggers.

      ‘sleep sexed’ … a handy expression. Sleep is when we are most vulnerable most relaxed, most off guard. Sex done to us while we are asleep is sex done without consent when we are at our most passive. And I recognise that using the “R” word can be really difficult.

      If you mostly avoid talking about this stuff and pretend it didn’t happen, it was probably quite courageous of you to submit this comment. 🙂 Hugs to you.

  41. Anne – if you have not connected with a therapist, I would highly recommend that you do so. This kind of victimization would seriously traumatize anyone and no doubt it has you. I also believe that you are continuing to be traumatized not only by the abuser, but by the “church” you are in that is allowing him to be there. You need to be in a safe spot, and that is not a safe place for you. The advice the elders are giving him amounts to no more than aiding a rapist to do a better job at his evil.

  42. When no one believes you about the emotional and verbal abuse; why say more?
    Although for pure shock value it could be worth the risk in an all in poker game kind of way.

    1. Yes, very good point, SJR. If people don’t believe the victim’s detailed accounts of the abuser’s emotional and verbal abuse, then they are very likely to scoff at a disclosure of sexual abuse. 😦
      and yes, it might be worth the risk if you are steeled to run the full gauntlet . . .

      1. SJR
        I’d be sure that I was in a safe place with safe people (protected if possible) before revealing the truth about abuse. When you start speaking the truth and when you start moving out from under the control and manipulation of the abuser, things can go from bad to worse in a hurry. Protect yourself. Be safe. The abuser sees himself losing what he considers his and he will fight using just about any tactics to keep what he considers his by rights – what he has had for so long. Reveal your questions and concerns to others very, very carefully – and have a plan to get out with your children. Have that bag packed by the door or hidden in the trunk of the car and have the essential paperwork like birth certificates with you at all times as well as cash so you can go if you need to. (Cash is essential – the motels where I wanted to pay with cash so my husband could not trace the credit card required $300 more in cash as a deposit and was I glad I had it!) Getting out is dangerous but may be necessary once you start to stand up for yourself and start to talk.

      2. Leaving isn’t an option. He doesn’t hurt me except in s ways. Every thing said is behind closed doors, even the kids don’t hear anything.
        In the grand scheme of things there are plenty who have it a whole lot worse than I do. I may snap someday and leave, but I’m more of a long range planner. I have a long range plan.

      3. I’m playing a dangerous game these days. I’m tired of my job being to make H look good to friends, family, church.
        I resign, at least on the church front and those friends we see on a regular basis.
        It’s a start anyway. Maybe he’ll change and maybe he will be forced to if he wants to stay in our church. Maybe I’ll be the one under discipline for provoking and for complicity. Like I said, it’s a dangerous game. I’ve put all my cards out. I’m all in; no more left to bet with.
        I’ll either get help and support or seriously stabbed in the back and drop kicked to the curb.
        I’m a bit on edge.

  43. I tried to post from my phone, but I think it got deleted. I finally shared part of my story with a friend a few nights ago and she agreed that what I am going through is sexual abuse. What started the whole thing was another friend asking me if I had been sexually abused because of my reactions, feelings, etc. I didn’t really know how to answer, only because, other than a couple of instances with peers in middle school, the only other person who has victimized me has been my husband. This has been going on fairly regularly for years and I struggle with what to call it. Every time we try to discuss it, it comes back to the fact that, based on scripture, we are not to withhold sex from each other, our bodies belong to each other, etc. My husband has a long-standing porn/masturbation addiction, which I guess I have denied the seriousness of it and try not to ask him about it very often. He has a very high sex drive, and over the past few years, I have grown less and less interested in sex. He regularly uses guilt/pouting/manipulation to get sex when I have already said I am not wanting to that night. He’ll keep asking, being sad, etc until I finally give in and say “fine”. When we are done, I cry. It feels like rape to me because I know that he knows I don’t want to, but does it anyway to fulfill his desires. We did have a talk about it maybe 2 years ago that it felt like I was being taken advantage of, and I tried to set some boundaries, but I am really bad at it. Since he is aware of it, it is a little better in that department, but worse in other ways. I feel panic when he touches me. He will grope my breasts or butt when I am in the middle of housework when I ask him not to. He claims he is just “being playful”. Every night I get into bed one or all of the following happens; Groping of breasts and/or genitals, grabbing me and pulling me to him for a hug instead of asking, “cuddling” with his body completely pressed against mine, etc. Even on nights when I have expressed the fact that I am not interested in sex. He will eventually grope and fondle in my vagina and I feel completely molested by him. I scream inside and consent to sex because in some sick way it feels better than being touched everywhere without consent. And at least there is an end to it… with the groping I don’t feel it will end unless he is “satisfied”. I feel guilt because it is my fault for not having a strong sex drive, for not being able to say no and stick to it, for being a bad Christian wife, and all kinds of other things. I feel like I should let it go because we are in counseling and other areas seem to be improving and our therapist wants me to start trying to trust him with my emotions. I can’t do that. And I can’t tell people that my own husband abuses me. It sounds so stupid. How can someone you love and have intimacy with rape you and molest you? It seems like a contradiction. I have wanted to leave a number of times, but we have young children and not much money. Plus it would cost me greatly. I think I would lose my church and a lot of my friends. And that people won’t understand what really happens. Plus I don’t want people to know. I am just struggling and don’t know where to go from here….

    1. UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


      Dear Anonymous, my heart goes out to you.
      It does sound to me like you are suffering sexual abuse from your husband.
      The scripture about how each spouse’s body belongs to the other goes both ways. Since the Bible says the wife has authority over her husband’s body, you have authority to say “No” to your husband’s body. And since he has been ignoring your no and your polite requests for him to desist from stuff that you don’t feel comfortable with (like the groping of you body while you are doing housework, and the relentless groping of you in bed till you give in) he has caused you to shrink from intimacy. This is not your fault, it is a natural reaction to being treated disrespectfully. How can we freely desire sex with someone who regularly treats us with disrespect? Most of us can’t.

      When one spouse has a higher sex drive than the other but the relationship is one of mutual respect and consideration, the differences in libido can be negotiated by respectful communication and recognition of each others needs and preferences. It sounds like you have been trying to express you needs and preferences, but your husband has been largely disregarding them. If he were a truly caring and considerate husband, he would be recongising that he has hurt you and effectively pushed you away from intimacy, and he should be seeking for ways to rebuild your trust in him so that you and he could negotiate as free and equal members of the partnership.
      Although he has been a little less demanding (callous?) than he might have been in the past, he has by not means made good all his ill-treatment of you. So he is the one who bears the guilt and is responsible for this problem. But until he comes to truly believe that he has hurt and frightened you, and has ridden roughshod over your feelings, and that he is not entitled to have his way sexually with you whenever he wants to, and is truly prepared to make amends for the pain and suffering he has caused you, and does not pressure you to ‘heal’ and quickly turn around from all that pain and intimidation, then he will not truly reform.

      This is difficult for you I know. If you like, Jeff and I can send you copies of our two books as gifts. If you want that, email us to let us know a safe shipping address where we can send the books. And I encourage you to keep reading on this blog. Blessings and hugs. Barb

    2. Hello, Anonymous.

      Dear woman, let me tell you that the way your husband treats you is not consistent with godly love. I have been on both sides of this fence. My former husband wasn’t quite as brutal as yours is, but he too was addicted to pornography and refused to take ‘no’ for an answer. I hated being with him. But, I have since remarried a wonderful man, and sex is not a chore or a burden or something to be feared, it is a blessing.

      This is not about sex; it is about domination. Sex is a wonderful, beautiful thing when it is enjoyed in the holy (yes, holy) union of marriage, with love and genuine respect and affection as the foundation. But, when you feel unsafe and disrespected, you should not expect to enjoy sex. It feels like a violation because it is.

      I am pretty irritated with your counselor, too. Why should you be expected to trust your husband with your emotions or give yourself to him? Respect is earned. He has not earned it. Why are you the one responsible for fixing this situation? Barb is right – put the responsibility on the one who should have it.

      I know how hard it is to imagine leaving, but I personally recommend it if you can do it. You need time and space to detox and get to a place where you can objectively see the abuse for what it is – to learn how to identify it and to reclaim your value. I also believe it is far better to live with less and be safe and content than to remain in an abusive home. Your children should not have to grow up in an abusive home, either. (In this, I hope you will take a look at my piece entitled, “What About the Children?” You can find it here: What About The Children? [Internet Archive link]

      Don’t doubt your instincts or your discernment in this. They are telling you what you need to know.

      Also, you are right – some people will not understand. If you lose your church, then those people don’t understand abuse or godly marriage – and, to be blunt, you never really had church to begin with. You have to get to a place where you don’t care about what other people think – it’s what you KNOW that matters. Some of us “get it.” And we will help you walk this path if you decide to leave.

      I wish you well.

      In Him,


      1. cindy, thank you. i have no idea how to do this 😦 i am disclosing all of this to my personal counselor this coming wednesday and i am scared of what will come when all of this comes into the light. i get really terrified inside when i think of having to explain why i need to leave (if that’s what i do). my husband really doesn’t seem to understand what he has done to me. our marriage counselor doesn’t know that i have been molested/raped/groped without permission. until a few days ago i didn’t even know i could call it that. the hard part is that i was already vulnerable with depression, eating disorder, and insecurity from years of daily bullying as a child. so enduring 9 years of this after all of that is almost unbearable. when i call it what it is, my mind screams that i am a liar and i shouldn’t tell anyone. i really need help. 😦

      2. Dear Anonymous
        I also suggest you consider ringing the Hotline for domestic abuse and finding the contact details of your nearest shelter and domestic abuse advocacy service. I think it would be helpful for you to have that as a potential source of support (and even refuge) should you need it in the future. The more support (from people who really GET IT about abuse) you have while you are going through this, the better.

        I too suffered abuse as a child, and many of us have on this blog as well, but not all of us. Being abused as a child can in some ways set us up or make us more vulnerable to being abused by covertly aggressive people in adulthood, but that does not mean we are at fault. It just means that lots of people have taken advantage of us, and often taken advantage of our very best qualities, like our empathy, compassion, kindness, courtesy towards others, etc.

      3. Believe it or not, I can remember well feeling the way you are feeling. I can tell you are really hurting, and I am so sorry. My heart breaks for you.


  44. Thank you so much for your reply. It is amazing to hear that it is not just in my head, that i am not alone, and that there is hope. i am not sure what the next weeks and months will look like, but i do know that things have to be different or i am not going to make it. thank you for offering the books, i will email you a good address to send them.

  45. Anonymous– your story sounds exactly like mine. I’ve written about it over on my blog before and the act of writing it out helped tremendously.

    I want to thank you for something you said. For years, I’ve had all the signs and symptoms of being sexually abused. Sometimes I’ve wondered if something happened as a child and I buried the memory despite the fact my memory is pretty good and there are few gaps (as a child anyway– I’ve got lots of gaps after the marriage.) Reading your comment, it smacked me good–

    — well, DUH!

    Of course I have all the symptoms of being sexually abused. I met this guy at 17 who systematically groomed me, then stayed with him for thirty years believing I had no way out and no other choice.

    If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck. . .

    BTW, it never got better. If you want to read the articles, send me an email and I’ll link you up.

    1. Anonymous- many of us have been there. It is so hard to admit. Much easier for me to admit emotional abuse, then slowly I have started to admit the sexual abuse. It is so personal and intimate and to share it with people at large…what will they do with this information kinda of thing. Hard for me to not feel like I am the dirty/guilty party when I was the victim! Praying for you!

      1. Yes, I feel like the wrong one, the dirty one. And now that I have confronted him, he wants me to keep it secret, since it is a “private” issue and we will work on it in marriage counseling 😦

      2. Anonymous we have many posts on this blog about the dangers of couple counseling (marriage counseling/marriage intensives) in domestic abuse. I’d encourage you to look up that ‘couple counseling’ in the tags.
        You do not have to keep it private just because your husband wants you to. You are free to make your own choices about who you want to tell, based on who you feel safe with, and who you believe it would be right to expose your husband’s sins to in accord with godliness (Eph. 5:11).

        I don’t know whether you’ve read these posts yet, but if not, you might like to check them out.
        The Unique Nature of Sexual Intimacy Makes its Abuse Uniquely Destructive

        Addendum to “The Unique Nature of Sexual Intimacy Makes its Abuse Uniquely Destructive” — from Steven Tracy

        Sexual abuse in marriage – what should a Christian wife do?

      3. Anonymous!!
        I’m going to throw in my experience with rapists/sex offenders/abusers in general: When they are confronted with their evil behavior they ALWAYS say something like “let’s not tell anyone else” or “let’s keep this between us” or “this is private” blah blah blah Please know that this is standard and he just wants you to keep your mouth shut. For his own benefit of course.
        You don’t have to do what he demands!! YOU do not have to keep HIS dirty secrets! It is not YOUR JOB to make sure that he LOOKS GOOD to the public! I just want to encourage you not to listen to his forked tongue. 😦 You stand up for yourself and you get your distance, draw that boundary. You can’t heal when there are no boundaries.
        You are a worthy of respect! ((hugs))

  46. If you don’t mind me adding another comment about my experience with those in Christian leadership positions…

    My husband is a sex addict. I know that label is controversial, so use whatever label you find most comfortable to describe a man with a many decades-long obsession with extreme porn, prostitutes, and sexual deviancies that are far into the paraphilia section of the DSM. We battled tooth & nail in the early years of our marriage over porn, but eventually I submitted to his obsession with it in the hopes that one day he would change due to the fervent prayers being sent to Heaven from me & a few of my family members I confided in. There are worse things he was/is also into, but for the sake of the public nature of this blog I’ll not describe them here.

    A couple of years ago I finally had one too many “discovery days” of yet more deviant porn as well as a love letter he’d written to another woman. I immediately recognized that my defining moment had arrived. I contacted his Men’s Minister to spill the beans and also got myself into counseling immediately. This wonderful Christian counselor immediately believed what I told her and was willing to set aside the stock Christian responses all of us abuse victims have heard ad nauseum. I thank God for her and am still with her for counseling to this day. She is the one who helped me see the light that abuse isn’t something to tolerate for the sake of Christianity. She has walked with me every step of the way.

    Anyway, she quickly helped me develop the courage to approach my husband with what I’d discovered and lay down some boundaries. He was none to pleased with any of them, but one that particularly stuck in his craw was my insistence he get involved with a sex addiction group. Any group, I didn’t care, just as long as it was a group IRL focused on helping sex addicts recover. This was my ultimatum. Get help or we’re getting divorced. After over a month of me holding firm to that ultimatum he finally joined a Christian sex addicts group that was for men only.

    I think he totally snowed the group and group leader(s).

    I say this because as the months went by nothing about him changed. I continued to make discoveries, he only got meaner & more abusive towards me. Eventually I made another discovery of horrifying porn (featuring HIM) that the children could have easily found (for all I know they did but haven’t been able to tell me yet). That was it for me. I knew in that moment that if I didn’t divorce him I would be handed a millstone to put around MY neck for not protecting my children from him.

    In secret I began the divorce proceedings. While I waited for the paperwork to be signed by the judge I wanted to prepare to flee town with the children. I approached my church about the problem. This church was/is not the church I’ve mentioned above that only ever counseled me to pray. This church believed me. I wanted to let the pastors know what was happening because I wanted them to be able to step up and counsel my husband when he was served. I knew that my husband was not expecting me to divorce him & throw him out of the house, so I knew he would be shocked. I had hoped that if the pastors were able to counsel him, he would be comforted and perhaps even finally repent. I also hoped that they might help my husband contain his anger & wrath, since I was afraid he would kill me & the children. My desire was to serve my husband the divorce papers myself with the pastors there in the room. My pastors knew that my husband was involved with this Christian sex addict support group, so they suggested that perhaps I should involve the leaders of that group and have them present instead. I thought that sounded reasonable, so I contact that support group.

