Betrayal
Trauma
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Porn Is Abuse: Here’s Why

by | Abuse Literacy

Porn Is Abuse: Here's Why

Sex addiction therapists, clergy, and mainstream media continue to perpetuate the destructive lie that porn is not abuse; but the truth is plain and simple. Porn is abuse. Extreme abuse.

(Betrayal) is extreme. So, to say that it’s too extreme to call it abuse? You went through years of psychological and emotional abuse and sexual coercion, and you are still a victim of abuse in your community from a perpetrator who is talking to your community about you and lying about you. If you don’t call that extreme, what is? I think that is extreme. Of course, he hasn’t like walked in with a gun or something like that but in terms of the way it affects you, it affects you on a daily basis. That is extreme. It’s extreme abuse. There’s no other word for it.

Anne Blythe, founder of Betrayal Trauma Recovery

Kathleen, a member of the Betrayal Trauma Recovery, rejoins Anne on the free BTR podcast to take a deep dive into why porn use is abusive. Listen to the free BTR podcast and read the full transcript below for more.

Porn Use Is Emotional And Psychological Abuse

When a man sexually betrays his partner with secret pornography use, he is emotionally and psychologically abusing her.

Abusive men who use pornography utilize many abusive tools to hide their porn use and avoid accountability. Some of those abusive tools include:

  • Gaslighting
  • Turning tables
  • Lying
  • Manipulation
  • Sulking
  • Telling partial truths
  • Blame-shifting
  • Shaming
  • Stonewalling
  • Isolating
  • Withholding love, affection, and sex

Porn Use Destroys Trust

Even without the myriad of cruel and abusive tools that abusers employ to avoid accountability for their porn use, the act of betrayal is abusive in and of itself.

Porn use destroys trust.

In a monogamous, committed relationship, there is both an implied and explicit expectation of trust and fidelity. When men betray that trust, they are dismissing any regard for their partner’s feelings, dreams, hopes, and expectations. They are trampling their partner’s safety and trust under their feet. They are choosing to engage in behaviors that they know would cause intense damage to their partner.

How is that not abuse?

Porn Use Is Sexual Coercion Which Is Sexual Abuse

When an abusive man who uses pornography chooses to have sexual contact with a woman without disclosing his entire sexual history and current sexual behaviors, he is not giving her the opportunity to give her informed consent to the sexual experience.

Sex without informed consent is rape.

Too many women are victims of marital rape and sexual coercion on a daily basis because their husbands are secretly using pornography then having sex with them and never disclosing the truth.

Women deserve to know who they’re sleeping with. Withholding vital information about the sexual partnership is abusive.

How is withholding the right for a woman to give consent to sex not abusive?

BTR Stands With Women

At BTR, we stand with you. We know the pain and horror of clergy, therapists, family, and friends siding with the abuser instead of the victim because it is “just porn”. We know the frustration and rage of being called crazy for telling the truth.

No victim should ever have to go through this alone.

The Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group is here for you. Join today and find a community of women who understand.

You are not alone.

Did you know that porn use is abusive? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below!

Full Transcript:

Anne: Welcome to Betrayal Trauma Recovery, this is Anne.

This week I’m continuing my conversation with Kathleen, who was a member of our community. If you didn’t hear last week’s episode, start there first so you get her backstory, and then join us here.

Many of you have purchased the book Trauma Mama Husband Drama. When you purchase the book, I so appreciate it when you take a minute to go back to Amazon and leave a five-star review there. Here is one that we have received lately. She said: Helping me out of the darkness. A straightforward simple explanation to help acknowledge the pain of darkness and seemingly hopeless pit of anguish. Educating women on what is abuse, and healthy ways to find safety.

Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group is Here For You

I want to give a shout-out to members of Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group, which is our online daily support group. We have multiple sessions every single day in every single time zone. We would love to see you today.

In this episode, I think, as I was listening to it, editing it a bit, I sort of heard my voice and how exhausted I was at the time when I did this interview and also feeling a little bit of despair. I’m feeling a little better now, but you’ll likely hear it in my voice. We were talking about disclosure at the end of the last episode and Kathleen starts here by talking about prayer. That that helped her know what she needed to know and that she wasn’t so worried about knowing everything.  We’ll catch up with her here.

Identifying Covert Red Flags

Kathleen:  Early on I did pray to God to let me know what I needed to know. And I guess just be grateful that I know what I know and that’s all I need to know.

Anne: Isn’t that interesting. So as a woman of faith who decided to divorce, can we talk about your decision to divorce, or are you divorced?

Kathleen: Not officially, I actually separated from my husband with the intent for him to go get help. Through that time, He chose to go live with his suspected abuser, or at least who he claims abused him. He went to live with him for over a year.

