I'd just like to say thank you for your post about telling your loved ones about how you've been raped. I'm 16, I have been with my boyfriend for a year now but a few weeks after we got together I was raped by my friends boyfriend. I want to tell my boyfriend. I can't cope on my own anymore but i'm so scared that he won't believe me. I've felt trapped. I haven't been able to tell a single person.
Asked by: Anonymous
I’m so sorry that that happened to you. I am sending many virtual hugs your way! I know what it is like to feel the need to be silenced because you’re afraid of the unknown. Sometimes it feels like you’re better off keeping the past in secret but there is a part of you that just wants the past out from underneath your skin — just to speak out loud and say, “This happened to me.” just so that you don’t feel so alone anymore and that you have someone there who will listen.
Telling your boyfriend and opening up to him about your past is a very strong thing to do; as a victim and survivor it’s very hard to build that strength up to tell others about your pain. It takes courage to get to the point of letting your voice be heard. It’s hard to tell how your boyfriend will react but if he loves you, he will listen, he will support you, and he will understand. The news will be a shock to him and it will take time for him to let it sink in.
It’s hard for me to see what it is like to be on the other side — to be the partner of someone who was a victim. The fact that this happened to someone they love turns their whole world upside down. They don’t want to know that you’re in pain, they don’t want to know that you were hurt. It kills them inside and they begin to try and carry all the pain that you’ve ever felt because they care for you and they want to take your burdens away. It hurts them because they know that they can’t take your pain away but they can help you and they can support you.
I think for yourself you should sit down and talk to your boyfriend about what happened, tell him the best way you can — get that weight off your chest and remember to breathe! Stepping out of your comfort zone as a victim is a very healthy thing to do on your journey to healing; we must learn to open our hearts to others and to speak with no fear. We have to learn to speak again but we need to take baby steps and only do so when we feel completely ready. If your heart is ready, do what you know you need to do… speak to your boyfriend and ask for his understanding. Take your time, move at your own pace; when you feel completely comfortable in telling him, do so. If he really loves you he will be beside you, he will believe you, and he will stand by you. His heart will ache for your pain and he will want to protect you every step of the way. Give him time to let your words settle — this is very hard for one to take in, especially if they have never been in similar shoes.
I hope that when you do find the words to tell him, that everything goes smoothly and you have his full support. Being a victim is very hard and it’s a struggle everyday; you need someone who will love you and help you get through each struggle you face. You need that support, you deserve that support. I hope that he believes you and appreciates the fact that you felt like you could be open to him about it. I hope that he will give you everything you need so that you don’t have to feel afraid anymore — I hope he helps you find your voice again. If he doesn’t, someone else will, I can promise you that. (But I hope he’s the one who will!)
If you ever need someone to talk to, you’ve got me and every single victim and survivor! You’re so brave. Stay strong.
When I first opened up to my boyfriend:
When I met my boyfriend and began dating my boyfriend I was still being sexually abused and out of fear I kept that part of myself hidden to him, thinking that he would leave me or couldn’t handle the fact that I was flawed or had issues that he could not understand. I understand the fear all too well; your mind begins to think ahead of itself and in turn you begin to think things won’t go well. It’s hard to come out to anyone about what happened to you because you never know how someone will take your past and mend it into their lives — it’s a very scary thing! Just the thought of saying it to someone you love makes your stomach tense up beyond belief but you know in your heart that you want to just let it all out because each day you keep it locked up it’s hurting you that much more. We as victims need the support from others, we need someone who will listen and love us no matter what happened to us in the past. It’s a hard road to go down and you shouldn’t have to go down it alone.
We were dating for only a few months when I told him what was going on. I know that previously I had told him I was physically abused by my father and that there was much more to that story but he never really knew the extent of my pain. I still remember that day like it was yesterday, it was so surreal. We were apart at the time and I felt so alone in my own home. My attacker somehow had wedged his way into every wound again — he began to poke and prod at me to get what he wanted, he knew that I was weak without my boyfriend. I got so angry and lashed out at my attacker — my strength was starting to show, every fiber of my being felt like it was about to explode with rage, I had had enough! But still, that strength was just that wall I had built over the years from my abuse… it wasn’t a strong as it should have been.
I couldn’t bottle up my feelings, I couldn’t keep it inside. I felt like I had no where to go, no one to turn to… I had no support. I needed my boyfriend, I needed the support from someone I loved who loved me back.
I had a breakdown and poured my heart out to my boyfriend, I told him everything (well… as much as I could at the time) and it was a lot for him to take in. His face was in complete shock; he had no idea how to react but his heart was full with sadness. He later told me that he had to go to another room and cry in private, he had to let it all sink in. He didn’t know what to do to stop this from happening but he did know of the one way to break me of my pain and free me of my abuse; he picked me up from that broken home and gave me his. He took me from my pain and mended my heart. He supported me and loved me. We’ve been together for almost four years now! He is my angel. I can only hope that every victim and survivor has someone who will make them feel whole, someone who will set them free, someone who will help mend their wounds, and make their heart full again — we deserve that much.