    THAT is where I was met with such fierce resistance, I could hardly believe it was real. First of all, none of the leaders of his group wanted to talk to me. I kept explaining I wanted them to help my husband, not me. Finally I ended up speaking to the regional leader of this group. His condescension was crazy-making. He kept implying that I was doing the wrong thing. He said I needed to pray (that again???). That I needed to make sure my motivations were pure (how would he know they weren’t? what made him think I didn’t already know this about myself?). I told him that I needed his group’s help because of my husband’s violent anger. He said he didn’t want to put his men in harm’s way. I said that me & the kids were already in harm’s way, I needed Godly men for back-up this time. Then he said that he wouldn’t talk to me anymore until I talked to his wife. His wife was the leader or director of the women’s group that was aligned with this men’s sex addict group. The women’s group was for the wives of sex addicts. So I called her and had yet another futile conversation. She insisted that I needed to join her support group, that I must not try and walk this path alone. I told her that I wasn’t alone, I had my church support and a Christian counselor. She continued to insist that I MUST join her group & attend the weekly meetings. I told her I didn’t have time for weekly meetings, nor did I have the funds to pay for babysitters while I went to weekly meetings. I didn’t want to join a support group for women who were still married to sex addicts, I didn’t want to join a group that was going to tell me what to do with my life when I already knew what needed to be done.

    Then I called the men’s group director guy back. It took several days to reach him personally. I told him that I’d done what he asked, I’d spoken to his wife, now I was asking him for help again to support my husband when I served him with the papers. He told me that sure, he’d help, but it was going to be on HIS timetable and according to HIS rules. I was to submit myself to his leadership and do nothing further until he told me. And you know what? I said yes! ARGH! I said yes, okay, I’ll wait and do what you say. Even though my spirit & gut cried out to me NOOOOOOOOOO, I said yes. I was, after all, accustomed to being abused, devalued, and unsure of my own mind.

    Thankfully I was unable to rest easy with that decision. A few days later I was absolutely frantic of what this man was planning. He was refusing to communicate with me, I was terrified he was going to approach my husband before me & the children were out of town. I was in fear for my life. I realized that no, I don’t need to let another man be in charge of me, I don’t need to submit to a man I don’t even know. I am an adult, I am capable, I know what I’m doing is right, I’M IN CHARGE. So I called him back and, since he still wouldn’t talk to me, I left a message on his voicemail telling him thanks but no thanks, I don’t want his help, his help is not help. He never called me back.

    In the end I didn’t serve my husband the papers. I had a process server do the deed after me & the kids were out of town. My pastors were wonderful, they contacted my husband and tried to counsel him. It was then that they finally saw a crack in the Christian mask that my husband wore so well. They then could see who the abuser was and who was the victim. My church has unfailingly supported me ever since, asking me for clarification when they needed to understand, believing me when I told them additional truths & discoveries. They’ve never made me feel like I was losing my salvation because I chose to divorce. They’ve not shunned me, shamed me or blamed me.

    As for the Christian men’s only sex addict support group? Who knows.

  47. I’m putting this here on behalf of one of our Anonymous readers:
    My husband and I are currently separated and I am not sure how to handle things. Over the last three years there has not been one single time that I have had the desire to have sex with him. He would just ask and my response would be “if you have to just get it over with”. He continued to pressure and ask me to shower with him when I begged him not to. I cried and screamed and tried everything and he continued to push the issue of showering. Then I had no sexual desire at all towards him. He would be so angry and huff and puff if I said no. After I had my son it was so physically painful that I cried the entire time and for hours after but that didn’t matter to him. Having been raped in my past the fact that he didn’t have the respect for me to not do it really took its toll over time. It feels like abuse in my gut but I have a father who is a pastor who is saying I need to do everything I can to protect my marriage. I was talking him today and he said he wanted to come home and I honestly almost had a panic attack. I am to the point that I don’t want any physical affection from him at all because I connect with the same emotions I had from the rape. I don’t know what to do. I want to keep my family together but I cannot live like that anymore.

    1. I share these exact feelings and i don’t ever want his hands on me would be like re-living a nightmare. I don’t believe that God is pleased for us to suffer these things for the sake of marriage…that kind of life is not even a true marriage.
      Truth is that i did not even know that i had been raped until i began telling it to a few selected close friends which were not only female but also male. One thing i knew for sure is that i hated it. After i found out the truth it made me shudder. Husbands think that they are entitled to our bodies whenever they desire and some are content for us to just lie there while they enjoy themselves whether we participate or not. I remember just lying there disgustedly waiting for it to be over and when it was i felt like flinging him off of me so i could go to the bathroom to wash myself. It was a truly awful experience for me and I’d rather die before i go back there.

  48. Within the last weeks I have discovered I have been living with a narcissist. I wish it were called something else because I can never use that word to others. For others to not tune me out (even friends) I have decided to label it “this type of abuser” without giving it a name.

    I am still living at home as I try to process the fact I’ve been married to a man I thought loved me. Now I know that he never did and could not. A narcissist sees others in his life as tools to be used.

    In processing all the events of our marriage in a new light (reality and truth vs the fantasy and denial I was living) I have come to acknowledge the sexual abuse in our marriage. It started with him getting me into a corner of the kitchen and fondling me. If I didn’t provide the appropriate response (positive) I would be punished with silence and hostility (never physical abuse). He brought porn into the marriage and insisted I share that with him. This went on long enough that I became addicted for a short time. I was disgusted with myself but by this time had no idea what “normal” was. Of course he insisted (with his version of evidence) that I was a prude and being hurtful to him by not cooperating…let me rephrase that…enjoying whatever he wanted to do. I was required to not only endure but be believable in my reaction that I was enjoying his hurtful behavior.

    He had naked photos of ex and took some of me. I told him I wasn’t comfortable but he said that meant I didn’t trust him. I told him it hurt me and wasn’t right for him to be looking at the ex’s photos but he again said it meant I didn’t trust him. I was the one living in the past if this person from the past bothered me.

    He would comment on breasts, etc of women in public to me. It was never done in an obviously replusive way…more subtle but I still was left feeling like a raggedy dog. Eventually the photo thing had to be taken to the next level and he wanted to take ‘sexy’ photos of me (“strongly suggest” I wear such and such that day). He would go to a place that was fairly public and expect me to pose for him, knowing someone could walk by at any moment. By this time in our marriage I was so battered down I didn’t even think this was so bad. I told myself we were having fun together. That makes me feel ashamed that I could be so disrespectful to myself. I know now that his brainwashing was to blame.

    Any time I would tell him I didn’t like something (sexual) or was uncomfortable he always said it was due to me being a prude (raised in a very strict home) or due to my childhood rape. As I type that I realize if he was so more “grounded” and “in reality” then doesn’t it make sense to be EXTRA sensitive to someone with a sexual trauma bkg??

    For anyone reading this who is just considering if they might be in an abusive relationship I want to stress that even if he doesn’t outright call you names or rage at you, it is still abuse. Brainwashing IS abuse. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have God in my life to ground me. He is my rock through this nightmare I am still living.

    1. Dear Overcomer, thanks for sharing your very painful story. You are not alone, as you will know from having read all the comments on this post!

      It hurts being abused, used, brainwashed, coerced, and defiled. And it hurts waking up to how one has been abused, used, brainwashed, coerced and defiled.

      Congratulations for having the courage and openness of eyes to face the truth. May God bless you, heal you, cleanse you and make you strong in Him. We hope you keep coming to this blog. 🙂

  49. i have suffered sexual abuse in my marriage. i was raped twice by my husband before we were married. During the marriage he had sex with me while i was asleep and it sometimes occurred in my anus. He once slapped me on my pubic area because i didn’t want to have sex with him. these are just some of the things i suffered. i no longer have any desire towards him and i desperately want a divorce because i do not love him. but because of my undying need for love and companionship i fell in love with other men but i never had intercourse with any of them. im in a difficult position because we have children and i need to be there for them. but i long to be free because i would like to move on and have someone in my life. there is so much more but its too much for me to write all at once.
    i also was molested as a child by both a male and female offender and at the age of 21 by a male relative.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Glen, and thank you for sharing. Sexual abuse is awful.. and to suffer it as a child and then a young adult and then in marriage too… I grieve with you. Please know that you are not alone. Many of us here, including myself, were sexually abused as children, and then were abused by our spouses as well. It is no your fault. You are not to blame. I understand the yearning to be loved, and how that can lead us into sometimes dangerous territory. I’m so glad you have managed to resist or refrain from full adultery, as that would not be an answer to your pain in the long run. I do hope you keep reading the blog and commenting whenever you feel like it. love from Barb

  50. I said to a friend on the phone tonight that I know it’s not really “true”, but I feel like I am being abused by my husband.
    I was sexually abused as a child and have been going through a really intense time of trying to heal from that. My husband wants sex every second day, at a minimum, and if I won’t give him intercourse, he wants some other thing that will bring him to climax. He will pout and be angry and tell me that he feels I am not able to be intimate, or make me feel so guilty about “rejecting” him that I give in, even though I often feel like a sexual object. I have always gotten the impression from him that he thought all of our intimacy problems were my fault because of my history of abuse.
    He constantly gropes me even when our children are in the same room. He makes comments about my body multiple times per day. I have asked him to stop this many times. I have said it is a trigger for me, it makes me feel objectified, but he always says that’s not fair, and it’s just because I am so hot, and don’t I know that he loves me. He feels he should be able to grab me any time he wants because he likes that.
    I am afraid to change my clothes when he is in the room because he will come on to me and won’t stop asking until I give in and have sex. He will say it’s my fault because I am so sexy, he can’t help it. He says sex is a biological need, like breathing.
    I recently had a major setback in my healing from childhood sexual abuse. I told him that I felt like if I had to have sex again I would vomit. (He absolutely knows that I would not withhold sex from him for very long. I have always complied, and we had just had sex 2 days before). He became passively angry about this and said he was worried that he wouldn’t be having sex for a while and that it was not fair. It was not fair TO HIM that I was going through this. When I fell asleep that night, he checked out an online affair website, but says he had no real intention of meeting anyone, he was just so worried he wouldn’t have sex for a while.
    Is this sexual abuse? I don’t even know.

    1. It does sound like abuse to me, Kathpro. His pattern of pouting and being angry and criticising and guilt-tripping you when he doesn’t get what he wants are definitely traits we often see in abusers. Notice I said “pattern”. The pattern of conduct is one of the key things that differentiates abuse from everything else. Likewise, the impression he conveys to you that it’s ALL YOUR FAULT. That’s another red flag. And the unwanted groping and lewd remarks, when you’ve made it clear they are unwelcome, that’s definitely abuse. Abusers don’t respect our ‘No’. And when it comes to sex, he is coercing you into it a lot of the time, which means you are not giving your consent freely, but only under coercion.

      We all occasionally hurt or mistreat others, but when someone continues this even when they’ve been told/asked not to, that’s a sign the person is abusive. Abuse is a mentality of entitlement, and someone who believes he is entitled to have his needs met no matter what will not respect your No, your boundaries, your preferences.

      I recently had a major setback in my healing from childhood sexual abuse. I told him that I felt like if I had to have sex again I would vomit.

      I get that. It sounds like you were simply telling him how you felt — what emotions you were going through — and I’m guessing you wanted to share that with him as part of your journey. I know that when I have gone through deep stuff emotionally I have often wanted to talk about what I’m feeling. I want to be understood, cared for, loved, nurtured. I want compassion from the listener. If that was where you were coming from when you told him “I feel like if I have to have sex again I will vomit,” you were simply seeking kindness and compassion from him but he took it as an announcement that you were withdrawing sexual relations from him. He didn’t hear you in your pain at all, all he heard was that he would be denied his ‘rights’. That is a clear sign of an abusive mentality. It’s all about him.

      I hope you will read more on our site as there is a lot here that I think you may find helpful. My heart goes out to you. But know that you are not alone in this, many readers at this blog have experienced similar things to what you are experiencing.

  51. Wow, I’m sitting here at work reading this and it blows my mind. In some ways, this sounds all too familiar and in others, I think, “Maybe I’m blowing everything I’m feeling out of proportion.” This is my story. You be the judge.
    I have never admitted to anyone what I am feeling and what happens in my sex life. It’s like this horrifying nightmare I live in.

    It started when we were engaged. He has always been a smooth talker. He should have been a politician. Somehow he convinced me to have sex with him before we were married. I went home that night confused how it happened. It wasn’t what I wanted, but then he made me feel like since it was done in God’s eyes we were already married; therefore, I had to continue to have sex with him, and even though I felt it was wrong, he kept pressuring me to keep doing it.

    After we were married, it got really bad. He brought in a full trunk full of stuff for me to use on our honeymoon (things he’d got from sex shops). He said it was his God given right to get to experiment as much as he wanted, and I wasn’t allowed to deny him my body. Some of the things I had moral objections to and he got angry and upset when I refused to use them. He has always been selfish. My needs are never met and when he does make me beg, he makes me feel like I am the scum of the earth for asking, and he is doing me this huge favor for doing it, especially the time when he said some pretty terrible things about my genitals. It has been 3 years and the words still ring in my ears like it was yesterday.
    He is always grabbing me. I already don’t like just being touched, but he is constantly just grabbing me whether it’s a hug, kiss, grouping, etc. If I ask him to do something he says, “It’s gonna cost you.” I can’t dress in front of him without him making rude comments about my body. Speaking of my body, I have always been on the chubbier side. He always told me that he found bigger girls beautiful and I foolishly believed him until I overheard him tell a friend, “If you keep your girl fat, you get to keep your girl. No one else will want her.” But he will block my path and demand that I let him kiss my mouth before I can do almost anything. He will touch me inappropriately in public (including family and friends) even after begging him to stop so many times.

    I remember the turning point though. I messed up on something in our relationship. I came forward and confessed and asked for his forgiveness. He got angry and decided that I needed to be punished. He became violent to me sexually and while he was doing it he said, “That’s what you deserve you dirty b*****,” and then walked away.

    I know he has sent inappropriate photos of me (that he forced me into) to his buddies.

    I just want him to leave me alone. I don’t trust him. I’m scared of him. I’m hurt by him, but I don’t know what to do.

    1. Dear Aenon
      I am so sorry you are experiencing such your pain and fear. I think you are quite right not to trust him. He has violated you body and soul in many ways and he has disrespected you, treated you as an object, and committed crimes against you. Sending those photos to his buddies was a crime. As was all the times he raped you and sexually assaulted you and made you do things you did not feel comfortable doing: you did not give consent, you were coerced and intimidated to force you into compliance.

      I suggest you keep reading and sharing on this blog, not just on this post but on any other posts that interested you. And check out our Resources pages (see the tab in the top menu). We strongly recommend Lundy Bancroft’s book. Myriads of victims have found it very helpful.

      You might also find it helpful to phone a Domestic Abuse hotline and talk over your situation with them. I think they will confirm that you are being abused. Most vitims of abuse find it very helpful to have people validate that YES, IT IS ABUSE.

      Here is our Hotlines page.

  52. Ok so I have written before and now I’m back cause not much had changed. Two years ago I woke in the middle of the night to my husband violating me sexually, excuse bluntness, but anally. We have discussed this in the past I do not like it nor do I think he has a right to touch me while I sleep. We currently are going through a rough patch in our marriage due to lack of involvement with in the family. I.e. being out playing sport or other activities well past after kids are asleep after he already worked several hours that day. He does this a lot. I have felt he has put his family and me on the back burner and he will attend to us when it is convenient for him. We have discussed this and he has promised to change as well as set up counseling. He has been more involved but has not set up counseling yet. With in all of this I have been hurt repeatedly by him and really need time to heal. Last time we had sex was 4 days ago. I am currently on my cycle plus have just been distant from all the other emotional pain he has caused. For the past two nights I have woke up several times to him fondling my genitals through my clothes. I even woke once before it started but was laying on my side. I know he thought I was asleep cause he cautiously and slowly tried to inch his hand down below. Like at first just hugging me from spooning position then he would move his hand a little at a time until he was down there. I waited to see how far he would take it. Once he was down there if I moved he would yank his hand away and pretend to be asleep like I just woke up. Last night I batted his hand away twice and he just rolled over. Tonight he pretended he had a dream. He knows I feel violated and molested when he does this I have told him this point blank. He even said 4 days ago after we had sex that he had been thinking about it and now that his head was clear he was going to try to sacrifice that for me. Now he is doing it again. I hurt so bad and am so conflicted on what to do. He still has not set up counseling. I am waiting for him because if he does this it will show me he really wants this to work. I feel molested with in my own home and marriage. Please any advise would be great I feel lost and alone.

