Woman Blames Andrew Tate for Turning Her Boyfriend Into a Rapist

When 27-year-old Maria first met her boyfriend, then 29, everything seemed to be going well. Then their relationship took a darker turn. He became controlling, frequently belittling and gaslighting her, and his behavior culminated in a horrific ordeal that no woman should ever have to face.

Maria has no doubt what, and who, lay behind the disturbing change in her now ex-partner: his obsession with Andrew Tate.

Soon after their relationship began, Maria learned of her partner's interest in the internet personality and his controversial philosophies. His worsening treatment of Maria escalated until he sexually assaulted her. The relationship, and her subsequent heartbreak, has left her at the intersection of male violence and online misogyny.

Maria, whose real identity has been concealed for her safety, told Newsweek: "It's weird piecing together all these Andrew Tate-related things, you know, make the woman feel confused, gaslight her, and keep her on the back foot wondering. Andrew Tate's principles are literally word for word what I went through."

Woman holding head in her hands
Stock image of a woman in distress. Maria says she was raped by her boyfriend after he became obsessed with Andrew Tate. kieferpix/iStock/Getty Images Plus

An Epidemic of Sexual Violence

Half of all women in the U.S. have experienced some form of aggression in their relationships, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, and a large percentage have been sexually assaulted by their loved one. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center says that 91 percent of the victims of rape and sexual assault are women, and that nearly 1 in 10 women have been raped or subjected to attempted rape by an intimate partner in their life.

In the U.K., at least 1 in every 35 women are raped or sexually assaulted every year, the charity Rape Crisis says, with 5 out of every 6 victims choosing not to report the offence.

The figures show little sign of falling amid an epidemic of sexual violence in Europe and the U.S. Organizations including U.N. Women and the Wow Foundation, which celebrates women and girls, have described it as another pandemic—a 'male violence pandemic' or a 'shadow pandemic.' British and American newspapers have reported numerous stories of extreme cruelty towards women, including the case of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, who was murdered by her own boyfriend, and that of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, who was raped and murdered by a serving police officer in London.

At the same time, content and courses promoting 'toxic masculinity' gained popularity online, in part thanks to the rise of Andrew Tate. His U.S. legal representative told Newsweek that Tate "condemns any and all violence towards women" and "believes that men and women are equal." The response in full is at the end of this article.

How Tate Targeted Young Men

Tate, a 36-year-old former kickboxer who was recently detained in Romania as part of an investigation into allegations of human trafficking, which he has denied, had garnered notoriety online by promoting misogyny, the subjugation of women, and 'ultra-masculine' values.

His target following? Young men—and they came in droves. To date there have been more than 12 billion views of his online content, and his reach has spread like wildfire through copious fan accounts dedicated to promoting his principles.

Tate, while now reinstated, had been banned from Twitter on two occasions for arguing that women should "bear responsibility" for being sexually assaulted by men. To date, he's also stated that women are the property of men, that they shouldn't have careers, and that they can't drive.

'It Felt Like Andrew Tate's Spirit Was Taking Over'

Maria's relationship quickly took a darker turn after her boyfriend began exhibiting controlling and belittling behaviors, akin to those that she feels are promoted through Andrew Tate's online content.

"It felt like Andrew Tate's spirit was taking over," Maria told Newsweek.

Her boyfriend would blare Tate's social media videos from his home office. While he'd expressed a dislike for the MeToo movement and feminist-leaning activism, Maria had felt her boyfriend was ultimately harmless, until she caught him writing inflammatory posts on Facebook.

Things quickly went from bad to worse, Maria said. "He then started leaking controlling sexual behaviors into the relationship and would pin blame onto me if I dared question him. He would say that I'm making it sound like he'd raped me."

Keen to reconcile and restore the health of their relationship, Maria would facilitate conversations with her partner to try and plaster over issues and coax him into addressing his behavior.

"I would call him out and I would get angry and upset, but he'd never apologize or take ownership for issues," she told Newsweek.

"He'd prefer to brush it all off. His eyes would just glaze over and he'd shut down. He didn't really communicate with me, it was like he'd just turned into a brick wall," she added, as sadness seeped into her voice.

Lyndsey Murray, a licensed counselor who owns a practice in Texas, told Newsweek that in situations like Maria's it takes a lot of confidence to know where your responsibility ends and where your partner's begins.

Murray advises recipients of this sort of behavior to say this in response: "I will not take this blame, because I did nothing wrong."

Although cracks were beginning to show, Maria chose to remain in the relationship and cement over fractures, hoping to get a slice of the couple's prior happiness back.

"I think that Andrew Tate-type men tend to go for compassionate and empathetic women who will easily forgive them and who aim to do what's best for them," she said, trying to rationalize how the pair stayed together.

Tristan Tate's Double Booking Method

Unfortunately, little changed between the two, and Maria's boyfriend put into practice a 'double booking' method highlighted by Andrew Tate's brother, Tristan.

"Tristan Tate did a video on 'double booking', my boyfriend copied that. We went out somewhere for drinks and he invited a girl along but he didn't tell us who she was," Maria said.

"Later, I realized that he'd cheated on me with that girl and that the girl also thought that I was just a friend of his!"

Anytime Maria attempted to hold her boyfriend to account for his behavior he would again deflect blame onto her. The deflection or projection of blame is a tool that a partner may choose to employ, sometimes unknowingly or innocently, to evade taking accountability and to avoid questioning their own thought process.

