Dear Dr Evans,

A few years ago, I was in a relationship with a rapist. Unfortunately, I didn’t even realise she was a rapist. I had to be instantly available to be penetrated and to service her whenever and however she wanted. She referred to this as ‘sex’. I had never come across any information that contradicted this. All the films, magazines, songs and porn I had grown up with had taught me that sex was something men did to women. That women loved the fact that they were available to be fucked at any time and that their pleasure came from knowing that they were pleasing their man. My partner was not a man, but I understood that she was the dominant and I the submissive partner in our relationship. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t enjoy being a hole to be penetrated on demand, when I had been brought up to know that as a woman this was what I loved most. I felt guilty; I was not pleasing her, I was not enjoying this thing called ‘sex’ that everyone else seemed to love.

After years of shame and humiliation, I built up the courage the come to you about my dirty secret, my failure. You were the first person I had spoken to. I told you that my partner couldn’t penetrate me, that she was unhappy, that I didn’t know what was wrong with me. You couldn’t examine me because I reacted with so much pain to being touched anywhere near my genitals.

You asked if I had been sexually abused as a child; I said no. You said that penetration isn’t the only way to have sex and asked if my partner and I did other things sexually; I said yes, because she used to rape me orally as well. Then, you told me to go to Waterstones and look for a book on lesbian sex, and prescribed me vaginal numbing cream.

How dare you. How dare you reinforce to me that I did indeed have a duty to allow my partner to penetrate me whether or not I was aroused, whether or not I wanted it. How dare you reinforce to me that it was all my fault, my problem. How dare you ignore me when my body, conditioned by years of abuse, couldn’t bear to be touched and tried to tell you what I couldn’t.

Just so you know, the cream worked really well. It was a lot less effort for her to rape me after that, she was very appreciative. I was shamed into silence and it was years before I spoke to anyone about it again.

I’m not angry with you. I think you’re a good person and you wanted to help me, but I do think you need to know that domestic and sexual abuse can happen in gay relationships too. You really missed an opportunity with me – you could have been the first person to talk to me properly about sex and relationships. Maybe next time a woman in my situation comes into your surgery in my situation, you will treat them differently. I really hope so. Please do not ever prescribe vaginal numbing cream to an abused woman ever again.

 

With best wishes,

 

Violet

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