Journalist. Writer. Researcher. Editor.

Why I didn’t report my rape #33

I was living and working with my partner on his boat in a foreign country.
If I didn’t have sex with him regularly, his mood would worsen and he would become more threatening, irrational and vitriolic. For instance, he would come home drunk and spit at me if I wasn’t sleeping in his cabin; tell me to move out of a spare cabin and into an unventilated crawl space if I wasn’t his ‘missis’; threaten to ‘bring someone back with him’ (I wasn’t jealous – just worried that my situation would worsen if he did that.); not take me ashore with him when he went out to eat (If I went alone, the dinghy wouldn’t be available to bring me back or the phone to fetch me wouldn’t be answered for hours.) I was afraid he’d put me ashore in some foreign port with no money. I was often crying when we had sex; he didn’t take any notice. He never had to force using physical violence. I wouldn’t dream of reporting it; some of my friends won’t even believe it was an abusive relationship…
I eventually came back to SA on holiday with some of our joint earnings in my bank account. I wouldn’t give it back although he accused me of theft and threatened legal action. It was just enough (R25 000) to keep me going until I found a job. He followed me back, claiming to be sorry and that he didn’t know I ‘wasn’t up for it’, that he loved me, wouldn’t harm a hair on my head etc.

If you are rape survivor and need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call the ‘Stop Gender Violence‘ helpline at 0800 150 150.

Note: Rape myths abound after the Vavi rape accusation was brought to light. These myths hurt all rape survivors – and if you ever experience sexual violence, these myths will hurt you too. The most common myth I’ve seen is the fallacy that if you don’t report to the police, it didn’t happen. (See here.) I put out a call on Twitter for survivors who didn’t report to send me their story. To follow the series, see here.