“Consent is not always given by choice”
Posted on November 26, 2011
I received this email a few weeks ago. I’m publishing it here with full permission of the author:
I read with interest your blog on Rape and Marriage (well some of it anyway!). I’d like to share part of my story with you if i may.
I am a born again Christian woman who has been married for 16 years. I am due to separate from my husband at the end of the month. Throughout my marriage i have been coerced and guilted into having sex on a regular basis.
As a result, i was never really ‘in the mood’. Unlike my husband, i didnt throw a sulk or resort to slaming Christian books down in front of him with titles like ‘More sex please we’re married’. I didn’t spend 2 hours sitting in bed accusing him of being a rubbish husband, saying that we had a ‘sexless’ marriage (even though we had sex twice a month) and finish off by quoting verses from the Bible at him to make him feel so crap and such a rubbish Christian husband that he would get out of bed, don some nice underwear and then ‘perform’ just to be that good Christian husband. I also didn’t have sex with him when he was ill or just after his children were born and he was completely knackered. He has never had to ‘just lie there’ whilst i had sex with him. He has never had to feel like his body is not his own and that he has little value other than that of an unpaid prostitute or sex object. He will never have had to face that awful moment of reality when the Counsellor says the ‘R’ word. He will never have to experience the awful emptiness and numbness that i feel. He will never have every shred of trust taken from him. He will never have to try and rebuild his self confidence, his self esteem, his faith. He will never have to see his friends cry for him.
I lived under the illusion that my body was not my own in marriage for 16 years. It took a straight talking Christian friend to put me right and i think its going to take a lot of counselling to get that ‘me’ back.
Thank you for your blog on this subject. Its still a taboo i feel. I have had friends who still think i should stay in this marriage and forgive him. If he was forcing me violently i’m sure they’d be telling me to run for the hills! What’s the difference though? Unwanted sex is unwanted whether you are forced to do it, coerced to do it or guilted to do it. Consent is not always given by choice. Submission is not saying you are happy to do it.
Rapidly becoming a born again Feminist,
For other posts on this issue see:
The Rape Crisis National Freephone Helpline is open from 12-2.30pm & 7-9.30pm every day of the year: you can call them on 0808 802 9999