I Let My Husband Rape Me, and Here’s Why… — by Amber Barnhill
I let him abuse me to keep him from abusing me.
The problem with fundamentalist Christian culture isn’t that it doesn’t teach rape is wrong, but that it doesn’t know what rape actually is.
Fundamentalist Christian culture taught me that if it wasn’t violent or you didn’t cry for help, that wasn’t rape, that was fornication. If it was violent and you did cry out, it was still only rape if you didn’t happen to belong to your assailant (Deut. 22:23-24). Rape was a one-time thing, a life and death situation, not something that happens with people who love you, and certainly not from your own husband. Marital rape? No such thing!
How can we blame victims for not recognizing abuse when our entire society can’t recognize it? Domestic violence is far more complex than just battery and bruises, and victims aren’t all shriveled-up, wimpy house wives. We had a family photo shoot scheduled the day after my ex called my son a faggot and ‘spanked’ him so much that he hallucinated about it three times that week. This is what victims of domestic violence look like. Almost no one I turned to for help in all this took me seriously. I was the bad guy for complaining.
Our culture is a breeding ground for domestic violence. It has been since its inception and still is today.
You can’t ask a woman to choose between protecting herself or protecting her children and then blame her for choosing the latter.
The hard truth is, once children are in the picture, leaving the abuser doesn’t end anything, it merely changes the dynamic.
We live in a society that systemically values the traditional family unit over the safety and well-being of victims.
There’s nothing I can do to stop him from using the family court system to harass us with. He has the legal right to do so, he’s a good actor, and as long as that’s the only power he has over me, he’s never going to stop. In the court system, just like any other aspect of commercialized society, you get what you pay for.
Why do girls fall for guys like that in the first place?
I didn’t know he was “like that” when I married him. And judging by the number of close friends and family who were shocked and in disbelief when he almost killed us all, it’s safe to say no one else knew he was “like that” either.
So stop blaming women for getting into those situations in the first place!
Yes, I made plenty of bad choices. But no, it was not my fault for not knowing what I didn’t know, or for trying to do the right thing when I did know. I’ve learned so much since then, but I still don’t have it all figured out. No one does.
If I knew then what I know now…
Well, aside from not knowing how to use birth control, I didn’t know what rape was and I didn’t know that just putting up with it would have the long term effects on me that it has.
Rape isn’t just forced sex: it’s any sex without consent, it’s sex when you can’t consent, coerced sex, manipulated or blackmailed sex, sex with threats, or sex when you don’t have a choice.
Domestic violence isn’t a personal problem, it’s a social problem. Nothing is going to change until we stop focusing on the victims and start focusing on the perpetrators, the culture that creates them, and the systems that keep it in place…
Many thanks to Amber Barnhill for giving us permission to reblog some of her post which was originally published at Patheos.com. In accordance with Patheos stipulations we are only providing a précis of the original post. The entire post can be found here.
If you want to read more posts about sexual abuse within marriage, click here: What about sexual abuse in marriage?