So.... I got a letter in the mail. From the Catholic Church. It seems that Larry (ex-husband) wants to get remarried, and the Catholic church wants me to answer a few questions. I'm not sure if my answers (or lack of answers) affect his ability to get married again or not. I don't want to respond. I don't want to help him. I feel angry. WHY would I want to do anything to help that man hurt another wife? Why would I want to help him do ANYTHING?
The best way I know how to deal with shit is to write... so I wrote a letter... it was going to be just for me, but now that it's done, I think I'd like to share it with you. BJ suggested actually sending the damn thing. I don't know. I'll just start with posting it here...
To whom it may concern,
I was married to Laurence Curtis for two years. We were both members of the LDS church when we met. We met in November and were married the following June. I was nineteen when we met, and twenty when we married. There were signs that I shouldn't have married him, but I didn't pay much attention.
For example, once I fell asleep while watching a movie with my roommates, and he unzipped my pants and groped me. But I dismissed it... like it was somehow normal for a man to grope a sleeping woman, just as long as he put a blanket over her so her roommates couldn't see what he was doing.
Sexual sin is next to murder according the LDS teachings... except that sexual sin is pretty common place, so when Larry promised to abstain from all sexual activity until marriage (which was only six weeks away), they gave the okay. He mostly kept his promise, but that lead to AWFUL behavior in the marriage. In his mind, he had abstained for six weeks, and marriage gave him the right to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it.
I'll just start with the wedding night.
I was exhausted. He refused to let me bring my bags in. Since we were married, I was supposed to just get naked and climb in bed with him. I didn't do what he asked, but that didn't matter. He removed my clothes for me. (I didn't fight him, but I asked him not to.) He forced himself in me. I cried. It HURT. He responded by saying, "Shut up. I'll be done in a second."
I went to the bathroom and cried. He yelled at me. He told me I was being selfish and stupid. I was HIS wife now, and I had responsibilities. I came out. I apologized, because I thought he was right. I had no right to say no, I had no right to decide what I wanted to happen, or what I didn't want. I was nothing but his property. He accepted my apology and then did the same thing again. I cried. I told him it hurt. He responded by saying, "It wouldn't hurt so much if you'd just relax."
There was often blood after "sex" with him. He said it was normal. He was WRONG, but I didn't know. He'd been married before. He'd had sex with other women, so I thought he knew better than I did.
Over time, my body adapted to having quick, forced, "sex". I got instantly wet if he touched me. A hug usually meant that "sex" was coming, and I was lucky that my body reacted the way it did. It saved me a lot of physical pain. He hated that. He said it was disgusting when a woman got turned on. He preferred her to be dry. He told me I was disgusting. I believed him. There was something disgusting about me and my body, and I couldn't control it. He'd insist I shower, and then come back to bed, and then we'd have "sex". I did it. I thought what he did was normal. I thought I was disgusting.
If I cried, he'd put a pillow over my face.
If I talked or made any noise, he'd tell me to shut up and put a pillow over my face.
If I moved, he'd yell at me for ruining HIS experience.
If I said no, he'd ignore it.
If I fought him, he was bigger and stronger and it just made him get more violent. I couldn't stop him, and it made things worse for me.
If I got away, and locked myself in the bathroom, he'd wait until I came out... then masturbate and squirt at me. He blamed me for forcing him to do that. I believed him when he told me it was my fault. I believed him when he told me I was hurting him by trying to stop him from having "sex" with me.
If I threatened to leave, he'd threaten my family, especially my sister. She was twelve, and he called her crude names. I felt afraid of what he might do to her.
The last time I ever tried to fight him, he yelled at me for "making him do that". We both knew that he had just raped me. It was the only time that it looked like rape... like the kind they show in movies... like the kind that rarely happens, but when it does there is no doubt in anyone's mind. I apologized. I felt like a good wife would never fight. A good wife would not object. It was somehow MY fault that he had done that. It is completely true that if I had just laid there, and held my legs out of his way, he wouldn't have had to pry them apart. If I had done what he wanted, he never would have been violent.
