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Violence

I am completely at a loss for what to do. I have been with my boyfriend for four years and I am just beginning to admit to myself that he has raped me more times than I want to remember. I never really thought anything of it at first because though I said no and told him to stop, he didn't hurt me and I didn't fight back. I just let it go and rationalized that it was nothing.

Recently, when I tell him no, which is rare, he has become more forceful. Sometimes he really hurts me and when I try to get away he holds me down and won't let me go. At those times he seems to lose all consideration for me. At other times he is completely different. After each time he knows what he has done and says how sorry he is and how he will never do it again, but two nights ago he did it again. He said he was so sorry and started crying. I want to believe that he will stop. I love him and had planned on spending the rest of my life with him. Can he change or will he just get worse? Would I be crazy if I stayed with him? Am I am horrible person if I don't report him?

 

I'm so sorry to hear about your experience — both that you physically and emotionally had to experience that and also because it is challenging your sense of love and judgment and trust, etc. And actually — since acquaintance rape is much more prevalent than stranger rape, there are many people who have been in your exact situation. And many people describe rape as a state of mind as much as a physical experience and I think that your experience supports this — it wasn't until you were ready to acknowledge it that you did. I sense that you were ultimately able to acknowledge it precisely because you were sense other gaps in your relationship — though perhaps you can't pin point what those are yet.

Your questioning alone makes me believe that you have other reasons you really don't trust that he is the best partner for you moving forward. And the escalating violence is also common — rape is a form of violence and it's less about sex than power and thus he might sense that you are "on to him" and thus resisting more. I certainly can't tell you what to do, but I can sound back what you seem to be saying — and that is that you want a way out of your relationship. I'm sure that's a very hard thing to do — to even imagine — but I feel that I can guarantee you that it will be harder to stay in the relationship.

Amy