Some of you reading this may become a little uncomfortable. Others may be triggered by previous trauma. Please be careful and take care of yourself as this concerns a very delicate and difficult topic.
Something happened to me a very long time ago. When this ‘something’ happened, I was left feeling very confused. I did not know if I was supposed to be upset or cry…or be angry. I wasn’t even afraid when it was all over although I was pissed off during the episode.
The only feeling I could muster was confusion. What the HELL had just happened?
Up until recently, having this memory bubble to the surface while I do work on myself and learn about trauma (including sexual abuse and rape) in my counselling class – I’d forgotten about it. Afterall, it was more than 30-year ago. Then, when my perpetrator (and ex-husband) contacted me via Facebook completely out of the blue, the memory started to weigh on me like water-filled rubber boots. It was too hard to move forward and past this without talking about it.
I had never told anyone about it. Ever.
It was the late 1980’s. We were both college students and newly engaged. I think I was 20-years old at the time. He would have been 21. I remember we were in the bedroom of my rented apartment on Millstone Ave. It was the 1st place where I’d lived all by myself. No roommates, no rented room. A whole 1-bedroom place all to me.
We had started kissing – making out, the usual stuff we got up to. But something was different. For some reason, I had changed my mind. I can’t remember why I did or if I just wasn’t into full-on intercourse. Maybe I was tired. I really can’t recall the reason, but I DO know that at some point I said: “No.”
He didn’t take me seriously and thought I was teasing, that this was some sort of game. It wasn’t and I wasn’t, but I couldn’t convince him.
I got up and left the room, slipping away from him easily enough. I thought that this was the end of it, and he’d go home for the evening. He was still living with his parent.
It was not the end of it.
He followed me into the tiny living room or kitchen (I can’t recall exactly where it all started getting ridiculous and weird) and continued to insist on kissing me, trying to take off my clothes. I resisted and again, told him that NO – I wasn’t interested. Once more, he thought this was part of the game I was evidentially playing. I may as well have been having a conversation with the fridge because he wasn’t listening to anything I was saying.
Let it be noted that although I struggled and kept telling him that I wanted him to stop, I didn’t scream. I didn’t cry and I wasn’t hysterical or afraid. I just did NOT want to have sex. It was that simple. I was also angry that my wants and rights were being ignored.
Perhaps he thought this was some kind of kinky role play (although we’d never done that before), perhaps he thought it was all an elaborate game to turn him on. I don’t know because I never asked him.
In the end, in my attempt to get away, I ended up on the floor, scrambling back while he pulled my jeans off, along with his pants, and has his way with me against my wishes. I believe it hurt.
He didn’t hit me or yell. In fact, he was laughing the whole time, which makes me think he was completely clueless as to what he was doing.
What he was doing, was raping me.
Afterward I sat on the floor, feeling that weird surreal confusion, and thought: did I just get raped?!
I really wasn’t sure and in 1986, given that we were a couple and to be married, I very much doubt the law would have thought so. What was the point of saying anything? I really believe he didn’t know what he had just done. He was generally a sweet and gentle guy.
I thought about confronting him about it seeing as he wanted to send some things of mine that he’d held on to (for 30+ years) back to me. I doubt he’d remember the occasion. To him, it was all just fun and play.
Had he (or anyone) tried the same thing, today, it would have gone down much differently. Maybe if I’d shouted or become scared or really mad, he would have stopped. I don’t know.
Today things are very different and thank GOD for that. Rape has no grey areas. Consent MUST be given and NO MEANS NO. It doesn’t mean chase me around the apartment until I trip and fall while you grope me and then force yourself on me. It means FUCKING STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING NOW.
Yes, you can ask someone to stop before and during sex. You have rights. You can change your mind any time you wish as it’s YOUR body and you get to decide what you want to be done to it.
No one else on the planet can do that for you. No. One.
I was young and rape wasn’t talked about. There was no internet; you couldn’t Google sexual consent. It wasn’t exactly taught in schools. I sometimes think I didn’t know any better and should have fought harder. Part of me wants to blame myself, even now, and find excuses for him.
But the harder I look, the less I find. There are no excuses. He should have known better. He should have stopped when I asked him to. He didn’t.