Murray told Newsweek: "People in relationships with individuals who tend to deflect should learn to find their own voice, and explicitly state what their boundary is."

What lay ahead for Maria were a series of challenges that many victims of emotional or physical abuse face. The impact of gaslighting began to take a heavy toll, and Maria soon started to 'victim blame', a phenomenon where the recipient of gaslighting takes on unwarranted blame for how the other person feels or for something that they themselves did. Essentially, the 'victim' of the abusive behavior will feel they are being punished for standing up for themself.

Tammy Nelson, a sex and relationships expert, told Newsweek: "Emotional abuse can feel like being with someone who questions your reality, turns your own words against you, doubts your feelings, and tells you that your reality is not true."

"Physical and sexual abuse can include force, coercion, and manipulation in order to have power and control over your body and autonomy," she said.

Maria began morphing herself into Andrew Tate's dream woman, all because she felt she had to please her boyfriend.

"I lost weight, I felt I had to wear lots of makeup, I was trying to cook all the time—but I realized that he doesn't really like me and that I am just a woman to him without an individual personality," she said.

'It Wasn't Consensual, I Was Drunk, and I Remember Trying To Crawl Away'

The relationship imploded after Maria's boyfriend raped and sexually assaulted her on an evening where he'd encouraged her to drink a lot of alcohol.

Maria said: "We went into his bedroom and he me poured a drink. He initiated the sexual activity and it quickly became very rough, he then grabbed my head and started saying derogatory things to me."

"It wasn't consensual, I was drunk, and I remember trying to crawl away," she added.

Maria told Newsweek that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being assaulted, becoming more easily triggered, irritable and anxious in the weeks that followed. Her voice quivered as she detailed how on edge she felt in the wake of the incident, and how she would snap at her friends or enter a heightened emotional state around her family if they overstepped any of her boundaries.

A few days after the assault, Maria tried to initiate a conversation with her boyfriend to assess and repair the damage caused.

"He acted nonchalant, like he didn't know what I wanted to talk about. It was that kind of power dynamic where he brushed off something that had actually happened," she said, ruminating on her boyfriend's avoidant attitude towards the incident.

Although sexual assaults are always the fault of the perpetrator, Maria revealed that she had felt so gaslit by her partner that for some time she wasn't sure if what had happened to her was problematic or if she had any part to play in it.

She broke up with him soon after that confrontation, but like many other victims of sexual assault chose not to report the offence. In the months that followed, Maria struggled with feelings of shame, guilt and low self-esteem after being degraded and dismissed by the one person she felt she should be able to unconditionally trust. Eventually, she picked herself back up and fought the toll that the Tate-tinted relationship had on her mental health.

Kendra Capalbo, a licensed couples and sex therapist, told Newsweek: "Most women in situations like Maria's want to see the best in their partner, they love them, and because the cycle often involves a honeymoon phase in which the person is apologetic and loving, it's easy to get pulled back in."

"Maria may second guess herself and her decision making abilities going forward," she added.

'Set Your Boundaries'

While abusive relationships are clearly no-go zones, it's entirely possible to have a great partner who possesses a few problematic traits that they haven't yet recognized or attempted to work through. Capalbo argues that the best way to communicate with such individuals is through calm, assertive and direct language.

"Deliver your message and set your boundaries in a clear and precise manner. Avoid criticism or pointing the finger at your partner and instead lead from the place of your own feelings," Capalbo said.

"Oftentimes women don't report their partners for sexual assault because they believe they did something to cause it, or that within a relationship there's no such thing as sexual assault leading to cognitive distortion."

"Abusers also tend to place blame on the victim to evade accountability," she added.

Murray agreed with Capalbo, saying that although sexual assaults do tend to happen in relationships because of consent violations, many women choose not to report their partners in the hope of preserving their relationship, protecting their loved one, and working through why the assault happened together.

Maria told Newsweek that through the help of her friends, family, and professional services she was able to move past her failed relationship and heal from the abuse she'd endured. Unfortunately, for many victims the road to recovery can be much longer.

"The emotional impact of such a union can be very intense," Murray said.

"The gaslighting may lead to people wondering if the breakdown of the relationship was their fault. They will begin to feel very guilty when they actually have little to feel guilty about," she added.

Murray suggests that those exiting abusive relationships seek out community and professional support, while extending compassion and forgiveness to themselves.

Tina Glandian, U.S. legal representative for Andrew Tate, told Newsweek: "Andrew Tate believes in traditional masculine values and believes that men and women are equal, and that each plays certain roles within society more effectively. He is a firm believer in the freedom of choice and has never and would never force or coerce anyone into anything that made them uncomfortable. Andrew condemns any and all violence towards women and has repeatedly stated this in his interviews."

Glandian added: "Andrew believes that it is the mainstream media that promotes these negative concepts through lack of journalistic and editorial research, taking short clips out of long form media, and using singular quotes out of context, which results in negatively influencing young men."

While many victims may worry that if they don't report an assault the perpetrator will go ahead and assault others, the charity Rape Crisis says that choosing whether to go to the police or not should always be the individual's choice.

Anyone seeking help should call The National Domestic Violence Hotline, a free and confidential hotline available 24/7 that can be reached on 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224. The Hotline also provides information on local resources. For more information visit https://www.thehotline.org/.

Have you noticed any red flags that made you end a relationship? Let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.