    1. Dear Lost, I have some tough news for you. Are you ready to take it in? I hope so.

      Counseling is not going to help. In fact, it will possibly make it even worse for you. The reason I say this is that he shows CLEAR signs that he is an abuser, and abusers use couple counseling to further their abuse. I strongly advise you not to hang out for him setting up counseling, as it is only going to prolong your pain and not fix anything.

      Please look at our tag for couple counseling — you will see that many many victims of abuse have found it very unhelpful and dangerous.

      How do I know you husband is an abuser? He has anally raped you (you’ve told him you don’t like that kind of sex so it IS rape: you have not consented, that makes it rape.) And worse still, he did it while you were asleep, at your most vulnerable. And he has repeatedly sexually assaullted and/or raped you while you were asleep. He clearly does not care about your wishes and preferences! His being a bit more involved in the family recently is just him trying to make you think he is changing. It is just a tactic to get you to soften towards him and give him more chances. In other words, it is just manipulation, therefore it’s just more abuse.

      Do not give credit to his words: he actions show that what he says and what he promises is not what he really thinks. Assess what he really thinks by the way he acts.

      He even said 4 days ago after we had sex that he had been thinking about it and now that his head was clear he was going to try to sacrifice that for me.

      Can you see how manipulative this is? He talked about ‘sacrificing that for you’. A decent man would not even engage in selfish and perverted lusts like that, let alone imply that those lusts are something he is by right entitled to but is graciously sacrificing for his wife. So even when he was making that pretence of being a caring husband, his selfish entitlement leaked out with that word ‘sacrificing’.

      So glad you have come back here. Hope you keep visiting the blog. We care about you.

      I also have to inform you that sexual abuse is one of the signs that you are in a HIGH RISK situation. This means there is high risk of a lethal outcome: him killing you / him suiciding / you suiciding. Please take this fact seriously and consider how important it may be for you to put your own safety first. If you want confirmation of what I’m saying, or want to assess your risk in more detail, I suggest you take the MOSAIC Method Questionnaire: it is free and totally confidential. You can find a link to it on our Resources page for Safety Planning.

      1. Comment by SJR

        Lethal outcome. Now I get it! For me, I don’t believe my husband will kill me. He has rarely left marks. What is much more likely is the danger of me suiciding. I have come extremely close soon after a heavy concentration of what I’m finding out (admitting) is sexual abuse. And right now I am maxed or nearly so, the online assessments for depression, anxiety and PTSD. So I finally get it. The danger isn’t necessarily death by HIS hands, but by my own.

        I am currently OK on that end of things.

      2. Yes. A lethal outcome can be any one or any combination of:
        the abuser killing himself
        the abuser killing his target (his spouse or ex-spouse)
        the abuser killing the children (usually as some form of retribution against his spouse/ex-spouse)
        the target killing herself
        the target killing the abuser

        I’m not sure whether to include ‘the target killing the children’ in this list. I know that some women kill their children, but from my limited knowledge this does not happen in situations where the woman is a victim of domestic abuse from her partner. It tends to only happen, I think, when women are seriously mentally ill.

        SJR, I shall pray for you.

      3. And for the sake of male readers, as we note in the sidebar of this blog, under What Is Abuse, sometimes the male is the target (the victim) and the female is the abuser.

  53. I’m a late commenter here but it is a relief to know that what happened to me is abuse. My husband would tell me he knew I didn’t want to get a divorce and in the same sentence ask me to have sex. I was so naive, I would do it because I didn’t want the divorce. I now know it was emotional blackmail. He had sex with me for over 20 years while I was sleep. I would ask him to stop because it gave me nightmares. I would always dream someone was holding me down and I would be trapped and couldn’t move. He would say he was sorry and would do it again. I felt so dirty and less of a person. We were told about this pastor that had an anointing to save marriages. We went, I was embarrassed to tell him the problem I was having. He finally talked me into telling him, with my spouse sitting right there next to me. I told him and he then took me to a passage of scripture showing me where God said I had to forgive my husband, and if I didn’t, God would not forgive me of my sins. We didn’t address my husband at all, he only talked to me. My spouse said nothing the whole time. We left and I decided to forgive him. Nothing changed!!! He kept doing the same thing to me sexually. We have been married for 28 years. A few years ago, he came out of the bathroom and announced, “God don’t want me doing that anymore”. No apology, no remorse. He has stopped for the last 5-6 years and I feel like I should be over it but I keep revisiting it sometimes and being angry about it. I recently told him that I had no sexual desire for him anymore because we don’t have a emotional closeness and sex is hard for me right now. I told him I was doing it out of a sense of duty. He still ask for sex and acts like I never talked to him about this. He pretends like nothing is wrong with our marriage.

    you can email me

    1. Dear Longtimepainfulmarriage, thank you for your comment here, and welcome to the blog! 🙂

      I am so glad you have figured out that your husband was emotionally blackmailing you to coerce you into having sex with him.
      By having sex with you while you were asleep he was abusing you. I would call that rape. Twenty years of rape! I am so sorry for what you went through. I can barely imagine what pain and confusion it caused you. . .
      And the way that so-called anointed pastor dealt with you was downright wicked as well. Ooh that makes me angry, when pastors and leaders do things like that!

      A few years ago, he came out of the bathroom and announced, “God don’t want me doing that anymore”. No apology, no remorse. He has stopped for the last 5-6 years and I feel like I should be over it but I keep revisiting it sometimes and being angry about it. I recently told him that I had no sexual desire for him anymore because we don’t have a emotional closeness and sex is hard for me right now. I told him I was doing it out of a sense of duty. He still ask for sex and acts like I never talked to him about this. He pretends like nothing is wrong with our marriage.

      What you describe here is typical abuser behaviour: pretending there is nothing wrong with the marriage, when in fact he has abused you for years, and him ceasing to rape you while you are asleep is not a sufficient change to make things all right with the marriage. I am not at all surprised you have no sexual desire for him. How can anyone desire sex with someone who has raped and coerced them into sex for decades and then out of the blue stops part of the abuse but makes no reparation, asks no forgiveness, and does not see that he has really hurt you that badly at all? You are quite healthy to not desire sex with such a man. And you are healthy to feel angry sometimes about what he has done to you! Your anger shows that you are not content with being abused. You desire to be loved and cherished, but what he is doing is shallow, superficial change of some of his behavior without changing the granite-like hardness of his heart. And he is still abusing you by acting like you are wrong to say that there is something still wrong with the marriage.

      You are not crazy. He is still abusing you.

      I hope you continue to visit this blog and find help here. If you look at the sidebar to the right of the blog you will see a Subscribe by Email field. If you wish to be sent emails whenever a new post is published, fill that out.
      And I also suggest you look at our New Users’ Information page as it has helpful tips about how to stay safe on this blog. Hugs and blessings to you.

      PS I don’t need to email people who gave their stories on this thread any more, as the chapter I was writing for which I wanted to gather the stories has now been published. But thank you anyway.

  54. I was wondering if I could have some opinions on what I am going through. If its a situation of miscommunication or abuse. I feel like my husband does do some of the things that would be considered emotional abuse, but mostly passive aggressively. For instance guilt trips and alot of pouting when he doesn’t get his way. He also will get very upset and stop talking to me for a few hours. However my biggest concern is the sexual aspect of it. He has told me in the past that I don’t like the things I am supposed to like, and that I am alot of work (referring to gettin me to enjoy sex). He recently told me he doesn’t sexually desire me, but he still does things that are confusing, like when I am making lunch for the kids he will pin me against the counter and start kissing me and groping me in ways he knows I don’t like. I don’t feel comfortable doing those things in front of my kids but he gets upset if I dont join in, but even if I try not to resist and just cringe and let him do it, he then pouts and acts like he doesn’t know why I respond that way. I feel like I have to cover myself with my arms everytime I am around him. It’s gotten so bad that I have no interest in being with him sexually. I feel like he has noticed and is pushing the sex topic more now. He doesn’t seem to understand why I don’t want sex. Recently he has even used his hands to physically pleasure me (because he knows how to) after I told him I didn’t want anything. I don’t understand it, because if we avoid the sex topic we have really good days and get along well, but if it comes up it never ends well. Also we started going to marriage counseling and I have started to discover this could be a bad thing. However I don’t think he even realizes what he is doing is wrong, even though I have told him I don’t like the things he does. I am trying to figure out what I should do next. I am a christian and want to be a good wife, but I don’t want to have to live with abuse (if that’s what this is)

    1. Welcome to the blog, Unsure 🙂 Well done for having the courage to express your concerns and uncertainties.

      Firstly, it sounds to me that your husband is sexually abusing you. It may not be as severe a type of sexual abuse as some others have experienced, but that does not mean it is okay. You have clearly expressed your wish that he NOT do certain things to you, and yet he continues to do them. He is doing those things to you without your consent. So that makes it sexual assault.

      Furthermore, he is deliberately ignoring your pleas and your requests, and then pretends that he doesn’t understand he is doing anything wrong! That is abuse, because he is showing no regard for your needs and your rights. And to pretend he doesn’t understand is just another tactic of abuse: it’s a way o resisting having to take responsibility for his unkind behaviour and change it.

      The pouting, guilt trips and silent treatment, since they are a pattern of behavior designed to maintain control over you and break down your resistance to the abuse. . . that is also abuse — emotional abuse. And emotional abuse is serious: when it goes on for a long time, and the abuser keeps resisting all attemepts to make him accountable and get him to change, then emotional abuse often makes the victim wonder whether she is going crazy.

      You are not crazy. You have legitimate concerns and legitimate complaints because your rights and needs are being ignored and run roughshod over. He is disrespecting you and treating you like an object.

      You want to be a good wife. I would suggest to you that a godly wife, any godly person, can resist and refuse to comply with the way another person habitually mistreats them. A godly person can say NO! A godly person call say “I want you to respect me, not treat me like an object. I want you to respect me, not ignore my requests!” And a godly person might also decide that in some circumstances it is safer and wiser to say nothing and to appear to comply with the abuse, because active or overt resistance will only bring her into more danger. I’m sure you know this in your gut feelings and have been practising these principles already; I’m just wanting to reassure you that it is godly and wise to take strategic action to try to protect and safeguard your rights, your dignity and your integrity of personhood. So well done. Don’t feel guilty for how you have been responding to the abuse. And if anyone triues to make you feel guilty for your responses, you can wisely ignore them or tell they that you don’t believe they understand.

      I hope you keep reading our blog. We have lots or resources and links and posts that i think you may find helpful.

      One other point: rather than label your husband’s behaviour as ‘passive aggressive’ I suggest you call it ‘covert aggressive’. Dr George Simon writes a lot about how ‘passive aggressive’ is a widely misused and misunderstood term in psychology. For example, see here:
      Commonly Misused Psychology Terms – Part 2 [Internet Archive link]

  55. Wow. Some of the comments people have written are similar to me. I’m still married and living with my husband, and not sure how to go about leaving, or if it’s bad enough to leave. Any advice?
    I’ve experienced this. before we got married we had sex because we were engaged and going to get married anyway. I did it once (out of curiosity), and then I was pressured into it every weekend. I didn’t want to not do it for fear he wouldn’t marry me.
    • he’s offered me money for things (e.g. to spend on Christmas or birthdays for the family) if I give him sex in ways I don’t like. And I accepted because we wouldn’t have had those celebrations otherwise.
    • he’s pressured me into anal sex
    • he’s pressured me into oral sex
    • he’s pressured me into sex when I didn’t want to.
    • guilted me situations where I would see his naked body when I didn’t want to.
    • made me watch porn to turn me on.
    • groped me during sex, when he knows I don’t like it.
    • continued with sex even when I’m crying because I hate it so much.
    • accused me that it’s all in my head, and I should just give him sex, and “can’t you just pretend to enjoy it??”
    • when I’ve had a vaginal infection he accused me of making it out as worse than it was so I don’t have to have sex.
    • complains and makes me feel guilty when I get my period.
    • nagged me for sex when heavily pregnant, or just after having had a baby.
    • forced me into years of therapy to fix me, because I don’t like sex.
    • coerced the children to stay in another part of the house and locked our doors so we could have sex, when he knew I didn’t want to.
    • quoted the bible in saying that sex is supposed to be beautiful and that our bodies are each other’s to enjoy.

    [note from Barb: screen name of commenter and some details in the comment altered to protect the commenter’s identity. I hope you don’t mind, commenter, I gave you the screen name carnellian. It is a precious jewel. And I’ve just read a Sherlock Holmes story called “The Blue Carnellian” so I thought I’d use that. ]

    1. Dear Carnellian, welcome to the blog 🙂

      From what you’ve written here, it’s clear that your husband believes you are just there to be used by him as an object, and he does not care about you as a person or your feelings at all. He has been blaming you for not being keen on sex with him, but his treatment of you is the problem. Your aversion to having sex with him is NATURAL because he has been chronically mistreating you for years.

      Is it bad enough to leave? You are the one to decide that, but if it were me I would work towards leaving. However, leaving is easier said than done, as we know! I suggest you keep reading at this blog and that will help you make up your mind about what you want to do.

      I suggest you first read our New Users tab at the top of the blog, then maybe check out our other posts that at tagged Sexual Abuse, and our Safety Planning resources.

      Also read Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He Do That? [Affiliate link] which you can find a link to in our Resources tab. This book is the BEST to read: reading it has brought many lightbulb moments for countless victims of domestic abuse.

      Lundy also has a book called Should I Stay or Should I Go? [Affiliate link] It would be helpful to you, I think. But it’s best to read Why Does He Do That? first.

  56. I hadn’t fully come to accept I was sexually abused until today, but I meet several criteria on here. I was a 25 year old virgin when we met and I though I had found my soul mate. I wouldn’t have had sex with him if I hadn’t loved and trusted him, but I now understand it was terribly misplaced. I’ll start with the sodomy. The morning after I lost my virginity we had anal sex. I never had a chance to decide what I thought about it, because he did it instantly without asking while I was still asleep. It just kind of set a preceadent from there. We had already done it once, so what’s the big deal? He criticized my female parts, often comparing them to former lovers. The sex when sick and just having a baby thing defiantely happened. Coercion is a tricky area, but I know there was one thing I refused to do while pregnant, for safety reasons and it infuriated him. He tried to make me do it 3 different times, but I wouldn’t beacause of the high risk to my baby. The divorce will be final in 2 more weeks, I’m going to call a therapist someone recommended to me tomorrow and I have a happy healthy baby boy that God blessed me with, in spite of my mistake.

    1. Dear Anonymous my heart goes out to you. I’m so glad you found the blog and have had the courage to tell your story here. Bless you. I’ll be praying for you and your baby.

      I hope you keep reading here as there may be other things you will identify with and find helpful.

      If you haven’t yet done so, I suggest you visit our New Users Info page as there are tips and guidance there you may find helpful.

      hugs from Barb

  57. Reviewing this post and comments has confirmed so much of my past. It’s been difficult moving on when suddenly the abuser wants nothing to do with you after years of sexual and emotional abuse. The degrading apathy brings on more pain. Praying for all who desire to move on and please the Lord.

  58. Thank you for this blog and all the commenters. I was married for 20 years (with five kids) and have been divorced for four. I was sexually abused during my marriage.
    The worst was when he used my body while I was asleep. He did not penetrate, but I felt him between my legs, and usually it caused me weird, awful dreams about someone else doing it to me and trying to get away from it, until I started waking up and slowly realized what was happening. After the first time, I told him to never, ever do that to me again, but he did it more times.The last time he did it I already realized in my dream who was doing it, and somehow that felt good.
    He also complained that we only did sex when I wanted to, instead of just always doing it when HE wanted to. His only birthday, Christmas, etc wish ever was to have sex with me; he never wished for anything else.
    It was impossible to kiss him or show him any kind of affection without him wanting to have sex. He never said after a kiss that he had liked the kiss – all he ever wanted was to move on to sex, no matter whether I was in the middle of cooking dinner, needed to pick up the kids from somewhere, or was otherwise busy.
    He insisted on oral sex and weird positions that I did not like. On one occasion he said that it had been the “best sex ever” – but it had been without penetration.
    Once he asked me for sex when we were sleeping in the same hotel room with the kids, and he pushed me away from him when I told him I could not do it with the kids there,
    He introduced me to natural family planning before we got married and truly convinced me to use it as the method most in line with our church’s tachings, but then during the marriage he did not want to be involved in it at all (he could have been the one reading the charts and making the decisions) and complained about the periods of abstinence while at the same time not wanting another child. He said it was too hard and that he wanted a vasectomy. He usually spent the periods of abstinence pressuring me to have sex without penetration, and I ended up not having any desire to have sex with him during the times I was infertile after having been pressured and fondled so much.
    There were a lot of other things wrong in our marriage, like lying and fraud, and although I started our marriage not allowing for divorce as an option, and although he was the one who initiated the divorce, I am glad I am free from him now. My church has granted me an annulment recently which gives me peace of mind.