Anne: And this was his uncle?

Kathleen: It was his brother.

Anne: His brother. Okay, so he chooses to go live with the person who he has told you abused him.

Kathleen: Yes, which was a huge red flag to me.

Anne: Well, perhaps it wasn’t true also.

Porn Is Abuse: Lying, Manipulation, Gaslighting

Kathleen: Right, which, you know, whichever way it is, it’s still a red flag because it just was one of those things that, you know, he claimed this but then went to live with him so either way he is not being honest with me.

Anne: Right.

Kathleen: And then he decided, I guess about a year ago, that he wanted to file for divorce.

Anne: Okay, so that sounds really similar to my story, by the way. My ex claimed that his parents had abused him and that his parents were really abusive, but just like hangs out with them all the time without saying that their behaviors have changed. Like there’s no oh, they’re totally different now, you know, nothing like that. So, I find that to be very interesting.

Porn Is Abuse Because Users “Turn Tables” On Victims

Kathleen: Right now, I’m really struggling with the community thing. It’s really tough to live in a community of people, I mean I see them where I work. The school that I teach at is where my children attend and it’s part of the small Catholic community. So here I am working amongst people who I feel like, think I’m a liar and manipulator and the marriage ruiner. So, it’s tough.

Anne: That is really, really hard. I’m very sorry. You know I’ve prayed often that the truth will be made known to people, somehow. There are days, do you ever do this, where you read the local newspaper thinking that you’ll see him in the newspaper. Do you ever do that?

Kathleen: I don’t read the paper, but I feel like someday I’m going to hear that he has either a DUI or was arrested or something.

Anne: Yeah.

Kathleen: He works at a local high school. So, always worried about that as well.

Anne: It’s so strange to think that someone who has not taken any accountability is still just walking around, you know, and not only just walking around but affecting your life at such a level when you are the victim of his abuse, without people really acknowledging, or being compassionate or empathetic about your situation. Right. Instead, being more judgmental. It feels more isolating.

Porn Is Abuse Because It Isolates Victims

Kathleen: Right. Yeah, it does, and then, you know, you get your wishy-washy people who say I don’t want to choose a side. And I realized, I’m like that’s probably the worst thing, well one of the worst things you can say to somebody who’s been abused because it’s like I don’t take you seriously.

Anne: Yeah, I don’t believe you. I confront people about that. I would not recommend it by the way, but I say you need to pick a side because I’m a victim of abuse and he is a perpetrator. So, would you like to stand with a victim and stop enabling a perpetrator or not?

Kathleen: Right.

Anne: And they don’t like that one bit. I can tell you people feel very uncomfortable about that and then they think, oh, she really is crazy.

People Who Are Uneducated About Abuse Don’t Understanding The Concept That Porn Is Abuse

Kathleen: Amazing how their crazy look, makes us look crazier?

Anne: You know, I was talking to my social media director, Virginia, the other day. We were talking about how instead of thinking feeling defensive when people think we are crazy for identifying porn use as abusive, we can have more of a surprised reaction. Something like, oh, I didn’t know you were uneducated about abuse.

Right, like, oh that’s surprising to me. I didn’t know that you were brought here from 1830 in a time machine, and that you didn’t know about abusers, that they do this, and that what you’re saying is an extension of his abuse. Well, weird. I thought you’re more educated than that or something. I mean in your head, right. You don’t want to insult people. I don’t want to insult people but having sort of an attitude or an energy about us that is more surprised than traumatized. It’s impossible to not be traumatized when someone says something triggery that’s obviously harmful, that’s not empathetic, or not caring at all. It’s impossible not to be hurt by that, but I wonder if we all took this, I’m shocked.

The CSAT Model Enables Abusers And Harms Victims

Like I had a therapist write and say, I don’t agree with BTR’s model, I don’t think it’s abusive so I can’t be associated with you; and my first email to him back was like, I’m so sorry that makes sense, you know, I wish you the best. And then I thought, wait a minute, I’m not going to write this. I’m going to write, oh, I’m really surprised to hear that you don’t think that lying and manipulation are emotional and psychological abuse. And that’s what I wrote. I wrote back and said: I’m surprised to hear that. I would have thought that you could, you know, recognize the obvious. I didn’t say that. And he wrote back and said, “Oh, I do. I do recognize that there is abuse. I just don’t agree with what BTR says.” And I’m like, huh. “I don’t think porn use is abusive,” is what he said. And this is a very prominent CSAT therapist out there.

Kathleen: Wow.

Secretly “Sending Your Sexual Energy” To Someone Outside Of Your Monogamous Relationship Is Abuse

Anne: He said, “I just don’t think porn use is abuse,” and I was like, okay, whatever.

