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  • Still Coping's Avatar
    05-05-2018, 06:51 PM
    Still Coping started a thread Just Need Someone To Listen in Public Forum
    Iíve been carrying around a secret for almost 20 years. It haunts me, and I just really have to tell this story. Many of you may have heard about Iowaís recent law which essentially bans all abortion after 6 weeks. Iowa is extremely oppressive for women and I would know. I used to live there. I no longer live there but I have had some truly horrible experiences in that place, and reading about their new abortion law, it has triggered a flood of awful memories. In Iowa, it is legal for a rapist to sue his victim for paternity rights. I know one woman who tried to fight the system and lost due to Iowaís oppressive laws against women. I have never told this story in public until now. Itís a rather long story so bear with me. But itís important to know the circumstances. In rural Iowa, there are absolutely no resources for women. There are no advocate groups, there are no womenís shelters. There ARE some advocacy groups and shelters for women in more populated areas of Iowa, but if you arenít near (or in) a larger town or city, there are no resources for women. At least thatís how it was when I lived there. There was a woman I know, who literally suffered for nearly two decades. She was married, but she and her husband had separated due to the fact that the husband started using meth. She had two small children and she didnít want them around a drug addict, so she left her husband. She and her husband had been separated for several months and were going through a divorce, when she went out on a date with this man. She dated the man for a few weeks but decided she did not want to see him anymore. She felt there was something not quite right with the man, so she broke off the relationship. Not long after that, her husband decided to try to quit using drugs, so she and her husband got back together. She knew the husband had been in trouble with the law and wasnít completely off the drugs, but he was going to counseling and was really trying, and she still loved him so they tried to give their marriage another chance. One night, after she and her husband put their children to bed, someone broke into their home. It was the man she had dated while she and the husband were separated. He had kicked in the door. Then he beat her husband and physically forced her into his car. He took her to his home, forced her to undress, forced her to shower, and then he raped her. He held her at his house for two days, raping her on and off, and would not let her leave. Finally, after two days, he agreed to let her go. However, he threatened her. He told her that if she told anyone he would hurt her husband and children. He said that if she told, he would also turn her husband in for drugs, which meant he would go to prison. Even though he had a drug problem, her husband was a kind man and the father of her babies. So she went back home and only talked about it with her husband. She lived in one of those areas where there were no resources for women. There was no one she could go to and no where she could turn. Plus she felt a tremendous amount of fear and shame. So, humiliated and cowering, she stayed silent. A few weeks later she learned she was pregnant. She knew it was her rapists child because even though she and her husband got back together, they were not having sex. When she found out, the husband offered to put his name on the babyís birth certificate and raise it as his own..because he knew what happened. He was a victim too. However, she felt she could not do that to her husband, so separated again, and this time for good. She struggled with keeping the baby, but eventually decided in favor of keeping it. She had intended to raise the baby on her own, but she lived in a very small town, and soon she began to look pregnant. She could not tell people the baby was her husbandís because she didnít feel that was fair to him, so her rapist soon found out she was pregnant. Her rapist then forced her to let him into hers and the babyís life, again threatening the safety of her and her family. She relented out of fear and shame, but only until she could find a way out of the tiny town. Eventually she did escape, but not without the help of police (who were forced to help the woman due to legalities) even though they dragged their heels about it, and also with the help of some kind strangers...but not before she went through a lot of abuse first. When the baby was born, she did not list a father on the birth certificate, but the rapist knew it was his child. The baby had certain genetic traits and everyone knew whose baby it was. And thus began years of fear, torture, and abuse for the woman and her children. Had she anywhere to go, any place at all, and any resources, she would have taken them. But she just didnít. And the fear that this man would kill her or her children loomed large. The authorities in the tiny town were of no help. They knew what was going on, everyone knew. No one would help her, not even the cops. Fast forward two years and the woman finally was able to get away from her rapist. She had met a wonderful man and was getting remarried. On the day of her wedding, her rapist had her served with paternity