Little Shades of Grey – Domestic Sexual Assault

Trigger Warning:  This post may contain triggers that would be hazardous for readers who have a history with sexual assault and crimes of that nature.  It is strongly advised that children under the age of 13 and those that may suffer adverse affects from this post take care and use caution while reading,.  Reader discretion is advised.

In the previous post, Little Shades of Grey – Sexual Assault by a Lover, there was a representation of statistics and a personal account concerning sexual assault and rape.  Unfortunately, that incident was not a sole occurrence.  In fact, it was just the first.

Some women are still stuck in the old mentality that there are just some things you have to do to please and keep your man.  I grew up with the idea that sometimes, I would have to perform sexual acts I did not want to participate in, or I’d have to engage in intercourse when the mood and / or time was not right for me.  It was the nature of being a woman.

Dozens of grey rapes, my mind came to put a term to it, so I wouldn’t actually have to relive it. It was the attempt to free myself from the haunting memories. But, it wasn’t enough. Dozens of times I said no. Many times he reminded me that if he wasn’t “gettin’ it from you, then I’ll get it somewhere else”. Bullied into it, by a man who preyed on my deepest vulnerabilities.

How many times had I thought we had a fantastic night only to wake up to a surly, dismissive, apathetic day?

I started to realize that there were no fantastic nights. There was cheap booze, little white lies, and completely carnal fucking.

The first instance with Avi was not even a full year after the incident with Beck.  It didn’t register, because it was just so subtle.  He lovingly and eagerly asked.  I was too ashamed to tell him the truth about what happened.  I was anxious at the idea of disappointing him, and I went along with it.  It was just that one time, right?  I could satisfy him and then say no.

Then, there is the mentality that no doesn’t really mean no.  For many women, myself included, there is a disconnect between mind and body.  While my mind may be shouting, “NO!”, my body may not be complying.  It’s confusing for a woman, and encouraging for a man.  Men, but societal rules, are accustomed to the chase.  Often times, men get the wrong signals.  And for a predator, that is a perfect excuse for inexcusable, despicable behavior.

To some men, no doesn’t mean no.  No means, coerce me.  No means, harass me.  And that’s exactly what I experienced.  There was no changing my mind, or else I was a tease of a girlfriend who deprived my boyfriend of sexual gratification for my own kicks.  There was no saying no, or my will would be broken down in one way or another.  Finally, not complying with his wishes was grounds for threats and dismissal.

“If you don’t do it by choice, then I’ll just have to take it by force.  But you’d like that, wouldn’t you?”  I shiver and tremble at that phrase.  In my mind, there was nothing worse than losing control of my situation.  What I didn’t realize was that sex and sexual acts were no longer my own choice.  I was, for all intensive purposes, a victim of continual sexual assault and grey rape.

Sex is often a mechanism for control.  And seeing as how I was also both a victim and abuser in other ways, it was the perfect arena for him to gain back control.  Though I would disagree, and I would put up a fight, he would always eventually win.  Nothing scared me more than another full on assault.  Maybe I thought I had the control by consenting.  It’s tricky to know.  I described a bit of it in Decent into Hell.

Just say yes, you little masochist.  

Addictions leave you little choice.

Help me tighten these chains.  Is that my voice?  My mind screamed to be released, for me to take the free ticket to ride and go.  But my heart without it’s limbs could not be freed from it’s vice.

The pleasant memories melted into the form of nightmares.  There was a double edged sword, turning the pleasurable jabs into horrific stabs.  My monologue’s narrator was raspy and exhausted.  Playful smiles turned to sinister grins just as loving chuckles morphed into maniacal laughter.  The blaze pushed forward, engulfing everything in sight.  It seared my flesh, leaving nothing but brittle bone.

In a domestic relationship, it becomes harder to define rape. It becomes even harder to convince others that the sexual contact was not consensual. Worse, is the probability that one will have to face their assailant in the wreckage of the aftermath of reporting.  And that’s possibly why so many sexual assaults and rapes go unreported in those situations.

There are deviant sexual acts I was forced to participate in that I am still ashamed of.  I recall my first threesome.  I consented to it under the pretense of defensive sex.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with defensive sex, it is a sexual response to an emotional manipulation playing on the insecurities of sexual performance and satisfaction.  It is an attempt to avoid abandonment and ease fears for some.  I recognize the manipulation in my own mind now.  And I realize that I had engaged in this behavior and played into his own hand.

The focus of the threesome shifted to a twosome, only involving me as a third party observer.  And I recall watching, thinking I had been tricked into watching my ex sexually gratify himself as a show of force.  As if he was proving to me that other women wanted him, and I was apt to lose him at any time.  I was ashamed at the manipulation.  Later, when my friend and I lost touch over it, I realized it was also an isolation mechanism, enabling all forms of abuse by removing me from third outsiders.

I could have never seen it coming.  Like other forms of abuse, it creeps up and becomes the new “norm”.  Also, it has devastating effects on emotional, sexual, and romantic dynamics in future relationships, again, like other forms of abuse.  This is just as real and horrifying as any other form of abuse, though it is far less recognized.  However, it should be recognized for what it is, and women should be educated and informed about the possibility of this type of hidden abuse.

Theories on the Development of Disorder

When something, an emotion, an urge, an impulse, is so severely suppressed that a person becomes oppressed, we can often observe extreme opposite reactions. This is consistent with the laws of physics and the universe, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” Except, one thing. I believe when it comes to emotions and behaviors, the opposing reaction is more like equal plus. The plus being an x-value holding place for a value with the meaning “a little more.” Determining that exact value in numerical terms may be difficult, since there is no numerical value for emotions.

It basically conveys the message that the situation perpetuates itself. Any potential absence of behavior or action can still be perceived as a positive value. Inaction can still be considered an action in this case, because there isn’t really such a thing as a complete absence of behavior.

This is potentially a huge factor in mental illness. Obviously, we are aware of the psychological damage abuse and neglect in childhood can cause, even throughout adulthood. It is thought to manifest in anxiety disorders, particularly Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. However, that does not account for people who did not experience what is typically considered childhood trauma.

Even as adults, we are susceptible to psychological damage. This is a fact that is well established through research involving war veteran and victims of sexual assault. However, we only consider extreme forms of trauma as something qualifies as such. Such is also true of childhood trauma.

Other qualifying trauma often happens over a period of time, and goes consciously unrecognized. This does not mean that it is also subconsciously unrecognized as well. In fact, the subconscious is likely keenly aware, but unable to translate to the conscious mind.

Once the conscious mind becomes aware that there is something amiss, the traumatizing behavior seems commonplace. The person has likely become desensitized to what was once a subtle, but generally constant external stressor. By then, it becomes internalized and often mistaken as an internal stressor.

Those are the seeds for maladaptive behaviors in both children and adults. At this point, unhealthy coping mechanisms have already been adopted as part of a person’s behavioral repertoire. This is directly the result of an extreme reaction to the accumulation of what may be considered subtle long term stressor(s).

The maladaptive behaviors are recognized as such, and perpetuate trauma through mistreatment of oneself. It can be behaviorally observed by an unusual response to certain unpleasant stimuli. Unfortunately, the subject is often unaware that their responses are abnormal. By the time it is either pointed out or realized by oneself, the original cause is well buried under layers of self-abuse / neglect.

The result of this is much larger than anxiety disorders. It reaches out to grab behaviors typical of a variety of psychological disorders. Behavior repertoires are often observed in personality disorders and mood disorders. it would stand to reason this is true, due to the nature of long-term external stressors, particularly subtle abuse and neglect.