First up: If you want or need someone to talk to, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also dial RAINN, which has often been super helpful for me … depending on what counselor I got.
I have a very fucked up sleep schedule. I’ll wake up, get this idea in my head that I fixate on so that I can’t get back to sleep and then I get itchy or cold or hot or thirsty and I wander around in the dark. Then I take a sleeping supplement or a prescription med and go back to sleep. And in the morning the idea seems really stupid or whatever and I don’t follow up on it. This happens a lot.
But I had this idea last night. That I should start a blog about what happened to me. My rape. Because it’s not your run-of-the-mill rape. Not to sound — I mean, I understand, I comprehend, that every rape case is individual. But mine is especially fucked because I was raped and then dated the guy for two years. And I still can’t figure it out. Like, how I did that. Why I did that.
So I’m going to hash it all out here, and if you don’t want to read it, you don’t have to. Go look at pictures of puppies on Pinterest or something. Do your homework. Make love to your boyfriend.
It’s not like I intend to wallow in misery or anything — not intentionally, anyway — but I do know that I am not the first woman to deny what happened to her and to stay with her attacker. And what bugs me is how sparsely represented my community is on the Internet. That’s what got me thinking about all this in the first place; I Googled “I dated my rapist” and there was so much confusion and judging going on. It depressed the hell out of me.
The judging is the worst part. I think it’s why I let things drag on so long when it came to my own situation with my attacker. ”Crying rape” is not easy. Being “that raped girl” is not easy. It’s so much easier to think, “He didn’t mean it. He was drunk. He loves me. We’ll move past this.”
In December 2010 I was raped by my boyfriend of two weeks. I was a virgin. We were alone in my room, on my bed, making out. We were drunk. He more than I. I can still remember, vaguely, how alive my body felt in those moments. How passionate he was. Like he wanted to eat me alive.
I remember how I reclined on the bed, and felt his lips move up my inner thighs. Felt him tickle me with his tongue.
And then he pulled back, onto his knees, and inserted himself into me. And my life changed forever.
I said, “No.” I said, “Stop.” I said, “Please.” But he wanted what he wanted when he wanted it. And I went limp.
I had been falling in love with him. He had seemed so perfect. Maybe, one day, I would have asked him to take my virginity. But that night I asked him not to. But it didn’t matter.
That’s the nitty-gritty part. PG-13 style, for the most part. I mean, it wasn’t violent. I consciously remember — he was telling me it was right, that it was time, that he loved me so much, that I was The One — even as I told him that it was wrong, that it was too soon, that I didn’t love him, that it hurt so much and I wanted it to stop. But he cooed at me, and it made me afraid. Afraid that if I fought back, all that drunken tenderness would turn bitter, turn painful. I just wanted him to finish and leave.
But he cuddled me afterwards. Slept the night beside me. I was — catatonic. He whispered in my ear, “I guess you’re not a virgin anymore, huh?” I said nothing. I fell asleep.
In the morning, I told my mother. My lawyer mother. She wanted me to go straight to the police. But I … couldn’t. For so many reasons, reasons I’m only now starting to understand. The need to deny that I was a victim. The desire to keep my life “normal.” The thought that maybe he loved me so much he couldn’t help himself.
I confronted my attacker that night. He seemed shocked. He seemed apologetic. He claimed he didn’t remember anything I’d said. That he’d been blacked out.
It was so easy to believe him. This nice guy. This freckled guy. A dork in glasses and silly shoes. A nice guy.
Nice guys don’t rape girls.
I told him we wouldn’t have sex again until I was ready. But you can imagine how long that lasted. He would dry-hump me, or expect hand-jobs or blow-jobs. Aside from some oral which wasn’t that great, I was getting nothing out of it. I felt like a masturbatory device. So I started having sex. Because it seemed like a way to humanize myself.
And once you start having sex with somebody — especially a somebody who doesn’t wear a condom because “it feels like fucking into a sock” — you get chemically addicted. You fall in “love.” Your brain gets wired to see past all the red flags that scream “THIS GUY IS USING YOU. THIS GUY DOES NOT LOVE YOU. THIS GUY DOESN’T KNOW WHAT LOVE IS.”
I guess I didn’t know what love was, either. I mean, I did know, all along, that I did not “love” my attacker. But I thought I could, some day. Because he was a nice guy. A nice guy I was fond of.
And over 707 days — one year, eleven months, and seven days — I became a bitter, critical person. I pulled away from friends and family. I lost interest in everything. School, creative endeavors, fashion. The things that had defined me.
Even as this boy talked about marriage and children and the house he would build for me. How he’d propose to me with his grandmother’s ring. I felt stuck because I hadn’t turned him in, stuck because I had let him fall so in love with me. Stuck because I’d been fucking him and I felt like damaged goods.
But because I was so bitter, so critical, I managed to make the relationship deteriorate. It took months, but, finally, all that repressed emotion — my hatred, his guilt — came boiling to the surface and I realized — he’d known. He’d known all along he’d raped me that night. He’d lied about being blacked out.
So I turned him in. Two years after the fact. And I’ll save the nightmare of that experience for another post. All that “judging” I’d wanted desperately to avoid was dumped on me like a ton of bricks.
“She’s just mad the relationship ended.”
“She’s just being petty.”
“She’s a vindictive slut.”
I am a rape victim. I was manipulated and lied to. I enabled myself to be emotionally abused. Rape is not just a random act of violence that happens to girls dressed provocatively in back alleys. Rape is a friend you trust pinning you to your bed, telling you he loves you, as he steals away your sense of self. Your moral compass. He steals you. You are not the same person after a rape. That person, the person before, is gone, and someone else — someone who looks like you but who feels dirty and stupid and violated and broken — remains.
I don’t want to feel this way forever. I know I probably won’t. I won’t ever be the same, but I can cover myself in Band-Aids and let the bruised and bleeding pieces heal. They say, when you break a bone, the part that grows to fill the fracture is stronger than the bone before. Maybe this will be like that.
Image courtesy of Facebook.