A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Abuse During Sleep: Can You Tell us How You Knew?

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.


[August 9, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]

We have now had numbers of our readers tell us that they were abused while they were sleeping. In some cases it was sexual abuse. In others the victim awoke to being physically assaulted or verbally attacked. These reports are frequent enough that I wanted to put this subject right out here where we can all see it, and I ask our readers who have experience with this kind of thing to tell us what you know and / or experienced.

Open discussion of this aspect of abuse may very well help other victims who are being abused in their sleep but who doubt their perceptions about it. In particular, I am curious about what little clues you might have seen that made you suspicious, but you still weren’t certain? Were you taking medications that made you groggy and thus more vulnerable?

Let us all know if you can. And many, many thanks for doing so.

[August 9, 2022: Editors’ notes:

—For some comments made prior to August 9, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to August 9, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to August 9, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (August 9, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]


  1. Anonymous

    Yes! Why wasn’t I certain? For the same reasons I wasn’t certain about abuse in daylight, ie manipulativeness, evasiveness, excuses, justification, etc. The consequences are just as damaging, and sometimes, irreversible.

  2. Jeff Crippen

    Thank you Anon. This is a hard one to speak up about. I did some googling on it and was amazed how often it happens AND how often “counselors” tell these victims it is their fault for driving the poor guy to it. Or they say there really isn’t anything wrong with a husband doing this to his wife. Wrong!

    • Julie Anne

      Literalist spouses could easily take the verse in the Bible that says the wife’s body belongs to the husband (1 Cor. 7:4) and use that to their advantage. And wives who believe this kind of submissive stuff may not balk at it and suffer in silence. So sad.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Yes, we aren’t talking here about normal shows of “snuggle” affection. This has to do with actions purposely taken when the victim is unaware, such as on medication that makes their sleep particularly deep. You don’t have to search far on the web to find examples and as I said, we have had numbers of accounts of this from readers of our blog over the last few months.

      • Barnabasintraining

        Along with you, Julie Anne, I find that use of 1 Corinthians 7:4 particularly galling. It should be obvious that God never gave His word to sanction sin. All His commands are expected to be fulfilled in the context of walking in the Spirit, whose fruit is love, among other things. To take this verse in 1 Corinthians and use it as not just an excuse but even a Biblical sanction to perform heinous acts on another person is Satanic, not Spirit led.

        In one of Jeff’s sermons (I think it was in his series on abuse) he told about someone who was invited to a seminary to give a lecture on abuse and the subject of marital rape came up. One of the students brought up 1 Corinthians 7:4 as if to say there cannot be any such thing as marital rape. In so doing what the student did was give Biblical sanction to the heinous sin of marital rape.

        This is wrong in every conceivable way. What we should be doing is seeing God’s instructions as His will for how we are to live out our lives with one another in the context of walking in the Spirit and being empowered by Him to do what is pleasing in God’s sight, not how to gratify sinful desires against another, and the difference should be obvious. Alas, with questions such as this seminary student posed, it would seem it’s not obvious at all. And the abuser certainly does not see things this way.

      • mlieder

        Yes — I cannot even read 1 Cor, yet. It so repulses me to even hear anyone quote that verse — it was used brutally in my life — over and over. 😦

      • That is an example of how deeply damaging scriptural abuse can be.
        I have a few verses in the OT that I can’t read with ease as they bring back memories of how a certain pastor twisted them to his non-bibilcal agenda many years ago.

  3. AJ

    Jeff for me it was only ever waking me up in the night in order to try to make his point again if I have not agreed with his point of view before going to bed.

    • Jeff Crippen

      AJ – Yes, that is another aspect to this issue. Thank you. I have heard the same kind of report of this tactic from others. The act of waking up the victim in the night is part of the abuse. Think about it – that is the kind of thing they do to prisoners to torture them. Sleep deprivation.

    • Memphis Rayne

      Yes!!! I was tortured by paralyzing fear. If I went to bed early, there was never a good excuse for me doing that, me sleeping alone enraged him. If he was sleeping and we needed anything like money, or car keys we could not wake him due to he would violently attack me.

      He refused to let me sleep. If I got up to check on kids, or use the bathroom he would roll over to my spot so I would be forced to sleep on the floor (because I learned early on that it was never ok for me to find sleep in the kids room or the sofa). He would whisper to me things like “Do you even know how easy it would be for me to slit your throat?” I would lie in terror and try to pretend I was asleep…I never understood this bizarre pattern, especially after so much sleep deprivation you actually believe you are the one that is crazy.

      I was not allowed to be sick either. Or have any other needs met.

  4. Jeff Crippen

    Heather – No wonder so many children are afraid of the dark! It would seem to me that because abusers demand to be the center of everyone’s world, they simply cannot stand to see their victims sleeping peacefully, not giving homage to them. So they wake them up and terrorize them or they use the sleeping victim in ways that involve exerting power over them. And of course a sleep-deprived person is much weaker and easier to control. I suspect this tactic is far more common than we realize.

    • Michael

      I was not afraid of the dark, I was afraid of the man who came to my bed at night.