    1. Dear Anonymous, thank you for sharing and welcome to the blog.

      I’m guessing you are a Roman Catholic since you mentioned annulment. I hope you read more of the posts on this blog as we have a lot of posts in which we examine what the Bible teaches. You may want to read the stuff under our New Users tab (at the top of the blog).

    2. Anonymous, Praying for you and thankful that you have some measure of emotional support from your church … Your testimony sounds much very much like mine, however, I do not have a church willing to be involved.

  59. Without getting too specific, there are a couple of things that happened when my spouse and I were intimate. I am not sure if they qualify as abuse. One is the repeated bringing up of a threeway because he got titillated by something in my past that suggested this could be possible. I told him no, that it disgusted me and I was not proud of that past. He brought it up a couple of times. Also would put on porn with lesbians. Told him that was gross, that it was the same as guy on guy. He said that was different. He pulled this a couple of times. When pregnant, he refused to touch me. The few times I was interested (I had been abused before), he wasn’t interested. Inflexibility in the bedroom and excuses as to why he couldn’t do the couple of things I wanted to do that were in no way deviant.

    Also, when men are not really interested in much foreplay, is that abuse? It always felt more like an act of masturbation for him than love. The one time I really felt connected to him afterwards, he was distant and maybe less affectionate. Maybe my memory is bad, but I remember him almost feeling cold. Interestingly, there were times we would cuddle afterwards and talk. But yeah, except for one or two times, it was never what I wanted. After being abused by an ex, I thought that marriage with the love of my life would help to heal those wounds, but it only made it worse. Sex is pretty disgusting to me now.

    1. bringing up the idea of a threeway, and showing lesbian porn (or any porn) is wrong, in my view, and I base my view on the Bible which teaches clearly that sex is solely to be one man with one woman, and that the focusing on images of other people for sexual arousal is a sin.

      You made it clear to him that those things all repelled you. So the fact that he kept trying to push you to accept them was a form of sexual abuse: he did not respect your “No”.

      1 Cor 7:4 shows that all sexual activity between a man and his wife is to be on the basis of total mutuality and respect for the other party. The marriage bed is THE place above all in marriage where there is to be 100% mutuality and that necessitates complete respect for the other person’s “No”.

  60. Barbara,
    Our situation was there was NO sex for more than a year! It was mostly on my part. Is that considered abuse toward him? I shut down, I put up walls, I was always on the defensive, and the last thing on my mind was S E X. I didn’t want this man to touch me. however, in the past months (we are no longer together now), but we have had more sex than in those months. I tend to think it was more hysterical bonding? I don’t know. Did I enjoy sex with him. yes, but, I also tried to use that to keep him from straying. I didn’t want him going to the other woman so I gave in.
    I feel guilty , now, withholding sex from him. I guess too, I felt he really loved me .. he wasn’t physically abusive with me in the past months and I thought he was REALLY trying to change, but he messed with my head and did other things that I won’t mention here as it will give me away.

    1. He has asked me to send NUDE pictures of myself too. Thank God I didn’t. I can only imagine what he would have done with those!

    2. Is it abusive to withhold sex for many months? That very much depends on the circumstances! If one is being abused in any of the ways we discuss on this blog (emotional / psychological / verbal, financial, social, spiritual, sexual, physical. . . pattern of coercive control) then it’s pretty natural to not be interested in having sex with the abuser, I would say! If one is physically unwell or disabled and that means one can’t have sex without it further compromising one’s health, well withholding sex is not at all wrong, and the partner, if he is loving and caring, will do his best to understand and the couple will prayerfully manage the situation as best they can showing mutual respect for each other.

      Most of the abuse targets on this blog who report withholding sex have done so because they have been chronically abused by their spouses.

      Some people do withhold sex as a manipulative tool or as retribution. From my sense of our readers here, that is not what they do. If they withhold sex it’s because they are trying to protect their personhood and dignity and safety from the chronically abusive spouse they are married to.

      So, context is as always, the most important thing.

      Of course, many abusers will claim they are the victims of abuse when their spouse withholds sex. But that is just what they do: they always falsely accuse their targets and they almost always claim their are victims themselves, not perpetrators.

      1. I don’t know. I completely shut down. I had no interest in allowing him to touch me. I did not feel safe with him, he would tell me every day he loved me, but I had issues with that love because he would eventually in one form or another lash out. I was constantly walking on egg shells. I didn’t know whether a certain day was going to be a good day or not. I tried my best to be on my best behavior. I just couldn’t give in to sex.
        Now he, which I did not know until after the fact, had been accused of rape, so it makes sense why he wouldn’t force me to have sex with him. He only would remind we haven’t had sex in months. I feel horrible about it now. after having sex with him in the past few months, after letting my guard down I found I did enjoy being with him, but by this point, so much damage in our relationship had been done. I really do not believe SEX would have saved our relationship. The main issues were still there even though he claimed to have turned his life back to God.
        Oh, so much hurt going on here!

  61. I always believed there is a time and a place for everything. My husband groped me as well. He did it in a public place once, but he knew I did not like that. I don’t know. It just didn’t feel loving to me, and too, I knew he hated my body! He would talk about my weight gain, etc etc. Also, how could I ever compare to those nasty women he was looking at online?! He would call this being ‘playful’ .

  62. For years I’ve been looking for information about sexual abuse and tonight I finally found this. I was a virgin when I was raped by a man I had been dating. I felt that I had to marry him and that no one else would want me because of this rape. During the seven years I was married to him, I was forced to have sex with him every night. If I refused, he wouldn’t speak to me for days and would be very angry with me. So I just learned to put up with it to keep the peace. I had constant yeast infections. I have just, in the last few years, found out that these yeast infections were caused by the daily sex. I had to have sex with him every night. It didn’t matter if I was sick or tired. I can remember him forcing sex on me one night when I had been sick all day and was running a high fever. One night I had such a bad yeast infection that I was swollen. I had been to the doctor that day and had gotten a prescription. The infection was so bad that it was inside and outside of my vagina. When my husband tried to have sex with me, it hurt so badly that I cried out. He was so angry with me and wouldn’t speak to me for days. He never considered my needs or feelings and often belittled me. I was working at a job where I was on call 24 hours a day. If I was called out at night, he would not allow me to sleep the next day even if I had worked 16 hours. I never told anyone about this until six years ago when a woman that I worked with started telling me about the sexual abuse she had suffered at the hands of her husband. I told her a little bit about my story. I married again eventually. I am just now realizing that this husband abused me sexually two times as well when he forced anal sex on me while I was sleeping, This husband also had a pornography problem. I wish I had made better choices in marriage.
    It’s okay to e-mail me.

    1. I am so sorry you have suffered so much sexual abuse, Sharon.

      You are right: your first husband sexually abused you very greatly; he totally disregarded your needs, your wishes and your personhood and your physical health. And your second husband has sexually abused you as well. It hurts to realise truths like this, but facing the truth can be the start of a journey of healing. I’m so glad you were wise and got away from that first marriage. I hope you read further on this blog. I suggest you start with our New Users Tab in the top menu. Also, you might like to look at our sexual abuse tag and the Sexual Abuse page under our Resources tab.

  63. I just remembered something else. My husband told me that he was glad that I had sexual experience before we met. I told him that I wasnt, that it messed me up. Ithink he said it again a long time later again. Must have “slipped his mind.” How can anyone say something in praise of a behavior that hurt the other person? I “get” that HE was glad that I wasnt a newbie in the bedroom. But wouldnt you think after saying how hurt I was by that past that a healthy person would say, “wow! Well than I am not glad about it, for your sake.” I don’t remember if he even said anything after my comment or not. But after some time, that comment was made again.

    I realize now that his biggest sin in the sexual arena is self-centeredness and a complete lack of empathy. Luckily though, he never forced anything or pushed having sex because THAT part of him remembered I was sexually abused so he didn’t. Whereas my ex’s flavor of sexual abuse fit the above description of abuse the best…yelling, using Scripture, coercion, watching porn, etc., this spouse is more of your manipulative, guilt trip guy. He just doesnt have much empathy or intimacy. I think the porn addled his sexual abilities.

  64. My ex’s expectations were demanding; especially for oral sex; whether he committed this against me, but mostly wanted it performed on himself; which he actually preferred to intercourse even after I told him I felt like a prostitute. if things were not going well in bed for him, he would come back to me with an erection wanting oral sex. He would ridicule me for not wanting sex in the morning and then other times in the morning he would ask how I would like a sausage for breakfast. Of course this meant more oral sex. When he performed oral sex on me he hurt me and wondered why I wasn’t getting turned on. One evening I was preparing his lunch for his next day at work when all of a sudden he shouted out and demanded to know what I was doing. When I told him, he angrily replied that I was supposed to be in there having sex with him! I could go on, but I am just beginning to deal with the trauma of these memories after I left him many months ago. We were married more than a decade.

    He was also verbally abusive and when he threatened me I prayed to God to be my daddy and get me out of there as soon as possible.

    You asked about what pastors and others could do. And my reply is to believe the person who comes to them as a victim. My pastor took my ex husband’s side and this is a wound from which I still have not healed. I have more respect for a. counselor, Christian counselor, than I do for a pastor when it comes to spousal abuse.

    I realize that your original post was three years ago, but I’m still taking a chance that this might post to you.
    Because the memories of sexual abuse are just now starting to surface, this is why I googled sexual abuse in marriage and came to your site. You may email me privately.
    Thank you.

    [Eds: screen name changed just as a precaution to protect commenter’s ID.]

    1. Dear Remembering,
      you will see that I’ve changed your screen name; it did that for your safety. Welcome to the blog and thanks for sharing!
      I encourage you to read our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to disidentify your comments and thus help guard your safety while commenting here. 🙂

      If you don’t like the screen name I’ve given you, email our faithful helper TWBTC ( and she will change it to what you want.

      I won’t email you privately as I no longer need to do more research on this topic, since the chapter I was writing has now been published. But I’m glad you have shared your story here as I’m sure it will help others feel less alone.

      Your husband most definitely abused you and you have been brave to leave him. Well done! The memories of the abuse can take time to re-surface, and what you are going through now is part of recovery. I believe our minds suppress or sideline painful memories until we are in a safe enough place to deal with them, and the fact that you are getting these memories come to the surface now shows that you are certainly more safe than when you were living with him!

      I hope you keep reading on this blog and become part of our little cyber community. I think you will find it a supportive place where there are many others commenting who have been through similar things to what you’ve been through.

  65. Thank you for writing this. The other comments have helped me so much. I’ve felt so alone in my situation because no one truly understands. Sorry this is so long- I hope this can help someone else.

    My story: I married young. From the beginning if I didn’t want to have sex every night my husband would keep me awake until 2, 3, 4 in the morning until I gave in. He would laugh make cruel mocking jokes about it. He would let me fall asleep then wake me up. Then he started blaming my childhood sexual abuse history for not wanting sex and saying there was something wrong with me. Then he started telling me I was “frigid” if I didn’t want sex every night. Finally, I was able to negotiate one night off a week. Most of the time he honored that, sometimes for no reason he couldn’t. Also- if he went out of town for two days then I owed him and had to make it up to him. About 10 years into our marriage, he was diagnosed with OCD. He used that as the excuse why he could never take care of his own needs- that I had to take care of him and that he needed it more so he wouldn’t become aroused at innappropriate times.
    He made me do stuff for him the night I bought both our child home from the hospital. He hadn’t even stayed the night with me at the hospital – I was exhausted. He didn’t care.
    After more than a decade of this, I was finally okay with him leaving me – and told him if he didn’t reduce it to every other night I was going to leave. That helped, but I still felt like I didn’t have the right to say no ever. He didn’t care if I was sick or anything. He made me have sex when I had the flu and a high fever. I hated him.
    He will watch porn and then I have no choice because he has to have sex then.
    Recently – his drinking has increased tremendously so he isn’t able to demand it as much. But recently he did something that was the straw that broke the camels back. [Eds: details of this story redacted to protect victim from being identified]. He made fun of me in a cruel way, first privatly, then to our extended family- I was so profoundly hurt that he would do that … and I told him I wanted a divorce. He said he was just trying to be funny and that he didn’t remember me being upset before and that he wouldn’t be upset about something like that. (So I’m being oversensitive was implied).

    He apologized and at this time we are still together. He also apologized for not giving me a choice in the past not to have sex. We are trying to work it out, but I will never let him coerce me into sex again. I know I have to forgive him if I am to stay…I’m not sure how to do that after two decades of coercion and manipulation.

    1. A couple things I forgot to add. I’ve told friends and my sister over the years. They always just thought I was exaggerating or would say yeah I have problems too or start complaining about how their husbands didn’t want it enough. I was crying out for help but no one was hearing me.
      I also told counselors. I know it was partially the way I told them and I was guarded but none ever told me it was wrong that I wasn’t “allowed” to say no, and most just thought I needed to learn to say no. I guess I did, but no one would ever validate it was wrong.
      Hindsight…I should have not needed validation. I knew the whole time it was not right. I should have trusted my instincts.

    2. Anonymous – Very, very, sorry that you have had to endure these many years of wickedness. You have been strong and have done remarkably well in seeing it for what it is. You should not be at all critical of yourself. This man is a rapist, and you have been his target victim. This is rape. Full-fledged, out and out rape. That truly is the depth of his evil. In addition, he is a classic abuser, a craver of power and control, willing to use any evil tactic required to keep you down. This is important: His apologies mean nothing. Absolutely nothing. He has no intention at all of trying to work things out with you. And here is another vital thing to understand – this man is never going to change. Never. Not ever. He is what he is and he chooses to be what he is. If you make your plans and decisions for the future based on that realization, you will do well. Finally, this matter of forgiveness. Christ Himself has not and will not forgive this man. Why? Because he is not truly repentant, and he will never be. Therefore, you need not forgive him. Oh, you can forgive in the sense of resolving not to seek personal vengeance on him and leave that vengeance to the Lord. But as to forgiving him so as to have a continuing relationship in marriage with him or really any relationship at all, the Lord certainly does not require that of you. What you seek is justice for 22 years of rape and abuse.

      1. Thank you so much for your reply. I have been praying for God’s guidance and seeking Him through His Word. I think God led me to this site. I know God can give me strength to do what is right. You have given me Godly counsel and I appreciate your time in doing so.

    3. Dear Anonymous, I have airbrushed some of the details in your comment, just for your safety’s sake. Because the blog is public, we need to bear in mind that abusers can read it and may identify their victims, and exact retribution for the victim disclosing (even ‘anonymously’) because abusers HATE their victims reaching out for help and support from those who truly might be able to help and support them. If you haven’t already done so I encourage you to read our New Users Info page for tips about how to guard yourself fro being identified while you comment on this blog. 🙂

  66. The sexually abusive stuff I experienced was usually subtle. Covert aggressive stuff. He had told me once that he’d woken up after passing out drunk at a party and found an equally drunk female heping herself to him; he had been a virgin at the time and was really angry that she’d robbed him of that in such a gross way. He didn’t even know her. He denied that this had affected him and put all the problems between us down to my abuse experiences even though he came from quite a controlling and abusive family.

