**Trigger Warning** Dear Reader, this is one of my own journal entries. It is very raw and personal. In it, I describe marital rape, and use some graphic language. I share this here because I know there are other women who feel the same way, and I want you to know you are not alone, nor are you bitter, crazy or over exaggerating. (as most of us have been told)
Please understand this is NOT a post to debate if sex before marriage is wrong. This is simply my own grief talking.
I also use the proper words for genitals in this post. I believe the CHURCH should be using these words FROM the pulpit – they should preach about Healthy Sexuality FROM THE PULPIT. I know the reason they can’t, is because 75% of male pastors are doing this to their wives at home. So if you know a pastor who should read this: by all means: pass it along.
We walked up the concrete steps and into the grand foyer. Beautiful antique woodwork, dark accents and a lush persian rug lay at my feet. Everything was placed just so. Oil lamps rested on the built in cabinetry, 1920’s light fixtures mounted on the walls. Flowers in a vase, next to a guest book, while a welcome platter of red wine and cheese lay in the sitting room just next to us.
It was overwhelmingly romantic. We had arrived for our honeymoon, the Cotton Mansion in a little town up north. A stunningly refurbished mansion built in 1908. It was warm and cozy, even as you entered.
We left our wedding reception, I was tired, excited, nervous and eager to see our room.
We walked up the impressive staircase, my hand gliding up the wide railing, feeling the smooth glossy wood as my eyes took in every detail of the house. I love history and any historical venue! I noticed every painting and every decorative choice.
We stepped into our room – it too, was grand and gorgeous. A four poster bed, with a floral bedspread and so many lush looking pillows. A large bathroom with a vanity, shower and jacuzzi. A fireplace and sitting area with a large sofa, and a little breakfast nook in the corner with a bistro table and chairs. Atop was sitting a petite bouquet of pale pink roses.
Everything was so magnificent, yet soon would become a house of horror and pain.
I knew what was expected of me that night. I imagined it… imagined being kindly intertwined with my new husband, a feeling of closeness and connection and wanting to be with him.
In reality I felt a lot of pressure. I knew what we were “supposed” to do on a honeymoon night, but it wasn’t quite going the way that I had thought it was supposed to go. In fact, it was awful.
I did what I was “supposed” to do. Lay there and pretend that I enjoyed what was happening. My vagina, mind and heart were dry and dead, now I know it was because so much abuse had already happened in dating that there was no emotional connection, even on the night where something sacred and special was to take place.
My vaginal wall was writhing in pain. I asked him to stop or just give me a minute, and he kept going. He positioned me on the couch in such a painful way my back cracked as I was leaned over the arm of the couch, unable to see him. The blood rushed to my head and immediately I was dizzy – head pounding while something was happening that I didn’t want. It burned, like dry sandpaper being shoved into a place that didn’t belong. Where there should have been pleasure I felt the sting of a thousand papercuts. Little did I know there truly was an injury.
And it happened over and over. I hated it, but I pretended because I didn’t know what else to do, I was doing what I was taught, right? “Good wives give their husbands sex”
I wasn’t taught about my own body, or my needs. I wasn’t told that I had a clitoris and that sex was designed for MY pleasure too. I wasn’t told that I could have several vaginal orgasms. I was only told “don’t get pregnant” and sex is for men because they NEED it or else. I wasn’t even a part of the equation except to fill my “husband’s” desire because, “Rochelle you’re the only outlet they have, and if you don’t keep a man happy, their eyes wander and it makes it harder for them to not be tempted by other women.”
I was unknowingly forced into a role to be his “sexual fantasy” and to fill all of his sexual cravings. Except I didn’t and couldn’t. It was never enough for him. We were married in December, and seven months after the honeymoon – I walked in on my husband looking at a live chat room of a naked woman rubbing her breasts in front of the camera. Lord, do I wish that image could be erased from my brain.
In addition to devouring me from the honeymoon night to 11 years later, he also devoured thousands of other women to fill the void of his own disconnect.
Something really did tear on my body that night and I bled for 2 weeks after our first night. Even the bleeding and soreness didn’t stop him from taking what he wanted. And that was the inauguration of a “covenant” marriage. Bondage as a prostitute and a sexual slave. No tenderness, emotional connection, love of mind and soul. Just death, force and conquering.
And now I sit in a deep and beautiful relationship and I realize I am terrified of sex after marriage. I thought I had grieved this portion of my story, but as we know, grief comes in waves and can be quite unpredictable. As we enter into a new relationship, more grief can be exposed, because if it is a new, healthy relationship – we grieve what we SHOULD have had, but never did. When we are in a relationship – the need for deeper healing can be exposed.
“Under the covenant” means nothing to me. Oh wait! That’s not true, it means RAPE, HATRED, SHAME and VULGARITY.