  5. Pippa

    Satan attempts to use a weakened position, physically, emotionally or spiritually as the preferred time to attack. It can come when one is sick, grieving or has not put on the full armor of God…it can come anytime but these are preferred times, I think.The devil took Jesus into the wilderness to tempt Him after he had fasted for 40 days. I have experienced sudden verbal and physical attacks shortly after falling asleep, both following an earlier attack along the same vein and completely out of the blue. This kind of attack leaves little question in one’s mind, however, about whether there was indeed an attack. It is unforgettable. One of these actually sealed my decision to be done with it.

    • I agree Pippa. The time of sleep or drifting off to sleep is a time when one’s soul is open and vulnerable. I have not had abuse from a partner at such times, but the sexual assault I had as a child began when I was deeply asleep. I’ve also had quite a few attacks from demonic entities when I was asleep. I feel that they chose that time to get at me because I was most open then. Not only was my body quiet and my eyes shut, my spirit was open, relaxed, transparent, diaphonous (sorry for waxing poetic there, but these things are hard to put into words.) And they tried to paralyse and terrorize me then. But once I learned I could rebuke and command such beings in the name of Jesus, they realized I was not easy pickings any more. I haven’t had that kind trouble for years now.

      • Laurie

        Barbara, wow, so I was not crazy the night that the demons spent choking me and my children. I woke up twice with something heavy on my chest and choking on my throat. This moved around to each child in the room successively and repeatedly, each groaning, my youngest making a face in her sleep and saying, “Bad!” My husband–sound asleep in another room, noticing nothing.

        One more thing, why, oh why, do sexually abused children have to marry men who sexually abuse them? Isn’t it enough, what they went through as children? God forbid anything like this should happen to my children. Or their spouses will find that the weapon of choice from the movie, “Tangled,” is a very formidable weapon indeed!

        “Frying pans! Who knew?”

      • Yes Laurie, I don’t think you were crazy. That sounds real to me. Email me if you want and we can talk about this more.

        You asked, “Why do sexually abused children have to marry men who sexually abuse them? Isn’t it enough, what they went through as children? God forbid anything like this should happen to my children.” I don’t know the full answer to that question, but I sure know Romans 8:28-30 is true:

        And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

  6. Anon

    I absolutely agree that a lot of abusers chose night time because its when the victims are most vulnerable . I used to wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks and flashbacks . This especially started happening once I had children of my own . I am so thankful that after years of counseling and much prayer that I haven’t had this happen in a while. I still have insomnia and wake up to any tiny little noise but at least the night terrors have not happened in a couple years ..

  7. movedbyfaith

    I didn’t catch on at first. He would have sex with me when I had fallen asleep emotionally beat down. The last time (right before I left) I woke up, and realized it wasn’t “an accident”, it was intentional with enough force to leave bruises.

  8. Jeff Crippen

    MBF- thank you for bringing this to light. Your experience may help others be affirmed. Good work!

  9. Laurie

    i found myself afraid to die in the bed next to him, thinking of what he would take privilege to do before calling for help. I thought I was crazy for thinking this. Then he confessed that he had assaulted me when I was under general anesthesia, My fears heightened. Why did I think that he would abuse my dead body?

    Some one dear to me told me, “Your subconscious registered the event even though you were under anesthesia. This is where such a fear would arise from.”

    So, I think that if you question yourself for why you have what seems to be an irrational fear, this might be a place to go digging for being abused in your sleep. Just a thought.

  10. A Non A Mouse

    I can’t remember how many nights I would wake up with him on top, raping me. I did not give consent to this. I couldn’t stop him. He would go and look at pornography at night and use me for his release. If I made a statement about it the next day, he would use the 1 Corinthians 7:5 verse to excuse his behavior. That I shouldn’t withhold sex from him, that it was unbiblical. How degrading and so far from the truth.

    • Jeff Crippen

      I am seeing a pattern here. Men staying up way late on the computer. Then sexually abusing. Some claim they are just playing video games but you can bet that late night stuff is porn. Thanks much for telling your experience. Very helpful!

    • I’m so sorry for you, what terrible violations. He was raping you every time, and then using scriptural abuse to justify himself.

  11. Lynn Ann

    I am an adult survivor of childhood SA.
    It happened during sleep. I only found out when I woke up during the act at the age of 17. Turns out it had been happening for years. It was an immediate family member. I had no knowledge of it prior. BUT, since I was young, maybe 9 and onwards, I felt “wary and uncomfortable” around the perpetrator but didnt know why. I also had bad dreams of the person doing things to me and couldn’t understand why I kept dreaming of that person in such a context. Despite the dreams and the bad feelings, I never ever had concrete memories of it. But I just had a strong feeling that something’s not right. I had something like a flash once when I was folding this person’s shirt. I suddenly “saw” his hands in my shirt but the flash was so brief and I thought it was imagined but then why would I think of such a thing. The only time I knew for sure was when I actually woke up to it happening. He admitted to having done it “so many times he couldn’t count.” I still have nightmares which I don’t know are just dreams or memories.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Lynn Ann – Thank you VERY much for telling your story here. I am sure there are readers who will be helped. I am probably not telling you something you don’t already know here, but just in case, I would very much recommend that you obtain professional therapy to help you heal from the damage done by this evil. It is no sin or sign of unbelief for a Christian to get that kind of help.

