I was never raped, but when I was 11, the son of a family friend copped a feel whenever we were…
Zelda Pinwheel

I was raped by my boyfriend in college. What started out consensual became one of the most painful, humiliating things I have ever experienced. To this day, no one can sneak up behind me and startle me, or I go into a melt down or worse-I swing blindly. No one can put their hands over my throat because I’ll start hyperventilating. I never pressed charges, because after he was done, he told me it was consensual, that I had wanted it, that no one would believe me. I was silent expect to tell my best friend, who told me I was raped and urged me to go to the police. But I couldn’t. How could I face my rapist lying in court, saying I was a liar, knowing that I had shouted no over and over again until he choked me within an inch of consciousness? He threatened to expose my sexual past — which at that point had just been one other guy. I was petrified of what my conservative, Southern Baptist family would say. I was an honor student, the good girl.

Thanks to very intense therapy where I finally admitted to my therapist-and myself-what had happened, I was able to start healing. I told my parents 5 years after the fact, who were furious with my ex and heartbroken for me. I told my now husband, who told me that no matter what had happened to me in the past he would love me and protect me-and he has kept that promise. I still don’t like to talk about it a lot, and I still sometimes have nightmares, but because of the love and support of the amazing people around me, I have finally begun to understand that I can’t control other people’s actions, and that what happened to me was horrible, but not my fault, and that I am NOT a victim, as some people wanted to try to paint me.

Thank you for this article. Thank you for being so brave to come forward.

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