I stood there, half-naked, and apologized to him for making him rape me. I still feel anger at myself for apologizing to him. I should have kicked him in the balls and told him to get the fuck out... and never come back... but I didn't. Instead, I tried harder to be what he said a wife was supposed to be.
From then on, I laid on my back and held my legs out of his way until he was finished.
He'd have "sex" with me in my sleep. I didn't mind that as much. At least I could be unconscious for some of it. (I didn't understand that if I wasn't awake to consent, that was rape, even if I was married to him.)
I once talked to him about the way he treated me. He told me that I was lucky he was so good to me. No one would be as kind and considerate as he was. EVERY man would act like him or maybe even worse. (I'm not sure what "worse" looked like in his head... but I know now, most men do not say or do the things that he did.)
When we got married, I was underweight. I had struggled with an eating disorder and had only been in recovery for a short time. I gained about fifteen pounds while we were married. He told me I was fat and unattractive. When I got busy and forgot to eat, he'd tell me how great I looked. When he informed me that he was having sex with other women, and I handled it by not eating for three days, he congratulated me. I knew enough about eating disorders and my body to know that what he was saying was FUCKED UP, but I didn't know how to get out of the marriage by then. I dismissed his comments as ignorant, but I don't think he was ignorant. He knew that starving could kill... but with his words, he showed he preferred a thin wife to an alive wife.
When we went to the bishop (because Larry said he was cheating... and we wanted help to save our marriage), the bishop only confirmed the bullshit that Larry had been saying. It was my responsibility to keep my husband happy. I worked two jobs, because Larry didn't work. The bishop told me that no matter what I did outside of the home, my only REAL responsibility was to keep my husband happy. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge.
I tried harder to be who he needed me to be, but felt like I was dying.
I became suicidal. I envisioned driving over the edge of the cliff every day on my way to school. Every day I would tell myself, "not today, but if you still feel this way tomorrow, then you can." The next day I would repeat the same thing. I feel lucky to have lived through that time.
He went to Texas for a job interview. Something in me changed while he was gone. I was done trying to save a marriage that was hell. He didn't work. We didn't get along. He hated church. I hated the way he treated me. I didn't want him to come back. I told him I wanted a divorce. He told me I was screwed up, and I would regret that decision. He told me that I wasn't capable of making a good decision, because I didn't have "the spirit" with me.
Eventually he agreed with me. Divorce was the best option for both of us. We said good-bye. We divorced. We didn't talk again. When I got married again, I needed a letter from him to cancel our LDS sealing. He sent the letter willingly, and the sealing was cancelled. I was relieved that I would never have to write a letter for him... The sealing was cancelled, which meant if he wanted to get remarried, he could just go for it. No one would ask me about my experience of being married to him.
And now he wants to get married in the Catholic church, which means that I was asked to give my opinions. I didn't know what to say, but I feel like I couldn't say nothing. I gave you a few examples of things that happened while I was married to him, but even those barely touch on the horror that was my life with him, and the horror that I have gone through since then.
I have spent hundreds of hours in therapy, which cost tens of thousands of dollars. I've spent months without sleep. Years of feeling hopeless and suicidal. Years of feeling afraid that all men would treat me like him. Years of feeling like I didn't deserve any better than the rapist that he was. Years of hiding and pretending, because I didn't know how to talk about what he did. Years of believing that a wife is nothing but a plaything to her husband. Years of believing that I was worthless, damaged, crazy, disgusting, and all of the other words he used to manipulate and control me. Years of nightmares where I can feel him ripping me apart. Years of physically hurting, because of the damage he did when he forced his dick inside me. Years of confusion. Years of questioning. Buckets of tears. Seizures. Night terrors. Nightmares. The list goes on.
I am still dealing with the effects of PTSD... Post Traumatic Stress from the trauma of being raped by a man that was supposed to love and care for me. Post Traumatic Stress from the trauma of being used and abused. Post Traumatic Stress from all of the shit that man said and did...
