Hands of Harvard: ‘I had to come to terms with the abuse in my relationship’

‘I never really recognized the abuse until after the relationship ended’

Hands of harvard

Disclaimer: The ideas presented below are true and unadulterated testimonies from people at Harvard. All information presented is based on their personal opinions and views. Their identities have been kept confidential and all information is anonymous. If you are a friend or loved one of the interviewee and are able to recognize their identity, please respect the confidentiality of these intimate posts. It is possible that some information presented will be challenging, controversial, or triggering. If you are going to participate in the comment section, please be mindful of the emotions of the interviewees who have so graciously opened up for this project.

“I guess I never really recognized the abuse until after the relationship ended… I mean, there were certainly signs – absolutely – I had simply blinded myself to them out of this irrational desperation to be loved by my partner. There were so many red flags that I had convinced myself were just misconceptions I could prove wrong or disagreements I could overcome in the relationship. I was not able to wear certain articles of clothing because it could provoke others to look at me the same way my partner did, I could never explain my views because it meant Harvard was changing me, I could not mention that I had been around people that day without being interrogated about which one of them I wanted to sleep with.

“My partner knew I had past sexual experiences with both genders so no matter what gender was invoked by the names in the stories, I was interrogated and accosted. I could not talk to my friends from home, I could not talk to my family, I could not talk to my partner unless it was convenient for them… You know, I spent months of my life dedicated to proving to this person that I was capable of overcoming all of their restrictions and guidelines. And I broke inside. There were so many layers of abuse in the relationship and I couldn’t bring myself to recognize them until it was nearing the end. But it wasn’t until months afterward that I realized the abuse had extended into our sex life as well. And I think that was a really big moment for me, to understand that.

“When the relationship was still going on, our entire dynamic had been based on this idea of ‘Well, it is my fault that things between us are not going well, not my partner’s fault.’ So when I recognized these repressed memories of sexual interactions, it was hard for me to once again overcome the idea that I was exaggerating or I was creating a bigger monster in my head. It was hard because I had spent so much mental energy coming to the terms of saying ‘mentally abuse’, ‘verbally abusive,’ ’emotionally abusive,’ and now all of a sudden I had to add ‘sexually abusive,’ into the mix.”