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Was it sexual assault?

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  • Was it sexual assault?

    I was in a relationship previously for a little over 3 years. It was very abusive both mentally and emotionally. He would constantly put me down, call me weak, try to isolate me from family and friends, and threaten physical violence (although he never acted on it). When I met him I was still a virgin and very inexperienced. I told him right off the bat there were some things that I wasn’t comfortable doing and that I wanted to take it slow. One of the things I didn’t feel comfortable doing was anal. He had this constant need to do it but I just didn’t feel ready. One day during sex he “accidentally” put it back there. When I told him (and I remember telling him it was quite painful) he kept going and doing it multiple times. He also later on admitted that he took advantage of me sexually and knew he “pressured” me to do things that we both knew I wasn’t ready for. I guess my question is, because I never verbally said no or stop is it sexual assault? My therapist who I go to for anxiety said it was because even though I didn’t verbally say no I’m the moment, I expressed my discomfort before and after it occurred and my body language during it indicated that I wasn’t comfortable. And she said especially because he did it with the intention of taking advantage of me regardless of how I felt that it was. It’s been almost 5 years and I’m in a committed relationship with an amazing guy now and sometimes I still find myself having a hard time sexually in terms of not having anxiety during sex. I think if I know wether or not this was assault then I can at least have an answer and do my best to heal from it so it doesn’t affect my current relationship.

  • #2
    The line between what's assault or rape, and what's not, is usually very sharp.
    Rape is a lot more than screaming and saying no and pushing a guy away from you.

    Basically if you have:
    - Not given clear verbal or physical consent
    - Expressed that you don't feel comfortable with certain sexual acts, but were ignored
    - Felt pressured to perform certain acts you didn't want to do
    - Expressed how something is/was painful, but they didn't stop
    - A power imbalance where you didn't feel you had the freedom or power to say no

    Then you can call it rape.
    Now, this is not always enough to get a conviction or to press charges. But it can help you psychologically, knowing and accepting what happened to you and empowering yourself so it never happens again.

    My personal guideline is: don't focus on whether you've clearly said no or stop. As yourself if you've said yes or keep going.
    You can say yes with your words, but also with your body language. And unless that explicit consent was there, he had no right doing it in the first place.
    You can't control the waves, but you can learn to surf

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    • #3
      Frankly, I think you should have said something more forceful in the moment but that's just me. This is a gray area and depending on your self-confidence level and how you perceive the events that happen to you are related directly to how you perceive yourself and whether you see yourself as a victim or as someone who also played a role in your previous unhealthy relationship.

      The issue anyway is your anxiety now and you are no longer in that relationship. If you are in a committed relationship with an "amazing" guy now you should be focusing on this man and your life together and leaving that in the past.
      Last edited by Rose Mosse; October 5th, 2018, 12:44 PM.

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      • #4
        Op: I wonder why you need the opinions of laymen on the internet when your trusted therapist has guided you? Why complicate even further with conflicted bullshit?
        "First off, welcome to the Relationship Forums, You'll come to understand that I don't pull any punches when giving my opinion/advice and I hope you're not so sensitive to what I see as the truth of the matter." Me!

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        • #5
          I wonder what the benefit would be of "knowing" or "labeling" what happened to you?

          Your boyfriend pressured you into an act you didn't feel ready for and continued when you told him it was painful. His behavior was, at a minimum, disrespectful, insensitive, and uncaring. What I would hope you would learn from this is to choose partners more carefully, be more assertive with your partners, and leave people who treat you this way. In other words, take ownership and control of your life and never let anyone else do that for you.

          Labeling yourself a victim of sexual assault and letting that somehow define you minimizes the whole of who you are. You are much more than that small piece of you. So don't lose perspective.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sg1643 View Post
            I was in a relationship previously for a little over 3 years. It was very abusive both mentally and emotionally. He would constantly put me down, call me weak, try to isolate me from family and friends, and threaten physical violence (although he never acted on it). When I met him I was still a virgin and very inexperienced. I told him right off the bat there were some things that I wasn’t comfortable doing and that I wanted to take it slow. One of the things I didn’t feel comfortable doing was anal. He had this constant need to do it but I just didn’t feel ready. One day during sex he “accidentally” put it back there. When I told him (and I remember telling him it was quite painful) he kept going and doing it multiple times. He also later on admitted that he took advantage of me sexually and knew he “pressured” me to do things that we both knew I wasn’t ready for. I guess my question is, because I never verbally said no or stop is it sexual assault? My therapist who I go to for anxiety said it was because even though I didn’t verbally say no I’m the moment, I expressed my discomfort before and after it occurred and my body language during it indicated that I wasn’t comfortable. And she said especially because he did it with the intention of taking advantage of me regardless of how I felt that it was. It’s been almost 5 years and I’m in a committed relationship with an amazing guy now and sometimes I still find myself having a hard time sexually in terms of not having anxiety during sex. I think if I know wether or not this was assault then I can at least have an answer and do my best to heal from it so it doesn’t affect my current relationship.
            Write, »accidentally,« on the wall of your bedroom, »Love, no anal!« A good reminder for him to never do that again. He is not a child. He knows when your yes and no.

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            • #7
              1) If you want to know whether or not what you experienced was "Sexual Assault" you should talk to a lawyer or other professional who gets paid to deal with situations like this (i.e. Police). "Sexual Assault" is an actual crime. Depending on specifics, it could be determined - by definition of the law - he was just an asshole to you which isn't against the law. If it was a crime, charges should be pressed (considering statute of limitations, etc.)
              2) Learn from the experience. You need to learn to express your displeasure with situations you don't like, particularly when it comes to sex. In other words, you should have pulled his dick out of you and told him to stop, that you didn't give him permission to do that, and your sex is done right now, and possibly for the future. Confrontation can be uncomfortable, but so is dealing with the aftermath of unwanted actions against you for years to come. Take control, don't just be a victim who has no control over what happens to you.
              3) Make sure your communication is clear. As a general reminder, guys are particularly dense when fucking, so if you aren't absolutely 100% clear, and if you don't use direct language and actions - like my example in #2 - there is a very real possibility of your partner not getting the message, especially "in the moment". People are not mind readers, "social" queues aren't always obvious, and frankly some people just don't get it.

              Aside from all of that, see if your therapist - whom you likely pay a fair amount of money - can direct you to someone who can answer this question for you if they can't (see #1).


              Edit: Holy smokes, I've been coming here for 15 years. Crazy.
              Last edited by jupiter; October 8th, 2018, 07:58 PM.

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              • #8
                Sex is best when you are able to fully give yourself over to your partner because you trust him to never hurt you, take advantage, surprise you, go too far, get too kinky, etc. It's probably best to not have sex or get too close to it until he has proved himself trustworthy in other ways. Does he ever sacrifice his own desires to do what you desire? Does he treat you with respect in front of his friends? Does he make it obvious that you are very precious to him? Does he live to please you rather than himself? Does he act protective, not possessive? (From another generation - Has he committed to always love you alone and care for you for the rest of his life by marrying you?)

                Could you be very up front with your physical desire for him? Tell him that you want to make love with abandon with someone that you know you can trust? That you could more fully give yourself to him if you know exactly what to expect, no surprises, only enjoying what you have explicitly have given him permission to do? He can become a master lover by really paying attention to your response to him. That is what will ultimately give him the most pleasure.

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