    • Just Me

      Lynn Ann, I am so sorry for the abuse you suffered and for the pain you are still experiencing because of it. I’ll pray for you.

  12. Memphis Rayne

    I think in earlier post I mention how my spouse was verbally, and physically violent at night. Elbows,shoving me off the bed, taking my place if i left to tend children, he would pretend like he was asleep so when I would ask him or touch his arm to wake him so i could get back to bed, he would lunge out at me and punch me and call me filthy names. Even if I did not leave the bed, he would call me filthy names, say he did not remember. Kneeing me in the back, elbowing me was a nightly occurrence, if i chose to sleep in the kids room he would come after me or make us all pay for it the next day. He sleep deprived me for ten years, I was never allowed to nap, or be sick, or go to bed before him!……I would hear him joke to other people”” My wife thinks I am abusing her at night, what am I suppose to do when we only a double bed”?”” to prove his point more the ONE and ONLY thing he help me purchase during the marriage was a king size bed….the abuse got worse after that, he would then throw me from my side, claiming i was taking too much room, he would wait until I fell asleep, crawl in bed behind me and make threats “”Do you know how easy it would be for me to bring a knife to bed and slit your throat”” Yes every chance i could I would lock myself in with my kids, during the days i never had time to nap, he would abuse us if I ever was apart from the kids, I.e. If i left them with a friend for an afternoon. That bed then became his symbol or domain for control….so he could say disgusting things to me like “” If I ever catch you in that bed ^%!#$”_(*^$#!! another man I will kill you then set you on fire!” It was HIS bed!! so the kids would get yelled at if they wanted to snuggle in it.

    Nights were always the worst. He found a way to abuse me every second of the day and night!!! So when he would nap for 6 0r 7 hours during the day he made sure wallets, money, my purse anything I would need to function during the day required me having to wake him up and ask him, then if I tried because he hid my purse or car keys, i got punched in the face or he would lunge out at me with like a whole body slam.

    One time, and I am afraid to even speak of this, he laid right up behind me and it seemed like he fell asleep, but all the sudden I heard what sounded like tongues!! Seriously, I know that sounds like madness BUT he was like spewing in tongues!!! It went on for like twenty minutes, I just lay there frozen, it did not sound like anything somebody could pretend or make up. I only mention this to like one person before, they only guess it was demonic? Of course I NEVER mention to him, I had too like most nights, NEVER talk about what he did the night before, bringing it up to him was just his trigger to abuse me during the day, as if my breathing alone was not trigger enough.

    Even after we permanently seperated the nightly abuse continue, all night calls, rants on the machine to wake up to, if I unplugg everything, or did not make an attempt to answer he would then be on our front doorstep trying to break the door down, after he was arrested the night time abuse just turn to subtle signs he was there in the night, scratched messeges on doors, things moved around in the garage, 60-hundreds of txt msges per night…or something of his that was suppose to be like this cryptic messege to me, he burned pictures of my kids, leave it on the doorstep for us to find in the mornings ….on and on.

    Worthy to mention how he would use the children coming in at night for comfort as a way to start in on all of us…..i saw all the signs in him as somebody that was a predator to children, wether boy or girl, the lies he would tell them, the comments he would make, the trying to desensityze them to things they should NOT even have to think of!! Boy I learned very quickly that if I even hinted to the things of this nature to the church, i then was deemed an INSTANT lier, they tolerated hearing his abuse of me but would not tolerate me suggesting he would harm them on this level. I did get told to meet his needs more, or I am responsible if he strays! In what ever form he chose to stray, I would therefore be responsible. From him was told of course I was “”FRIGID”” I am sorry if I did not find abuse romantic or attractive.

    So when you are trapped you are finding yourself giving him what he wants in hopes of him not hurting you or your children even more if he does not get his way….and yes it was degrading and empty. Bound by the marriage covenant I no longer had the right to say no, and he was permitted the right to do as he pleased.

    • Memphis, your abuser ranks right up there at the extreme end of the spectrum of wickedness. I am amazed you are alive. And the fact that you are not only alive but still sane, still functioning, not gone ga-ga and had to be put in an asylum, shows your incredible strength and resilience and determination to care for your kids – and God’s caring hand upon your lives.
      Sleep deprivation can make a person start to hallucinate. I am amazed and in admiration for you that you survived not only all that sleep deprivation, but all the other abuse as well, and for so long, and it’s ongoing in that you live in fear for your safety and that of your kids still. If we could give you medals for all the valiant things you’ve done to survive and resist the abuse, you would have so many medals you couldn’t carry them all round your neck!

      The tongues from your abuser that night – I would say they were definitely demonic.
      I know a Christian woman and her husband who met when they were in an Eastern Religious cult. One of the things the cult members did was ‘talk in tongues’. It was a regular practice for most of the cult followers and they did it collectively, when they met for meditation. When my friend and her husband became Christians, and in the course of time heard about Christian tongues, they were very scared to enter in, they didn’t want to pray for the gift of tongues in case they might just be repeating their demonic tongues from the old days. In the end, they overcame that fear.
      But they testify from their own experience that there IS such a thing as demonic tongues.
      Indeed, why wouldn’t there be? The devil never creates anything new, he just makes counterfeits of the things of God. So the devil has counterfeit tongues, like Christians sometimes have (in my opinion and experience) tongues that are gifts from God.