papers. The day of her wedding. By this time she was moving to another state with her new husband, but since it was filed in Iowa, thatís where all the court proceedings had to take place. She had already told her new husband what happened to her so together they hired a lawyer. At that time she had enough and with encouragement from her new husband, she told the lawyer everything that happened to her. Her ex-husband (they were still friends) also offered to come forward as a witness and tell the court what happened that night, even if it meant he would go to jail because he was still using drugs. She was ready for a fight now. She did not want the rapist to have parental rights and she would do everything in her power to prevent that from happening because this was her child, her baby. However, her lawyer then informed her it wouldnít matter because in Iowa, even if she could prove the rape, itís still legal for a rapist to sue for paternity. And she also had to decide, did she want to go through a rape trial and a paternity trial at the same time? Rape trials are notoriously hard on the victims, so did she want to put herself through that when it wouldnít have any impact on the paternity suit anyway? So she decided not to pursue the rape trial. However, she did bring it up in the paternity trial, and she had many witnesses to the abuse she suffered...her ex husband, police reports, friends, even the rapists own sister testified on her behalf. None of it mattered. None of it. Iowa does not care for women. He still got parental rights. And thatís how the woman learned that a rapist can sue his victim. After the trial, her rapist got visitation with the child several times a year. He constantly used this to harass the woman, her children, and her new husband. Several restraining orders were filed against him on the womanís behalf, to protect her and her family. Of course, they werenít issued in Iowa. They were issued in her new state and Iowa refused to recognize them, saying it was a ďcivilĒ matter and if she wanted them enforced she would have to go to court for each incidence of violation. The man ended up stalking her for almost two decades, repeatedly violating the restraining order. He had even gone so far as to kidnap the child from school and take him back to Iowa. Then he moved to another town with the child so the woman couldnít find her son. Iowa did nothing, stating that the man had a right to see his child. It took the woman months to locate her child. When she finally did find the child, she watched the house and waited, then essentially had to kidnap the child back when the rapist left him with a babysitter one day. She took the rapist back to court and eventually the restraining orders were made permanent for a period of 10 years. Still, it had no impact on the rapistsís parental rights whatsoever, and he still stalked her because Iowa simply would not help her. The state she moved to, however, would enforce it so when he could no longer follow her to the grocery store, show up at her house in the middle of the night, or sit in her driveway for hours on end, he began to use the child to bring her back to court, over and over again. He would just make things up and file them with the court, simply to force her to come back to Iowa so he could harass her, which was completely legal because if he had a complaint, he ďdeserved his day in court.Ē It went on like that until the child was an adult, and the man still shows up at her house or in her town, because now the 10 years are up and because he hasnít threatened bodily harm, a new restraining order canít be issued. You cannot imagine how traumatic this has been for the woman. Not only was she raped, she was further victimized by the courts and the legal system for decades. I know this to be true because SHE is ME. I just finally had to talk about it, so thank you to anyone who reads my story. Iím still coping. Iím stronger every day, but some days I still break down. Much love & peace to you all.
    5 replies | 83 view(s)
  • BlackButterfly's Avatar
    05-17-2018, 12:53 AM
    My father was mentally, emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive. He has been out of my life for the past 19 years, but the abuse I endured in childhood still seems to affect me in just about every aspect of my life. I struggle with low self-esteem, crippling depression seems to be my baseline modus operandi, and I feel as though in many ways it has left me in a state of arrested development. I feel like my past makes it difficult for me to relate to other people. I believe it could be valuable for me to share my experiences with others who have gone through similar things in order to feel less isolated as well as maybe benefit from others' insight, as well as to offer my own attention and insight.
    3 replies | 34 view(s)
  • ss's Avatar
    05-13-2018, 09:54 PM
    ss started a thread Hi in Public Forum
    Just looking for people like me. I looked at the posting categories and several apply.. lack of self esteem, I guess put me in certain situations. But, you know...." it waddn't me - it was some ahol behind me. Now that I am much older, but still isolating just to survive (no one will hurt me again)... I wonder if I have "given up" my life for the last 20 years and if I shouldn't have fought harder for a normal life?.....
