Can you be raped by your partner?
Relationships are supposed to be enjoyable and healthy and involve two people who trust and respect each other, right Choma? However, not all relationships are healthy and some can involve some form of abuse, whether it is emotional, verbal, physical or sexual. Sexual abuse in a relationship is a reality and it is something that many people struggle to come forward about - either because they are afraid and ashamed or because they don’t realise how wrong it is. You can be raped by your partner Choma and it is never your fault.
Rape by a partner
Did you know that a person is actually more likely to be raped by someone they know? It’s a myth that most rapists are strangers who target women at night. Rape can, and does, occur in relationships. No matter how many times you have sex with someone, when they force you to do it against your will or without your consent, it is rape Choma. Sexual intercourse without your consent under any circumstance is rape.
Although rape can happen once in a relationship, it can happen more than once and there is usually other forms of abuse that happen along with it - from emotional abuse to physical abuse. Abusive partners like to control and overpower their partner. They might use sex as a form of control or power, forcing you into sexual acts you’re not comfortable with or forcing you to have sex when you don’t want to.
The effects of partner rape
Assuming that rape by a partner is less traumatic than being raped by a stranger is another myth. Dealing with being raped by a partner can be extremely difficult. This is someone that you loved and trusted and who you thought would always treat you with love and respect. It can leave you feeling shocked, hurt and betrayed. You might even blame yourself, thinking that what happened was somehow your fault. People who survive partner rape often feel guilt and shame and this can lead to depression, anger and loss of self-esteem. It can also make survivors lose trust in relationships and people, making them feel that they are unable to have any intimate relationships again.
What to do if it’s happening to you
Remember it’s not your fault. If you find that you are or have been a victim of partner rape, remember that this is absolutely not your fault. You are not responsible for what your partner has done or is doing to you. Whether you’re still in the relationship or not, it is important that you get support for your own mental and emotional wellbeing.
Stay in contact with friends and family. In situations of abuse, your partner might try to keep you away from people, especially your family and friends. They know that by doing that they are able to control you and the relationship because they keep you away from people who care about you and can support you. So keep in touch with people who care about you.
Confide in others. It can be extremely hard to open up about rape, but keeping quiet allows the other person to continue their abusive behaviour. You might feel embarrassed or ashamed, or feel afraid of betraying your partner. Opening up about it can help start the process of either helping you out of the situation or helping you heal from the situation. Speak to a counsellor or a trained professional. There are many organisations that are trained to deal with these kind of situations so you won’t be judged and have nothing to feel ashamed about when you contact them Choma. They can offer emotional support and help you investigate your options.
Here are a few places you can contact:
POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse): 011 642 4345/6
Stop Gender Violence helpline: 0800-150-150
Rape Crisis Cape Town Trust: 021 447 9762
LifeLine South Africa: 0861-322-322
SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences: 012 393 2014
And if you need someone to talk to, remember that you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657
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