How Men Can Support Women Post Sexual Abuse

couple

Two years ago his wife was kidnapped, stabbed, shot and sexually assaulted by nine men. Here’s the story, the mistakes he made in trying to help and the lessons he wants to put into the world for other men who may find themselves in a similar situation.

Note: Trigger Warning

I remember clearly one morning about two years ago, I was enjoying a quiet breakfast with my wife. It was a beautiful morning, after days of rain the sun was shining and I couldn’t help but think I was the luckiest man on earth. I was married to this incredible woman who was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. Like any other morning we rushed out the door to work. Little did I know our lives were about to change dramatically.

I returned home at the end of the day to find the house was empty. This was highly unusual as my wife always collected her two children (from her first marriage) from after-school care and would always be home by 4:30pm. Instantly I felt something wasn’t right, I contacted the child care program and discovered the children were still there. Quickly I went and picked them up, then I drove to my wife’s work thinking she must have had a car accident and I was hoping to find her on the way. When I reached the carpark she used every day I found her car. It was unlocked, her laptop on the passenger seat and her handbag was on the ground, yet she wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I felt ill, I knew that she had been receiving threatening and abusive messages from her ex-husband and in my heart I knew he was responsible for her disappearance.

“Then she said those words I had been so afraid of, she had been raped. I felt my heart break into a million pieces…”

I dropped the children off with my parents and went straight to the police station. They were anything but helpful. Evidently there was nothing they could do for 24-48 hours, they were more interested in whether we had an argument, whether there was any domestic violence at home and once it was established there wasn’t I was sent on my way and told: “She will come home, mate, women disappear all the time.” I knew my wife, they didn’t. I was angry they were not listening to me.

When my wife still hadn’t returned some 36 hours later the police agreed to look at her phone and emails then they came to the conclusion I had, she probably had been kidnapped by her ex. I was told to wait at home and stay by the phone while they tried to find where she had been taken.

Finally the following night the phone rang. It wasn’t the police, it was my wife calling reverse charges from a public pay phone. She sounded ghost-like, so quiet and lifeless. Then she said those words I had been so afraid of, she had been raped. I felt my heart break into a million pieces, I don’t remember much of that conversation but I do remember telling her it was not her fault and that we would get through this together. By using the ID number on the public phone the police and ambulance were able to get to my wife while I talked to her. As soon as they were there I hung up the phone and rushed to the hospital they said that she would be taken to.

When I arrived at the hospital I was met by two police detectives. They told me to sit and wait, my wife was in a bad way and the doctors were assessing her. I refused to accept this, I knew from my conversation with her that she was extremely traumatized and that she needed me by her side for support. I ignored the police and walked into the room my wife was in, what I saw when I walked in there will haunt me for the rest of my life.

“My attention then turned to my beautiful wife and I made my first of many mistakes. I tried to put my arms around her to comfort her…”

There in the middle of the room was my wife laying on the hospital bed crying hysterically, she was naked without even a sheet to maintain her dignity. Around the room there were close to ten police men just looking at her, taking photographs and talking. There was a senior doctor and his team of eight junior doctors as well as three nurses. No one was there for my wife, no one was talking to her, holding her hand or looking out for her interests. It was like she was a side show act, everyone was there to just look at her. It was at that moment I knew what my role was as her husband, it was to advocate for her and to protect her from further humiliation and abuse. I removed my jacket and used it to cover my wife and I told all the police and junior doctors to get the fuck out. I didn’t want anyone in that room unless they were specifically there to help my wife medically. My attention then turned to my beautiful wife and I made my first of many mistakes. I tried to put my arms around her to comfort her and that terrified her. I felt her freeze in my arms and saw fresh tears roll down her face. I had never felt so completely useless and out of my depth. I sat beside her and watched the doctor look over her extensive injuries. She was taken to surgery and put in a medically induced coma for two days to enable her to start to recover physically. I never left her side despite hospital staff telling me I should go home and rest, during this time the police were constantly pressuring the ICU staff and myself to bring her out of her coma so they could interview her. Again my role as her husband was to protect her and her physical recovery.

