Dating a Rape Victim - Need Advice

Postby ABitConfused » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:17 am

Hello, I don't usually come to these forums for advice, but I'm looking for some tips. My girlfriend was violently raped in a past relationship, about 2 years ago. She refuses to get any type of help, counseling, or even see a gynecologist for a physical checkup. I urge her to do it, but I respect her choice not to. After a lot of talking and re-assuring, i've got her to tell me most of what happened, but she suffers from severe flashbacks, specifically after having an orgasm. She has spurts of sexual activity, but can sometimes withdraw due to nightmares for months. I'm a very sexually active person, so it's hard to cope with, not to mention a lot of mood swings and emotional issues that the rape has caused her to have.

I've tried to be very understanding, sometimes going as far as 3-4 months or longer without doing anything sexual, but sex is a big part of a relationship for me. I'm not trying to be selfish, but I think we all can agree that sex is a big part of a relationship. It's usually a factor of how well the relationship is going, but our relationship can go fine and the sex will still die due to her flashbacks. I know it's not her fault, and even she is frustrated because she wishes it would go away.

Do you have any advice for me to help her stop having the flashbacks and slowly become more sexually active? I know she wants to be, but the flashbacks control her life at times. Can someone fully rid themselves of this without professional help? Will this persist forever or fade with time? I would really like your feedback, thanks.
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#1

Postby PsyChris » Tue Jan 22, 2008 3:32 am

Your girlfriend is most likely suffering from what has been termed Rape Trauma Syndrome.

There are alot of factors to consider. If after two years your girlfriend is still having intense flashbacks she is in a prolonged "acute" phase.

Depending on her coping mechanisms it may take a very long time for her to get over this by herself. You can help her by reassuring her that what happened is not her fault.

It is important for her to get tested for STD's. Diseases like HIV may not manifest obvious symptoms for years. It's important for her health and well being to get tested.

Another common symptom of RTS and/or PTSD is flashbacks. It may help for you to recognize current stimuli or remove irritating stimuli. That may help a person during a flashback. If the smell of roses is making someone flashback, remove roses, rose scented perfumes, etc. from their environment. Or if a persons flashback makes them feel as if they are in a wooded, swampy area, mention the floor, carpet, ceiling, sofa, etc. to them. This type of activity should be verbal and it may not be productive to touch a survivor who is having a flashback.
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#2

Postby jkenisto » Wed Feb 06, 2008 1:14 am

ABitConfused wrote:Hello, I don't usually come to these forums for advice, but I'm looking for some tips. My girlfriend was violently raped in a past relationship, about 2 years ago. She refuses to get any type of help, counseling, or even see a gynecologist for a physical checkup. I urge her to do it, but I respect her choice not to. After a lot of talking and re-assuring, i've got her to tell me most of what happened, but she suffers from severe flashbacks, specifically after having an orgasm. She has spurts of sexual activity, but can sometimes withdraw due to nightmares for months. I'm a very sexually active person, so it's hard to cope with, not to mention a lot of mood swings and emotional issues that the rape has caused her to have.

I've tried to be very understanding, sometimes going as far as 3-4 months or longer without doing anything sexual, but sex is a big part of a relationship for me. I'm not trying to be selfish, but I think we all can agree that sex is a big part of a relationship. It's usually a factor of how well the relationship is going, but our relationship can go fine and the sex will still die due to her flashbacks. I know it's not her fault, and even she is frustrated because she wishes it would go away.

Do you have any advice for me to help her stop having the flashbacks and slowly become more sexually active? I know she wants to be, but the flashbacks control her life at times. Can someone fully rid themselves of this without professional help? Will this persist forever or fade with time? I would really like your feedback, thanks.


I am also dating a rape victim and I have been for the past 2 years. How long have the two of you been together? Does she want to press charges against her attacker?

What I have done with my girlfriend is I just always reassure her that we can stop at anytime. Typically her flashbacks are triggered by pain so I always go slow to make sure shes not in pain. Reassure her that you would never do anything like that to her. You might want to bring it up in conversation sometime and just talk to her about it. My girlfriend felt that it was her fault because it happened multiple times and she didn't stop it right away. She also felt very embarrassed and ashamed because of it. If your girlfriend feels this way, be sure to let her know that she shouldn't be ashamed and that she didn't have control of the situation.

Just be sure to take things slow and that if you're willing to, tell her you'll help her through her situation until she is comfortable. Yes, sex is a factor in a relationship but let her know that you can wait for sex, that you want her to enjoy it as she should. Try slowly leading up to it. The more you do things with her, the more comfortable she should become with you.

Most likely, the flashbacks will never go away. A trauma like that which she experienced is near impossible to completely overcome. Just let her know you're always willing to talk and help anyway you can. I hope this helps.
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#3

Postby latinkiss26 » Thu Nov 27, 2008 1:36 pm

ABitConfused wrote:Hello, I don't usually come to these forums for advice, but I'm looking for some tips. My girlfriend was violently raped in a past relationship, about 2 years ago. She refuses to get any type of help, counseling, or even see a gynecologist for a physical checkup. I urge her to do it, but I respect her choice not to. After a lot of talking and re-assuring, i've got her to tell me most of what happened, but she suffers from severe flashbacks, specifically after having an orgasm. She has spurts of sexual activity, but can sometimes withdraw due to nightmares for months. I'm a very sexually active person, so it's hard to cope with, not to mention a lot of mood swings and emotional issues that the rape has caused her to have.

