I was 19. It was my year off before college, and I had three months to go until I moved to Boston. I had a hopeless crush on a barista at my favorite coffee shop that I frequented. I asked him out; first, he agreed and then he said it was too soon after his break up. Right after this a guy around 25 came up to me and started talking to me. Unusually my dog tried to stay away from him; that should’ve been my first sign he was a bad seed. But I had just been rejected and wished he gave me a chance, so in my mind, I couldn’t be hypocritical and not give him a chance. Our first ‘date’ was over coffee in a public space. I didn’t particularly feel strong about him one way or the other. So we went out on a second date.
I wore one of my favorite dresses that I had gotten in Paris during my year off. I stayed optimistic. I usually have the worst luck in my love life. We meet at a local restaurant/bar with his friend and other people. Some of the guys I went to high school with were there, they were twins, and I thought okay, this is going to be fine. Then they left, and it was just him and me. I don’t remember the actual date. Probably walking around and doing the usual town stuff. But I remember the end of the night as clear as day. He still lived with his parents, and we had back to his place. We are laying in bed, and things get hot and heavy. He wants to have sex, and I say only with a condom, he pretends not to hear, and he continues. He is in me; I tell him don’t you dare cum in me. He did. I put on my clothing and left. I stayed with this man for a month.
I know a lot of readers may ask why didn’t you just leave, but you have to understand my home life was not a fun one. I had a mother and other people telling me that I would never find someone to love me because I had too much hate in my heart, or I was too selfish but mainly because I didn’t fit into people’s idea of what I should be. I will state right now, just in case it comes into question. I am a sexual person, and I am not ashamed of it. I regret none of my consensual exploits. I am an adult capable of choosing to live and be with who I want, when I want. Unfortunately, society likes to label that person as a slut and not an independent human being.
So being 19, having been verbally abused most of my life. I had found a person who wanted to be there for me and has me as his. I had never had a boyfriend or anything even close to resembling one before this. All I knew is this guy said he loved me when everyone else had said no one could. That is why I stayed in the beginning. After about a week or two in I didn’t leave because I was too scared not to do what he asked. He would inform me he never wanted me to say no to him. I hurt my back following his orders when we were walking in the woods and proceeded to yell at me when it was too painful for me to sit up let alone do anything sexual. I’d be dry and crying, and he’d be in me telling me to stop because seeing me cry hurt him too much. He always refused to wear condoms and would inform I was never allowed to get an abortion because he wanted to be a father. He called this making love. One night he just laid on top of me while stuck in me, and I begged him to get off, he wouldn’t move. He stayed like that for ten minutes. I had horrible flashbacks if a guy ever tried to do that again. This was my first relationship, and he would tell me we were in love.
When I tried to break up with him, it was in public, and he shook and shook me until I agreed to stay with him. Two days later I wrote a letter and put it in his mailbox. When he got it, he would simultaneously text me saying I was a bitch and would never find happiness without him again and telling me he loved me and needed me back. Over the next years, I would get texts from him, then blocked phone calls come at any time of the day or night and could call 12 times in a row. Sometimes he would be having sex with other people for me to hear. Recently he tried to reach out to me again on Facebook.
I never pressed charges because I am not an idiot. I have a strong sexual past from high school (no one actually in the high school I went to funnily enough). My high school spent 4 years trying to kick me out because I have a woman’s body. One teacher called me a cheap hooker in front of other students and that became a nickname for me before they even knew what my real name was. He was an inner-city music teacher. There is no way I would’ve won.
None of it stops there, I still have had guy friends tip-toe the line enough to make me extremely uncomfortable, I have men assume I am easy because of my boobs, I have men enter my room at 1 am without permission because I offered him a blanket in the afternoon four days earlier. But none of this is exclusive to me. My friend called me the other night, and she was in a very dangerous situation. And I was prepared to handle it with her. BECAUSE ALL WOMEN ARE PREPARED TO HELP THEIR FRIENDS FROM IMPENDING SEXUAL ASSAULT. We aren’t taught it in school; we don’t read textbooks. We know because we go through it every single day. I am telling my story because I have been vocal about needing intersectional feminism, ending rape culture and taking down the patriarchy, but I have always been too terrified to tell my story. And if I want to change it then I must speak my truth, and that is my first boyfriend raped me repeatedly. I still look over my shoulder every day, and my stomach turns into a pit anytime I see a man that resembles him. And I want to make sure things start to change because stories like this should not be as frequent as they are.