After two days she was brought out of her coma. Looking back on it I believe it was too soon. She had been shot in both ankles & her right shoulder, stabbed several times and had several broken ribs, she had also been brutally raped to the point she needed full vaginal and anal reconstruction. Yes physically she was a mess but ready to wake, however, emotionally she was not in any condition to face what had happened to her and the extent of her injuries. Once she was awake we were faced with new challenges mainly the police investigation and the detectives constantly interviewing her. My wife was physically weak and emotionally fragile but that did not factor into their treatment of her. The police brought in a support worker from the local Rape Crisis Centre to be there with my wife. This support worker and the police told me that it was not appropriate for me to sit in on these interviews. They made this assumption without asking my wife how she felt about it. I could see through the glass window that my wife was distressed so once more I pushed my way in and I asked my wife if SHE wanted me there for support. Surprise surprise she did!!

“You’re a man, you won’t be able to help her, the best thing you can do is keep quiet and keep your hands to yourself. Rape is women’s business not mens’. Men rape and women support women.”

As I sat there hearing her talk about what happened to her I felt so angry. I found out that it was her ex-husband that was responsible for what happened to her and he had eight of his friends with him. My wife had been shot, stabbed, beaten and raped countless times by these nine men. I wanted to find them and kill them for what they had done to her. I expressed these feelings and I was told to keep quiet and warned that if I showed any emotion again I would be made to leave.

After the police left I asked to speak with the support worker. I asked her specifically what I could do to support my wife and help her through this. She said to me “You’re a man, you won’t be able to help her, the best thing you can do is keep quiet and keep your hands to yourself. Rape is women’s business not mens’. Men rape and women support women.” I was gobsmacked. This woman without knowing me or my wife decided I wasn’t capable of supporting my wife because I was a male. What crap. I started to do some research and there was very little information written from the perspective of husbands. My wife was drifting further away from me emotionally it felt at times like she was frightened of me, I felt angry, helpless, confused and as much as I hated to admit it I felt alone. I started learning as much as I could about rape. I was surprised to discover it isn’t about sexual needs that really it’s about power and control with sex used as the weapon.

After a couple of weeks my wife was discharged from hospital. As I drove her home fear washed over me. I didn’t know how she was coping or how I would cope. We had a quiet family dinner that night with the children and my wife went to bed early, she was still very weak physically. Once the kids were asleep it suddenly dawned on me “where was I going to sleep?” I couldn’t just go and get into bed with my wife the way I use to, I was scared of upsetting her. So I got a blanket and pillow and slept on the floor next to our bed. That first night at home she woke screaming several times from nightmares, I didn’t know what to do so I sat on the bed and told her I was there for her. That seemed to calm her and she went back to sleep. The following day the kids went off to school as normal and I decided it was time for me to talk to my wife and ask her how she was feeling and what she needed from me at this time. What she said to me was exactly what I did and I want to share this with men everywhere as it helped the two of us so much.

She said that she was worried I didn’t love her anymore, that I blamed her for what happened, that I thought she was “damaged goods”,  she said that she felt I had shut myself off from her. She said she felt scared of me when I said I wanted to kill those who had done this to her. Calmly and gently I reassured her that I still loved her very much and that in no way did I think she was responsible for what happened. I asked her if there was anything that I had done to make her feel like damaged goods and in what way I had shut her out. My wife said to me that I never held her hand or cuddled her, it felt to her like I didn’t want to go near her. I was gutted, I wanted so much to be able to hold her in my arms but after that first time when she froze I figured she didn’t want me to. I told her this and she simply said to me “why didn’t you ask me?”.  We agreed that from that point on I would not withhold physical shows of support and affection however, I would always check with her first that it was ok. Was difficult to get use to but over time it became second nature. I would say to her “sweetheart I would like to give you a hug is that ok?” or “can I hold your hand?”. This helped my wife on so many levels, she knew I was there for her and I wanted to be close to her yet she was the one in full control. I showed her by those actions that I respected her and that what happened had not changed how I felt about her.

In many ways my wife and I were lucky which may sound strange given what she had been through. But we were. As you may have guessed my wife’s first marriage was very abusive and she found the strength to leave. It took her a long time to trust me in the early stages of our relationship and fortunately that trust was still there after she had been raped. That trust was key to not only her recovery but also the survival of our marriage.