    I hadn’t even wanted to marry him but he kind of frigthened me into submission with an attack of rage when I tried to end our dating relationship. When he later realized that his end justifies the means approach hadn’t resulted in my being madly in love with him, he was quite angry, as though deprived of something he felt entitled to. He decided we were having sex after an argument. He made a deliberate point of watching television and channel surfing with one hand while he used the other for sexual things. His whole attitude was one of deliberately calculated coolness. I got it that the point was establishing dominance of a sort. He would do things that hurt a bit, like pinching my nipples too hard, or running his hand down the side of my face in a way that pulled at the glands under the ear so that I’d wince. I had told him many times that I disliked these and other things and he would just claim he forgot.

    He would refuse to make an effort to be clean and would not shave even though he knew that I hated beard stubble esp. because it reminded me of the man who had molested me as a little girl. He seemed to do things that were triggering intentionally. Overall he turned me off so badly that I had to think very erotic thoughts just to manfacture enough desire to overcome my loathing and lack of attraction to him.

    There was never attempts at forcing sex on me or rape, nothing that was really overt, beyond that initial display of dominance where he pulled me down on the sofa because he decided we were making out. Just bits of revenge and contempt seeping out from behind his mr. nice guy saintly facade now and then.

    I once talked to a nouthetic counselor who corrected me saing that although my husband was arrogant and entitiled, that I had committed the sin of defrauding. I’ve heard such counsellors say that a wife must continue to meet the sexual needs of her husband even if he treats her badly, lies to her, hurts her and is unrepentant and is not owing [Eds — ? owning] his end of the marriage, on the basis of the scriptures that speak of not having sole authority over your own body in marriage, and of submission and not depriving one another. I’m guessing the thinking is that one is not excused from obedience just because one’s husband is not obedient but to me it always seemed a bit outrageous that God forces women to sleep with men who treat them with gross insensitivity in the name of obedience. I’d think to myself, that almost makes God a sexual abuser of sorts if that’s what it means. |how can I trust Him? And I’m suposed to respect and value marriage when this is what its about? Uggh.

    One wonders if God would have been displeased with Abigail if she didn’t want to sleep with Nabal. I can only imagine what “biblical counselling” would say to her in that situation. uggh.

    1. Thank you, kind of anonymous, for sharing all this. I hope you don’t mind, I added some paragraph breaks to your comment and changed ‘passive aggressive’ to ‘covert aggressive’.

      That nouthetic counseling attitude is so harsh to survivors of abuse and adversity!

      You probably know this already, but I want to affirm that you were not guilty of the sin of ‘defrauding’ your husband. He was deliberately mistreating you, treating you with contempt and cunning malice, and you were only shrinking from sex with him because of the way he mistreated you. If he had done the opposite, if he had shown you love and respect, whatever injuries you had from childhood would have been ameliorated and healed.

    2. Kind of anonymous, I can relate to many of the things you mentioned here. One thing that hit me in your post was your H’s account of losing his virginity. What strikes me as odd is that he has shown repeated aggressive dominance and control with you…a disturbing level of entitlement. It makes me wonder if he purposely transposed the victim and the perpetrator in his story. That the girl was the one who had passed out and he was the one who forced himself on her. I found out some stories my abusive H had told me were these kinds of transposed stories. A girl mistreated him…a guy was a jerk to him…but later I found out he had twisted these accounts whereby he was the one who had actually done the violating in reality but in his accounts he said the other person was the one who had done it to him. The story was correct except you had to switch the two people around. It was quite disturbing to find out he had lied to this extent.

      Obviously I have no idea if your husband’s story is true but it doesn’t seem to match with his repeated behavior toward you. The twisting of situations to make the abuser the one who was abused is common with abusers- a tactic they use to gain sympathy and to throw off suspicion. (BTW- no good could come from confronting your husband about this if you question the validity of his story. He will deny it and only punish you for suggesting it. I’m only telling you my story as a possibility so that you don’t feel burdened to overlook his abuse if he is using this alleged crime to engage your sympathy.)

      I agree with Barbara that you have not defrauded him. He may certainly treat you as though you had but that’s his entitlement coming through and not based on reality. It sounds like you downplay the abuse he is oppressing you with…that you perhaps feel it is not “that bad”. What you are describing IS bad…wicked. The specific ways his abuse manifests itself are very similar to what my “husband” did to me. I hope that you get the biblical support you need. Those verses are being twisted against you and not being used in the spirit which God intended. Hugs to you KoA.

      1. Valerie, I can relate to you. After several years of crazy-making I soon became suspicious of some of the ‘stories’ I had been told about how my spouse had been ‘taken advantage of’ or that past girlfriends had been the dominant sexual partners.
        Years later, he then confessed to how he had taken several women to his bed; some he didn’t even know?? So who’s the victim?

  67. I know this is an old post but PLEASE can someone do a post on a form of abuse, maybe it is sexual abuse, where the man rejects the woman physically because she is ‘too fat’ or for whatever reason and WITH HOLDS sex from his wife, all the while making the wife feel like she is so ugly and repulsive and therefore their lack of intimacy is HER fault. It is a rejection that has the same effects of any abuse. But it is hardly ever written about. Please, someone, address this issue. It is more widespread than people think and can be tied to the husband being invovled in secret sexual sin, namely masturbation and pornography. Thank you.

    1. UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.


      That’s a good request, Anonymous. I think that before one of us write a post, I’ll just wait and see what comments get posted here in response to yours. This post has had many commenters, and some of them may have helpful things to offer in reply to your request. After I’ve seen what comes out, I might give it a shot. Or Jeff C might. But 😦 I am so burdened with things on my ‘must write about’ list that I can’t promise how soon I would be able to get to it.

      Let’s hope a lot of people respond here.

    2. Hi, Anonymous, I can relate to what you described I experienced a great deal of confusion throughout our marriage as I tried to understand my husband’s approach to sex.

      One thing that happened early in our marriage was that my husband confessed that, after we’d been together for several months, he’d had a sexual fling with a woman he described as very sexy and attractive. He just dumped that information on me one day, for no apparent reason. I was VERY upset – he said that he felt so much better after telling me – but the confession made me feel as if he’d leave me and our baby in a heartbeat if he found someone more attractive. For a number of years, I had nightmares of finding him in bed with someone else.

      During a pregnancy he actively avoided having sexual relations. He was gone for work during the beginning of the pregnancy so I thought the physical changes to my body while he was gone must have been a turn-off. It was hard for me, though – I was very concerned about being unattractive to him.

      As years passed he would not approach me for sex for several months. He was under a pretty good deal of stress at work at that time and I wondered if that was taking his focus off of us. I was so concerned about the physical aspect that I consulted with a “phone nurse”, whose first question was whether he could be seeing someone else. I didn’t see how that could be possible with his work schedule being what it was. Once his work stress stopped, things seemed to get back to normal.

      In retrospect, I wonder if his lack of interest was due to porn use, something that phone nurse did not suggest. These events were many years ago so internet porn wasn’t the issue it is today. He did have a subscription to Playboy when we married, but dropped it within a year or two.

      I can relate to the husband blaming his wife, saying that it is her weight gain or whatever that is causing him to withhold. In my case, he consistently told me from the very beginning, “If you ever get fat, you’ll be on the street.” He would claim this was said in jest, but he said it so many times over the years. . . . . when I was diagnosed with hypothyroid, one of my primary concerns was that it would result in weight gain and that he would not understand.

      He also constantly talked about other women’s bodies and various porn stars and models – he knew a disturbing amount about some of their backgrounds and careers. I am pretty sure he researched them, much like he might research a pro football player. WHY IN THE WORLD did he think that was an appropriate topic to share with his wife? I did, finally, tell him that if I never heard about another porn star it would be too soon. My perspective is that most women and girls working the sex trades are at a minimum, badly misled, and at worst are being severely abused. They are all someone’s daughter – it seems to me that as a “C”hristian father this should be obvious to him.

      All this is to say that I’m not sure if withholding sex and accusing the wife of being the problem is strictly sexual abuse, but it sure feels like emotional and psychological abuse to me. And I think you are right, it is directly tied to the use of pornography in many, many cases.

      [Eds. note: comment edited to protect the identity of the commenter.]

      1. Dear Bluest Eyes in Texas,

        Thank you for sharing your story. You will notice that we edited your comment. We were concerned because your comment was very identifying, so we edited specific details but retained the overall story that you are sharing. We want to protect your identity should your abuser or other family members ever happened upon this blog.

      2. Thank you for sharing your story!

        I agree it is some form of abuse, along with the degrading comments about personal appearance that goes along with it.

        I’m sorry you had to go through that. God bless you everyday.

    3. I think that chronically withholding sex from one’s spouse, when there is no valid medical or psycological reason for doing so, is a form of sexualized abuse. Or you could call it sexualized emotional abuse.

      And of course if the abuser’s withholding is related to his adultery or porn use, that is a double form of sexualised abuse. The unfaithfulness. And the neglect & withholding.

      And certainly it is abusive to slag off (deride, denigrate) the other person’s physical appearance and ‘justify’ witholding sex for that reason. Many abusers do this. They know how much it hurts their partner to criticise her physical appearance and attractiveness. I believe that’s why they do it — because they know it hurts a lot!

      1. Yes, I agree.

        Also it is objectifying of women, as if we are meat and not precious partners.

        It is a very cruel form of punishment.

        It just hardly ever seems to be addressed in Christian circles and if it ever is, the woman is made to feel as if she IS the problem, that is is her duty to lose weight, be stick thin, wear special clothes, pile on the make up…anything, just so long as she gets the picture it is her duty to be physically appeal to her husband. Nothing is ever said about the husbands shallowness or selfishness, or turning the same ‘advice’ on him.

        I find this attitude more and more. The emphasis on the female to be ‘attractive’ to her husband or watch out…he may have an affair (adultery) or view porn or run off, and guess whose fault it would be!

        It’s another form of what Anna Duggar is made to feel from some accounts: that she failed in the bedroom so its her fault her poor husband turned to pornography and adultery.

        In what I’m referring to, some husbands reject their wives as not good enough because they are overweight and are made to feel like they are committing some grave sin, then the cruel and unusual punishment from the husband is to literally make her live a celibate life. It can also be combined with cruel comments when the wife is eating, exaggerated comments on her weight, disgusted looks etc. Blame for him lusting after other women.

        I really do hope people comment about this.

        Thanks for taking note of it!

      2. Yes Anonymous, I fully agree with everything you said here. It is very cruel of husbands to say those things to their wives. And it is cruel of pastors and book authors and suchlike to teach that it is chiefly the wife’s reponsiblity to keep her husband from sexually straying or delving into porn, by doing her best to look sexually attrative. I personally believe that many pastors and male teachers who say this are actually guilty of porn or adultery themselves, and are creating and disseminating this ‘blame the woman’ ideology to deflect conviction for their own sins. It’s a classic abusive tactic: Blame the woman. Blame the woman first, before anyone thinks of blaming the men. Assume the high moral ground and pontificate from there.

        Jesus called these people whitewashed tombs.

  68. Sorry, I forgot to add. It usually co-exists with other forms of emotional abuse in a marriage. It’s not like it is just an isolated area. It’s just another way an abusive man can abuse his wife in my opinion along with other things in the marriage, but I hardly see it addressed. It is soul destroying because it eats away at your very sense of self worth as a woman and a wife.

    1. It is soul destroying because it eats away at your very sense of self worth as a woman and a wife.

      Yes. I have read (somewhere, can’t remember where) advice from a DV support worker who was giving tips for other professionals who work with DV survivors. She said that when you are talking with a DV survivor, if she goes quiet or starts speaking very vaguely, that is very likely because she has been sexually abused and she finds it really hard to talk about.

      That is one reason why DV workers are advised to directly ask their clients “Has he mistreated you sexually?”

  69. I never thought about this topic of sexual abuse in this way until these recent comments. My husband would accuse me of not being interested! We would go without for months and eventually he’d make some comment and would place the blame on me–that I’m not interested, I’m too busy, too tired, etc. And I would rack my brain trying to figure out what I’d done to make him think that. Now I realize he was just using his usual tricks of deflecting his behavior onto me. He had the problem and he was trying to push it onto me.

    Similarly, he would bring up my weight on occasion. I’d had several children. I never mentioned that he was getting pretty portly himself. I don’t what his excuse was.

    Once I tried to create a really romantic evening when the children were at friends. And he laughed at me. I was so embarrassed. Of course, I never tried again. And really that was towards the end of me even caring. Because shortly after that it became so clear to me that he has no respect for me at all.

  70. I perhaps its time for me to be honest and admit it is my mother who has been suffering this not any “friend”. I’m pretty sure my family will never see this so I’m going to be brave. I only found out my mum was enduring this a few years ago and it was not a shock exactly but it did hit me right in the gut. I noticed her crying one morning after hearing raised voices. Trembling with fear I found my mother. Eventually she told me he had been pressuring her into lovemaking when she didn’t want it because of tiredness. She said she was giving it several times a week but it wasn’t enough for him. To be fair to my father, my mother has always been shy of physical contact. But I don’t think it was right of him to threaten her, humiliate her, and tell her she isn’t doing her duty.

    Once I overheard him accusing her of faking it saying “you always have an excuse to get out of doing what you should do”. I had also come down with infection that day but I knew if I told my father that I wanted to stay home he would yell at me. As it was he had been yelling at me about my physical disability which means my mobility is restricted. He would rail at me saying “you could do it if you wanted to” and “you are causing your sickness by saying you can’t do this or that” (he is into Word of Faith doctrine. Negative confessions cause illness and all that) so I suffered and felt worse for not having the sleep I needed.

    But my mother, oh, it was so sad. She looked like a whipped dog and her face was all red. When we were alone I told her I’d heard. I hated having to bring it up because I could see the embarassment in her eyes. She is a shy woman and her generation didn’t talk about stuff like this. But I needed to tell her I knew and that it was wrong wrong wrong what my father was doing to her. I asked her “why do you stay with him after all he has done?” She looked at me with a fake smile in her eyes and shrugged “because no one else will have me”. I felt so ANGRY. He has done this to her! Made her believe she isn’t worth anything!

    God knows I try to love my father but when I see what he did to her and to my sibling and me (with us kids it wasn’t sexual but other forms abuse. (I can finally say it! That yes I was abused)).

    I don’t know whether he ever physically forced her. But I doubt he would ever had to because my mother was compliant and nervous of him. In some ways he could be very loving and affectionate to her. But if he didn’t get what he wants then everyone had to look out. I know he would never consider his actions sexual abuse. He doesn’t even believe when his own daughter was molested (innappropriate touching and fingering genitals through clothing) was abuse. He just told me when it eventually came out “all girls get fondled in public”. Sure I know it wasn’t rape but I think for a minor it is considered abuse. I was in my early teens and too shy to stop it. He did point out it wasn’t incest and so didn’t damage me. Well I don’t know. If it did damage me I wouldn’t have any idea. Because I already had some trauma issues and was quite disturbed from an early age. I know those sexual incidents weren’t serious but to say its not abuse? I’m not trying to make this all about me because its about my mum but I just think my father has a mindset regarding sex abuse which is strange. Or is it just me?

    1. imsetfree — Prayers and ((hugs)) to you, your mother and siblings. I grew up with such circumstances and am now attempting to move out of the fog I am presently in as I married into a different form of subtle but still sexual / emotional abuse. I know what it is like to be made to feel not lovely or to have a jealousy put upon me where I could not even talk to certain men.
      He did not display outward hostility but has had his ways of controlling me and influencing others … my testimony is not believed because I “covered” the sin(s) so well for many, many years.
      imsetfree — I really ache for you and your family. This is not God’s will for us. May I suggest listening to Pastor Jeff Crippen’s sermons. The Word of God is put forth and truth and error exposed.

    2. It’s not just you. You and your mother and siblings and all women deserve respect and understanding. I did not receive either, but am thankful I have an adult daughter who I can talk to (thought I’ve never shared about the disrespect and difficulties regarding intimacy). She lived through her own years of subtle control and abuse with her father, so we understand each other and can support each other. I am glad you are there for your mother, and pray for healing for you both, and your family. Sounds like your mother’s story is similar to mine (the shyness and nervousness and physical reserve) and the pressure to do one’s duty. You can be sure it was forced on her, because even if the body complies, the mind is in such torment and pain, and it should not be for something so personal.

