Welcome to my new home, kindly made possible by my good friend Shannon from Welcome
. My friends who have been coming to Aphrodite Wounded for a while will notice
that the change of addy has spawned other changes. Firstly, Botticelli's Venus
has been retired in favour of Bernini's Proserpine. Yes, Venus is a gentler and
perhaps more healing oriented image than Proserpine, but I just felt like being
a little more in people's face - whatever that means. Anyway, I hope you like
the changes :)
Secondly, I am now electing to use my real name on this site instead of my pen-name.
Although I will still publish under my pen-name - Rachel Pike (because my ex-partner
is still unsafe), I have made so many lovely friends and acquaintances through
Aphrodite who know my real name, as do the members of my message board - hence,
the Rachel thing started to feel a bit silly and pointless for the purpose of
this site. So when you write to me, you may call me Louise!
I am a survivor of domestic violence, which included repeated sexual assault
and rape. I am currently engaged in the process of writing a book on sexual violence
in relationships. The purpose of this site is threefold; I created it first and
chiefly as a support resource for girls and women raped by boyfriends or husbands
during or after the relatiionships. Second, there are so many myths and injustices
around rape by partners that it necessitates an activist flavour in some of what
I've presented. Thirdly, it's to give my book a bit of a plug.
People who might find this site helpful are:
Survivors of rape in marriage
Teen survivors of rape by boyfriends
Women raped by live-in partners or non-live in partners
Women raped by men with whom they had been having affairs.
Women raped by men who were ex any of the above
Survivors who are seeking to understand their experiences many years later
Any person who cares about a survivor, or is interested in knowing more about
partner-rape aaaand it's effects
Information about relationship rape, beyond a few excellent studies or pieces
in books, is not common, yet the act of rape in relationships is.
Rape by somebody you have been sexually intimate with is often not seen as 'real'
rape. Society takes the dangerously limited view that 'real' rape happens in alleyways
or parks, the rapist is a lunatic stranger, and the victim must be a virgin of
impeccable reputation. Such attitudes are based on the premise that having given
initial consent, a woman is not free to withdraw it.
This makes wives and girlfriends 'unrapeable', and also permits sexual violence
against them to continue.It is true that there are laws in most western countries
which make rape in relationships a crime, but because of underlying attitudes
about what is real rape, they are often ineffective.
Sometimes women raped by partners are themselves unable to name their experiences
at the hands of partners as rape. When they can call it rape, they are often aware that there will be little validation for them,
and this can make finding healing resources difficult. People can also tend to
make negative and wrong inferences about a woman's intelligence or character if
she stayed in the relationships - such people rarely understand the dynamics of
But partner rape is real. It may happen once or many times. It may involve coercive
pressure or battery and torture. Women are raped by men they love.
If you think you are alone, or you are somebody who believes sexual assault by
partners is rare, perhaps the following statistics will be helpful.
In 1975, the results of an American study on many rape situations were published. Diana aaaRussell was so appalled by her findings on rape in marriage that she decided
to conduct a aaaresearch project on this area alone. From the 930 interviews conducted with women
from a aaacross section of race and class, Russell concluded that rape in marriage was
the most aaacommon yet most neglected area of sexual violence (Russell, Diana E.H. 'Rape
in Marriage' aaaMacMillan Publishing Company, USA 1990)
In 1994, Patricia Easteal, then Senior Criminologist at the Australian Institute
of Criminology, aaapublished the results of survey on sexual assault in many settings. The respondents
were aaasurvivors of numerous forms of sexual assault. Of these, 10.4% had been raped
by husbands aaaor de-factos, with a further 2.3 per cent raped by estranged husbands/defactos.
5.5 percent aaawere raped by non-cohabiting boyfriends. (Easteal, P. 'Voices of the Survivors',
Spinifex aaaPress, North Melbourne 1994).
David Finkelhor & Kersti Yllo's famous 1985 study estimated that 10 to 14
per cent of all aaamarried women have been or will be raped by their spouses .(Finkelhor, D. and Yllo, K. aaa'License to Rape: Sexual Abuse of Wives', The Free Press, New York 1985)
In the UK, statistics disseminated by the Rape Crisis Federation yield the alarming
information aaathat the most common rapists are current and ex-husbands or aaapartners (www.rapecrisis.co.uk/statistics.htm).
Figures on teenage girls in danger from boyfriends caused shock in research communities
in aaathe 1980's. Teen Dating violence, which often involves rape and sexual assault,
continues to be aaaon the rise. Approximately one in ten high school students experiences dating
violence - that aaafigure is 22% in college students (Wilson, K.J., When Violence Begins at Home: A aaaComprehensive Guide to Understanding and Ending Domestic Abuse, Hunter House Inc. aaaPublishers, California, 1997) For more figures on teen dating violence, go here
Other figures estimate that one in seven women is raped by a sexual intimate.
For a quick but aaareally good overview view of partner rape, see STAR Library - Marital Rape
Partner Rape Hurts
Where partner rape is acknowledged as having happened, it is often not seen as
a 'real' trauma. Yet studies indicate that women can be severely traumatized for
a long time after. Their pain, and what they struggle with, often carries longer
and graver implications than for women raped by strangers (Finkelhor, D.and Yllo,
K., License to Rape: Sexual Abuse of Wives, The Free Press, New York (1985); Russell, Diana E.H., Rape in Marriage, Indiana University Press, USA (1990). If you are a survivor of rape/sexual assault by an ex/partner, you probably
don't need me to tell you this.
Women raped by partners often face the prospect of ongoing contact with their
rapists via school, shared children or other. Sometimes, they deeply and genuinely
love the perpetrator, and struggle to come to terms with the magnitude of the
betrayal. They balance this with fear of recurrence.
A Note To Survivors
If you were raped by a current or past partner, you are not alone, sister. What
happened to you is important and your pain is real. Whether you are still in the
relationship or are some years out of it, you may find something informative and
validating on this site. If you enter, you'll find information on counselling,
healing, and a range of other things which could be helpful.
Please be aware that some of the site content could be very triggering if you
are a survivor. Please don't be afraid to engage support. If you need help right now, please see the Emergency Contacts listed on this site.
Feel free to email me with feedback about this site and don't forget to sign my Guestbook
Share Your Story
If any sister would like her story of sexual assault by a partner included on
this site, please email it to me - I've made a page here. You're also most welcome to send me poetry or artworks depicting your journey
if you like. Hints on safety, and what has helped you heal would be wonderful
Your Safety Is Important
If your abuser has access to your computer, you may feel unsafe about him knowing
you've visited this site. There may also be other reasons you wish to maintain
privacy. The following instructions can ensure that you protect yourself:
Netscape users should:
Click on EDIT - Click on PREFERENCES - Click on CLEAR HISTORY - Click on CLEAR LOCATION
Internet Explorer users should:
Click on TOOLS - Click on INTERNET OPTIONS - Click on CLEAR HISTORY