“Over time we found that it was easier for my wife to talk at night, it was dark and she found security in being able to hide her face… These conversations were in her control and it was my job to listen…”

Over time she recovered physically, and in everyone’s eyes she recovered emotionally. She was back at work like nothing had happened and was very involved with the kid’s sports, etc. The only difference was sleeping arrangements but gradually that changed as well. I went from the floor of our bedroom to sleeping on top of the bedding so I was next to her but not actually in bed with her. Eventually she allowed me back in the bed with her. Nights were the worst for us, my wife had terrible nightmares. Over time we found that it was easier for my wife to talk at night, it was dark and she found security in being able to hide her face. I never pressured her in these conversations, I never asked her for details of what happened. These conversations were in her control and it was my job to listen and reassure her. She needed so much reassurance, I lost count of how many times I had to tell her it wasn’t her fault, that I loved her and that she was safe. We developed a nightly routine of walking around the house together checking every door and window was locked. This also gave her a feeling of security and safety.

Months passed and we found we were not thinking about it all the time, everything was back to normal accept for the fact we had no sex life at all. I hadn’t attempted to initiate sexual contact and it wasn’t something we talked about. Eventually I built up the courage to talk to my wife about it. I was careful to make sure she knew it was not an expectation and that she could take as much time as she needed. She admitted it was something she was scared to try again even though she wanted to. We agreed that at any time she could say no or stop and that I would immediately. During many of our initial attempts to be intimate my wife would have flashbacks or start crying without knowing why. But over time we found that it was easier for her if I gently and lovingly talked to her whilst we were making love. I would tell her over and over and over that I loved her. I always respected her decision to say no and never made her feel guilty for saying no if anything I tried to make it easy for her to say so.

I’m happy to say that now two years later my wife and I are closer than we ever were and that we have a wonderful marriage.

To any men out there who find themselves in the position I was in where their partners are raped I suggest the following things:

1. Most importantly believe her, never question her when she says she’s been assaulted.

2. Ensure she gets medical care immediately and offer to stay with her.

3. Although it’s a normal reaction to want to hurt those who hurt her keep that to yourself. She’s been violently assaulted and does not need to see you wanting to be violent.

4. Advocate for her. Keep non-essential people away in the initial crisis.

5. Understand the police are doing their job but make sure it’s not detrimental to your partner either.

6. Help her regain control. If she doesn’t want police involvement that’s her choice not yours.

7. Don’t withhold physical affection but give her the choice as to whether or not she wants it.

8. Reassure her constantly that you love her and that it is NOT her fault.

9. Never pressure her to resume sexual activity and when you do find ways to help her relax. Never take rejection personally and make it easy for her to say no.

10. Look after yourself and your stress levels. I found running and working out in the gym helpful.

11. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone you are comfortable with about everything. My father was my trusted friend and without him I don’t know what I would have done.

12. Communicate with your partner and do whatever you can to maintain her trust.

13. Learn and understand as much as you can about rape and it’s effects.

I hope that by sharing my story I can raise awareness on how men can help and that there is life after rape. Rape is a violent and senseless attack and it’s our responsibility as men to support all survivors and not tolerate it under any circumstance. No always means no and real men don’t rape.

There’s so much more I could write particularly around the court and justice system but this note is on supporting women and understanding how we can do that so the rest can wait for another piece.

 

Editor’s Note: Certain details have been omitted or slightly obscured to protect the survivor’s identity.

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–Photo: Adam Tinworth/Flickr

About Anonymous

Comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s powerful. And it’s heartening for me, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by multiple relatives, that I may yet find a man who’s heart and good intentions are truly for me. I never experienced anyone speaking up for me. I had to learn at a very young age to speak for myself and defend myself. There was no one standing with me or holding my hand. For this reason your statement, ” It was at that moment I knew what my role was as her husband, it was to advocate for her and to protect her from further humiliation and abuse. I removed my jacket and used it to cover my wife and I told all the police and junior doctors to get the fuck out.” is the most powerful piece of your story. You showed yourself to be FOR her – her supporter and defender. There are so few examples of men supporting their wives in any way. You are a blessing to your wife and you have blessed us by sharing your story. I pray you two continue to grow together and love together. And may you both continue to be all the other needs, when needed, throughout your marriage.

    PS – I hope her all violators are behind bars and far away from her with no hope of ever coming into contact with her again.

  2. Uzi 4 short says:

    Firstly, an incredible and heartfelt article.

    Next, I totally hope that your wife is recovering well though.

    Please do write and tell us how you all are coping.

