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My girlfriend was raped and I'm struggling to deal with it.

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I've been going out with my girlfriend for over a year and we live together. Our love for each other is strong and we have been through a lot together. There have been times that I've told myself I would be happy to spend the rest of my life with this person.

However, she suffers from several mental illnesses (PTSD, Depression, DID)  that sprouted from childhood trauma and rape trauma that sometimes get in the way of the relationship. For instance, whenever I rub her on her shoulders a certain way (the everything will be okay gesture), it can sometimes trigger her to be agitated because it was what her abusive mother used to do to her. Of course, she is now in a better place as she spent the last 12 years living with her loving grandparents, but these triggers don't go away.

Things that the ordinary person wouldn't find too disturbing such as the word "rape" in a joke context or movies where a female character is overpowered by a male character triggers her as well.


She currently undergoes weekly therapy sessions, but her psychiatrist predicts that it will take years to fully recover.


There are many things I could talk about, but the main issue I'm struggling to deal with is the rape issue. She had been raped on 2 occasions years ago by different strangers. It makes me feel devastated and helpless to not have been there to protect her. It makes me even more angry to know that these men have contributed to some of the struggles we go through in this relationship, and yet they got away with it with no consequences. She never reported those incidences because she felt ashamed, and it's too long ago to ever bring them to justice, which is so unfair.


I know I'm not the victim here and I need to continuously be supportive towards her, which I have been for so long. However, everytime I think of this I just feel so uneasy on the inside, like I cannot go on in this relationship because it's so much for me to handle. It's completely irrational, selfish, and senseless but I just can't explain this feeling at all. It makes me feel like she's no longer mine or that I've lost her in some way. I know the focus should be on her road to recovery with me by her side, but I don't know why it's affecting me so much that it almost hurts me too.



I don't know what to do, guys. I really wish those men could be brought to justice (somehow) then it would make me feel a little more at peace, but that's not going to happen and it keeps eating me on the inside.

Edited by KevinTJH

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First hand, I won't lie, I have never been raped but I find rape jokes to be horrible, considering I live with my mother who was raped at a young age as well. It just isn't funny, it should NEVER be a joke.


Now, I have experienced something in a small way relative. I got involved with a pedophile and I did report him, but absolutely nothing happened to him. (gotta love that system don't cha?) either way, for the longest time it has left me very broken and bothered. It made me bitter and angry. I don't understand how those "people" can get away with the horrible things that they do.


But the world is broken, and to quote a song I very much am attached to.

"There is no sorrow that Heaven can't heal"

No matter how broken, hurt, or anything man is, God will help them survive.


I encourage you, instead of becoming bitter and letting them take so much control, to pray. Meditate. Read the Bible. God has wisdom and words for those who have been hurt by the sins of another man.


I am going to be frank though, your girlfriend, she will feel those scars forever. Something like that never just, goes away. To even think it does is a misunderstanding. She will cope with it better, but it will never truly disappear from her memory. To me, it seems you love her so much, and she obviously loves you. Sometimes, a victim doesn't want you to "fix it", but simply giving a hug and being there as moral support no matter what happens, that means the entire world.


I am not sure this helped any, but I hope it does. I will pray for you both.

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I've been "triggered" and it was awkward and frustrating. It's certainly not done for attention. Your understanding and patience is the best approach.

You feeling helpless and displaced is something you should pay some attention to. It's not good to deny yourself care just because someone else's personal problem seems more pressing. You tie yourself so closely to some one that yes, their pain affects you.

The truth is as Jesusismyticket said, there is no fix. Sometimes there is no peace. Sometimes there's nothing to say or be done. Things happen and you wait them out and then keep moving.

There is no fix but time does diminish the effect. Peace is a choice she'll have to make. All you have to do is love her. Be good to each other. Etc.

You must take care of yourself too. It is not noble to abuse your own feelings in the attempt to protect hers. Trust is built by allowing each other to express your feelings and not jumping to conclusions about them.

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It appears to me, if I am reading between the lines correctly, that the largest barrier here is not the sense of injustice, but rather that these traumatic events have alienated her from you. You want to be there to comfort her, but her own PTSD is preventing you from doing that. Jazzy writes, "simply giving a hug and being there as moral support no matter what happens, that means the entire world." The problem is, you cannot. Your material actions to show concern, love and protection are turned into something negative, invasive and violent because of the traumatic reoccurrence in her psyche. All you want to do is hold her, kiss her and tell her everything will be all right, but even those basic acts of love are transformed into something evil for her. So, it is my guess — and I am merely psychoanalyzing on the spur of the moment here — that you feel mostly powerless because all your help is turned into hurt.


The hardest situations to deal with are those in which neither party is at fault. Those are the situations are truly tragic. I am so sorry for the trauma your girl has had to endure. The discord such an event injects into a person's identity is unable to be properly expressed into words. But, do not beat yourself up either. Your reaction to feelings of powerlessness are not merely selfish egoism, but a normal reaction to the frustration of the situation. The situation might seem hopeless now, and it will probably feel hopeless for some time. Yet, we have to believe in the end that Love can conquer and prevail. What is that line from the Platten song: "Even if we can't find heaven, I'll walk through hell with you." You have to believe that if you stand by your girl, eventually things will work out.

Edited by Wesker

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First of all, let me just let you know that I'm praying for both of you, but especially for your girlfriend. 



I'm sure that your girlfriend is a wonderful, loving, and beautiful young woman. I truly am sorry that she's been through all this. No young woman deserves it. I cannot imagine what she's gone through/is going through. But it's done. It's happened. It's time to focus on healing. With your girlfriends emotional issues, I have two comments: 1. PRAY. 2. Continue to see the psychiatrist. I do not know anyone personally who has been raped, but I have worked with people that have been in the past through church groups. The one thing that always is important is making them understand that they are not alone--there are many many other people going through the exact same thing that they are. If they understand that, normally from my experience that makes them feel better. 

As for wanting justice for the men who did this to your girlfriend: Yes, it would be great if they could be caught, but it's probably never gonna happen. 


I know she trusts you. People who have been raped tend to trust people less, so if she's your girlfriend, then she really DOES trust you. Don't let her down. Keep picking her up when she falls. Pray for her. Don't hover, but be protective.


As a guy who has a girlfriend of my own, I understand the pain you have of not being there to protect her when she was raped. It's one of the worst feelings--the helplessness that you feel knowing the girl you love was hurt and you couldn't do anything about it. I know I constantly worry about my girlfriend, as we're in a long-distance relationship (CA and NC), but I trust her to God's care, and I know she'll be safe. Trust your girlfriend to God's care. He won't let you down.


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