    3 replies | 30 view(s)
  • SoulStar's Avatar
    05-16-2018, 07:48 AM
    Hi folks, I am posting here to get perspective. Sorry if this gets long-winded but it involves 18yrs of a relationship 17yrs of which are in the context of a marriage. We are both Christians and he is more than 10yrs older than me. He came across as a mature, responsible man with whom I connected intellectually. I didn't notice some red flags as I was young then. Things he said like he preferred a woman my age as I will learn and am not stuck in my ways compared to women his age. Things like when I slipped and fell he would laugh and poke jokes and say it serves my ego right and that will keep me humble when all I wanted was him picking me up and checking if I was OK. Anyway we got married. These 17yrs he has not said one good thing to me. I can never do anything right. He sometimes even counts how many errors I made in a day such as dropping something, etc... If I ask him if I look good in something or if I did well in something he will tell me to stop my crap and he will not say anything on the pretext that I will grow proud. I asked him if I don't turn to him for affirmation then who will I turn to. He never says sorry but I have apologized to him often for things I never did just so he will not be angry and eat - to make peace before the sun goes down. When his anger is triggered he calls me names and says very hurtful things and falsely accuses me of things I never did. When he is calm and I tell him he hurt me he brushes it off and says that he didn't say that and I am talking nonsense. Or he will say I caused it... If I wasn't so stupid, etc... He wouldn't have acted that way. I have been forbidden by him from crying in his presence as he calls it a woman's manipulation tool. All I wanted was a hug when I have lost family members to death, etc... So I cry in the toilet and out of sight and sound from him. He has hit me occasionally, never so hard to leave visible bruises. The first time was when I accidentally rolled the chair wheel over his toe not knowing he was behind me. He knocked me hard on the top of my head and then on my shoulder blade. I was in shock as even my own parents never once hurt me that way. He has hit me on the head with his fist like knocking a door, when I didn't answer his calls because I had put the phone on silent while attending to work. He has flung wooden wall hangings at me. He has forced me to lift heavy things like wardrobes to assist him around the home though I have back issues. He will curse me and threaten nonsense when I ask him to call and request his younger brother to help him. He has embarrassed me in public. Example - when I have been late by one minute, not kidding, he has made scenes in shopping malls and refused to watch movie with me and has left me stranded in front of people and walked away. On three occasions he has threatened to crash the car and kill both of us when our conversation went down stream. Often it was because I was telling him to treat his sister with kindness or not be angry with someone else. He doesn't like me getting close to anyone... When he sees I am, he will start telling me not to trust them and will warn me that I will face consequences of not listening to his advice such as divine retribution. He did that with my family so that I visited them about once in five years or so and also to four close friends. However I insisted and maintained contact much to his chagrin. The latest incident involved me being over stressed and I made a mistake. I accepted my error which cost me and made it clear that this was the first time and the last time I would make such a mistake. It involved me paying money to buy some 'balls' in a match three game. The bill was about 550 bucks. I have never played this before and I under extreme stress for the first time played it to find relief. But I will definitely not do it again. But he refused to accept my error and apology and cursed me to go die and compared me unfairly to someone who left her husband in great debts. He disregarded that the four years he has been jobless I had to hold the fort and that he used my savings to renovate the home and what not. He even took his things and is now sleeping in another room and refuses to talk with me. I continue to try and talk on whatsapp but he doesn't reply. I tried to make daily talk with him but he doesn't respond. He won't even accept my apology now and has isolated me by not communicating. For 13yrs of our marriage he hasn't touched me. I have stayed faithful to him regardless of my needs and given up dreams of being a mother all because I fear God and honor the covenant of marriage and this is what he has dished out to me. I don't know what to do as his unwillingness to forgive that one error of mine and to isolate me this way has hurt me badly and taken an emotional toll on me. I actually managed to get about 200 bucks in refund for that game. I learned a hard lesson and will not seek such foolish relief again seeing it can lead to addiction. I find myself stuck because he has cut away from his family as two of his siblings cheated him. I know he has gone through pain. He has health issues too. I am the only family he has now and I don't want anything bad to happen to him if I leave. That's firstly the reason why I am stuck. Secondly I am working in a church and people know us. It will hurt his reputation and stumble others if they knew what has been happening behind closed doors. People have known me to speak up against wrong but I have been silent in my own case. I feel ashamed. How am I to reconcile faith with what is happening to me? Do I leave but my heart is conflicted? Do i stay and continue bearing this pain? I don't know what to do.
    2 replies | 33 view(s)
  • Unregistered's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:58 PM
    Unregistered started a thread Looking for survivors in Public Forum
    I escaped after 7 years with a narcacist sex addict and now I am trying to get him out of my head and figure out who I am and I don't know how to do it. I am in a great relationship now but I dont feel worthy and the ex is in my head 24/7 because i'm now seeing abuse that i didnt even know was happening. Everything is a trigger. I feel bad for my new name being so nice to me. I didnt know it was normal to not fight every day, every week, even every month.