      I would say your ex husband had legions of demons.

      • Memphis Rayne

        Thank you for that post. I had an attorney for a brief time who was a christian man, one time on the phone he ask me what I thought God was telling me to do. There was a short moment of silence, and then I said “”Flee from Evil””…….without any other correspondence with me the next day he resigned as my divorce attorney. I never spoke with him again, except the monster and his attorney summoned him to court to testify against me, nobody including the judge really understood why, it was just one of the many ways the monster tried to bully me, to make me feel like even this guy was against me. All I remember is when the attorney was leaving the court room, before he exited he turned around and gave me the nod and a quick wink. He let me know he understood the evil we were up against, and my guess is he believed he could not help us, and knew running was the best chance we had.

        Nonetheless everything happened for a reason. Even the lack of success I had in the courts. In a way I won. My kids are safe, the number one goal had been attained, so even when I had lost all hope, God still provided another way out. I believe the monster wont ever change. I am not God, but from all aspects it would seem God does not know this person. So I believe in miracles but not the one that would change somebody like that. Sad to say, but sometimes I feel only death would set us free of him, meaning for him to no longer be breathing on this earth. I know that is terribly wrong, yet is how I feel.

      • Memphis, I’m going to go out on a limb (and believe me, in Australia this is much more out on a limb than it is the America) and quote from the Word of God.

        “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’  Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
        (Deuteronomy 21:18-21 ESV)

      • Jeff Crippen

        Memphis – Actually the imprecatory Psalms express the very same kind of feelings. As long as we don’t take personal vengeance, but leave it to the Lord, there is nothing wrong with hungering and thirsting for righteousness!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Man, that sounds like real life sleeping with the enemy. And I mean, the Enemy! Your exodus out of that bondage is amazing.

    • Barnabasintraining

      I agree with Barbara. That is some extreme wickedness and the tongues thing…

      ”Flee from Evil”

      No kidding!

  13. Lynn Ann

    Hi Jeff, Lynn Ann again. Just to share a bit more, for those who may be going through this. I am 30 years old now. I never sought therapy, cos I really don’t know what I would talk about since I still have no concrete memories of the abuse. I think it is fascinating how our brains work. Before I had my confirmation by waking up during the abuse at age 17, I suffered years of confusion. I had some sort of “feeling at the back of my mind” that something was wrong from the age of 9 but My mental and physical health started to deteriorate drastically between the age of 14-17. I stopped eating and I didn’t know why, just couldn’t and I went from 40kg to 29kg in 3 years. I felt uncomfortable around males. Didn’t like any male even putting a hand on my shoulder. I didn’t know why. I became very withdrawn, stayed in my room all the time and stopped socializing. I had daily vivid nightmares of every single family member, male and female, performing sex acts on me. I didn’t know why. It made me feel really sick. Thought I was going crazy. It only finally all made sense to me when I found out what happened. The perpetrator had to undergo therapy. It was finally revealed to me that he did it very often for years and he doesn’t even remember when he first started but could only say that I was very small. To this day I cannot believe or accept how I never knew about it or never woke up during it for so many years. I still have the same type of nightmares til today, 4-5 nights a week at its peak. Maybe my brain still wants me to remember specific details although I really do not want to. At age 28 my left arm and leg became significantly weaker than my right. I can still walk. Just a little wobbly sometimes. My neuro is still sending me for all kinds of tests. It could be a conversion disorder but you have to rule out everything else first. Bottom line, I am very sure that even though someone abuses you while you’re asleep, a part of your brain can still register it and it will affect you mentally AND physically. Also, pay attention to nightmares of a sexual nature, especially if they are reccuring. I intend to seek therapy soon, cos I feel that my brain is still trying to “reveal” the abuse to me, even though I really rather not recall exactly what was done to me.

    • Lynn Ann, thank you for sharing. I am a survivor of CSA too and I buried the memory (only one incident took place) till I was about 23.
      The mind is indeed an amazing thing. I do encourage you with your plan to seek therapy, and I recommend you check out the therapist well before you start, and also in the first one or two sessions with them. Try to assess how much experience they have in counseling survivors of sexual abuse and other forms of trauma. And you might like to ask them if they have read any of the following authors/practitioners: Judith Lewis Herman, Babette Rothchild, Bessel A van der Kolk, Dr Daniel Siegel, and John Briere. If they have imbibed the work of those authors, they are pretty likely to be good at treating trauma survivors. And if they are a Christian, also ask if they have read Mending the Soul [*Affiliate link] by Steve Tracey.

      You don’t need to necessarily find a Christian counsellor. Sadly, we hear from survivors that Christian counselors often don’t know as much about trauma and recovery as secular counselors do – but that’s a generalisation, and if you find a good Christian counselor who understands trauma, that would be the ideal.

      *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
    • Jeff Crippen

      Thank you Lynn Ann for sharing this. Incredible. It really does make sense though. Maybe part of your brain wanted to protect you by keeping you asleep and another part was yelling wake up! That will be for professionals to answer though. I hope that you are able to find a really good therapist and continue to make great progress. You’ve obviously come a long, long, way!