  3. Genevieve Stiles says:

    I hope this woman recovers fully and gets the justice she deserves. Rape is one of the most horrific crimes against humanity. My husband has been long time friends with a guy who was raped as a boy when he was about 14. When he summoned the courage to tell his wife (now ex-wife) about how he was raped as a boy, she started growing distant from him. She told him that he was not a “real man.” Not too long after that, she filed for divorce. She told friends that she was no longer in love with her husband and saw him as weak but in divorce court, the reason for the divorce was cited as “irreconcilable differences.” We were so horrified by rumors started by her that he was gay, as if that was a bad thing to begin with. He was so devastated by the divorce. He sees his kids every other weekend post-divorce. I firmly believe that if it wasn’t for the support he received from friends including my hubby and I, he probably would have committed suicide. We had to force him to seek help and he was diagnosed with depression after the divorce. How can women support the men in their lives who have been raped and avoid passing judgment about male rape victims’ manhood or sexuality?

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Genevieve – I hope your husband’s friend is getting the support he needs and deserves. I’m SO SAD to hear about what happened to him. I know too many men who’ve had similar experiences.

      MaleSurvivor.org and 1in6.org are amazing organizations. I hope he can find support.

  4. I hope this woman recovers fully and gets the justice she deserves. Rape is one of the most horrific crimes against humanity. My husband has been long time friends with a guy who was raped as a boy when he was about 14. When he summoned the courage to tell his wife (now ex-wife) about how he was raped as a boy, she started growing distant from him. She told him that he was not a “real man.” Not too long after that, she filed for divorce. She told friends that she was no longer in love with her husband and saw him as weak but in divorce court, the reason for the divorce was cited as “irreconcilable differences.” We were so horrified by rumors started by her that he was gay, as if that was a bad thing to begin with. He was so devastated by the divorce. He sees his kids every other weekend post-divorce. I firmly believe that if it wasn’t for the support he received from friends including my hubby and I, he probably would have committed suicide. We had to force him to seek help and he was diagnosed with depression after the divorce. How can women support the men in their lives who have been raped and avoid passing judgment about male rape victims’ manhood or sexuality?

    • Anonymous says:

      This guys Ex wife is as bad as the perp whom hurt him in the first place- give him love lots of love. Tell him he isnt weak and that it wasnt his fault. Only thing i learnt after being held captive for 7 years and raped and abused every day of hell is that im no longer a victim im a survivor. I am me, i am loveable, im not broken, it wasnt my fault, im a good person, there is still goodness in the world. X stay strong those who have been through this “hell” you will be okay. You will transcend from victim to survivor dont let those perps destroy your whom life.

  5. Your story brought me to tears. I was a victim of rape many years ago and it has had a long lasting impact on my life including the complete lack of trust of anyone male. Deep down I have always wanted love and to find a partner but also have believed that I am too damaged for anyone to want. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish more men would read it and understand how to properly support a woman that has been a victim.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      You are NOT too damaged to love. You can make it through this. People do recover from sexual violence, and you deserve love!

      Hugs and support from far away!

  6. I am so deeply affected not only by the horror you, your wife and family have had to endure, but also by the incredible indomitable spirit and love you both have displayed. You honour us with sharing your story. I pledge to do whatever I can to work towards putting an end to this violence. My gratitude and love to you, your wife and your family.

  7. Deep gratitude to you and your wife for deciding to share this experience. How wonderful to see that one can handle such a traumatizing situation so well. I hope that you continue to have the support that you both deserve. Thank you!!

  8. OMG….. How many times today have I looked at this article and tried to comment only to find I have no words. But I’m going to try now.

    I have so many questions: are these animals in jail? How is the woman in this story coping now?, how did her children cope (did they ever know their father did this to their mother)?

    This woman is a survivor in many ways. First she left & survived an abusive marriage, second she found a way to love and trust again & then she is brutally raped and assaulted and once more comes out the other side and her marriage strengthens. WHAT A WOMAN!! I would LOVE to hear her side of this horror as she could help so many women struggling with domestic violence and sexual assault.

    And my god this incredible man, he is the type of man we need to teach our sons to become. He is so obviously completely dedicated and in love with this woman but more importantly he respects her, her choices, her body and her recovery. Together they have achieved what few people do – true love.

