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October 21, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Hard Knocks

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Confused: Is this rape?


I suppose if I have any questions about it, then that should answer my question. I think I need some validation.

A number of years ago, I had trouble breaking off a relationship with an ex. We were "broken up" but still sleeping over at each others' places and arguing a lot. I had specifically told him that I would not sleep with him if he were seeing anyone else.

I eventually discovered he was lying to me, and of course he was sleeping with another woman. I was angry. I was done.

He came over to my place in the middle of the night and insisted we talk. (We had a baby already.). So I let him in to talk...intending to hash out scheduling and other practicalities. Well after arguing about the other woman, I told him he had to leave my place. He refused. I kept insisting. He refused. I recall my back being against the wall, him up in my face, physically blocking me from moving. He flat out refused to leave.

Here is where the details get hazy. I have been told by my therapist that I disassociated from the trauma of the physical threat. At some point I gave up (I had to work the next day) because I was afraid of further escalation, and stopped insisting he leave. Basically he kept pushing until he got what he wanted. He then insisted on sex. I didn't explicitly say or do anything to either agree or protest.

Is this rape?

Nev. 34-year-old woman


Dear Nev,

Yes, this is rape. Rape is not an issue of sex, but of power. It is when someone takes over your control of your body so you have no way of resisting. That is precisely why the sexual aspect bothers you so much, because the pressure on you was so great that you dissociated. That means, your body was there, but the situation was so intolerable that your mind left. It's the deer in the headlights.

If you came to me as a client, I would recommend "exposure therapy." Look that up. There are at least a dozen versions, but all work. Because of the dissociation, I would do it via hypnosis. This means that you'd have a chance to permanently get rid of the negative effects of that event in maybe half an hour.


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.

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