My experiences might lead me to believe that sex outside of marriage with a committed and monogomous individual, is sacred and pure, it is holy and good because a healthy man in relationship honors me as a woman, while connecting with me in real and true spiritual ways. There’s emotional intelligence, awareness, repentance, a knowing of my needs and requests (because I am healthy enough to make them known). A healthy man doesn’t call me names. There’s holding, physical affection that does NOT lead to sex, he looks me dead in the eyes and I know he is honest. He doesn’t devour other women’s flesh. Healthy is present, putting my needs first and can kiss me without punishment or expectation. Kissing me deeply so I know that healthy wants me, and puts no one else, besides His Living Lord and Savior ahead of me. There is respect in our sacred space and that makes me want to open to trust in a pattern of equal giving and receiving FREELY, because I feel safe and cared for.
When healthy prays over me and speaks life over me, I carry that with me into the sacred and open more to healthy’s love. Healthy’s spiritual maturity enables and empowers me to be more myself and walk in my power and calling. Healthy is good, and I am good and together we love each other physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Time together is an act of worship and mutual submission. I can receive health’s strength, covering warmth and tenderness.
There is no threat in this space and no disconnect, it is untainted and unidolterated. The intimacy I’ve experienced is good and pure.
And so, I grieve.
I grieve the lack of knowledge that my 22 year – old self was born into. 22 – year old, you didn’t know. No one taught you sweet girl, you did what you were told, you believed the lessons you were taught because you wanted to please God. You are righteous.
I grieve for the young girl who thought her only job was to make sure her husband had enough sex so his eyes wouldn’t wanter, lust or cheat. Honey, you are not in charge of another person’s thoughts, ideas or actions. That was a lie from the pit of hell.
I grieve for her body. The bruises, the tears, the forced orgasms, the dissociative experiences during sex and all the degrading ways he made you perform something disgusting. My body is your body young girl, and I am learning to connect in a fully embodied way so that I may bring us home.
I grieve for every tear that was shed on the pillow, while her selfish abusive husband prostituted her body for his own lustful craving. He didn’t even know or care that you were there, all he needed was an empty hole for his penis. Beautiful woman, you should have been held, pursued, caressed, loved, and appreciated. You are not a rag doll to be twisted and contorted into someone else’s shameful mold.
I grieve for the distorted belief that was internalized: My value is based on my beauty and sexual performance. If I am good in bed, then I am good. If I get an A+ for the sexual acts I perform, then I am an A+. Sensitive and precious woman: you were never supposed to learn that message and I am so, so sorry. It is so far from the Truth of God’s glory in you. I am still unbecoming this, as my mind is your mind.
I grieve for all the times he told you what to wear because you weren’t enough.
I grieve for every time he bought you something crass and inappropriate, for his own perverted fantasy. You were right to be mad. It went against your value system and your dignity.
I grieve for the time he took you to a themed fantasy hotel. That was not a gift for you, it was a SELFISH fantasy, he saw in pornography and he was forcing you to be the star of the show. It was a dirty and gross hotel. I know you were so confused honey, you didn’t like it and you didn’t really know how to respond or react. You did a good job surviving that weekend. I’m so proud of you. You did what you had to do so he wouldn’t get mad and withhold conversation or affection. You did what was necessary so you wouldn’t be called a “stupid bitch”.
I grieve for the lies she was told to keep her in the dark. It was NEVER your fault honey. NEVER. You were only doing what you were “trained” to do. You lived life in a fog, because someone intentionally kept you in a web of deceit.
I grieve for the way you still pick apart your body, saying one part is acceptable and another part is not. I am still learning and healing. I hope one day I can experience the acceptance that every part IS GOOD.
And worst of all, I grieve the depraved sex of a decade that tore your soul from a Loving God. The degradation taught you that God hated you. And all the years of abuse was punishment because you were disgusting to God too. You thought he couldn’t stand the sight of you. And so, he gave you to a man who only saw flesh to tear, rip and dress up according to his own debauchary.
I grieve deeply the wound on my soul, left there by something that was meant for MY pleasure and goodness. It was stolen, spit on, and abused. You NEVER, NEVER knew the truth.
I grieve for the messages that you were programmed to believe. You lost identity, mind and sense of self.
My dear sweet girl: Your body is YOURS ALONE. No one has ownership of your body as it is for YOUR good, it is a charming vessel which holds your eternal soul. Your everlasting soul is placed here, in this figure, from eternity and the hands of your Creator. The soul that awaits greater glory to be reunited with its truest self and Jesus.
There is no happy ending to this season of grief. It just is. There is only sorrow, questions and curiosity. There is compassion for you, a young married bride, but right now – no answers and no resolution. There is only hope, that one day this too shall be restored.
For now, I simply accept where I am at on the journey and trust that this big wave of grief will reveal the next pearl of great price.
You are not alone.