Signs of sexual abuse in a relationship
Sexual abuse and harassment can happen in a relationship Choma, and it’s more common than you think. Here are a few signs of this behaviour that are important for you to know.
They pressure you to do things
The first sign of sexual abuse in a relationship is if your partner pressures you or is overly pushy when it comes to sexual acts. This can be done in an aggressive way, but it can also be done in a subtle way such as making you feel guilty or ashamed for not engaging in certain sexual behaviour.
This can include pressure to perform sexual acts you aren’t comfortable with such as having sex without a condom, or it can involve non-physical acts such as pressuring you to sext them. Agreeing to date someone does not mean you’ve consented to any sexual act - Remember to be clear about what you are comfortable and uncomfortable with and be careful around anyone who pressures you to change your mind.
They disrespect your privacy
There are many ways in which a partner can disrespect your privacy. This can include sharing or threatening to share private photographs or videos of you with their friends or classmates, or online.
Your partner is also disrespecting your privacy if they speak about private details of your intimate life with others, without your consent. Remember that you have a right to privacy regarding your sex life and body and your partner should respect that.
They degrade and belittle you
This can happen in public as well as in private, and can include embarrassing/inappropriate comments, touching etc. which are intended to make you feel uncomfortable. If your partner continues to behave in this way after you have made it clear that you feel uncomfortable, or they use excuses such as “it’s just a joke” or “you’re too uptight” to justify their behaviour, then they are not respectful of your feelings.
This is like street harassment in the sense that it can make you feel ashamed, so remember that it is unacceptable even if you’re in a relationship with the person. Think about it Choma- if your partner is making you feel uncomfortable, how is that different from a stranger harassing you on the street? Being in a relationship does not mean you have to put up with that sort of behaviour.
They abuse your trust
If you are dating someone, there is a certain level of trust involved. However, a clear sign of sexual abuse is when your partner abuses the trust you have in them for their own pleasure. This can include them violating your boundaries when you aren’t fully aware, such as if you are sleeping, or if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is a very serious act of sexual abuse Choma.
Another dangerous behaviour that abuses your trust is “stealthing”, which involves your partner removing a condom during sex without you knowing.
If any of these signs sound familiar to you, then it may be time to rethink the relationship you’re in. You can learn more about abusive relationships here, and you can learn more about how to leave an abusive relationship by reading this article. Remember that someone who truly loves you will respect you and make you feel safe and comfortable. There is no excuse for disrespectful and abusive behaviour Choma.
Are there any other signs you can think of? Let others know by writing them down in the comments.
Remember, if you or a friend need advice or help, 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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