    2 replies | 11 view(s)
  • Unregistered's Avatar
    05-17-2018, 10:09 PM
    Unregistered started a thread * 18+ My story in Public Forum
    I guess I'll start from the beginning. It all started with my parents, who met when they were teenagers hanging out on the streets, abusing drugs and getting into trouble, and then soon became toxic and violent themselves. I was born into this chaos, and absorbed their hate for one another long after they got divorced. They pitted me against each other, and both of them were abusive towards me. I stayed with my mom, who was constantly trying to get me diagnosed with something, from the time I started to tell people what was going on at home. I was 13 years old the first time I hit my mother back. That was the point when I was 'out of control' and she finally convinced a psychiatrist who didn't speak to me that I needed medication. She then overmedicated me, changed my dose without my doctors approval, and wouldn't follow the doctors instructions when changing the medications. The physical abuse continued for years from both parents, until I was arrested when I was 17 because my step mother punched me, and my dad came in and saw the altercation, tackled me to the ground and then told my step mom to call the police. After I was released from juvenile detention, I was emancipated and homeless for a few months. Until my grandma found out and forced my mother to rent me an apartment. I tried to run away, and spent a month in Oregon, before they found me and brought me back to said apartment. It was a month after that that I met him. He was definitely into me, and I just wanted someone to like me, so you can imagine where it went from there. He told me he loved me first. He spent all his time with me. He gave me an STD that I will have to live with for the rest of my life because he didn't know he had it. He was 12 years older than me, and he took complete advantage of me, but I couldn't see it. I waited on his every command with baited breath. Someone loves me! Finally. All I've ever wanted was for someone to love me. I saved up his money, and made his wish come true. He wanted to move across the state to live near his dad, he wanted it so much, and I just wanted to make him happy so he would never leave me. We had been together about seven months and our plan to move was already in motion when I first found out about his 'fetish' for young girls. It started off as teenagers which seemed somewhat normal to me. Then he showed me a website that had erotica stories, and they were written about young girls. At first, I rejected it completely, but then suddenly he wasn't interested in me the same way. And I was so afraid to lose him that I eventually gave in, and he worked me down to participating in sexual fantasies about prepubescent girls on the regular. I hated myself for it, but I wanted him to stay with me, so I did whatever I needed to so he wouldn't leave me. This relationship had been toxic from the beginning. I didn't mention that he was 29, unemployed, living with his mother who was and still is the most toxic and abusive person I've ever met, and he lied constantly. He lied about everything. He lied about things that didn't even matter. And then, we were living in a tiny camper on his dad's property 300 miles from anyone I knew, and I was completely trapped. He constantly put me down, and he told his parents lies about me so they would dislike me as well. And they would openly insult me, and he would just stay silent. And no matter how much I tried to impress them, and him, nothing I could do would be enough. So I did more. And more. And more. I was completely lost in trying to be who he needed. Pretending to enjoy sick sex fantasies, convincing myself that it was okay, that I could like it because it was just imagination, just stories. Pandering to his every whim. Filling out job applications for him and making calls for him. I ran his entire life while he sat on the porch with his dad, smoking a cigarette and talking loud enough for me to hear them about how horrible I was. It wasn't shortly after that we got into a huge fight and I snapped. I grabbed my laptop and slammed it into the camper wall just above his head and then threw it at him. This was when I crossed the line of violence with him, and we all know that once that line is crossed, there is never going back. During the next 4 years I gained over 100 pounds. I continued to pander to his every need, and he continued to abuse and manipulate me. He would tell the people around us that I was crazy, manipulative, and diabolical. He isolated me from others, making me feel guilty if I tried to do anything on my own. He threatened to leave me every week. And then he would beg me to stay with him when I would find out he had lied and promise to never do it again. If I wasn't interested in something sexually, or if I said no to him, it was never really a no. If I said no, he could manipulate me, blackmail me, force me down, or do them to me while I was sleeping. I was arrested for assault twice in time we were together, both times because I would protect him, pretend that I was the only one doing anything. Just before the second time, he proposed to me, and I said yes. He really loved me, enough to marry me. When I sat down at the computer two weeks later to design save the date cards, I clicked attach and everything changed. I told my mom what was on the computer and she called the police. When they showed up to respond to the domestic call that evening, they took us both away along with the computer. I couldn't leave, and he had cried so much, and had held me so tightly, and promise he would get help. At first, I wasn't going to stay permanently, but then life returned to its normal toxicity and I just kind of ended up with him again. 