    3. I don’t think it was right of him to threaten her, humiliate her, and tell her she isn’t doing her duty.

      I agree with you, Imsetfree, it is not right of him to treat your mother that way. And I honour you for your courage in supporting and validating your mother, by telling her it was wrong wrong wrong what your father was doing to her.

      he had been yelling at me about my physical disability which means my mobility is restricted. He would rail at me saying “you could do it if you wanted to” and “you are causing your sickness by saying you can’t do this or that” (he is into Word of Faith doctrine. Negative confessions cause illness and all that) so I suffered and felt worse for not having the sleep I needed.

      Word Of Faith teaching is like Steroid Growth Hormone for abusers. There is wrong doctrine in Word Of Faith and abusers can so easily grab hold of that wrong teaching and distort it to the uttermost into arrows to shoot at their victims, making it into a ball and chain to keep their victims in bondage.

      I used to be (in my early years of church attendance) in a Word Of Faith church, and while I was there the senior pastor who had been a classical Pentecostal and been holding back the church from going overtly into the most extravagant Word of Faith teaching nonsense (‘holy laughter’, etc) – he retired. And then the new senior pastor and his wife tried to soften the classical Pentecostals up so that they could ‘bring in’ the Toronto Blessing (so called) without too much resistance from the old guard. They were successful in that their covert efforts led to the classical Pentecostals who had discernment ended up leaving the church.

      And then. . . guess what happened? Men who abused their wives flocked to the church like bees to a honey pot. There had been some men like that in the church already, of course, but more came after the exodus of the discerning people. It was like they had a grapevine and they passed the word around that “church X is a place where we can now get more power and leadership positions.” If they weren’t actually saying this to each other, the devil was certainly whispering it in their ears, I believe.

    4. I don’t know whether he ever physically forced her. But I doubt he would ever had to because my mother was compliant and nervous of him. In some ways he could be very loving and affectionate to her. But if he didn’t get what he wants then everyone had to look out.

      Consent is the YES you give when you are free to say NO.
      Your mother was not free to say NO.
      Therefore she did not give consent.
      Therefore your father, no matter what he claims, has been sexually abusing your mother for a long long time. Just because he may not have ever physically forced her, doesn’t mean he has not been raping her. Rape is when one person penetrates any orifice of another person, without that person’s consent.

      (I am not a lawyer, and there may be slightly different definitions of rape in different statue books (different jurisdictions) but that is what I understand as an overall principle. )

      He doesn’t even believe when his own daughter was molested (innappropriate touching and fingering genitals through clothing) was abuse. He just told me when it eventually came out “all girls get fondled in public”. Sure I know it wasn’t rape but I think for a minor it is considered abuse. I was in my early teens and too shy to stop it. He did point out it wasn’t incest and so didn’t damage me.

      He had no right to tell you it didn’t damage you. He is not you! How would he know whether it damaged you!
      By telling you it didn’t damage you, he has defined your reality. That is a tactic which abusers often use: defining reality.

      He just told me … “all girls get fondled in public” is a lie from the mouth of the devil.
      One day when I was standing at the kitchen sink washing up I ‘heard’ in my mind a pretty similar lie. I had been thinking with grave concern about how a girl I know was being groomed for sexual abuse. The lie was “all girls get sexually abused as they are growing up.” It seemed so ‘sensible’ for a micro-second — it was so persuasive, so gentle, so ‘realistic’, such an innocuous little whisper. Then I saw it for what it was: a DIABOLICAL LIE.

      What you experienced was sexual abuse and it was criminal. The person who touched you that way was committing a crime.

  71. I’m thinking about leaving my husband for this very reason. He has mainly grabbed my parts constantly! Even if I’m trying to watch a movie anything. Constantly smacks me in the butt ever time I bend over constantly! Even if we have sex he still wants more and pouts and gets upset if I don’t! I feel guilty and have given in before. It’s horrible! And he really wants us to have a baby and he gets a bit upset if I say ” not like this” with all these ways he’s been treating me!

    It’s been going on for a few years now, it started soon after we married. He’s stopped some of the grabbing and butt smacking and trying to not get mad every time he wants sex but I don’t know if I can believe him or not or if I should just move on or what! Please help please! He’s my 2nd husband! My first (alcoholic) husband never wanted to do anything sexual because of the alcohol! And when I met my 2nd husband and he wanted spend time with me and show me affection I didn’t think much of it. He didn’t start demanding until after we were married. I dated him for a good many months! My mistake!! I know! But I hate it cuz he’s nice and takes me to the store and spends time with me but there’s always this sexual issue!! What should I do? I don’t know what to do. I guess if it never stops I want out. It makes me angry and sad because otherwise prob would have had a good marriage!

    I don’t withhold I wanted to be with him in that way, just seems like it’s never enough or he gets mad if I don’t want to when he does. Longest has been a week, then two weeks the ultimate most! I can’t have kids like that! I’m scared he will get annoyed after two weeks what’s he going to do after seven for a kid he wants so badly! And I don’t want to bring the child into that world. Not their fault he’s like that! Should I leave?? Someone please help! I pray constantly and think about it too much and just started going to counselling.

    Any advice would be good no matter what. Most people don’t get this topic and this is the first website I’ve found that’s helping.

    1. Hi Not Like This,

      Welcome to the blog! So glad you found our little community. We will be replying further to your comment soon, but I wanted you to know why we changed your screen name and edited a few identifying details — it is to protect your identity. And because identity protection is very important we like to direct new commenters to our New User’s Page. It gives tips for staying safe when commenting on the blog.

      If you would like a different screen name you can email me at and I can change it for you.

      Again, welcome!

    2. Dear Not Like This, welcome to the blog 🙂

      Your husband’s behavior shows that he greatly disrespects you: he has contempt for your feelings and wishes. He runs roughshod over you when you express what you don’t like about his behaviour. These are all marks of him being a classic abuser.

      Many abusers specialise in some forms of abuse more than others. Yours specialises in sexual abuse: all that unwanted grabbing and touching is actually sexual molestation and sexual harassment.

      At this blog, we don’t tell readers ‘what to do’ because we encourage those who are being oppressed and abused to make their own decisions in their own time. We know that you (not we) are the expert in your situation. But we do offer our readers information and biblical guidelines which might help them make their own decisions.

      You do have biblical grounds to separate from this man, since he is so greatly disrespecting you. And although he has moderated his bad behaviour a little, that is no sign that he has really changed his underlying belief system: his belief that he is entitled to use your body like an object regardless of your feelings and wishes, and that he is entitled to be even more unpleasant to you when you raise a grievance about his behavior.

      Almost all abusers make a sham of changing, when they are pressed to do so. But it is just a part of their manipulative techniques: making the victim think ‘maybe he is getting better’ so she hangs round longer and he gets to continue to mistreat her.

      You also have grounds for divorcing this man, should you choose to do so.

      I encourage you to be cautious about telling him what your plans are. If you are planning to leave him, and you tell him that, he is likely to escalate his abuse and start using even more tactics to oppress you, so that your energy is depleted and you have less energy to leave. Leaving is not easy; we know, but many of us have successfully done so and found that eventually our lives are better and we a safer and are able to live lives of more dignity. Sexual abuse is very demeaning. To sexually abuse someone is to try to rob them of their dignity, to try to crush their personhood.

      I encourage you to read our Safety Planning page and the books by Lundy Bancroft which we have on our Resources. One of his books in particular may be helpful to you: Should I Stay or Should I Go? [Affiliate link]

      And even if you leave without knowing whether you want it to be a permanent separation or divorce, and you are in a safe place away from his harassment (I suggest you don’t answer calls or texts from him once you leave; he will try to pressure you to come back) then you will have time and space to read and think things through and make your decisions about your future.

      You may also find it helpful to phone the DV hotline in your country. They can put you in touch with your nearest domestic abuse support service — who can help you get into a womens shelter (women’s refuge) if you decide that is what you want to do.
      None of the workers in those secular services will tell you what to do, they will simply offer you information to help you make your own decisions. 🙂

      (We believe in empowering victims of abuse, not ordering them around like their abusers do!)

  72. My daughter’s father, whom I knew as a church friend for years before marriage, is an angry, controlling, emotional person. When a single dad at my new church pursued me, I was reluctant, then indifferent, then careful, then virtuous in dating before agreeing to marry him with full approval from our conservative church, thinking my daughter needed a godly father figure. Within a few months of marriage, meeting his needs one to four times daily, I was diagnosed with two incurable diseases. He knew he had them, because he also made his first wife sick before she left him with pornography printouts from the computer. To this day, he remains in ministry at the same church, saying that his wives didn’t keep their marriages promises, didnt submit enough to him or to reconciliation counseling, were not godly. I feel sad for myself but most of all thankful that my daughter is ok, at peace with God, no desire to ever remarry, and relieved to leave that church.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story, AtPeace. What a nightmare you have been through.

      Two incurable diseases! What a legacy he left you. 😦 What a wicked man!

      Churches that leave men like that in ministry are to be indicted in the strongest possible terms. I hope you subscribe to new posts at our blog (look in the sidebar for the ‘subscribe by email’ box).

      On Friday 4th March we will be publishing a post that strongly indicts the irresponsible leaders of such churches.

      Also, I encourage you to read our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      blessings and hugs.

      PS. fwiw, I used to have Hep C. I am now cured; the treatment worked for me. But I’m not asking you to disclose what diseases you have, I only say that to show that I have maybe a little tiny bit of understanding of what you might be going through.

  73. Thank God for this blog. Thanks to everyone who participates and creates such a lifesaving resource.

    I am just now discovering that my husband has been abusing me for the three years we have been married. I got enough courage to separate and move back in with my parents, which was a very shameful and difficult thing to do. I’ve also confided in close friends and my church. They believe me and want to support me. However, I feel as if my church, though well-meaning, has no idea what to do with me. So I am voraciously reading everything on this blog and learning so much.

    I just wanted to share my thoughts on my own sexual abuse. Over the last three years, I couldn’t ignore the fact that my husband was physically aggressive and abusive to me, and I started to put the pieces together on his emotional, spiritual, and financial abuse. But for the longest time I thought there had been no sexual abuse. But all the memories I blocked have been rushing back since separating.

    We met in a foreign country when I was abroad alone, so I was in a very vulnerable position. I liked him and I trusted him. I made the mistake of visiting his apartment alone. He began kissing me and touching me all over and trying to take off my clothes. I was a young Christian with no sexual experience. I had no idea what to do. I was in complete shock, and afraid. I told him no and please stop, and tried to push his hands away and extract myself so many times, but he didn’t answer me or even acknowledge me and just kept going. I had no clue in my life that a person could treat me that way. Everything I thought I knew about purity and loving God and resisting the devil flew out of my head, and I just froze.

    The first time, there was no intercourse, but I walked away from the situation dazed and feeling absolutely certain that my life was over, I had committed the ultimate sin, I had disappointed the Lord Jesus I love so much, and I was tainted, and the gift I had received from God in the form of my sexuality had just been stolen from me and trampled on by somebody I thought was my friend. What did I do? Well, eventually, after many other encounters like this, some of which DID include intercourse, I married this man.

    I look back now in horror. Why did I marry him? Because it was my fault. I did it. I had to marry him to cover my shame. I had committed acts that I had vowed to do only in God’s perfect timing and with the person I had married. I could never go back. I could never erase what happened. It was over. It was my fault. Marrying him didn’t seem all that great, but at least then I could still say that my precious sexuality was still being used with just ONE man. I felt that would lessen the devaluing that I already felt.

    So I married the man who had trampled my purity and I pushed the memories of the pre-marriage assaults to the back of my mind. I was so full of hope. I believed he would love me, and he had just been overcome by lust, and he would be a good husband, and nobody would ever know the depths of my shame and failure. Except God, who knows all. But God could forgive me in time.

    Over the three years we have been married, he continued to objectify my body and make me feel shame. Emotional and physical abuse kicked in, and he could not comprehend why I didn’t want to have sex after he was screaming at me or threatening me or smashing things in front of me. When we did have sex, he would constantly pressure me to do things I wasn’t comfortable with, things that I had already told him many times I did not want to do. The most dehumanizing thing about it was that he wouldn’t even acknowledge me or talk to me or look at me when “pressuring me” during the act. He would just close his eyes and mutely grab me and move my body to do the things I didn’t want, as if I was literally an object he was positioning at a better angle.

    He also did so many of the things that other commenters have described, including unwanted grabbing during everyday activities and being unable to kiss or hug or touch without it being the begining of some sexual struggle. In the last year, I leave my body when he coerces me into sex. I purposely numb myself and go away until he is done. Then I uncontrollably shake and cry afterward. He sometimes pats me or holds me or says “don’t cry,” and I believe he thinks he is being sweet. But he doesn’t ask why I am shaking. He knows why, but he will not acknowledge it.

    I have blocked so many of the memories of what he has done, including incredibly painful moments of emotional and financial abuse, and terrifying moments of physical aggression.

    Now that I am separated, I am much more at peace. However, I am still confused and afraid, because here’s the thing: I love him. I loved him when I met him, and I trusted him. I was hurt by what he did, but I genuinely thought he would be a good husband and things would get better. I ask myself what is wrong with me, am I stupid, am I naive, am I really such a prisoner of my own mind that psychological traps like “abuse bonding” are going to keep my heart attached to him? I am desperately praying for God to save him, to change him completely and make him the man he is supposed to be. I do believe that divorce is a godly option at this point, but I don’t WANT it. I just want the husband he promised to be when he said those marriage vows.

    After all that, I still ask myself why did I marry him? Looking back, I cannot believe how silly it was to believe the lie that what HE had done to me was a sin I had committed. It’s so obvious now that that is not true. But at the time, in the shock, I believed I was guilty. And I believed that the later abuse was just punishment for my initial loss of purity. Sure, I had said no. I had resisted. But I accused myself and told myself that had I really resisted? I hadn’t screamed. I hadn’t fought like a cat and scratched his eyes out and tore for the door. I hadn’t resisted to the point of death. I let him do it. My attempts to stop him were so pitiful. I really felt that Jesus, who I love so much because of all that he has done for me, was horribly betrayed by me during that first encounter.

    Today I believe with my mind that those feelings are false and not Biblical. They don’t match the Jesus that I find in the Bible. Jesus doesn’t accuse me in that way. But the thoughts are still there, and have been there for many years. I am struggling now to overcome them.

    Thank you for letting me share my story. It has been impossible for me to share my sexual abuse with my trusted friends and church right now. But perhaps as the healing progresses, I will be able to.

    1. Oh my dear sweet sister, thank you so much for sharing your story! While I was reading I was moaning and lamenting out loud for what you have suffered.

      You describe it so well — the frozen fear; the purity culture which taught you next to nothing about how evil some people can be and how to discern them and how to recognise their tactics; the self-blame which most of us victims fall into because our abusers falsely blame us and the culture which surrounds us tell us that we must be to blame if we become defiled…

      I am very very glad you are finding help from the blog. Welcome! 🙂
      Here are some posts which relate to the issues you brought up in your comment, which you might like to read if you haven’t already done so:
      She did not cry out while being raped … so is she guilty?

      The Bible’s view on premarital sex – is the remedy always “get married”?

      The Myth of “Stockholm Syndrome” and other labels which are used to discredit and pathologize victims of abuse

      I loved the way he lied. But not anymore.

      In regards to what you said here:

      Now that I am separated, I am much more at peace. However, I am still confused and afraid, because here’s the thing: I love him. I loved him when I met him, and I trusted him. I was hurt by what he did, but I genuinely thought he would be a good husband and things would get better.

      Maybe what you love is the husband you thought he was – a fictional, idealised character. If so, you don’t actually ‘still love’ your husband — what you may love is a man who was only imaginary to begin with … a man who your Christian upbringing had taught you to believe would come into your life and for whom you had devotedly prepared yourself … But that man didn’t arrive; a cruel, lying, callous, selfish man arrived instead and he saw you as pure peach on the tree that he could pluck and maraud.

      BTW, we always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

    2. H. Thank you for sharing your experience, it was very courageous of you. I am glad you are overcoming your thoughts of guilt; that you realize you did nothing wrong … the wrong was done to you.
      I really relate to the still loving the abuser, it is a difficult thing to overcome. I have days where I miss him and hope that he could change. It’s important for me to stay focused on who he really was, to remind myself that it wasn’t really him I loved … I loved the person he would pretend to be, the false claims he would make about marriage, etc. And those things weren’t the truth. It’s difficult to work out, I often wonder how I could still have feelings of love for someone who detested me so much. Days when I miss him, feel lonely, or re-open lines of communication with him, I end up feeling guilty. It’s important for me to read as much as I can to stay grounded in the truth of who he is.