Kathleen: That leads me to ask what’s going on in your world. If you don’t think that it’s abusive or why you’re defending it.

Anne: Yeah, why would anyone think that viewing someone being abused isn’t participating in abuse in some way? Right. Or at the very least sending your sexual energy somewhere other than your wife. What do you want to call that, if you don’t want to call it abuse?

Porn Use Is Abuse: Here’s Why

Kathleen: I call that infidelity.

Anne: But infidelity is also abusive right? It’s just so, like why are you so afraid of the word abuse?

Kathleen: I guess because it’s so strong and so many people think of it as a man or somebody hitting their wife. It’s so, just extreme to call something abuse. And I think that’s part of the problem people need to be educated on it.

Anne: Well, what you went through is extreme. So, to say that it’s too extreme to call it abuse? You went through years of psychological and emotional abuse and sexual coercion, and you are still a victim of abuse in your community from a perpetrator who is talking to your community about you and lying about you. If you don’t call that extreme, what is? You know. I think that is extreme. Of course, he hasn’t like walked in with a gun or something like that but in terms of the way it affects you, it affects you on a daily basis. That is extreme. It’s extreme abuse. There’s no other word for it.

Porn Use Is Abuse Because It Harms The Family Dynamic (Specifically The Children)

Kathleen: Right, and he’s still able to be in contact with me unfortunately because of our children, which leaves the door open just a crack for him to continue to abuse me.

Anne: Exactly, and people just don’t understand that living in this constant state of something that you do your best to set boundaries, you do your best to heal, you do your best to move on, you know, all those things that are healthy. It’s literally, it’s not impossible, you will live an amazing life and things will get better for you over time, but that they don’t understand that there’s no way to stop him from abusing you.

Kathleen: Right. It’s a shame because you know our judicial system, and even so much as like counseling for co-parent counseling, they just don’t understand, and it’s difficult because it’s like the boundaries that you set up are then having to be torn down or changed because you have to follow…

Parallel With Abusive Men Who Use Porn

Anne: A parenting plan or something.

Kathleen: Yeah, a parenting plan or some kind of legal plan.

Anne: Have you ever talked to the legal system or your attorney about how your husband is psychologically and emotionally abusing you, and you need a parallel parenting plan?

Kathleen: He is very well aware. We just started a second co-parent counseling, and I do want to ask if we could do a parallel parenting plan.

Anne: Yeah, let’s see how that goes. Yeah, it’s a difficult situation and it’s ongoing, and divorce doesn’t stop the abuse. However, divorce does protect us from things like financial abuse, it can protect us from a lot. It can protect us from a lot of things but it can’t stop the abuse outright. So, that’s what’s really difficult, and so many victims now are praying and praying and praying for justice all over the world and I wonder if God is waiting for some big, I don’t know, thing. That all of our prayers will be answered sort of simultaneously because I think, in our own personal lives, it seems like our prayers to just be free of this are not happening. Right, I mean it just seems like it’s ongoing. How is your relationship with God considering this? Considering that it feels like we pray and pray and pray and that our prayers aren’t being answered?

Victims of Porn Betrayal Feel Distanced From God

Kathleen: Well, I guess it’s kind of like any relationship. There are times I feel like God is right by my side, and that’s what gets me through the day. And then there are times that I’m asking, “Lord, where are you? I don’t feel you.” So, it’s hard. I always have faith in our Lord, I know he is there. But to feel him just makes it so much more doable to get through this situation. And it’s tough, I couldn’t do it without my faith. I couldn’t do it without God, and I am grateful for that, but it’s hard. I do pray for truth. I’m like, “Lord, I need truth to come out soon. I need it soon.” It hasn’t been answered yet, but I know that God is always working in mysterious ways so I’m just hoping, and living in hope that it will come out at some point.

Prayer & Victims Of Abuse

Anne: Yeah, I had a discussion with God the other day. He was like, I answer so many of your prayers, you just don’t notice because you’re focused on these other ones. You know, kind of like that. And I was like, but I don’t care about those other ones, these are the ones I want you to answer. Answer them now. Why are you not answering them? I’m so mad at you. I think God just looks at me and thinks, “Ah Anne, you don’t even know.”

And I guess we don’t know, but it is frustrating to feel like, you know, he helped me with this thing, and he helped me with that thing, but why can’t you help me with this big thing? Just so I don’t have to have any more contact with my abuser, which is a really big thing.

“We Do The Best We Can Under A Very Difficult Situation”

Kathleen: Right. That’s one of my prayers as well. And I find it, going to, like, sinful thoughts sometimes which I try not to do but –

Anne: Like him getting hit by a bus?