    Thank you so much for writing this. I’ve debated whether or not to say this but I want him to know what he’s courage has done to help me. I was gang raped five years ago and I’ve been hesitant to tell my fiancé as I felt all men would find a way to blame me. I’ve put off our wedding out of fear of the “wedding night” (we are both very religious so I haven’t had to worry about it during our relationship to date). But seeing how this man reacted and supported his wife has given me the courage to tell my fiancé tonight & I intend to show him this piece. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    PS: I hope you write again because you are inspiring

  9. i agree absolutely with what you wrote in the article, but my reaction would have definitely been to kill those 9 guys….i will never (ever in my life )spare the person who even thinks of touching the ones close to me, whether it by my wife, girlfriend, sisters, mother…… even father grand pap…its true you need to support the women completely but those people who did this ghastly act need to brought to justice…and not by police and courts ……personal justice (do to them 10 times worse of what they did to your loved one)……

  10. You’re an outstanding human being.

    I really, REALLY hope both you and your wife feel better each and every day from here on out. Love to both of you. I hope you never experience anything like that again.

  11. I cannot fathom how difficult the aftermath was. As a rape crisis worker, and also a survivor of sexual abuse and sexual assault, it is deeply disappointing how the advocate spoke to you and acted in her time with you. Her comments are antithetical to good advocacy. The initial guideline is non-judgment. Knowing that so many people that are around the victim at the hospital, and when they go home, will be judgmental and have their own agendas, means that the advocate is in the rare and educated position to respond with compassion. One goal of the advocate is to give choices. During an assault or abuse, choice is taken away. It is critical to the healing process for a victim to be given autonomy. Frequently, law enforcement and medical personnel are caught up in their own agendas, wanting a statement, because they want to catch “the bad guy,” or, they want to hear more about it so they can decide for themselves if they believe the victim. Medical personnel want to complete the rape kit, and do a pelvic exam, and take care of whatever other injuries are present. They both struggle to remember that they are helping a human being. This is why it’s disheartening to hear that the crisis worker, instead of being an advocate for full healing, which includes helping support people learn how to be a part of the process, tried to cut you out. I appreciate what Miss Kae Oz brought up. Sometimes it is the partner, and so it can be helpful for the police to talk alone with the victim, but it should be a choice presented to the victim. Even if it is the partner, and the victim says they can stay and therefore are more reticent to share the truth, it is up to the victim to determine what they want, even if that means not sharing at all. Sharing their story must be on the time frame of the victim.

    I am so glad you were able to fight to find out what your wife actually wanted. Many would feel so out of place that, so uncertain of what they could do to help, that they wouldn’t do anything at all. I hope this is an instance of personal bias on the crisis worker’s part, and not indicative of poor training and destructive beliefs from her crisis center. Given that around 80% of perpetrators are male, it is absolutely a men’s issue, too. Without the help of men, we will not be able to reduce and eliminate sexual violence against all persons. Also, boys and men can be victimized. In my training, it was important that we learned that quite literally, any person, at any age, of any gender, of any demographic can be a victim of violence. No victim is to blame. It crosses all classes. Offenders choose to victimize, victims don’t choose it. It is not a single gender issue. Very few issues, if any, can be fought by only the impacted group. Oppression of any kind is a human issue. The marginalized do need aid, of a sort, to make societal change.

    My husband is also learning how to be the spouse of a survivor. We both know that it is a life-long road. I will, from time to time, be impacted by what I experienced for the rest of my life. I believe, though, that it is a worthwhile and honorable road to walk. It seems like you instinctively responded in some really helpful ways, and then continued to educate yourself about how you could help more. Aside from telling the victim that they are believed and not at fault, that is one of the most important and supportive steps anyone can take. It shows that you are willing to enter into a painful topic to support them. Frequently victims want support, but are afraid to ask for their loved ones to learn more. “Why force such painful knowledge on another” is an unspoken question victims might ask themselves. But it is so beneficial to know that you are not alone scrambling in the darkness. It sounds like your patience and love are helping you both to make sense of how you can move forward together, even if just through small steps.

    I wish you both tremendous support and healing.
    Grace

  12. Thank you so much for sharing. As a father of a daughter and a husband, this is one of those awful fears that will sometimes wake me up at night. I really appreciate your thoughts and it sparked a thought that some of these practices wouldn’t hurt outside of this incident happening. As men, we often feel entitled to our partners love and affection and forget we need to earn it. Every human, and especially our wives, should feel in control of their life, feelings, and virtue.