  74. Thank you for your welcome and encouragement, Barbara. And thank you for sharing your own struggles with the feelings of still loving your abuser, Surviving Freedom.

    I definitely think that some of the yearning for and missing my husband is missing the person he pretended to be. It is clear by his actions he never really loved me or cared about my wellbeing, even though I thought he did. It is really hard to let go of the lie that I so wished was true.

    But I also love him in that whoever he is, whatever he thinks of me, I meant my marriage vows and I care about his wellbeing and his soul, I care about what happens to him. I read Proverbs and I just cry and cry because God’s words about the Fool are so hard! I know where he is going and what awaits him if he doesn’t turn back. Sometimes I feel he deserves it, but other times I just feel sad and afraid for his sake. O that the Lord would turn him away from that path. If I could know that he found the right path but I lost him forever for myself, I could heal from that.

      1. Not yet… I recently got a few books to read including Leslie Vernick’s book, which was so helpful. I had the thought to myself, do I really want to get all these books and start a collection of books on this topic? Do I really want to have this physical reminder in my library of this dark time that will probably soon be over like a bad dream? I actually used that to reason myself out of buying books to help me. Very silly. 🙂 I am over that now.

  75. My heart has hemmoraged itself from the grief of being violated by the one who found me in my late teens, needing to escape an abusive life, which included being a survivor of traumatic rape as a child by a family member.

    Into my decade or so of marriage to this person, he would say things to me, at off handed times, such as after intimacy ” I’m sorry, all I have is a quarter for you this time.”

    He knew the horrific details of my sexual abuse, and would watch show after show (or keep on) of crime shows, heavily focused on describing rape and exams of victims, even after I told him it was triggering to me. I couldn’t walk round our house without hearing details from the shows about trauma I had experienced.

    At one point, after being abused from every angle, I’m realizing now, my body experienced a breakdown. I became bedridden for many months. If I asked for his aid, he would see me and sometimes say sarcastic things about me lying down, things that made veiled allusions to my having been raped. At times, I’d find myself curled in a ball, sobbing in agony, thinking “I’ll never be pure again”… the feelings of the young rape victim in me, more inflamed than ever

    I feel like he knew my nightmares and poured gasoline on them. When I’d burn, ache, cry, I was told he was sick of all my trauma, and any “frustration” he showed was because of how overwhelming it was to deal with a spouse who had so many emotional breakdowns.

    I grew more despondent, mind, body and soul. I internalized the shame, guilt and blame for being so screwed up. I fought to deal with the rape by going through intensive, painful therapy.

    I would go home after therapy and he’d find me, sitting in bed and begin dancing sexually in front of me. Then, he’d aggressively make even more gross gestures and actions with his various body parts. He’d watch for my offense and get more charged off it and defiant, which sent him into laughter. I told him to stop, and asked why he was doing this to me. He’d then make me look at his naked behind and when I wouldn’t respond like he wanted, he’d lower his voice and say, “You laugh! I’m so tired of you always with that look on your face. You never laugh!!!”

    Other times, he’d make fun of my breasts and then grope me repeatedly after I said, no. He said he wanted his wife’s body, and I never let him touch me. I felt ashamed. I didn’t understand why I shut down more and more. He’d also come up behind me and randomly slap my behind hard, after I told him it wasn’t funny and it hurt.

    He also was aware of my rapist’s specific words to me, that I was a “___ ____” and said before, when watching a TV show with sexual themes. “That woman is a _____ _____,” and watch for the triggered look on my face, then say, “What? That’s what she is. She’s a _____ _______.”

    Thank you for listening.

    1. Dear M,
      Please forgive me for having taken a little while to publish this comment of yours. I have been busy, and I didn’t want to publish it without having carefully looked at it and airbrushed any details I thought might need to be airbrushed to protect your identity from being guessed by those who might know you.

      You said “I didn’t understand why I shut down more and more.”

      Many many victims, myself included, can relate to what you said there. For many years in adulthood I didn’t understand why I was unable to enjoy sexual intimacy … When I got the memory back of having been raped as a child, it started slowly to make sense.

      It sounds to me like you shut down more and more because your husband was abusing you in so many ways. He was taunting you, deliberately doing things to trigger you, mocking your healthy resistance to his abusive behaviours, and trying to crush / extinguish your healthy responses to his cruelty.

      The only relatively ‘safe’ option for you in such a situation would be to become more numb, to shut down more. Shutting down is one way the victim tries to impose a boundary against the abuser. The victim shuts down to shield herself, to stop him having so much access to her heart and soul. Be assured that your shutting down was a totally reasonable and healthy response to his cruelty. You were not content with being abused, and you were putting on body armour to stop him getting at you.

      If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read the pdf booklet Honouring Resistance.

  76. I’ve never shared with anyone. But it all is my life. This morning he knew he was making me miss a work meeting but required sex. It’s a daily requirement. This time he forced anal while I cried and begged God for help. 😓 Hardly the first time and I’m sure it will happen again. Last week my neck was swollen and stiff for days after he forced me on to him. I love him so much but it has killed any desire I have for him sexually and I never feel safe being alone with him anymore. He is not physically abusive outside of the bedroom. We have several children (1 was in bed with me when things happened this morning) and I am not leaving him. I’m just lost. He doesn’t apologize or feel regretful after. I’m sorry I just felt like this was a safe place to get some advice…

    1. Dear Anonymous, thank you for sharing here! I imagine it took some courage to do so 🙂

      Your husband is definitely an abuser. He is abusing you sexually. And just because he hasn’t used physical violence on you outside the bedroom, does not mean he is not an abuser outside the bedroom. It is highly likely that he is using emotional abuse, psychological abuse and perhaps other kinds of abuse also, in the rest of your life (the non-bedroom part).

      Being anally raped is awful. It is painful, it is a very deep violation, not only of your body but your spirit, your personhood, your dignity, and your rights as a human being to be respected and treated with dignity.

      I am so sorry about what you are suffering.
      I am very very glad you have found our blog. I encourage you to keep reading here. We will believe you and support you. We won’t tell you to leave him — that decision is entirely up to you. Some women choose to stay with their abusers, some choose to leave. Often the risks of leaving seem to be greater than the risks of staying… and we know that each victim is the best judge of her own situation and her own circumstances. 🙂

      We always encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      And you might like to read our definition of abuse in the sidebar.

      It is not your fault. You are not to blame.

      As for advice, all I would suggest at this stage is that you keep reading here, and that you also read Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He DO That? [Affiliate link] You can find it in our Resources section (see the tab at the top of the blog).

      We believe you. We support you. And once again, welcome to the blog! 🙂

  77. Thank you so much for this post! I can’t believe how similar the behavior is. Coerced sex (and me pretending to enjoy it so he wouldn’t get mad), constantly fighting off anal sex, being grabbed when trying to do dishes or in the presence of the kids,me positioning myself when sleeping to make it harder for him to cuddle up to me when I can’t defend myself, him trying to “help the marriage” by reading about sex techniques, getting mad when because I refused to hold hands or kiss in public (even though I told him ahead of time that I didn’t want to). He always claimed it was because he thought I would like it,because sex creates a bond in the relationship (so altruistic, right?) or because it’s what all normal couples do. I moved out of the bedroom but can’t figure out how to get free completely,still in the same house.

    It doesn’t help to have a church that likes to talk about how a passionate physical relationship is a hallmark of a good marriage. I felt spiritually inadequate and guilty for years for not wanting to have sex, to the point of being afraid to take Communion. I still feel guilty at trying to avoid him as much as possible when he keeps trying and insisting.

    I read an account of a kidnapper who said he was kind to his victim, citing that she slept in his arms every night. I often thought of that at bedtime, how horrible it is not to be able to escape even in sleep. Supposedly prostitutes find it easier to just have sex than to kiss their clients- I identified with that too, couldn’t kiss him or look him in the eye. So ironic that the church condemns the meaninglessness and lack of emotional connection of casual sex and then insists that wives must have sex without emotional connection.

    Have told my therapists,not anyone else – a few hints but I get told to have more sex because men need it to feel loved. Ugh.

    1. Supposedly prostitutes find it easier to just have sex than to kiss their clients-

      I can testify to that from personal experience. I was a prostitute for about eight months, when I was twenty, seven years before I was born again. I can say that in public now because all family members of mine who would be upset knowing about it are now passed away. I never kissed any clients. The very thought of it = uuuuugghhh!

      I thank God that He has changed my life so much!

  78. grabbing, rough play,biting, doing things I expressed I did not like and that turned me off, or hurt, cornering me, holding me forcefully,

  79. I have been married for about half a dozen years to my best friend and I am just now seeing that I think I have been manipulated and sexually abused. I’ve been with him since I was a teenager and so I don’t think I realized what was normal and what wasn’t. Sadly, I have strayed and been unfaithful in the past. But trying to rebuild has been difficult.

    We have a baby (less than a year old) and I have not been as interested in sex. So he is very demanding and wants me to send suggestive pictures to him while I am at work or home with our child. Sex is very rough and I am often left with bruises. I have suggested counseling but he is uninterested. What makes it hard is that he is a Christian man and wonderful father.

    I don’t know what to do. He tends to use what I did against me and I feel obligated to give him sex and meet his needs. He uses the Bible to get me to be sexual as well, saying it is my duty to please him with my breasts and such. But I cringe when he touches me.

    1. Dear Anonymous, I”m sorry your comment was held in moderation for so long. I’ve been extraordinarily busy, and I didn’t want to publish it until I had time to write a reply to it.

      Welcome to the blog and thanks for sharing!

      It certainly sounds to me like your husband is abusing you sexually. You have certainly indicated to him that you are not comfortable with being treated roughly, being bruised, and being pressured to send him suggestive pictures. He is ignoring your wishes and your feelings, and pushing you to do what he wants regardless of how much you don’t like doing it. That is abuse. It is not the conduct of a man who loves his wife as Christ loves the church! It is the very opposite of that. And he is using scripture to coerce you as well — that is spiritual abuse.

      It can be painful to wake up to these things. We call it coming out of the fog. We understand how hard it is to wrap one’s mind around these things. Many of us have been in similar places to you. You are not alone.

      He may be a wonderful father up to a point, but a wonderful father would not be treating the mother of his child with such disrespect and harshness.

      I encourage you to keep reading this blog. I thing you will find it a helpful and supportive place.
      And btw, we always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog. I disidentified a few details in your comment, to help guard your identity.

  80. I can’t believe I am writing this. My story is not nearly as horrific as most here, and I have never considered it to be abuse. Now, I wonder, but I’m scared to go there in my mind. It is a long story, so I will try to shorten it.

    We were virgins when we married. It was my first serious relationship. He was the kindest, most thoughtful, most considerate man I had ever met. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was!

    I expected sex to hurt the first time, but I did not expect the pain to continue. Every time. I went to my doctor, but every test was negative, and none of his suggestions helped. Although I began our marriage enthusiastic about sex, my interest faded after so many painful experiences. Eventually, I dreaded it. My husband became frustrated. He never forced me, but he begged, cajoled, and argued until I gave in. He said I was rejecting him. I tried to explain, that it was because of the pain, but it was like it didn’t register with him. He complained that I didn’t enjoy it. I asked him how he could expect me to enjoy it when it hurt. He asked how I could expect him to have a sexless marriage. And round and round it went. He is the type of person who can win any argument, and I would eventually just shut down or apologize.

    I often cried during and after sex. He often kept his eyes closed. I remember one night, lying there in tears, and when he finished, he just turned over and went to sleep. I felt lonely and trapped. I was too embarrassed to talk to anyone. At any rate, we were being taught by our church that it was my duty, even if I didn’t feel like it.

    Several years into our marriage I found a doctor who diagnosed my condition as a pelvic pain syndrome. I also started seeing a Christian therapist who, thankfully, said we shouldn’t have sex if it hurt me. When I told my husband, he stopped pushing for intercourse, but he became very angry that I had told the therapist how he treated me….

    Over the next several years, he would make unkind, degrading comments about my performance (or lack thereof) in bed. We found other ways to be intimate, but at that point, I wasn’t interested at all. In fact, I felt panicky when he would come on to me, but I still tried to participate. He also let me know, in no uncertain terms, that what we were able to do was not satisfactory. Through it all, it was always my fault, my responsibility, and I needed to be doing more to fix things.

    He has apologized for the way he treated me, but says I have done things that were just as bad. (?). He says I need to forgive him, and blames my lack of interest in intimacy on a lack of forgiveness. It has been a few years since he has made a negative comment, so maybe he has changed.

    I have tried to forgive him, especially since he really has changed, and I think he is trying to do better. In general, he’s a wonderful guy. But sometimes, when I remember those early years, I still get upset and cry and feel angry. It’s like I can’t get past it. I don’t know what is wrong with me.

    1. Dear sister,

      I gave you the screen name Confused to protect your identity.

      I have heard of pelvic pain syndrome but this is the first time I’ve heard an account of it from an individual sufferer. I feel for you! It must be awful. 😦

      Both you and your husband were initially in the dark about the cause of the problem. But once you got the correct diagnosis, a good husband should have realised it immensely to put you down and say unkind, degrading comments about your performance (or lack thereof) in bed. The fact that your husband has continued to act as if you should ‘do more to fix things’ and has been laying guilt on you for what is clearly not your fault, shows that he is not respecting you as a good husband should respect his wife.

      And he is wrong to blame your lack of interest in sex on a ‘lack of forgiveness’ on your part. Emotional pain and grief takes time and gentleness to heal. It is quite normal to have recollections from time to time of the painful things we have been through in the past. And crying, weeping, and getting angry is a part of grief. In fact, weeping is one of the best ways we heal from grief. The fact that your husband is not respecting your emotions, and is judging you when you weep or get angry about the past pain —- that is just giving you MORE pain. Current pain. So his responses to you are not helping; they are making things worse. I am not surprised you “can’t get past it” — it is not just in the past, it is happening now!

      So there is nothing wrong with you in that sense. You are having natural and healthy responses to pain and suffering and unjust criticism. 🙂

      And I don’t think you did wrong to tell the Christian therapist about what your sexual experience with your husband was like before the diagnosis. You were seeing her as a counselor — counseling is about sharing our emotions and thoughts with a trusted confidential professional. Your husband was very wrong to claim that you should not have told the therapist how he was treating you.

      From what you have described here about your husband, it sounds to me like he is using some of the typical behaviours of abusive spouses. He is telling you to keep quiet about how he treats you. He is pressuring you to ‘get over it’ when you are not yet over it. And he is criticising and judging you unjustly. And in asserting that you have “done things that were just as bad” he is making a generalised claim without any backup or evidence, to put you on the back foot, make you doubt yourself, make you inspect yourself for your supposed ‘sins’ rather and thus stop you asserting you right to be treated with respect by him.

      I do not know what else to say to you, at the moment, but if you keep reading the blog you may find it helpful. I don’t want to say for sure that your husband is or is not an abuser. But I’d encourage you to be open minded as to that, and to read this blog more. I think that may help you figure things out more.

      Bless you, and hugs. And please check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change your screen name to something other than Confused, email The Woman Behind The Curtain: She will be more than happy to assist. 🙂

  81. I was grabbed at, I experienced being uncomfortably felt up when busy with chores that couldn’t be left many times (in the middle of preparing dinner, hands in a sink full of soapy water / dishes). I was expected to do things like anal, or blow jobs for him with no physical touch at all for me, without my enjoyment of those things.