I've tried to be very understanding, sometimes going as far as 3-4 months or longer without doing anything sexual, but sex is a big part of a relationship for me. I'm not trying to be selfish, but I think we all can agree that sex is a big part of a relationship. It's usually a factor of how well the relationship is going, but our relationship can go fine and the sex will still die due to her flashbacks. I know it's not her fault, and even she is frustrated because she wishes it would go away.

Do you have any advice for me to help her stop having the flashbacks and slowly become more sexually active? I know she wants to be, but the flashbacks control her life at times. Can someone fully rid themselves of this without professional help? Will this persist forever or fade with time? I would really like your feedback, thanks.



Hi I'm new to this site, I want to see where I can find more information on this subject. I understand what you two guys are going through. I'm trying to find ways of reaching to her and help her. Thanks for the help.
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#4

Postby Who_am_I » Thu Nov 27, 2008 7:49 pm

I was in a relationship with a man that would brutally rape me, when he felt it right. It was horrid and I couldn't escape, after confronting myself, and learning to love myself, and forgive myself was I able to walk away. I am still severally affected by it as is my new BF. I had three kids with my ex, so they're always a great pick me up if I'm feeling affected by it, usually I just need a happiness kick-start once I start feeling upset or depressed.. My favorite novel, a bubble bath, a random trip to the Amusement Park, or Indiana Beach.. I remove myself from any reminders of sex, and then replace them with whatever else fuels my competitive fire.. It lets me get out some aggression while relaxing at the same time.. I suggest you join a gym together, start a cardio class.. Kickboxing or MMA would be great also, she would learn self defense, get out her aggression, and feel better about herself. This is how I coped, I hope it helped at all.
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#5

Postby latinkiss26 » Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:53 am

Who_am_I wrote:I was in a relationship with a man that would brutally rape me, when he felt it right. It was horrid and I couldn't escape, after confronting myself, and learning to love myself, and forgive myself was I able to walk away. I am still severally affected by it as is my new BF. I had three kids with my ex, so they're always a great pick me up if I'm feeling affected by it, usually I just need a happiness kick-start once I start feeling upset or depressed.. My favorite novel, a bubble bath, a random trip to the Amusement Park, or Indiana Beach.. I remove myself from any reminders of sex, and then replace them with whatever else fuels my competitive fire.. It lets me get out some aggression while relaxing at the same time.. I suggest you join a gym together, start a cardio class.. Kickboxing or MMA would be great also, she would learn self defense, get out her aggression, and feel better about herself. This is how I coped, I hope it helped at all.


Good ideas! If you don't mind me asking , how does it affect your relationship with your new bf? Anyways I really do care about her, but I'm still getting used to this situation. I may as well say it our makeout session only lasts hmm 2 sec and then she goes back to watching whatever we watching on tv. Any other tips would be awesome. We have only been dating for 4.5 months and I hope our lack of intimacy doesn't affect us. Thanks in advance
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#6

Postby Who_am_I » Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:46 am

My current bf, wants to rip his head off, he feels an insane amount of responsibility for my being hurt. It's ludicrous to think that he could've prevented anything, but it's comforting knowing I have a man that wants that much to protect me.. I'm not saying fly off the handle in a jealous rage or anything, I want to clarify that. I just like being secure in the knowledge he wants to protect and not hurt me.. My sex life with him is rare, not because of myself, but because he feels it necessary not to rush anything.. I would actually a LOT more sex than what I get..lol, I understand why he is the way he is though. We've been together almost two years, and it's still the little things that makes me want him and forget everything else. The hand holding, doors being opened, when he tells me I'm beautiful, or that I look amazing in jeans and a ball cap.. He takes an interest in my interest, like MMA and baseball, two things he could live without..lol It's all about security on my end..
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#7

Postby deludedintoschizoid » Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:17 pm

all my life, it stops me from enjoying sex, there is no reason for it. It is just I have never felt in control in any sexual situation, so it all makes me feel sick I wish I could relax but it is impossible for me to do so.
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#8

Postby hendrixgirl » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:31 pm

I was dating my exboyfriend for about 5 months and he told me a while back that he was raped and has been in abussive relationships before.
I know i was blinded by love and trying to help instead of hinder but he is so sexually agressive and i find my self affraid of him sometimes.
The 1st time we had sex i didn't want to and i told him not to but he carried on anyway (I know that maybe i should have broken it off or gone to the police but that might be where the blinded by love stuff came in) and acted like nothing much happend, when i brougt it up he managed a half sorry and there wasn't even a flicker of guilt there.
The reason i broke it up with him was because if i didn't want to have sex he would scream at me till i cried and gave in and then he would blame me for being selfish or rude.
The last time i saw him to give back his stuff i wouldn't go to his house because i was afraid and he pulled my hair and forced me to kiss him while trying to put his hands in my underwaer in the street till i freed my self and got in a taxi.
I was abused as a child and wanted to know if it was me who let him get away with this or is it a result of him being raped and he can't control it???
thanks
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#9

Postby tourmaline » Thu Jun 10, 2010 9:42 pm

Rape is such a vile crime, to do with violence, revenge, power, destruction. I am so very sorry to hear how it's still affecting your girlfriend. That she has never sought councelling is sadder still.

Perhaps she might find it "more comfortable" to get help through the anonimity of being online? There are many online resources, all aiming for the victim's healing, which is important. Here's a link to a list of just some of the organisations available:

http://members.tripod.com/rape_pathfind ... /id11.html

I hope your girlfriend will have a look through and find something that suits her. That way she can start letting out the pain and letting in the care and support again.

BUT, as has been said, she really must get herself checked out for STDs, which could affect both of you if present.

Much Good Luck to you both.

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