Kathleen: Totally. It’d be an answer, but then I do think, what would that do to my children? So, I do have to remember that there is not just me in the situation. However, it also to me would be protection for my children because they are abused as well.

Anne: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, I wonder about all those, you know, Old Testament stories of the wicked being just smitten, you know. I wonder if that’s coming down the pike. I don’t know. I don’t know, but I know that the best we can do is to be obedient. We’re women of faith, obedient to the commandments, and do the best we can under a very difficult situation.

“Go With Your Gut Feeling”

Kathleen: Right. And hopefully, in God’s time, it will all come out.

Anne: Hopefully. Oh, it’s hard. If you could go back in time and share with your younger self, anything, what would you tell her?

Kathleen: I guess to not be so trusting. Go with your gut feeling, and if you are doubting anything just don’t second guess it. Look into it a little bit more and be sure of who you marry and spend the rest of your life with.

Anne: Take some time to really get to know the person. It’s interesting, though, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you don’t know. I mean you can spend time with them and not see it because we all spent years with our abuser and we didn’t recognize that they were abusing us.

Kathleen: Right, and that is what happened, and I had some odd dreams that happened, and I pretty much ignored them. Which I kind of wish I didn’t do. I didn’t know.

BTR Is Here For You

Anne: Yeah, when you have no context for it. It’s difficult to see. That is one of the goals of BTR: to educate women all over the world about abuse, about what it looks like so that we can educate our children. So that they can start having a context so that if they have a dream, they have a context for what they are experiencing.

Kathleen: Right. Yeah, hopefully, it’ll be easier for my children, down the road, you know, they’re educated.

Anne: Yeah and know what they’re looking for.

Well, Kathleen thank you so much. Will you come on the podcast again to update us about how your divorce went?

Kathleen: I’d be happy to Anne. Thank you so much. It’s definitely helpful to know that there are other women out there that understand, and I’m not alone in this.

Anne: You are not, there are lots of us. So welcome to the club that no one ever wanted to be a part of.

Kathleen: Right, thanks for the welcome.

Anne: Please make sure that you join Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group so that you have access to our daily, live, online support groups.

If this podcast is helpful to you, please support it. Until next week, stay safe out there.

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1 Comment

  1. Amy

    My kids can see it themselves, now that they are older. And it hits them directly, now that they are older.

    My teen dreamt last night that her dad killed her . . . talk about getting dreams.

    The abuse absolutely filters down to them. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later.

    Anne, I hear you. Thanks for your vulnerability on this one. I have felt SOOOOO alone in this area of 2nd abuse on me, and also in how my kids are now being abused themselves.

    My family, and his family, and the friends, and the churches that we knew (for the most part) all bought his BS hook, line and sinker.

    No one is talking about this.

    Many, many of us have small children and have countless more years of this ahead of us and YOU Are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!
    There is NO way to stop it from continuing to affect us and our kids!!

    I am personally dealing with a contagious health issue and so is my small son. My ex rolls his eyes to my face when I tell him how to administer medical care to help get the son better.

    He tells my kids I am making up the illnesses! He tells my son he is not sick!! When our son says, “Hey! I have this bothersome problem!!” or something to that effect.

    He says, “No, you are fine!!” == psychological abuse, anyone????

    What?? That is sick!!

    He tells my strangely beautiful daughter that “People are just saying that. They don’t mean it” when they tell her she is beautiful.

    WHATTTT???? You can’t make up sicker or stranger behavior!!!

    That is psychological abuse.

    Now, people may not care about wives, but I can guarantee you…they care about the kids.

    And they KNOW THAT IS ABUSE!!!

    My family is up in arms over these OBVIOUSLY PSYCHOLOGICALLY ABUSIVE COMMENTS towards my kids.

    And they didn’t blink over my claims on being abused myself.

    So, let’s blow up this angle on social media!

    I cannot personally thank you enough for this podcast!!!

    The public and the courts MUST be informed, and we will educate them, just like we have done with thousands of women.

    We absolutely have to keep talking about this. It absolutely is abuse. It is not extreme to call abuse abuse. It is extreme to NOT call abuse, abuse. Keep talking. OF COURSE THE ENEMY WANTS YOU SILENT. You set people free.

    Po@n is why women are sick and now WHY A WHOLE GENERATION OF KIDS FEEL HOPELESS.

    The sociologists did the research. A hopeless generation. Let’s talk about it…

    Therapists did the research, and it is why women are sick. Let’s talk about it.

    They may not be interested in wives. They BECOME interested when the sex disappears, and they are interested in abused kids.

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, Anne and BTR.

    You have the words of life. I needed this today.

    May God bless everything you put your hand to. And cover you and your children in his protective blood.

    Amy

    Reply

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