We touched on this topic before and we received feedback asking for more pieces about this.
Many have consulted with Cristal and myself on relationships and how they were affected because of our history of sexual assault.
We mentor young women from various parts of the world (whom we love so much!) who Inquiry about their shared experiences with a past of abuse and how they are choosing to move forward.
One area we have consulted frequently on is the topic of relationships; how to engage with your partner on this subject, how your partner can support you, how to communicate to your partner of your boundaries or triggers due to a past you may still be healing from?
💗💗 💗We encourage you to keep an open heart and mind and learn with us as we share our stories and wisdom from our experiences. 💗💗💗
Dating unhealed is not so easy, but when you are transparent with your partner it becomes easier. I’m not saying you are
automatically going to feel okay or become healed because you choose to be transparent with someone, but it will make future conversations easier in asserting your boundaries within that relationship.
From personal experience, I will make reference to when I had spoken to my husband before out relationship began and about my experience with sexual assault.
In the beginning of us hanging out with mutual friends he questioned why we could spend time just the two of us. Little did he know, I was still figuring out how to fee safe again in public and interact socially especially with the opposite sex because of my past history.
I made the personal decision when I felt safe enough to share how it happen, where
It happen and who did it...how it was someone I knew who had my trust because he would called me “SISTER” and I was clear that I was not healed from the pain I had endured; but I was willing to be open.
In fact, I was not even prepared to share My Story with him At that time I did, but I am appreciative of him responding in respect and with love for the sensitive subject.
We at Herstory, are not suggestioning you wear a big tell-all sign of how you're a survivor of assault, even if we choose to do so in our own through this blog. However, we understand that in terms of re-learning how to foster genuine healthy relationships with people (romantic or not) honesty behind how you feel and why you choose to do or not do certain things is vital in any relationship.
So with that, I wanted to ask Cristal some of her thoughts behind making that decision to open up to her now Husband on a matter that was incredibly personal to her. Here is what she had to say:
QUESTION1: When is the right time to share with your partner or the individual you are dating about sensitive and emotionally
Triggering experiences of your past?
There is never a "right" time to speak to someone on a subject so grave, but by experience,
It became best to speak to my husband about my excruciating past from the beginning and by the beginning, I mean before we even became An Officially courtship. I was not healed at the time, but by speaking on a past that triggered so much of who I was, helped my husband understand why I would act a certain way.
QUESTION 2: How do you help engage with a romantic partner in conversation about your boundaries and emotional triggers?
It’s always a challenge. Sometimes in the back of your mind you're thinking "will my partner understand or look at me crazy when setting boundaries and or speaking on
An emotional conversations?"
But my Anwser to that is simple, "one must remember self-love and what makes you be YOU." Meaning if your partner does not respect Your boundaries whether it is to not have sex till marriage then ask your self does your partner truly RESPECT you. And if you can't have these conversations with someone you're thinking of having a lifetime with, than you might have to reconsider what type of lifetime you want to be living..."one of honesty or deceit?"
Of course it is not easy, I been there! especially when you go from having sex to “we/I can’t do this anymore.” But remember
Being in a relationship is not about the sex or just having someone by your side for a life time, but about building together respecting
One another and truly cheering each other love and by love I don’t mean sex but instead how that person make you feels and grows you to be the best version of YOU possible!
QUESTION3: How do you build trust in a marital relationship where intimacy is expected if this is an area where your trust was broken In the past from rape, molestation, or harassment?
Building trust in a relationship is very important, but when intimacy has been taken from you NOT by your choice it becomes harder to trust
Another person. But it all goes back to being transparent with your partner since the beginning. Establishing sound communication from the start, will create a foundation of trust and respect for each other's needs!
From my experience, my husband was very caring and non-judgmental which helped build trust never ask to do anything until I felt ready to take A step forward in intimacy. It is key to Build a foundation on trust and really knowing each other for who we are and not what intimacy can make you
Feel about one another.
Don’t rush into something you are not ready for. As my pastor once mentioned to us “Get to know each other for who you really are, beyond the physicality."
When you both tie the knot under God and become one you will have a life time for intimacy.”
I learned a lot from Cristal's responses and whether you feel the same, or differ in opinion, true intimacy begins before physical intimacy. I think that's why rape and sexual abuse is so devasting especially when committed by someone you know personally or have confided in emotionally whether that be an associate, a friend, a coworker, or even a family member. When you build relationships with people, it's around the notion that they won't break your trust, or take advantage of it...
that being said pray, and discern who is safe to open up to. Wisdom is a great marker for these choices, but if you're still unsure I always recommend "stillness".
I personally dated a couple of people before committing to courtship with my now boyfriend...and I was truly torn as to "when is the right time" to dump this pile of garbage I'm still trying to figure out?"
Like cristal said, I don't think there is EVER a right time, but if you want your future to be honest, and truthful, you must approach it honestly and truthfully...
People with wrong intentions are bound to be exposed, so guard your heart, protect your mind, and share your story to the souls who are willing to share theirs differing or alike. At the end of the day, we're all here to grow and build with one another... pray and choose wisely of who you're willing to do hat with...
In the meantime, we are here, we love you, and we care.
Cristal and Devin
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.