    Thank you again for sharing. This was powerful.

    • A thousand times yes, Chuck. As I was reading this (as a woman) I felt the same way. Thank you for articulating it so eloquently. “Every human, and especially our wives, should feel in control of their life, feelings, and virtue.” That’s like Loving People 101 but we so often forget it.

    • Agree.

      “As men, we often feel entitled to our partners love and affection and forget we need to earn it. Every human, and especially our wives, should feel in control of their life, feelings, and virtue.

      Thank you again for sharing. This was powerful.”

  13. Luke Davis says:

    I wish you both all the best. The feeling of helplessness and terror is not something that is easily gotten over or conveyed to someone else.

    If she has lost trust in those around her help her learn that most people can be and are trustworthy
    If she has social phobia now (sometimes looks like agrophobia) help her gently make her way back into society one small crowd at a time.
    Show her how to live life again by example

  14. Miss Kae Oz says:

    I do understand where that support worker is coming from. It is not uncommon for victims partner to be involved in her rape. They don’t want women to be threatened into not telling anyone by her attacker sitting next to her holding her hand. Nothing is simple about this situation. Not even the fact you are her husband.

    But it sounds like you were more than wonderful in this awful situation. And I can not express how important it is that you shared this. So many people feel helpless and alone, not knowing how to act or what to do. This will help so many.

  15. You did not deserve the treatment, especially from that “support” worker. It is typical of the arrogance and bias that treats all men as potential abusers. I hope you and your wife find peace.

    • Welll when there were NINE men who did this to her and only ONE man trying to support her, you can see that the bias lies in statistically significant numbers….

      when your child is attacked by a dog the last thing they want to see is a dog, even if it is the family dog.

  16. I am pretty speechless! I’ve written a few different things but nothing is sounding right.

    Please tell me the evil evil “men” were caught and got lengthy jail sentences? Please??

    Sending nothing but my admiration and love from London, England.

    Andrew

  17. My god. This is so horrible. I feel sorry. 🙁

  18. Hello Sir,
    Thank you. Thank you for writing this piece. Thank you for sharing it publicly so I was able to read it. Thank you for your incredible advice and set of suggestions to men with partners who have been raped. Most of all, thank you for the loving and determined way you helped your wife and your relationship with her recover.
    I was so moved by what you wrote, angry, sad, horrified, awed, joyous. It is, as others said above me on the comment thread, a beautiful story. What those men did to your wife is unconscionable, but your response was and continues to be so wise and caring and loving.
    I will be ever so grateful to you for this gift, this sharing of your story. Thank you again.
    All and always the best to the both of you.
    Love.

  19. Devastating…. I can’t read this without tears welling up….

    So hard to re-establish communication after such trauma…

  20. Wow very moving. I think every man shudders at the thought of this happening to someone they love & also how to deal with both our own feelings but to a degree overide those for the good of the one we love most.
    I also think that we as men have the power to stop this happening to women by our daily interactions with women & our attitude to men who show women disrespect in the workplace in bars & on the pavements where we live.Every attack on any women or girl whether violent or verbal should be stamped on by each & every one of us & never be ignored even to our own detriment as in days gone by. Our justice systems let these crimes continue by handing out short sentences & the brought it on herself atitude than can be far too common. We also should put pressure on those Justice systems.

    Thank you for relate your experience & I hope you & your wife are healing from this terrible crime.

  21. Incredibly powerful. Thank you for writing this.

    Editors: Why was this article apparently not copy-edited, or the punctuation errors corrected? Was it intentional, to keep it as raw as possible?

  22. Thank-you for writing this piece and advocating for your wife and others….

  23. Utsav Garg says:

    you are awesome sir.. i know what most men do at such times. they get filled with so much rage and end up doing some foolish stupid thing. But you did the perfect thing. You deserve her 🙂 Thanks for this article !

  24. What a man, what a mighty good man. Thank you, Anonymous.

  25. I’m profoundly impacted by this courageously vulnerable share.
    I’m in the process of organizing a walk for a mans march & this article will be shared!

    No words. Just remarkable

  26. Thank you, for loving your wife so fully and compassionately, and for sharing your experience, strength, and hope with all of us.

    I’m heartened to hear that you’ve grown so much closer, and I wish you both all the happiness and peace that you can handle. I’m grateful and inspired by your loving acts of grace.