9 months later, he was arrested at work. He was charged with 9 counts of felony possession of child pornography, and served 90 days in jail. I had already decided to stay, I guess, plus I felt like I had no other choice. He loved me, after all. His parents blamed me, saying that I had forced him to watch it. It was then that he told them it was the thing that had ended his marriage, years before he even met me. I sat down with his counselor, who I already knew, and he assured me that it was something that could be dealt with. The judge had said during his trial that it wasn't a real crime. I was being told by all these authority figures to stay with him. That he wasn't a bad guy. If only they knew. He had 3 years probation, and he made it 2. Those 2 years were filled with violence, abuse, but then he decided to expand upon the bad and make it even worse. He started to violate the probation and had a hidden phone he used to watch porn. He started using drugs. And he started cheating. He stopped having sex with me. He hated me more and more every day. He was more violent than he had ever been. And his lying was completely out of control. He would deny doing something that I had taken a video of him doing, while showing him the video. He would constantly say I was crazy, even after I showed him the other phone with the texts to other women. He told his counselor, who was the same counselor in charge of my food stamp review, lies about me that harmed my ability to get benefits and I had to request a different counselor because of it. We had moved to a house on a half acre, far enough to where no one could hear me scream. Towards the end, he locked me in the house for an evening so I wouldn't reveal that he had violated his probation and he tackled me when I managed to get out the back door and dragged me back inside. He beat me so hard in the stomach that I soiled myself, and that made him let me go to the bathroom, and I locked myself in there for hours until he calmed down. Shortly after that, he decided to go on the run, and we separated. I moved back across the state with my mom, and it wasn't even two weeks before he was back. This time, as a homeless person who couldn't even handle basic self care, asking me for affection and money while sleeping in the back of his mom's truck. I saw him from time to time until he was caught, and then I continued to email him once he was in prison. After a couple months, though, I finally decided I couldn't do it anymore. His emails were full of disgusting, manipulative insults and the time between them caused me to realize that he was the only one who made me hurt. I would go two weeks without feeling any hurt or shame and then I would receive an email asking me if I had lost weight yet or implying that something he had done was my fault. It's been 3 years since then and I'm just now ready to talk about it. I didn't even exist when I was with him. I had no sense of identity and only cared that he didn't leave me. I made such shameful decisions to make him happy. I still am disgusted with myself to this day. I traveled, I'm now self-sufficient and I am going to college and have a great life. But it's all still there, this regret and inability to forgive myself eating away at me in the background every day. I've been in counseling for over a year, and was in counseling for 3 of the years I was with him. Still, even after all of that, he still has so much power over me. I'm completely terrified that he will find me when he gets out. I still have nightmares about him several times a week. And I still make decisions about him in certain ways. The reason I want to become strong isn't for me, it's so that if he does find me after he gets out, he won't take me again. I was being completely controlled by him, and I realize this more and more. I remember moments in hindsight and I realize that what he said or did in that situation was to control me, and it scares the crap out of me. I am afraid that it could all happen again. And I'm afraid that it could happen with someone else. I've always been a good person surrounded by toxic people. I never tried drugs, smoked cigarettes, I didn't drink until I was 21, I was really smart and spent all my time at home, reading. I never went to a party or hung out with a bad crowd. And now that I'm finally separate from those people, nothing in my life goes wrong. I have everything I could ever want, except these experiences live with me. The depression and the anxiety, the PTSD, I am not okay. Everything is fine, it's literally the best it's ever been in my whole life, but I am not okay. I'm working on it. But 3 years and 60+ counseling sessions later and I'm still falling apart. Which is why I am reaching out. I guess.
    1 replies | 27 view(s)
  • Specialsara's Avatar
    Today, 12:18 AM
    Not sure where to start. I was attacked by a stranger several years back as a teenager. Took my childhood and innocence away. Guess I am still getting over it to move on. Anyone in the same boat to chat, let me know. Been effecting me getting into any type of relationship, trust and flashback. I assume this is common but never has been able to really talk about it in person with anyone before
    1 replies | 14 view(s)
  • Jane's Avatar
    Today, 08:36 PM
    Jane replied to a thread Looking for survivors in Public Forum
    No words but sitting with you listening :rs:rs
    2 replies | 11 view(s)
  • Jane's Avatar
    Today, 03:00 PM
    Jane replied to a thread Getting by years later in Public Forum
    Hear you Specialsara - see you are registered a member - so you have a few more options - plenty of other members here who like you are struggling with the aftermath of abuse...working on their healing. For you if I may. :rs:rs
    1 replies | 14 view(s)
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