I can still remember it like it was yesterday. It was the summer before my Freshman year at college, and we were dating. Not like an official relationship, but we went on dates and such. I trusted him, he was my friend before anything and I had strong feelings for him. It ended before I went to school, and I always blamed myself.
I blamed myself because I didn’t always want to have sex constantly. He did. I blamed myself because I was outspoken. Always clashing with everything he said. I told myself I should have been more docile, more obedient. I should have wanted to have sex because he wanted it as well. I never realized what actually happened until months after this entire ordeal.
I said no. I said no so many times it might have been the most spoken word I said to him in that “relationship”. But he never listened. I was guilted into having sex when I said no. I just laid there and let it happen, even though I had said no numerous times before. That I didn’t want to, that I was tired of it being the only thing we did. I said no because I simply was tired of it. But it still happened. I always thought it was just me being stupid, and that in the end it was a good thing he ignored me saying no, because it’s what was expected. What right did I have to say no?
This happened so many times. 4, maybe even 5 times and still, he and I both ignored my own voice when I said no. It took many times for me to finally stop saying no and just let it happen. Because I thought that’s what I should do. Because I felt I owed him my body.
It’s hard for me to try to type this out but I know it’s something I want and need to do. I have spent over a year trying to cope with what happened. Hell, I still can’t talk about it out loud without choking up and changing the subject. I never thought anything happened until I came to college.
College, your freshman year. Where you meet new people and find yourself. Months in, there were a few dalliances, I won’t lie, but when it came to one person, I was able to realize what happened during the summer.
Because with this specific dalliance in college, when I said no, he stopped. Now, let me repeat that again.
When I said no, he stopped.
He didn’t try to keep going, he didn’t ignore the first no, he didn’t try to guilt me into continuing, and most of all, he didn’t call me a tease. He simply stopped and said “Okay, I understand” and we continued to watch the movie.
I went home that night, sat down on my bed, and cried. I cried until there were no more tears. Because once again, when I said no, he stopped. I was crying because for once, my voice had been heard. I was crying because he listened. I was crying because I finally realized that what happened during the summer was not okay. I was crying, because I finally recognized that I never gave my consent. Most of all, I was crying because it took me months to figure it out and I was so angry with myself.
I pride myself on my strong backbone, on my independence, and on being outspoken; but during the incident, I became a different person. I was angry I didn’t stand up for myself and put a stop to it. I was angry that I just let it happen. I was angry I just let myself take it. I was angry because all of the hard work I had done to build myself up, had vanished when it came down to everything. I was angry because I knew I could have stopped it.
That was over a year ago, when I realized what had happened. Now, I’m angry for a different reason because I blamed myself for the entire incident. I blamed myself for not standing up instead of blaming him for not listening. I blamed myself that I let it happened instead of blaming him for continuing on. I blamed myself because I had thought I let myself down, when I should have been blaming him for breaking my trust. I blamed myself for not stopping it, when he should have stopped as soon as I said no.
I don’t blame myself anymore. I’m not angry at myself anymore because I recognize what happened and I recognize that by saying no, that should have been enough. Most of all, I don’t ignore it anymore and that has lead me to the decision I carried out on November 4th, 2016.
I finally deleted him off of my friends list on Facebook.
Even though I didn’t blame myself anymore, I was still friends with him on Facebook. I was still seeing every update, picture, status, and event he was doing with his life and I thought that was fine. I didn’t see an issue with it. My counselor told me it was probably because he was my friend before anything else and because I still had issues coping with the incident and talking about it. So, over a year later, I have finally gotten rid of him for good. At least on Facebook, and isn’t that a start at least?
I feel that it’s a step forward for me towards continuing to heal and acknowledging what happened. That’s why I wrote this post.
I am writing because I am finally acknowledging that it happened and that it was not okay. I am writing for every person who has ever been victimized and blamed themselves. I am writing because I am strong and I am here. I am successful and I am going places. I am writing because I have loving friends and family and I know that I am safe. I know that I am loved. I know that trust is a sacred thing. But most of all, I know that my consent matters. Without my consent, there is nothing and there will be nothing. Without my consent, no one has the right to do anything to me.
No one has the right to continue if they do not have consent.