TESTIMONY. “I will never tell my family about it”: raped by her husband, she chose to remain silent

Vanessa, a resident of Saône-et-Loire, was the victim of marital rape more than 40 years ago. She very rarely spoke about her story, even to those close to her, but agreed to testify to encourage the victims to come forward to the authorities.

It is a scourge whose extent is measured too little. Impossible indeed to determine how many women are victims, each year, of marital rape – no doubt that the exact figure would freeze our blood. But one of them, a resident of Saône-et-Loire who wishes to remain anonymous, agreed to tell us her story.

The facts go back more than 40 years. The one we will call Vanessa, always very moved by the idea of ​​revealing what she has experienced, lives at the time with her husband and children. She says she has never suffered violence from her spouse, but she knows that he is cheating on her with several mistresses. Then one seemingly ordinary day, everything changes. “I experienced rape. I was raped by my husband. It came suddenly.

Immediately, she decides to leave the family home. “In the hours that followed, I waited for him to leave“, she recalls. “I gathered my things and took my children. I left right after, and I dropped them off at my mother’s.“To this one, she explains that she left her husband, without giving the real reason; she claims to have had enough of his many infidelities. “which was also true“, she slips.

I took responsibility for it, because it was as if he was demanding his marital duty. It took me a very long time to admit it was rape.

Vanessa (first name has been changed),

marital rape victim

Vanessa then takes steps with the gendarmes and social workers, to relocate and recover things, including furniture. However, she never lodges a complaint and does not mention her rape. “For me, at the time, I still didn’t think it was one. Because even if it was forced relations, he was still my husband.

Since then, Vanessa has completely cut ties with her ex-spouse. He never came back to her, not even to ask for an explanation for his departure. “To believe that he knew“, she launches bitterly. “But he never took care of his children either.“She sought to rebuild herself, without asking for help and without ever, or almost, telling her story.”My family doesn’t know. My second husband knew it, the gynecologist who consulted me after this act too, and then two friends. That’s all.

If she can now talk about this trauma as calmly as possible, she assures her, she deliberately chose not to let her family know. “By doing this, I protect my children“, she judges. “Looking back, I realize that not telling it, for me, is a good thing.“But by going public with her story, Vanessa hopes above all to tell women”who are going through this now that they should not hesitate to lodge a complaint, to defend themselves, to leave immediately. Me, if I hadn’t done it, I don’t know if I would still be here today.

TESTIMONY. “I will never tell my family about it”: raped by her husband, she chose to remain silent