    I share your story via Facebook with this note:

    WARNING: This article may be VERY triggering to people as it describes the effects of brutal violence to a woman, in addition to raw descriptions of the process of recovery.

    From the article: “That trust was key to not only her recovery but also the survival of our marriage.”

    I would offer that this story offers tools to be considered for any relationship requiring healing on any level. This is an unbelievably powerful story of love.

    REQUEST: If you _can_ read this, please do so, and consider that the roots of these issues are very prevalent in our society. While I don’t desire to impose this on people who aren’t willing, I _am_ eager to discuss and solve these issues openly.

  27. I cannot imagine a more devastating story with a more hopeful ending.

    Your wife is so strong and so brave and you are such an amazing partner.

    So much love and healing and strength to the both of you from far away.

  28. Thank you for sharing this heart-rending story. I am also a secondary survivor, and it is one of those things I wish more people knew more about. Your story goes a long way toward that. I would add, “Get professional trauma help for yourself separately as a secondary survivor,” since we cannot give from a dry well.

  29. Thank you for being the hero in this story. Your truly a remarkable man and I am in awe of your relationship especially when climbing the difficult mountain you did. Thank you for sharing your story.

  30. This was, actually, a beautiful story. What your wife went through was absolutely terrible, but the love, patience and care you showed in helping her to recover is wonderful. Thank you for sharing your story to help others.

  31. You sir are a true gentleman. Thank you for these insights. I don’t think there’s anything more you could add as an instructional for men who love women who have been so brutally assaulted. I especially want to thank you for including in your list an instruction to not question. As a woman who has experienced assault, something that always felt like a gut punch was having a man ask ‘was I sure it was assault?’ and then demand details. We’ve already been dehumanized once, and there is no surer way to put a mail in the coffin of a relationship than implying that maybe we’re overreacting or did something at some point to deserve this assault. Thank you for having the sensitivity and initiative to consider how we feel. And thank you for sharing. God bless.

  32. Thank you for writing this courageous and insightful article. It is very powerful and will stay with me. As a woman who have had some degree of experience with men’s disrespect in the sexual area, I deeply thank you for your sensitivity. Your article moved me and brought tears. I hope more men and boys will learn how they should treat women and sex, how much damage a women can suffer if done wrong.

  33. This was such a heartbreaking story, but the way you stood by your wife and supported her and helped her recover was amazing. I think that you did everything exactly right!

  34. Where do I begin. I have never before read such a powerful, intimate portrayal of how rape has not only affected the person who was the victim of rape, but the person/people who love that person. From the beginning of the story, to where law enforcement and outsiders become involved and their own mindset about rape, to the recovery and healing process.

    And frankly, it’s heart stopping.

    For me, rape hasn’t touched my life on a personal level. It’s something I hear that has happened to other people. My experience is only with those board, loose details that never really form a complete picture. The kind of details that make you say, “That is horrible”, that make your heart fill with sympathy for other people, but with very little true understanding of the experience.

    But Anonymous, I think your piece gives a clearer picture and account of a survival rape story than anything I’d ever seen before. The horrors of what happened to your wife, the details, paint a picture that goes far beyond simply saying someone was raped. They are haunting and leads me to believe that your wife is just as strong as a Navy Seal. The lack of help and support available for you to help you wife, even by people who are trained to help people through rape. The response and experience of a victim when law enforcement comes in and the possibly jaded approach they may take to something they see regularly in order to get the details of the crime. The way you had to grabble with your own own emotions and not knowing what to do and wanting to do everything in your power right by her.

    I feel that that your piece gives a level of intimacy of the survival story of rape like none other I’ve ever read. I can not even begin to comprehend what that was like for her or for you. But your story hit home in a way I’ve never felt before in myself. You gave details and accounts across the whole experience in such a deeply intimate and heart-filled way, baring it all out there. I think this piece you wrote is really important. Really important for all of us. It also shows a steal strength in your love for her, her love for you, and your strength together. I don’t even really know what to say to totally convey exactly what hearing you and your wife’s story has made me feel and think about.

  35. Wow you are insightful on a subject I’m to familiar with. Please help if you can, repost if thats all the help you can offer, I’d really appreciate it. 🙂

    https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/3v34/cassie-s-reunite-with-her-kids-after-domestic-violence-fund

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