    I came to realize that he enjoyed sex more if I didn’t like it. Which was a shame, because I do like sex. Eventually, he realized what would cause me the greatest pain was to simply ignore me. No physical affection, no sex, no kissing or hugging or cuddling. He would do illegal drugs as well, and I think that combined with his naturally lower drive and need to control me made him like a robot. Completely fine with being non-sexual and non affectionate.

    trigger warning When I, filled with loneliness and despair, began to sleep somewhere else I felt empowered for the first time in my marriage. When he would verbally or physically abuse me, I would feel no urge to reconnect sexually. I think I had before […] This led to me waking up in the middle of the night to him already on top of me, forcing his hands into my clothing and on my body, telling me I should do this “just for him because he needed it”. I fought him off and he blew up, he said that he was going to stay with a friend for a month and wouldn’t be back. […] That was the end, I left immediately for my parents’ house and explained everything. I haven’t returned. Only a few weeks later, he had moved a new girlfriend into our old house and our old bed. If he hadn’t been cheating on me physically while we were still married, then he was definitely cheating on me emotionally. Grooming her to take my place. I believe there was physical infidelity as well, but have no proof.

    There was so much withholding in our marriage. Months and years of it. There was very little sexual intimacy. I was a virgin when I met him, and he’s the only man I’ve ever been with to this day. We may have occasionally had sex, but it didn’t connect us. He was using my body like a tool. There was no eye contact, no loving words or touches, no connection. No intimacy. no joy.

    He would often try and make me feel like some kind of freak or that there was something wrong with me because I desired sex and physical connection.

    He would often demand sex when I was sick, or in the 6 weeks after a baby, or he would try to wake me up in the very early morning (dawn) when I had been up with the kids in the night. If he could sense a time when he knew I didn’t want to do it, or it would be painful, then he made a point of asking then. When my interest would return in time, he would immediately begin turning me down again.

    During the honeymoon and newlywed phase of our relationship, he physically and verbally abused me. When I told both sets of our parents about this, the overt physical abuse stopped, but everything else continued. I now recognize what he did to me as a kind of sexual abuse.

    I found it very hard to talk to anyone about this, because I had friends who I thought wouldn’t understand. They complained about being annoyed with their husbands being overly interested. I felt like even more of a freak. I now know that I am a normal woman, who was being manipulated and abused.

    I don’t know if you are still doing this, but I wanted to tell my story.
    I’m fine with being emailed if it’s still applicable.

    1. Hi CC.
      Thanks for telling your story and I need to apologize for it being left in moderation for so long. I was burned out recently and the thought of wrapping my head around your comment in order to edit it to help protect your identity was something I just was avoiding. As it turned out, I didn’t need to edit it much. I just changed your screen name and removed a few other details.

      As you will know if you’ve read the comments thread here, many women have been abused by their husbands in similar ways to what you describe.

      It is clear your husband was very intentional in his abuse: he worked out what was most hurtful to you, and then specialised in using those tactics.

      I no longer need stories for the chapter I was writing: — the book has now been published. But I’m sure your story here will be of help to some other survivors.

      Bless you!

  82. I’ve been trying to figure out what this was, I really hesitate to post this, here goes.
    I think this was abusive, I’ve been separated for some time but this was what sex was getting like.

    I went in to his Facebook and noticed he had about 4000 friends he only knew about 300 hundred. They were mostly women, some of them young as in fifteen or so, over sexed women in thongs and stringy bra tops, they had links from perhaps more revealing sites on their pages. I wasn’t happy, I totally did not expect that. I became angry and told him to clean it up. He made excuses that he didn’t know them, he had no lust toward them. As if that were true. He begrudgingly unfriended some of them, only some. He friended new ones just as bad, we went round and round with it for weeks, our intimacy took a dive. He accused me of putting my hand to the plow and looking back if I asked or said anything about it, he said I was unfit for the kingdom of God because I didn’t trust him and was looking back to what he did yesterday. I walked in one day and he was staring at some women on a bed in nothing but a thong, the screen froze and he could not get the picture down. The night before we had been intimate physically, I felt betrayed.
    He told me since I had a couple different doctrinal beliefs that God was going to turn me over to a reprobate mind and make me gay. He said this a lot, sometimes he would just call me Ms. Romans chapter one and of course I knew what he meant.

    He said I was following a false Jesus, he said I was a liar and God was going to kill me like Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter 5, if I cussed or cried or screamed, because of what he said, he accused me of being demon possessed or said I was abusive to him for swearing. I didn’t call him swearing names I only swore. He never swore. I felt coerced into intimacy because I knew if I said “no” he would say, “Your going to have those desires your going to come begging me for sex, you can’t say no forever”. I knew he’d keep saying that until I said yes.

    I would drink at times to help that, he didn’t care if I was pretty much getting drunk to bear being intimate physically. Earlier in our marriage I liked and enjoyed sex, now I felt like it was wrong. A couple times he forced me to kiss him when I was upset. I felt confused. I felt like it was wrong for me to be intimate with him since his behavior was what it was.

    My counselor told me to create a boundary and that I was free to tell him no and sleep in another room.
    Soon after that counseling session I separated.

    1. He was definitely sexually abusing you, and he was combining that with spiritual abuse — browbeating you with accusations that you were deficient in your Christian faith in order to coerce you into putting up with his porn use and his treating you like a sex object.

      All his accusations against you were false. Even though you swore that doesn’t mean you were being abusive to him, let alone does it mean you were demon possessed! Your swearing (and your drinking) were ways you were trying to cope with his abuse. You know those behaviors of yours were unwise, and like every true Christian I’m sure you’ve confessed them to God and you strive to not engage in them again. Your ex tried to make out that those things you were doing were much much worse sins than they really were. You might find this post helpful: Are all sins equally bad? Are all transgressions of the law equally heinous?

  83. So, I know this is a few years old, but as I read through other people’s stories, I feel compelled to share mine, even if this doesn’t get seen. I know that I have experienced spiritual, verbal, emotional and “low grade” physical abuse, but I hesitate to lump sexual abuse in there with all of that. I am not sure if my experience qualifies. I apologize. This may get long 🙂

    I had been told most of my life that I was worthless and unlovable. Because I believed this, a boyfriend I had convinced me to cross some physical boundaries. He later tried to force himself on me twice and eventually discarded me. Lots of guilt and shame, as a Christian, and also coming from the “True Love Waits” movement. Early on in my relationship with my H, he was very curious about any previous relationships and any and all physical contact that I had ever had with anybody. We were both virgins when we married.

    While we were engaged my H would sometimes mock me for my sexual naivety and sometime ridicule me for what happened with former boyfriend. Said it was as if I had been unfaithful to him, even though I didn’t know my husband at the time. What I didn’t know is that he was deeply entrenched in porn and masturbation. I had found evidence of porn (and throughout early years of marriage) when we were engaged and stupidly believed his excuses.

    His porn addiction greatly affected his ability to perform sexually, and it required a lot of work to make sex happen. I don’t even think intercourse happened on our wedding night. It was on our honeymoon when he told me that he thought I was lying and wasn’t a virgin because apparently I didn’t bleed enough after our first time. He would bring that up at random times throughout our almost 15 years married that he just knew I was lying about what happened with former boyfriend and I would one day be found out. And I need to stop playing the victim. . .

    Anyway, early marriage, sex had to happen every evening as soon as we got home after work (and remember it required A LOT of effort to make it happen) regardless of dinner, tiredness, sickness, hunger, bathroom needs. Days off work was more than once. Not much focus on me, but there would be anger when I didn’t derive pleasure (this has been a consistent theme). It was within our first year that he started talking about how easy it would to have sex with some co-workers and how so-and-so was so hot. Throughout our marriage he would talk about crushes he had on co-workers and such. These are consistent themes. Eventually he confessed a porn addiction, but I don’t remember any plan in place to battle it. Only that I can help him by always being available to him. And I was always reminded if more than 24 hours had passed that he was “struggling” because he wasn’t fulfilled enough. So, if he sinned sexually it was my fault. He never said that explicitly, though.

    Lots of whining and complaining that he wasn’t getting his needs met often enough (and I always took care of him several times a week, nearly daily, regardless), but especially after childbirth, surgeries, miscarriage. Told me I would get over my grief from my miscarriage by pleasuring him. Then he convinced me to watch porn with him. Which I had to drink to endure it. He told me that he was going to do it either way and it was wrong to hide it from me. And if I watched it with him, it would keep him from lusting after women in real life, so porn was better. Rock and hard-place. I had no choice. But then bringing in my friends into sexual fantasies and erupting in anger if I told him I didn’t like it. Pestered me for anal and listened to my “no”, but not without a lot of anger from him. Would rarely initiate, but complain that I didn’t initiate enough. (i.e. everyday) Always making sure that I knew he was sexually frustrated or struggling with lust. And under the guise of being “honest” he would describe in great detail the porn videos he watched, his fantasies, his masturbation experiences. Would compare everyone of my body parts on a scale of 1-10 to other attractive women. Which, if I was confident enough in his love for me, I wouldn’t have a problem with. There were many, many long conversations about improving our sex life. Late into the night; hours on the phone while he was driving, while I was trying to homeschool and care for our children.

    As lots of commenters said above, lots of groping at inappropriate times in front of kids, while cooking dinner, etc. Using crass and vulgar names for body parts and sex acts. The only time he would ever give me the kind of sexual touching and affection that I enjoyed was when it was inappropriate. Like in the living room in front of the kids, while we are driving with the whole family in the car, or out in public. And of course he would ridicule me and erupt in anger, when I said that those things were inappropriate.

    Well, how that for a novel? I know that this isn’t nearly as extreme as what some of the others have experienced. But my gut tells me that there is something off.

    1. DancingRain — Don’t ever think your experience is not as extreme as others. You have endured “abuse”. Don’t let anyone attempt to water it down. I’ve had that happen to me.
      Praying for you. You need ((HUGS)).

    2. While we were engaged my H would sometimes mock me for my sexual naivety

      I had an old boyfriend who did that and I think it bothered me more than I realized at the time.

      I think porn causes a disconnect somehow. I definitely agree that that sounds off.

      1. Yes! Disconnect and double standard . . .We need to be totally pure and virginal, but armed with the knowledge of an enthusiastic porn star once we enter the marriage bed.

    3. Dancing Rain, thanks so much for sharing about all those ways you were sexually abused. He coerced you to watch porn with him, and even though you might have verbally consented, that was NOT consent because you knew you were not free to say NO.
      He was betraying you by his porn addiction way before and all through the marriage. He was treating you like a sex object all the way through the marriage. He was saying and doing sexual things to you that you were very uncomfortable with and he consistently refused to heed your expressions of discomfort. All of that was sexual abuse.

      I encourage to not say to yourself “My case wasn’t as bad as some others”. We can all say that about ourselves, if we have been victims of abuse, but it is not very helpful. It is a way we minimize the trauma we have suffered. And abusers WANT us to minimise the harm they cause us, so let’s not help them by discounting ourselves. 🙂

      Every story here from a survivor helps some other survivor. So thank you for sharing.

  84. My ex would never push me for sex. He was extremely passive aggressive and had so much invested in being seen as a nice guy. However during sex he would “accidentally” tug too hard on a nipple, or, knowing how it related to past abuse experiences a child, deliberately take his time, touching me for a few seconds longer than I wanted him to, because he knew I hated it. At first I thought it was an accident. But even after I talked to him about it, the behaviours repeated. It included also, “stroking” the side of my face too hard, resulting in a tearing feeling of the gland under my ear, something else that got repeated more than once. He himself had been assaulted as a teen by a woman and had grown up in one of the most controlling and arrogant families I ever met. I had great difficulty with sex. I believe these behaviours were a combination of expressing his resentment over my not desiring him (I hadn’t wanted to marry him and in fact he had frightened me into submission when I had attempted to end our dating relationship, with a ranting and raving fit of rage that including a subtly implied suicide threat, which for me resulted in a core meltdown. I didn’t know about trauma or triggers back then and had no understanding of what was going on so I caved and became obligated and entrapped). I figured my troubles turning on to him were strictly because of my abusive past, something he definitely supported.

    1. Oh, this is familiar. Verbal or physical resistance to certain touches would often cause that touch to escalate.

      If I wasn’t thinking about sex 24 / 7 like he was, I was sexually broken, and blaming past trauma on my lack of desire.

      1. DancingRain, I think that some of these fellows like to see themselves at first as rescuers, but then it works out well for them; any problems can be blamed on poor, screwed up pathetic you and they come off looking like a hero, a role they like to play and play well. Sadly, to the appreciative cheers of clueless Christians.

  85. Dear Barbara,
    Along with the husband who uses pornography, the need for fantasy is imperative to them.
    Many women will find that thier husband misuses them as a tool for masturbation, while the husband fantasizes during sex.
    They have so degraded what God designed as something beautiful.
    This is another way a wife can be used, abused and damaged.
    Praise God for His healing power!

    1. I agree Jo, porn wires the porn-user’s mind so it thrives on and needs fantasy — reality in sex becomes unsatisfying. So the porn user brings those corrupt thoughts and images into any sexual relationship he has with a real person.

      1. I came across this blog by accident after searching divorce / remarriage etc. Good job Barbara.
        One comment I endured was-
        ‘Just because I fondle you doesn’t mean we have to have sex’
        Followed the next night by-
        ‘You don’t respond when I caress you’.
        Twisted logic.

        Sex expected every night.
        He wouldn’t go to bed unless I came too- I could not even sit up and read for ten mins.
        And, finally, I stopped giving him the ok for sex just so I could get some sleep, and he just climbed on and violated me- RAPE!
        It’s so sick really but after being apart for 5 years, I have [a] sick feeling that I’m glad he raped me so I have a justifiable reason for leaving. Even though he initiated the divorce.
        A tough and lonely Christian life.
        I don’t see justification for remarriage in the Bible despite much searching.
        And the thought of being touched or kissed repulsed me.
        Can’t stand the sight of him when I drop kids off!
        I also feel my experience is nothing compared to some of the horrible stories here.

      2. Hi Ger, welcome to the blog.

        We like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

        And after reading the New Users’ Info page, I suggest you look at our FAQ page.
        One of our FAQs deals with remarriage.

  86. So much courage in all these painful stories. The reading has taken most of the day, pausing to absorb the implications in and on individual lives. There may be overlap in stories, but the effects remain unique.

    I cannot imagine the pain, the humiliation, the suffering.


    Between the original post and the comments generated, many of the emotional boundary blank spots I experience were represented.

    Yes, I was a victim of sexual abuse, from infancy until my divorce.

    I leave the bare bones of my story on this post – a skeleton with no added flesh. I had moments in reading when I felt I was suffocating, a vague impulse to double over in pain, a spinning in my head (but not the incipient feeling of dissociation).

    The sensations came when I read comments of support and validation, written to acknowledge a victim’s anguish.

    I am grateful to all for sharing their stories, to all for showing empathy and compassion.

    In bits and pieces, you have told my story. In bits and pieces, you have validated my pain.

    1. I have been following a convoluted pathway in the last short while, healing sexual abuse from the past, from infancy through the dissolution of my “marriage”.

      I have re-experienced things no one should ever have to go through, healed them, and moved on.

      And yet, for all the horrors I re-experienced, I STILL do not see me as a victim of sexual abuse.

      And somehow, sometimes in my “marriage”, there are times I know I was raped. And like many rape victims, I felt I deserved to be raped.

      I KNOW better. I KNOW my thinking is wrong.

      I am still missing connections, evidently. Like unhealed “lesions” in my brain.

      I remember the ACFJ post on wound healing, the different processes involved, the complexity, the care, the importance of addressing ALL the bits of infection and dead or necrotic tissue.

      I know a similar process is needed for the “lesions” in my brain.

      And the way these “lesions” are interconnected and intertwined, it’s like facing the surgeon for a series of emergency surgeries – they cannot be put off or delayed, not if I want complete healing, no scars.

      I doubt I would have been a good hospital patient. I’d just have said let’s do in all in one day, rather than stretch it out over two, or three, or even a few more….

      Again, I KNOW better, for any number of reasons.

      I’m tired of the need to focus on me – it’s NOT who I am, nor who I ever was, nor who God created me to be.

      I fear I am failing in all areas of my life, though again, I KNOW better.

      I am so, so tired of this particular mess.

      I want to re-focus my care on others.

      I want to get on with my life.

      1. Dear Finding Answers, I don’t get the impression you are failing. I get the impression that you are being incredibly courageous in following the leading of the Holy Spirit in the incredibly difficult and taxing process of healing that you are undergoing. And whether you are aware of it or not, I think that some of our other readers will now (or will later on) gain tips, confidence, and courage to undergo their own deep healing journeys, from having read your comments.

        Nothing is wasted in God’s economy.

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