  14. Memphis Rayne

    I really have seen evil on this earth. Thank GOD for being who He is. Our Savior! And thank you for reminding me God is so much greater and more powerful than the devil himself.

  15. Sarah

    I wake up in the morning with soreness and with in a 1/2 hour I have bruises all over but I was only sleeping

    • Oh Sarah. That’s awful! 😦

      praying for you

      • Grandma

        My granddaughter has night terrors. One time she stood right up in my bed, and said.. “no, don’t, that don’t feel good.” I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night and when she woke up, I took her into the bathroom and told her what she said and asked her if anyone had touched her wrong (I’m didnt’ use those exact words, I used words she would comprehend). She assured me that no one had.

        A few months later, the grandchildren were all here again.. some of them are teens, some a lot younger. We were all asleep and the grandson who is in his later teens came to the bedroom door and said, “grandma.. grandma” I heard him but didn’t respond. He climbed in bed beside her and she became very agitated; moving around and I looked over at him and said, “what are you doing?” he jumped right out of bed and went to the bathroom. I became suspicious, but asked her about it and she assured me that her stepbrother hadn’t done anything to her.

        Then one night about a year ago, I was at my son’s house and my granddaughter and I were asleep. I had my head on the pillow and she laid her head at the foot of the bed to be able to see the tv. When I woke up, which is very unusual, so I feel like God woke me up, I saw him standing at her face in what looked to me like an inappropriate position. I have gone to both parents and the mother literally laughed in my face. Am I wrong at assuming he has been doing things to her and she doesn’t even realize it? This is really eating at me, can you help me?

      • I just want our readers to know that I’ve had email contact with “Grandma” and advised her to report this to Child Protection. What she’s described is very serious, and it is a crime to sexual abuse a child. This child needs protection.

  16. Pam

    I have always had a hard time believing my hair had been cut while I was sleeping it always was way to short on one side and in the back. As others hair would grow . Mine would get shorter. Lately. I’ve been waking up in such pain that it doesn’t feel like my body has had rest. Last night I was awakened twice with my husband at the foot of my bed. I thought nothing of it, but for the last week have notices scratches on my leg by my ankle a lot of them. And this morning, my ankle is hurting a lot. I feel as if something is going on but it atrivates me deeply that I can’t prove it. Any ideas would be helpful .

    • Pam, it does sound weird that these things are happening. I guess you have considered confronting your husband about them. I’m not saying that confronting him would solve it, but how he might respond to your questioning him might give you some indication of how you might want to proceed from there. But keep your own safety first and foremost, and follow your gut feelings about what is safe or not safe to do in the way of confronting him.

      I suggest you photograph the scratches and in any such photos show along side the scratches the newspaper that was printed on the same day you are taking the photos, with a clear image of the day and date of the newspaper. That makes the photo more likely to be useful as evidence in a court. And if you can get a trusted friend to witness the scratches and make a written document (like a note in a diary or suchlike) about what they have seen on your body including the date and time they saw the scratches and anything relevant you told them, that is another good idea. And if you can’t think of such a trusted friend, at least document the incidents yourself in writing. Make sure your husband won’t find the documents.

      Also, you might like to consider telling a general practitioner (doctor) about your experiences.

      I strongly suggest you phone a Domestic Violence hotline, which you can do anonymously, and discuss your concerns with them. Here is our page for hotline phone numbers —
      They may have more ideas for you to think about. Don’t be put of by the phrase “Domestic Violence” — that term refers to ALL kinds of domestic abuse, even emotional abuse where there is no actually physical abuse. In your case, if your husband is doing these things to your hair and your legs, he is doing them without your consent, so that means he is violating your physical integrity (your body) without your permission. That is assault. It is against the law.

      Please do take my suggestions seriously; don’t just brush this off. What you are experiencing is weird. It is scary. And you do not have to put up with it. Your have the right to be concerned and dismayed and outraged. 🙂

  17. anonymous

    I also would like to remain anonymous….My husband has been sexually abusing me for the past 30 years, at times, while I have slept. I know because I have awakened on many of the occasions, but pretended to be asleep to see if my fears were actually happening. I’m afraid I may be messed up for life…I think I may even have ptsd….I have literally trembled violently after discovering it was happening ‘again’. I have threatened to leave so many times it’s not funny…we raised children and now have more little ones and I want to leave, but am afraid…any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • soldiergirl

      Hi Anonymous, Boy It seems like I can relate to a lot of people here.
      This same thing happened to me early on in our marriage..
      I was like What are you doing? And he assumed that since we were married this was his right..
      Well let me tell you I have never been molested in my life but that’s what it felt like.
      I told him that I did not want him doing that but he continued to do it anyway night after night!
      So I got wise to this game and decided it was important enough for me to not have this fear anymore, and guess what… I started going to sleep in my clothes.. Yep,.. Levies and all. lol
      Ive been doing it for the last 37 years, and as strange as it sounds I sleep very peacefully now.. (there are positives to doing this- you will be the first person ready and clothed to respond in a emergency like a fire)
      But I do remember how bad it felt when that first happened to me, so my heart goes out to you.. Anyway You have my support to be a Big Sister and stand up for yourself and set some serious boundaries for this person who has crossed the line on what is acceptable to you.. My prayers are with you for courage and conviction. .

