What do you do when your loved one is abused?

Day 5 of the #16DaysofActivism

TW: Child sexual abuse, trauma

My significant other hid the fact he was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse for as long as he could hide it. When we became sexually active, the traumas of his past manifested physically into his body affecting our ability to be intimate. What I never expected was the emotional toil it would have on me. When he outlined the details of his traumas, I never could have imaged such evils in this world existed, it kept me up at night and caused me to retreat to the bathroom, turn the fan on, in hopes it would drown out my sporadic sobs. The details of his abuse still haunt me to this day (even 6 years after our relationship ended). At the time I felt an immense sense of responsibility to not only show him that sexual intimacy in our relationship is safe and I could be trusted, but that he pursued the professional counselling he so desperately required so he could live a life free of his past. Looking back, perhaps I persisted and pushed him too much, when he wasn’t ready. Would he have ever truly been “ready” to seek help? I firmly believed CBT exposure therapy would help him overcome the obstacles we were having in our intimate relationship. Instead of letting him guide me and tell me what he felt comfortable with or avoid these aspects of intimacy all together I initiated what I knew would make him uncomfortable.

Would he have ever truly been “ready” to seek help?

I didn’t know what I was doing, I didn’t seek professional advice, and was acting off of pure instinct for that reason I’m conflicted if I approached his recovery in the correct way. It was a dichotomy of feeling absolutely horrible and guilty for making him do something he was traumatised by, but normal in a healthy sexual relationship, and a sense of unwavering belief it would help him overcome his traumas. As he would physically recoil and sometimes cry we pushed through and eventually he physically overcame and we could have an enjoyable healthy intimate relationship. I hold a deep sense of pride for having trusted my gut instincts that helped him heal a portion of his past, but never knowing if I did the right thing, in the right timing, will haunt me just as often as his traumas.

This story was submitted to us by an anonymous writer for the StandAgainstRape campaign and has been published unedited.

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