If your partner was sexually assaulted or sexually abused, please know you are not alone. Many partners and loved ones come to this site after discovering that a man in their life has a history of sexual violence. Very often the first person a man tells is his partner or someone else he is very close to. While this is very hard and brave for a man to do, it also calls for a lot of strength from the person he discloses to. It can be hard to know how to respond.

Please know that you are not alone in struggling with this. We want to acknowledge how difficult it is for you to be in this position, too. We want you to know that support is available.

Below we have collated all the information that might be helpful for partners, family, friends and supporters of men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault. Lots of these pages refer to partners, however the information is just as relevant if it was a son, a brother, a close friend, or any other loved one.

Get informed

Manage difficulties

Improve your relationship

Information for partners

Living Well provides support and counselling to men, but also to the partners, family and loved ones of men who have experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault. If you live in the Greater Brisbane area, we can offer face to face counselling. If you live elsewhere in Australia, telephone counselling and online counselling are options.


  1. Comment by Stephanie

    Stephanie Reply February 9, 2015 at 3:24 am

    I could use all the information you have. I want to help my best friend my husband. He keeps flirting with other women and has had 2sexual affairs during our marriage. I have just about had enough. We are in counseling. He just recently told me what happened to him as a child. I am the ONLY person he has ever told.

  2. Comment by Aaron Hernandez

    Aaron Hernandez Reply March 4, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    My girlfriend of three years doesn’t believe me that i was taking advantage of two women at separate times one my ex who drugged me and a female that is now an ex friend of mine and her’s what do i do to prove to her i’m not lying please help?

  3. Comment by Nancy

    Nancy Reply April 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    My husband does not like to kiss on the mouth. He fell asleep during foreplay once and can’t be intimate or passionate. He is also not interested in social activities and is overly protective of my adult children and me. He once complained that he could not have sex because my vagina had an odor. He is often isolative and watches TV constantly. Could he possibly have been sexually abused as a child?

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply April 17, 2015 at 10:28 am

      Hi Nancy,
      Thanks for contacting Living Well. I’m sorry to hear that you and your husband are struggling with intimacy in your relationship. While it does sound confusing, there is no way to tell from the behaviour you’ve described whether or not your husband experienced sexual abuse as a child. People develop certain behaviours and attitudes for a widely varying range of reasons. What is clear though is that you and your husband have different needs, expectations and feelings in your relationship. It may be helpful to create a safe space where you try to talk as openly and honestly as you can about these with each other, and begin to find a system that works for you both. An experienced relationships counsellor may be able to help you with this (that link goes to our partners at Anglicare Mental Health & Family Wellbeing Services).
      Best of luck to you and your family, Nancy, and take care.

    • Comment by j

      j Reply May 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

      Nancy my bf has the SAME behavior. He wont kiss or make love for similar reasons. I was told he was sexually abused :,(

  4. Comment by T

    T Reply March 3, 2016 at 11:57 am

    My partner was recently triggered. And within 24 hours he couldn’t see me anymore.We had intimacy issues but we were very happy. He told me we had to breakup because he needed to figure things out on his own. I was told to remember two things 1) it has nothing to do with me 2) he loves me very much. A long time ago he shared what happened to him as a child but he was nonchalant about it. I’m ashamed for not exploring it more at the time, for being so ignorant. Now he’s cut himself off from everyone, his interactions are erratic and those who have spoke to him say he’s not the same guy. Did we separate so that he could keep the idea of me separate from this difficult experience? Is there information out there or has anyone experienced this kind of reaction where their partner just ran away from everyone? Do they come back? I just want to understand him and figure out what I should do. He is a wonderful person.

  5. Comment by Claire

    Claire Reply October 12, 2016 at 7:07 am

    My husband has a history of mental health issues and using stories of past experiences to justify his feelings and episodes. I understand the need to do this as I also have mental health problems. He has already come clean about somethings that weren’t true and I have been very supportive of his coming clean. However the other day he told me that he had been raped as a teenager by another teenage boy. I am struggling to find the truth of the matter as there has been no indication of it in our intimacy. I want to believe him but logic points otherwise. Please help me, is there anything I can do to help tangle truth from lies? I can’t be supportive and sensitive of something I can’t believe is true.

    • Comment by Jess [Living Well Staff]

      Jess [Living Well Staff] Reply December 7, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Hi Claire,
      Thank you for getting in touch with us and sharing your experiences, and also for your patience while I got back to you.

      It really sounds as though you are in a difficult position and feeling quite torn. On the one hand you want to be supportive and trusting of your husband, but on the other hand there have been times where you have found his stories have not been trustworthy. I can see how it would feel impossible to know how to approach this, given the sensitive nature of the topic.

      From what you’ve said Claire you have been (and continue to be) so supportive of your husband. You’ve demonstrated empathy for his need to justify his experiences and behaviour, and you’ve been accepting and forgiving when he has opened up and told you the truth.
      First, these are things many people would find pretty difficult, so well done!
      Second, they are also things that will encourage him to be open and honest with you. In having this attitude you are creating an accepting and nonjudgmental atmosphere where it is safe for you both to be ‘who you are.’ I think that, over time, this will overcome his need to present any particular ‘protective image.’

      If you are still seeking the truth about the sexual assault, well, I don’t have any hard and fast answers for you I’m afraid. All you can really work with is what you know for sure, and what you are told. We do have a page of responses to common questions from partners that may have some helpful tidbits. Generally it’s the opposite issue (i.e. “I think my partner was abused but he denies it”), however the information around being uncertain about the truth may still be of assistance.

      I wish you both the best.

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