    • Dear Anonymous, I suggest you look at our Resources tab for the Hotlines page, the Safety Planning page, and anything else that takes your interest there. I suggest you consider phoning a hotline to find out the contact details for your local women’s service(s) that specialize in supporting women who are experiencing domestic abuse. Don’t worry if they call it “domestic violence” — you still qualify! Not all ‘domestic violence’ is physical violence; in fact, a lot of it involves no physical touching, it’s more to do with the mind games and coercive control tactics that the abuser uses.

      The abuse you have been suffering is a serious form of sexual abuse. It shows your husband has a very overblown sense of entitlement and that he is treating you like his possession, like an object, not like a person who has the right to her own choices, preferences, dignity and personal integrity. I would not be at all surprised if you have PTSD.

      I would also suggest you consider finding a counselor who will support you and help you build you confidence and whatever strength-enhancement you may need so that you can make your own free-choice, un-pressured decisions, and take actions towards obtaining safety and a better life.

      You do not deserve to be abused, it is not your fault, and you are not to blame.

      When seeking a counselor, be aware that not all counselors really ‘get it’ about domestic abuse and sexual abuse — and the trauma that abusers cause to their targets (the victims). So if you feel unsafe or not fully believed and supported by a counselor, don’t blame yourself, and consider looking for another one. Your local Domestic Violence Services may be able to recommend good counselors. Keep trying till you find people who really believe you and don’t judge you and who do not imply that the way your husband treats you may be partly your fault and ‘if you only changed yourself in such an such a way, he would not be so mean to you’. That kind of mutualizing way of perceiving the problem is w.r.o.n.g. and will not help you at all, rather, it will hurt and confuse you and make it more difficult for you to deal with the situation you are facing because it will put you into a spin of self doubt.

      I also suggest you read some of the books we recommend on our Resources pages too. Especially the one by Lundy Bancroft Why Does He DO That? [*Affiliate link]

      *Amazon affiliate link — ACFJ gets a small percentage if you purchase via this link.
    • And welcome to the blog, anonymous 🙂

  18. MC

    I was being hit, pushed and kicked in my sleep and sometimes ripping the pillow from under my head. When I’d wake up to it, I’d ask why he hit me and he’d tell me because I was snoring or he’d say he didn’t touch me. I started lying there and pretend I was sleeping and after catching him a few times, I felt pretty vindicated because I was right and it was happening. Needless to say, after all the other emotional abuse and other terrible things that happened, I’m finally free.

    • Wow! Well done you! for shrewdly getting proof that he WAS hitting, pushing and kicking you when you were (or appeared to be) asleep.
      I’m glad you are now free.

  19. Carol

    It’s happened to me several times..I do not drink or use drugs…I awake with my boyfriends fingers inside me. I am fully asleep. I remove his hand and get MAD!!!!! Like REALLY mad!! I leave the room screaming “If you wanted sex, you should ASK before I fall asleep!!!!!”

    His reply???…..”It’s more peaceful that way”….

    I hate him!!!! He will not talk about sex. Or anything else!
    I’ve gone to the legal authorities to charge him with assault..but backed out because..it is a long process, I live in a rural area, he knows the local police well, and is a “good community member” in town. I don’t feel like it will go the way I think it should. We have a small child together and is EXTREMELY difficult to “just leave”.

    • Dear Carol,
      How awful for you!

      At this blog, we know how difficult it can be to ‘just leave’ so we don’t judge you.

      Welcome to the blog, thanks for sharing. I think if you continue reading the blog, you will at least find support and validation. And maybe also find some ideas for how you might want to take steps for your safety and a better life.

      Do check out our Resources tab. And also, 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.

      PS. I’m sorry your comment was held in moderation for a while. We are always busy, and I was a little unsure whether to airbrush any of the details you had given.

      PPS. As you may have noticed, this blog has a Christian perspective. If you have never been exposed to the concepts of Christianity much before, or if you have been exposed to a version of ‘C’hristianity that is very legalistic and judgemental, I encourage you to read more here to find out what God and Jesus really are like, and how they offer forgiveness and lovingkindness to those in bondage, and those who are oppressed.

  20. Anonymous

    Between the ages of 13-18 years my mom would sit in the lounge and read and drink coffee. She’d start to pick a fight with my dad, then it escalated to screaming between them. At some point she’d mention me. How my dad doesn’t discipline me enough, how it’s his fault I didn’t get adopted and how in her words “you sabotaged me by praying for a girl” (when she was pregnant with me).

    Eventually it would reach a crescendo and she’d storm into my room, I’d pretend I was sleeping. She’d take my hockey stick and start hitting me with it while I lay under duvet. She just kept up till she was either to exhausted to go on or I cried enough and apologised for making her angry and causing her so much pain. Apology couldn’t start right away, it would just get worse so I only could start saying sorry a few hits into it. Eventually stole a duvet from a friend’s house and hid it. I would then try to softly retrieve it when I could hear her start getting worked up so I could use it as some padding. Once it stopped and my body was hot, burning and stinging all over I knew it was safe to fall asleep cause she was calmed.