And now, he's about to get married again. I don't know if he has changed or not. I don't know if he still believes that women are disgusting if they get turned on. I don't know if he still prefers to force himself on women than to have sex with them. I don't know if he still gets violent. I don't know if he still thinks that raping a woman IS sex with a woman. I don't know if he still blames women for his thoughts and actions. I don't know if he still believes it is a woman's job to lay there and hold her fucking legs out of his way while he goes at it. I don't know if he still believes that it is wife's job to "keep him happy", while completely ignoring that his wife is actually a person too. I don't know if he still uses and abuses others. I don't know if he still encourages women to starve themselves, so they will be attractive to him. I don't know anything about who he is today, but I figured since you sent me the letter... reminded me of those experiences... I would tell you about just a few of the things I experienced while being married to him.
(P.S. I could really REALLY use comments on this one. I feel vulnerable and icky, and any words you could share, would be nice.)
Saturday, June 8, 2013
The letter I will never send, except that I might,
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Sweetie, you could possibly save another woman from the horror you went through. Please, please, please send it! My "first" was awful and very much like what you described - lots of bleeding every time, pain, etc. I figured that it would be like that every time, that it was just me. It wasn't me. My husband loves it when I get turned on, he is kind, gentle, and concerned with how and what I feel during sex. Please don't let your ex ruin another woman!!!ReplyDelete
I definitely think you need to send it. I don't know what they will do with that letter, but hopefully it can help another woman know what she is getting into.ReplyDelete
I hope he's changed. I hope he has really turned his life around and has changed the way he treats others. I hope he is being honest with her about his past. If that's the case, your letter will just confirm what she already knows. If not, you might save a life.
I also think you should send it. Your voice needs to be heard. Your thoughts are well expressed and have value.ReplyDelete
It turns my stomach that he treated you like this. I think you should absolutely send the letter. I also think he belongs in prison. I am so so sorry you went through any of this. I don't have the words to describe how reading this made me feel, but it was very, very powerful, and something everyone should read.ReplyDelete
Please please send it! I'm not married yet and am only a few years older than 19 and when I was 19 I believed those same beliefs about how the life of a wife would be like. I believed I'd have to hold my legs away, that I would be nothing more than a future husband's plaything.ReplyDelete
Please please send it in the faint hope that that sick rapist doesn't get to harm someone else, just for once
I add my voice to those who say to send it.ReplyDelete
One of the most powerful distinctions between being a victim and becoming a survivor is speaking truth to power. To do that, you first need to learn the truth. You have learned it, you have BJ to remind you of what the truth is, and you know it deep in your bones.
Continue to speak your truth, speak it clearly and in plain language. You need to do this for the you that you are now, for the woman he may marry, and for the woman who believed the lies and now. can. speak. the. truth.
I love you! You should definitely send it. I'm proud of you for sharing this with everyone and I imagine it would be empowering to send your response.ReplyDelete
I agree with all the above, Jen your an amazing person and I'm sorry what you went through. I'm even more sorry that my sister whom I thought I was close to back then couldn't speak to anyone.ReplyDelete
There was a woman at work that I overheard and her new boy friend was saying something similar to what Larry said to you. I jumped in and apologized and I told her it's not of my business but any real man would never say such things and if I were her I'd get rid of him. I also referred her to some of the sites you've posted. I wasn't there for you then but I'm here for you know and I was there for her and I think she liked what I had to say.
My vote, send it. If he's changed he can prove it, if you haven't you'd be saving someone from that hell that no human should ever be expected to live through.
Thank you all for your support and comments. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond, and that I'm not responding to each of you individually. Lucky for me that life is busy and full enough of good stuff that I can walk away from this when it gets overwhelming (which it has been). I consider myself SUPER lucky that I can walk away, because only four years ago, I couldn't.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure if I will send it... but now that I'm commenting, I think I'll just go write a full post about it.
Thank you all again. It's amazing how much easier shit is to deal with when you know you don't have to deal with it alone.