Twitter Thread Shows Something We Miss About Sexual Assault Survivors

August 17th 2016

Almie Rose

Sexual assault is something we're gradually beginning to talk about on a national level, but there are aspects of it that still remain unmentioned, namely, what does sexual assault do to a relationship?

Prompted by the recent guilty plea of the East Coast Rapist, one self-proclaimed "Angry Man" on Twitter is using the social media tool to talk openly and frankly about his experience and how it changed his relationship. While ATTN: is unable to confirm the account, his story told via tweets brings up an important and powerful point about how all types of relationships, specifically, romantic relationships, are impacted by sexual assault.

"I've never heard another man discuss the impact a rape of a woman he loved had upon him."

"But I've lived it," the tweets begin, "and feel compelled to share."

He continues:

"I talked to the police," Angry Man tweeted. "They verified what her sister told me. I was in shock. I couldn't breathe."

He goes on to describe his feelings and his thought process.

He then describes how he and his partner and her sister all went to the hospital together for exams. "They all surrounded her with love," he writes. "Me, she wouldn't let me near her at all."

According to the Twitter thread, the couple had the locks changed in the morning and called the police about their stolen car. They also called insurance and his parents.

"There was no way we could stay there," he tweeted. "She was a shell. She didn't say a single word to me for close to two weeks."

Eventually, they moved, all the while trying to get justice for her:

And that's when this Twitter user says he snapped.

But of course, it didn't end there.

Eventually, their relationship ended, Angry Man claimed on Twitter.

He blames himself.

And he Tweeted that he'll never forget.

He's not alone.

"As of 1998, an estimated 17.7 million American women had been victims of attempted or completed rape," according to RAINN. There are not exact statistics on how many relationships or marriages end as a result of the terrible effects of sexual violence (like PTSD or flashbacks).

What should you do if you're dating a survivor of sexual assault?

As Lucy Tiven of ATTN: previously reported, there are 5 things you can do to be supportive of your partner.

  1. Validate their experience.
  2. Don't be pushy.
  3. Practice affirmative consent.
  4. Be patient.
  5. Be sensitive to their verbal, physical, and emotional cues.

The key is to listen to your partner and be there for them, knowing that there is no one cure-all or easy fix.

There are also steps you can take if your partner tells you they've been raped, as Adeshina Emmanuel wrote for ATTN:.

The biggest thing is to always respect their boundaries and follow their lead.

"[...] With sex assault survivors we want to follow their lead; ask them what they need for themselves," Candice Lopez, director of RAINN's national sexual assault hotline told Emmanuel. "Empower them to decide the steps around their healing process — that's key to ensure they overcome trauma and get the support they need."