Dear Dr. Patti,
I'm not sure if this is sexual abuse, since I was dating this guy. But it's been haunting me and hurting me for months....and I don't know if I can handle it.
I'm 15 years old and I just got out of a very abusive relationship. My 15 year old boyfriend of a year would continuously hit me, push me, slap me, and make me feel like I wasn't even a person. A couple of days before we broke up for good, we were at his house alone and we were fooling around. He began becoming more and more aggressive and threw me onto the floor. He started taking his clothes off, and then mine. I kept trying to push him off, but he was about 6'2 and a solid 190lbs and I'm 5'5 and 130lbs. He pushed me down harder and harder and wouldn't stop. He proceeded to force me to have sex with him, while I said no, and tried to push him off of me.
A few days later, while intoxicated, he brutally beat me and the police got involved. I told them everything...except for what he did to me a few nights back. It's been 3 months since it happend and I still havent told anyone. I've found that I became a diffrent person. I'm very depressed every day, I'm not as social, and I can't even fall asleep at night because he's in my dreams.
It's hard to pretend I'm okay every day, having to deal with the rumors he spreads and the slandering of my name he causes. I have a hard time dealing with the physical abuse, but the idea that the guy I loved raped me...I guess I'm just plain scared to tell anyone about what happend because he's already on probation and has to attend anger management, and I dont want anymore rumors spread about me.
I'm not sure what to do. I don't even know if this was rape, since he was my boyfriend. I should have wanted it. Everything that happend with us was my fault and I probably mislead him. Do you have any advice for me? I'm becoming hopeless... I blame myself for everything that has happened. I feel totally responsible for the relationship and the abuse. Was I raped? Did I lead him on?
.......Thanks, Mirium -broken and shattered.
Dr Patti responds:
First of all let me say thank you for having the courage to write to me at the site. I can tell you are a very intelligent thoughtful girl who has gotten herself into an abusive relationship. I will guess that this boyfriend was very nice to you in the beginning and then he became controlling and then before you knew it he was pushing and shoving you because you did or said things that displeased him. Am I right? Usually these relationships begin with a boy being very attentive and making the girl feel really special. Then they turn controlling, and he wants to get her a beeper, or he constantly calls on her cell phone. Soon he controls what she wears, who she sees.
You do not need to be hopeless now. You told the police and he is on probation. This is good. This means that the only thing coming from him that can hurt you now are his words. He is starting rumors and that is very painful, but you should try to understand that you did the right thing by telling the police. Of course he is still angry even though he is in anger management. And of course he is still revengeful and trying to slander your name. Try to think about even one person who you can trust. Does that person think his lies are true? I will guess that you do have some friends who would believe you before they would believe your x boyfriend.
Yes he raped you. He forced you to have sex. He had already physically violated you, and then he sexually violated you. The first step is you wrote to me, and now we are entering a dialogue about this abuse.
Do you speak openly with your parents, a school counselor, a friend, a friends parents, a social worker, a therapist? I hope you have a trusted adult to process all this with. I strongly recommend that you speak with a trusted adult. You could also call the hotline at www.rainn.org. The fact that you were in an abusive relationship from the ages of 14 and 15 says a lot. It tells us that somehow you felt you could not get away from him and that you deserved his abuse. YOU DID NOT DESERVE ANY ABUSE AND EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED WITH HIM IS NOT YOUR FAULT. It does not matter even if you misled him, when you fought back and said no, he should have stopped. No one has the right to force another person to have sex.
I am sorry that you are feeling depressed. But it makes sense to me. You have had a loss. Even though he was abusive, you may still miss having him as a boyfriend. It is time to take care of yourself. What do you like to do? What are you good at? Do you have a pet? Do you like music, art? Every day spend at least an hour on something that you enjoy, even if that is just hanging out with your pet and watching TV. Open up to a trusted adult. Take a bubble bath with some gentle music, light some scented candles. Please begin to nurture yourself. You deserve it.
.....................xoxo, Dr. Patti.