Dear Mary: I've been hurt so many times I really hate men
I believe I have reached a breaking point where men are concerned. As much as I would like to find love and have the sense of security that comes with having a companion, I have begun to hate men.
I have been hurt and had quite a lot of trauma relating to men, with both rape and physical and emotional abuse.
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I don't know if I am dumb trying to believe that one day I will find happiness and not have to deal with the disgusting men.
Why do they always think that sex is important?
You would think that if a woman tells you she has been raped or molested or even beaten by a man, that they would approach her differently.
Instead they do the same damn thing and that is what drives my hatred a little further.
Saying stuff like 'I want to right the wrongs of those who hurt you' but then they do the thing that I claim I want to avoid. Mary, what do I do? Should I just stay single for the rest of my life because it seems hopeless at this point, and I am so angry I just reject every attempt at a relationship.
Mary replies: What you should do is to seek help for all that you have been through.
I am so sorry that you have had to endure so much pain and it is sad, although not surprising, that you label men as disgusting.
And yet something tells you that you would still like to find love and the companionship that goes with being in a relationship.
You have had some appalling experiences and as a result you see men as all wanting sex and not caring about you and the person that you are.
It would be wrong of me to rush to men's defence and tell you that there are so many wonderful good men (and women) in the world, although that is what I firmly believe.
Unfortunately there are bad people as well, and it is so regrettable that you have only known the wrong sort of men who have harmed you.
Contrary to what you currently believe, sex can be a very enriching experience.
Ideally it should happen gradually and it can then add another layer to an already flourishing relationship.
From what you say it has always been too early on in a relationship for you to enjoy it, or indeed without any sort of relationship even existing.
You therefore associate it with nothing but negativity which is so sad.
As a result of all this, it is so important that you don't let another day go by without looking for help, because what you have been through is far too much for any one person to bear alone.
The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre was established in 1979 and is now a national organisation offering a wide range of services to both men and women who, like you, are affected by rape, sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse.
If you visit www.rapecrisishelp.ie you will find that they have centres all over Ireland.
Start by calling the Rape Crisis Centre - their National Helpline is available 24-hours a day at 1800 778888.
Given that you have experienced so much abuse, it will take some time for you to work through it all, but the counsellors you will meet have so much to give in terms of understanding and empathy that you will be very glad you sought help.
Eventually you will feel that a load has been lifted off your shoulders and the world will seem a better place.
I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for you to get help right now.
Then you will be able to get on with living your life and hopefully learn to trust again.
You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting www.dearmary.ie or email her at email@example.com or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.
Sunday Indo Living