The more you know

TW: abuse, harassment, rape

Alex, yes I remember her. I dated her a good while ago. About 10 years I think. We dated for a year or two.

We used to work together. I found her cute, she liked me, and we started seeing each other. She is younger, yes. It wasn’t weird, no. We were a normal couple. We liked each other, we sometimes fought. Sex was ok. She was new to it but she was pretty open. She lost weight, yes. She wanted to lose a couple of pounds, I advised her a bit. She was free to eat whatever she wanted. We didn’t live together, so she did what she wanted anyway. I just helped by cooking healthy meals. She used to come over a few days a week or so. She just couldn’t understand I needed to relax after work. I like to go to the nearby pub. So do my colleagues. We go there to have a drink and vent about work. Even when she went at mine. She had the key, she could do what she wanted, she wasn’t waiting for me or anything. I didn’t really want her coming to the pub. I mean, come on, do you want your woman coming to the pub with the lads? Where’s the fun and relaxation in that?

She wasn’t very feminine. She did sometimes like to wear revealing stuff. I remember once, when she came over. I opened the door and there she was, with a short, bright red dress. She was wearing a ton of makeup, too. Of course I got annoyed. She did all that before coming over! All the disgusting pervs in the train and subway must have thought of her that night! Why couldn’t she prepare at mine? She said it wouldn’t have been the same.Well, she wouldn’t have gotten that many looks from the other guys. Of course, she likes the attention, all girls do. I actually remember another time when she went to work. It was a public place, and she had been asked to do extras, even though she wasn’t the most qualified. She was hot, so it was good for the place to have sexy girls for guys in the public to look at. I couldn’t believe she accepted to be objectified. I wasn’t jealous, really. But I don’t like other men staring at my girlfriend’s ass, no. Who does?

She used to have fits of weeping. She’d get angry and shout until she cried. I don’t know why, who knows what problems she had. Make up sex was cool though. She didn’t have the libido I did, but it wasn’t too bad. She often let me convince her, so it was ok. Oh, you know, when they’re not really up for it, but you’re nice and touch them in all the right places and they become horny. I remember at the beginning, she wasn’t very noisy. But she let herself go so it ended being ok. She did enjoy blowjobs, that was nice! She learnt to give them and got pretty good. That’s about all I remember.

In the end, I guess we just fell out of love, like couples do. Nothing particularly interesting there. Why, what did she tell you?

I’m Alex. I used to date Bert. That’s what I imagine he’d say if asked about our relationship. Normal, isn’t it? He missed a few important points.

I lost over 20 pounds in less than 2 years of dating him. It was mostly due to dysmorphia, greatly reinforced by Bert. He used to tell me it was a pity I had this bit of fat here, or that curve there. ‘Encouraged’ by him, I stopped eating sweets and most fats altogether. I could technically eat what I wanted. But when you have a conversation about why you want to eat the chicken skin that lasts half a day, you just stop eating the skin so you can talk of something else.

He went to the pub every day, even when I was going to his. I was never invited, unlike his friends’ partners. He always came home drunk.

He thought I dressed with the only goal to have people look at me. It’s because he looked at all the girls, all the time. Even when we were together in a public place, he used to be pretty distracted. When I explained to him I dressed for myself, he wouldn’t believe me. At some point, I gave up trying to explain and stopped wearing skirts and dresses altogether. It was easier than having to talk for hours at a time. I didn’t wear neither dresses nor skirts for over a year, except in private.

I was actually good at my job. Despite the fact I wasn’t the most technical person, I was motivated, and an extremely hard worker. I was also funny and kind, so people genuinely liked me. For my brains mostly, not my ass.

My weeping fits were due to exhaustion. When you have to explain for hours why you accepted a certain job, for instance, and being accused of the weirdest thoughts that no sane person would have, you end up angry, defeated, and very anxious.

Sex. He was my first partner. He had a very high libido. If I rejected him, he made me feel like I was a teaser and that I was the worst person he’s ever met, for that. I usually ended up giving in. It was often just easier. I did sometimes enjoy myself. I became more noisy to turn him on more, so it would end faster. I learnt how to go down on him so I could do that rather than PIV sex. I got better at it so it would be over quicker. I remember crying sometimes, while he was enjoying himself.

It isn’t all and I do have other painful memories. Bert sexually and morally harassed me. He also raped me. I didn’t realize it until long after the relationship ended. I had been made aware about some stuff, I wasn’t retarder. But I did not know he raped me. He probably doesn’t know. He probably doesn’t think himself as a rapist. I didn’t go to the police to report him because I didn’t know. Now, it’s too late for that. I don’t have any tangible proof. I do think about the girls before me, and the ones after. I don’t doubt he was the same with them. I hope they are as strong as I am now.

We have the responsibility of educating children, of all genders, ages and places about how to be a human being. Sex is part of that. Let’s talk about what it is and isn’t, what it means and doesn’t, and all the problems around it. We need to teach kids not to become rapists and for that, we need to tell them what that means.

Disclaimer : The names in the story have been changed for privacy. I am in touch with Alex but not Bert, so his side of the story is imagined. The events have happened, it is not fiction.