    I’m now 40 and still wake up with complete fear when I hear a noise while sleeping. I’m a paramedic, the best sleep I get is while working, a station full of firefighters and medics who’ll protect me is a safe place.

    • Hi Anonymous, thank you for sharing your story — and welcome to the blog! 🙂

      Wow, your mother abused you abominably. Your story is a good illustration of how abusers control their victims. You intelligently discovered that if you said sorry ‘too quickly’ (by her criterion) she didn’t stop beating you; she only stopped if you said sorry after she’d hit you with a few blows. I honour you for creatively and prudently responding to her violence by using the duvet as padding so her blows with the hockey stick didn’t hurt quite so much.

      I’m not surprised you have trouble sleeping! And how wonderful it is that you have a job and a safe workplace in which you can sometimes get some sleep without having to be so hypervigilant to any noise.

      You’ve probably tried this already, but if not – you might want to consider getting some trauma counseling. If you find a good trauma therapist that person might be able to help you process the stuff so that it is easier for you to sleep, and you don’t have to continue living with such hypervigilance and all the health effects that can bring.

      You might like to read our FAQ page What if the abusers were one’s parents?

      And also, I encourage you to read the pdf Honouring Resistance [Internet Archive link]. It’s about intimate partner abuse, but you could pretty easily adapt it to abuse from a parent.

  21. Misti

    I don’t know that anything happened to me in my sleep, but I’d wake with weird bruises and a friend who slept over told me I would outright attack the wall, sometimes. The sound of a door would jolt me awake.

    I had horrific repeating nightmares from toddlerhood until I became a teenager, involving stuff like murder and cannibalism. (I survived [in] the dreams. I always survived. But I never could save my brother.)

    Abuse in my sleep and / or suppressed SA isn’t the only possible explanation for all that and some other details, but I wonder.

    • Another possibility might be Ritual Abuse. We don’t address that on this blog but you can research it yourself. It’s done by evil groups (often they have some kind of religious cultic belief system) to systematically fragment the psyches of children so that they can abuse the children and the kids will have few memories of what is being done to them and therefore won’t be as likely to report the abuse to people who might have the authority to stop the abusers.

      • Misti

        Thanks, Barbara. I’ll look it up.

  22. TrustBroken

    […] I was watching a movie with my best friend (we previously dated until a rape that occurred last year). After counseling, medications and having my best friend of several years help me through it. I had started to recover.

    Oh was I wrong. …one day … by accident, while doing something quite innocently on his phone to help us watch movies we were streaming, I found on his phone multiple pictures he had taken of myself naked with my clothes pulled down… Some zoomed in, different positions etc. After looking even further I found even more and more and more pictures…… Then… Came the videos… He had recorded molesting me, penetrating me with his fingers…. Then I found multiple videos and pictures he had taken somehow from my phone that were from my ex previously. I was on a heavy sleeping medication due to my past so if a rape ever occurred I do not know, nor do I know how many times that man abused me..

    [Much of this comment was redacted by the ACFJ Eds because it could have easily identified the victim to her abuser and his allies.]

    I will never get justice and I’ve come to terms with that but I will never feel safe, nor trust any police ever again…. Everyone who had a piece of my heart disposed of it as if it were a sidewalk chalk puzzle… They knew my tears would wash away any “problem” they would have to deal with.. So here I sit with a weapon next to me.. Traps set around the room and everything possible for me to stay awake. I will never know how long he abused me for, when, where, or why… Especially knowing my past.. I will never know.. The worst part is, I can’t decide if it kills me more knowing… Or if I would have never found out.

    • Welcome to the blog. For your safety I changed your screen name to TrustBroken and I removed the identifying details from your comment.

      I know you are deeply traumatized, but when you get time please check out our New Users’ Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

    • Anonymous

      I’m devastated for you, Trust Broken. The whole recording factor has become almost a standard nowadays for violating a woman.

      I hope and pray God carries you through this all as it is devastating and so incredibly violating. My heart goes out to you, Trust Broken.

  23. Sleeping

    I was attacked by my partner in his sleep this morning. He thought I was harming our baby who was not even in the room. He grabbed me and started yelling at me, dragging me out of bed. It scared me as I was sleeping right before it happened. I was screaming at him to let me go and leave me alone. Finally he did. I do have bruises on my arm now. Is this considered domestic abuse / assault even though he was sleeping?

    • Jeff Crippen

      Also, Sleeping – it appears that you are a new commenter on our blog and we want to extend our welcome to you. We encourage you to begin reading the many, many other posts here. You can use the search feature on the main page to search for articles on a particular subject. Also, we advise you to read our FAQ section and also our new users’ information section. This will help keep you safe as you comment here.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Sleeping – I edited your comment and your name for anonymity and safety purposes. Without more information, a determination of the motive cannot be provided. Was this domestic abuse and assault? Well, has it happened before? Are there other indicators that he is an abuser? I suppose (but I am no expert on this subject) that a sleep-walking person who had a nightmare could do something like this. But let me suggest something to you. Does it really matter?

      What I mean is, if you are in fear, if there is a pattern (and sometimes ONE incident can be serious enough to establish a pattern) then do you want to live with someone who makes you afraid? For whatever reason they make you afraid? What if next time he starts choking you or worse?

    • Sleeping, here are links to our New Users’ Info page and our FAQ page.

