Heartbreak

My Husband Accused Me Of Lying About Being Raped

Photo: 271 EAK MOTO / Shutterstock
sad woman in bed

Author’s Note: This piece contains potentially triggering content. CW/TW: Rape, sexual assault, trauma.

One of the most important aspects of any relationship is trust. It’s right up there with communication. You need to know in a good relationship, that not only are you encouraged to express yourself but that you’ll be listened to and believed.

I was 17 when I met my first husband, Joe. Although he wasn’t my first boyfriend, he was the first significant long-term relationship I had. My luck with boys my own age was horrible, so when I found out he was none years my senior, I assumed that meant he would be more mature than guys I had previously dated.

RELATED: I Was Sexually Abused By A Teacher

Let me tell you, though, age does not indicate maturity.

We dated for three years before we got married. Hindsight tells me that in three years there were so many red flags that should have caused me to run. But I was young and naïve.

Back then, the majority of my friends were guys. I’ve always had difficulty maintaining friendships with other women, until the last couple of years. There was a party house where almost everyone I knew spent time, and it's also where I met Joe.

Over the next year or so, the party house changed to another venue. One of the older men bought a pretty nice house and everyone kind of gravitated there. Kendall, the homeowner, was a strange guy. Something about him always struck me the wrong way, though I couldn’t put my finger on what. I just knew I didn’t ever want to be alone with him and did my best to ensure that never happened.

I remember mentioning to Joe how I felt about Kendall and he laughed it off. He insisted Kendall was a good guy, he was just "going through some things" and I shouldn’t pay attention to my gut. After all, what did I know? I was barely 18.

One evening, Joe and a bunch of his friends decided to head to a concert. I’d wanted to go as well, but had done something or another to piss off Joe, so he wouldn’t let me go with them.

When the group left Kendall’s house, there were a number of other people I knew well still hanging out, so I decided to stay for a while. When hours had passed and Joe and his crew still weren’t back, I decided to go lie down in her room because I had been drinking and knew I shouldn't get behind the wheel.

I woke up a few hours later to an eerily quiet house. Everyone had left —or so I thought. I headed out to the living room to see if the guys had come back and just passed out on the couches, but there was no one there.

Except for Kendall.

RELATED: How Writing About My Rape Made Me Feel Used

He was watching a movie, but the sound was very low.

“Hey, I didn’t know you were here," he said to me.

“Yeah, alcohol and I weren’t friends and I wanted to lie down. I’m okay now, I think I’ll just go home.”

“I’m sure the guys will be back soon, why don’t you just watch the rest of this movie with me and wait?”

Nothing seemed out of place and it was a reasonable request, so I went with it. I would find out later, the guys had already been back an hour or so prior and decided to hang out somewhere else since no one was partying.

Of course, Kendall didn't tell me that at the time.

I sat on the opposite end of the couch from Kendall and tried to pay attention to the movie, but it wasn’t long before I felt him scooting down the couch toward me.  

I asked what he was doing and he said he was having a hard time with stuff in his life and wanted to know if it was okay to cuddle, nothing more.

For 18 years, I’d been conditioned not to upset a man, especially if he was expressing his emotions.

In my teenage brain, the worst thing a woman could do was emasculate a man, or not allow him to share his feelings if he was trying. Even though everything inside me was screaming to get up and leave, I stayed right there and let this 35-year-old man snuggle into my side.

He started telling me how he and his wife were divorcing after she convinced him to get a vasectomy since they already had two kids. I did my usual nodding and agreeing, in the hope he would feel better after venting and move on.

RELATED: Why 50% Of Women Regret Marrying Their Husbands

I really just wanted to go home.

When he leaned in to kiss me, I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. I pulled back and asked him to stop. He knew Joe and I were a couple and I had done nothing to make him think I was interested. At first, he did pull back and I thought that would be it.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Details are not important and still trigger me to this day, but needless to say, Kendall raped me.

Sadly, this wasn’t the first time I was raped, but it was the first time it happened at the hands of someone I knew well.

When I was finally able to make it home, I scrubbed myself raw in an attempt to wash away what happened.

Then I went to bed for the next two days. I didn’t answer the phone, I refused to answer my door, and felt as if I couldn’t leave my bed.

Once I was able to pull myself together, I went to Joe and told him what happened. His immediate reaction was one I didn’t expect.

He blamed me.

Not only was I to blame in his eyes, but he also accused me of lying about how it happened. There was no way I was raped, Joe said to me, I was using it as an excuse. According to Joe, I must have cheated on him and was trying to ruin another man’s life to get away with it.

I wish I could say at that moment I left Joe and did some soul-searching — and, I did, for about a week. Then I promptly went back to Joe as soon as he apologized. Of course, the apology only lasted as long as he needed it to, in order to get me back.

Over the course of our marriage, this traumatic incident, my own rape, was thrown back in my face more times than I care to count.

This wasn’t the first time I wasn’t believed about a sexual assault. But it was the first time someone I loved used my own sexual assault against me.

We have to believe women. 

Going through something so insidious and finally having the courage to tell your story should never expose a woman to ridicule and disbelief — especially in her own relationship.

RELATED: The One Sign I See In My Practice That Indicates A Marriage Is Going To Last

Demeter Delune is an educator who writes on sexuality, relationships, and love.

Sign up for YourTango's free newsletter!

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.