Abuse Tactics: Degradation

The objective of degradation is to control you through sex-related abuse, by making you feel dirty and worthless. It doesn’t have to involve the sex-act itself, or even sexual contact.

It’s very unlikely that any one abuser would use all these tactics, and there will be many methods degradation not mentioned here. So, don’t feel you’re overreacting if you don’t see all these particular tactics – you’re not. Every situation is different.

Degradation Tactics
The most obvious form of sex-related abuse is rape (which has many forms, see below), but there are many other, more subtle, forms of sexual abuse too: unwanted touching/groping/kissing (at any time, including in bed), innuendo, coercing you to have sex or sexual contact (by pleading, sulking, intimidation, etc.), walking in on you in the loo/shower (i.e. not letting you have privacy – might take the lock off the bathroom door, or take the door itself away), expecting/wanting you to watch him/her in the loo/shower, withdrawing affection, accusing you have “getting it somewhere else”, etc.), having sex with you just before you go out (to mark/claim you), unwanted use of sex toys, alternative sexual activity that you do not consent to (tying you up, role play, anal sex, *BDSM), taking explicit photos/films of you, comparing you unfavourably with ex-partners, saying you’re “useless”, “loose”, “a crap shag”, or otherwise criticising your body or your looks (“why would I want to have sex with you anyway?”), backhanded compliments (e.g. “you’re really good at sex… must be because you’ve slept around so much”). Flirting with other people, discussing your sex-life in front of other people.
*BDSM = Bondage, Domination, Sado-Masochism

Rape is any penetrative sex, including using an object (e.g. a strap-on, dildo, or anything else) that you haven’t consented to, and if anyone has sex with you without your consent – either because you say no, or you can’t give consent because you’re drunk, drugged, or asleep – that’s rape. Consent is also complicated by disability, particularly a social/learning disability like autism, so if you said yes against your will, it might still count as rape. If you don’t want it, you don’t have to have it. You do not have to have your period, a headache, or be ill, to say no to sex – you can just say no, and you don’t have to justify why you’re saying no; not wanting sex is reason enough.

Example of excuses given for sexual abuse and rape – none of these are valid
  • You’re such a prude.
  • You fell asleep.
  • You didn’t actually say no.
  • It’s not my fault if you don’t like it.
  • Don’t be stupid, it’s not rape if we’re married/together.
  • It was only a little way/for a little while.
  • You like that sort of thing.
  • It’s your fault because you’re too hot/gorgeous/sexy to resist.
  • You can do anything you like to me, so I can do anything I like to you.
  • Sex is my right as your husband/wife.
  • I didn’t touch/hurt you.
  • I can’t help myself.
  • My balls hurt/will explode if I don’t get enough sex (this is known as “exploding-ball syndrome”, and it’s nonsense).
  • It’s your fault I’m grumpy, because I don’t get enough sex.
  • You led me on.
  • You can’t say no at the last minute.
  • You asked for it because… [insert spurious reason here].

Please leave a comment below if you would like to add a degradation/sexual abuse tactic.

Please DON’T challenge an abuser, or try to leave a relationship, without getting help first.
There are organisations that can help you work out what to do, and help to keep you (and your children) safe from further physical and/or psychological harm. If you are in the UK, please see the Where to Get Help page for more information. If you are outside the UK, Google your country’s abuse charities – there will be people to help you.

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1 thought on “Abuse Tactics: Degradation”

  1. If a person who knows someone very well, they might know your triggers as a person who is ASD, for example, if they have bullied you in the past and have gotten to someknow that you “overreact” to scents, shoving things in your face, sudden touching etc- then they’ll know what makes you afraid and through intimidation can trick you into doing something /agreeing to doing something you feel very unsure about.
    This clever but very disturbing method. I urge you to beware people that might do this, as it happened once to me many years ago; I have never forgotten it and got into trouble afterwards by an adult, who didn’t understand. What was more, I didn’t speak much as a kid (still don’t speak much), so I couldn’t explain it, plus I thought it was my fault otherwise I wouldn’t have forgotten to not tell somebody about it. The bully was still around so there wasn’t’ anything I could do, I just blocked it out tbh. And the worse thing was, the only reason he wanted to “try it” was “I want to”, so come onz’. It makes me feel sick, but I am ok guiz, I promise. xo. Read up on how to protect yourselves girls and don’t under any circumstances let yourself be ignorant of the consequences of what might happen if you are ignorant about what could happen. And how it could affect life if you are aspergic. Don’t worry girls. Trust your instincts – that means trusting your gut, and holding onto the trust you feel NO. matter. WHAT. Love O-B_girl-24 <3 ps hope this helped u!

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