      We urge you to take your time reading both of those pages and to dig into the items that most interest you in our FAQs.

    • And what is your partner’s explanation for thinking that you were harming the baby? Was he having a nightmare? Has he had a pattern of having nightmares in which he wakes up in terror?

      Does he have a pattern of lying to you in other parts of your relationship, or making plausible sounding excuses for how he mistreats you?

    • Raped By Evil

      Sleeping, Barb and Jeff gave great thoughts to consider and I’d like to add another thing to think about that goes along with “…is this a pattern?” nature of things.

      My husband was always mean-spirited in the morning –always on the attack. I used to attribute it to his smoking…that he needed a cigarette. I had always told the children not to try to talk to him until after he had his first one. Looking back now I see that he LOVED that they had to hide from him and if they DID talk to him before his first cigarette….it was his RIGHT to attack them because they “knew” better…he’d conditioned us to pay attention to his every mood. Gross.

      For me, I now know that my husgand does not have a conscience and his always being in attack mode is simply how he always is. Predator and prey. But it has been this way from the very beginning of our marriage so the pattern has always been there and it wasn’t just a one time deal. But as Jeff pointed out, one time can still be a signifier of his nature.

      As Jeff and Barb said, keep reading here…..there’s real biblical “meat” amongst the many posts and the comments that go along with them.

    • Anonymous

      Has he apologized? If so, what was the content of his apology? What was your gut feeling in hearing such apology? Was it genuine? What was his reaction to seeing the bruises? If I had to say anything, I’d put my money on it being abuse. I’ve heard of other abusers who, just like drinking in advance of a planned, anticipated wife-beating session so as to say “but I was drunk and didn’t know what I was doing”, have used the whole “but I was asleep / having a nightmare”. It’s a baloney excuse (lie). Just like the whole first time he hits you, he’ll be so ‘shaken’ about his doing, you’ll end up comforting him! It’s all hogwash. Abusers know what they are doing. They have all sorts of tricks, ruses, ploys, scams, and so forth.

  24. Sleeping

    Yes I was beaten in the head repeatedly with a coffee mug while asleep. I awoke to someone standing next to me and a burning cigarette flew in my direction. I remember my face being a little swollen and my lip had a gash.

    • How awful that must have been, Sleeping! And you knew, eh, when you woke up, that you had been abused. Your eyes showed you the abuser and his cigarette, and your face and lip were injured. The person who did that to you was an evil wicked person.

      Thanks for sharing your story here. I’m sure it will help some other reader(s).

      And since this looks like your first comment on the blog, allow me to welcome you. 🙂

      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, you may like to look at our FAQ page.

    • anony

      I’m sorry that was done to you, Sleeping. Sickening. A coffee mug. The burning cigarette being thrown at you. How evil of an abuser. So vile.

      The devil comes to steal, destroy, and murder – so do his awful children.

  25. LMD

    This is unfortunately something that does happen. People who do this to partners are cowards, deviants, sociopaths, and liars who want to be perceived as good, decent people on the one hand, and cause another person harm and damage as a sadist will….by inflicting harm and leaving their victim no absolute proof.

    Your best chance at finding proof is a hidden camera with night vision. If someone has demonstrated controlling or abusive behavior in the daylight then there is nothing keeping them from hurting you in your sleep.

  26. Anon91

    My narcissistic husband and opiate addict cuts my hair while sleeping, the only proof I have is waking up to him pulling my hair and chunks of hair in my hand when I take my bun out. My hair was 16 inches long now on half my head is 1/4 [as] long. I have been terrified of sleeping. I don’t understand why he would do this. If I bring it up he says I’m crazy. I feel like when my hair starts getting long he attacks again. He also steals everything I own. I feel alone and foolish.

    • Oh dear dear sister, my heart was in my mouth reading your comment!

      Your husband is abusing you. You are not to blame and it is not your fault. He is doing this to try to make you feel foolish….to make you doubt yourself, to make you wonder if you are going crazy.

      You are NOT crazy. You are being manipulated and attacked by a wicked wicked man.

      I urge you to consider leaving him. Here is our hotlines page. Click that link and it will show you a list of domestic violence hotlines. I suggest you ring the hotline of the country you live in and tell them what is happening. They will believe you. I suggest you ask them to give you referrals to women’s shelters and other women’s services that specialise in helping victims of domestic abuse.

      Also, I suggest you look at our Safety Planning page.

      I encourage you to trust your gut feelings.

      If your gut feelings tell you that it might not be safe to confront your husband and rebuke him for what he is doing….or that it might not be safe to talk to him at all except on subjects that are not going to risk his ire, then I suggest you follow those gut feelings.

      Your husband is an abuser. When someone tries to admonish an abuser or reason with him to try to get him to stop being mean, the abuser usually escalates his abuse. That is why it is often prudent to keep quiet about what you are really thinking and planning to do, especially if you are considering leaving him or taking other steps to protect yourself from his abuse. Make your plans secretly, without his knowledge.

    • By the way, for your safety I changed your screen name to Anon91.

      We moderate comments at this blog, to protect our readers from being identified by their abusers. And 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, you might like to look at our FAQ page.

      Welcome to the blog! 🙂

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