With the conversation about sexual assault and rape finally coming to the forefront, I figured there would be no better time than now to air my opinions on the subject. When others around me are speaking on the subject, I refrain from talking all that much -I mainly just listen to their points of view and occasionally interject to play devil’s advocate or to point out a gross inaccuracy. Sometimes, my honest opinions go completely unheard. Why? Because I hate making judgements on certain topics that I’m biased about. And sexual assault, battery, and rape is something I am personally biased about. Again, why? Because me too.
Early in my second semester of my freshman year of college, I met a guy, who we’ll call T. I met him through mutual friends; I was at the dining hall with one of my friends and we sat with his friends who had friends who had friends…you get the point. T eyed me throughout lunch, and I eyed him. He was handsome -even to this day I’ll admit that. He had brown-skin, was about five-foot nine or ten, and muscular as all get-out. He had a killer beard, and cute dimples. Like I said, the general consensus would say that he was very handsome, and I definitely thought he was way above my league. Anyway, he went around the table getting everyone’s cell phone number, which he later told me was just a ploy to get mine without coming on too strong. Hah. How considerate.
On February ninth, twenty-sixteen, we decided to meet up. One meet up became two, and relatively quickly we were texting throughout most of the day and seeing each other every night after he got out class at seven-forty-five p.m. He commuted to campus, so we’d always be in my dorm alone, since my best friend and roommate at the time, Astrid, had a class on the other campus of my college and didn’t get home until around nine-thirty or ten at night.
He took me on my first date ever on February twelfth. We watched part of our college’s first softball game of the season, then went to Cold Stone Creamery. Then we went to a swing dancing class, which was fun because we both looked like idiots while “dancing.” We went to Andretti’s (an arcade/go carting fun center) afterwards. He took me home. He walked me back to my dorm. He hugged me before he left.
He took me on my second date on February fourteenth, Valentine’s Day. He bought me chocolates. We went to Atlantic Station to eat. He took me to a burger place specifically because I liked burgers. I only ate fries that day. We walked around Atlantic Station before going to the movies. We saw Deadpool. I thought it was a good movie. He took me home after. He walked me to my dorm and hugged me before he left.
February fifteenth, he gave me my first kiss ever. We were alone in my dorm again, and he expressed that he really wanted to kiss me after our dates. I was scared and apprehensive because I had never done anything before. I declined because I was scared, and he was okay with that. I went back to writing the paper for my Honors Political Science class. It was about legalization of marijuana. I then thought, “why not?” So I kissed him.
February eighteenth was the first time I was sexually abused by him.
It started off as any other time we’d hung out. We were sitting on my bed; I was doing work; he was just watching me do work. We were actually waiting for Astrid to get out of class because there was a Mardi Gras event that the resident assistants were throwing. I looked up briefly from my computer and he kissed me. We kissed until I realized I was lying flat on my back. He started grinding against me. I felt uncomfortable and turned my head to the side so he would stop kissing me. He didn’t. I tried pushing against his chest to get him off me. He pinned my arms above my head. I was trapped. What else could I do with someone who could bench press twice my bodyweight? Grinding turned to ramming. Over and over and over and over and over. All I could do was look up at the ceiling. It didn’t stop until the outside dorm door opened. He acted like nothing was wrong.
And so did I.
We went to the Mardi Gras event. We took pictures. I’ve since deleted every single one unless it was of me and Astrid.
After he left that night, I told Astrid some of what happened. I didn’t tell her he had me pinned down. I didn’t tell her I tried to push him away. She still told me that I should ask to slow things down.
I asked to slow things down, and of course, at least on the outside, he seemed okay with it. Nothing else happened. But this lasted only a few weeks.
On March fifth, we decided to make things official. And on March fifth, I was sexually abused by him a second time.
It followed much off the pattern as our previous encounter. I’ll spare the redundancy. But this time, instead of pinning both hands above my head, he pinned one and guided the other to his crotch. He pushed my hand under his jeans, under his boxer briefs. He was wearing all white Hanes with a thin black strip around the waistband. He made me stroke him in between his ramming. I was, again, trapped.
This pattern continued, but each time a new twist was added. If his hands were up my shirt and I tried to push him away, he’d scratch me. Or if his mouth was on my breasts, he’d bite me. If I denied his advances overall or tried to explain to him that from the beginning, I wanted to stay a virgin until marriage, he’d storm out and leave. He wouldn’t answer my texts of my calls until I basically begged him to talk to me, saying I was sorry for things I didn’t even know I should be apologizing for. I became isolated from all my friends besides Astrid and that’s really only because we lived together. I had a falling out with my friends Himie and Justin because of the things he would say about them, all while he would be smiling in their faces while I took the fall for everything. It was sick and manipulative. I didn’t truly know any better, though. No one told me this wasn’t how relationships should be.
Eventually, the abuse escalated to him putting his hand down my pants. Inserting fingers in my vagina. One finger barely fit. Two was unbearably painful. Regular sized tampons used to hurt going up there. After that, they felt like nothing. I remember the first time after that happened and he’d left for the night, I sat in my bathroom and cried as I cleaned the blood from my crotch. Washing out the blood stain in my underwear. I ended up just throwing them away.
Anticlimactically, our relationship didn’t necessarily end due to the abuse. It ended because he made fun of my YouTube channel, something I held near and dear to my heart. And I exploded. We didn’t talk for almost a week.
On April twenty-sixth, a week from our two-month-iversary, he broke up with me. I was devastated. Not only was it my first ever heartbreak, but it made it so much more hurtful given everything I’d endure to keep my first boyfriend. I tried to win him back. Told him I would be better, all the works. That I’d have sex with him if he wanted. It was almost like Stock Holm Syndrome. I wanted to stay with my abuser just because I was scared of losing the first relationship I’d ever had.
I called him. Repeatedly. Sent him texts. Emails.
Then, Astrid told me she saw him on her way home. He’d asked if I was going to be okay. But he mentioned to her that he never wanted a relationship with me in the first place. He’d led me on for sex, but nearly took it anyway. Without my consent.
I was livid. More emails. We went back and forth for days -until he struck the final cord. He wrote, “Why would I want you for sex if you can’t even give a hand-job right? You got the most sexual pleasure out of either of us in our relationship.”
A hand-job I didn’t consent to. One I didn’t want. Sexual "pleasure" I didn’t ask for. That was a far reach from pleasure. That I wish, to this day, had never happened. I know God has everything happen for a reason, but some days, both during and after our relationship ended, I wished I was dead rather than to have endured that.
I wrote him an email. I let Astrid see that, so she knows. It didn’t contain as much detail as this post, so this might be her first-time hearing of some of this. The depressing part is that I could have gone into far more detail. I still remember everything. An instance where my photographic memory is a curse instead of a blessing. I kept the email. I don’t know why. Maybe God knew it’d be useful for this blog post. Here’s an excerpt of that email:
“You claimed that I got more sexual pleasure out of the relationship, when in reality, I didn’t. Sure, you rubbed my clitoris, but never once did you actual make me orgasm. All you did was leave me sexually frustrated and loathing myself. You don’t understand that everything sexual that we did, I hated myself for doing them with you. I felt slutty after giving you a hand-job, or after you humped me, or after you bent me over against the wall so that you could feel my butt on your penis, or after you touched me intimately…”
On the day I’m posting this to my blog, February ninth, twenty-eighteen, marks two years since our first meet up. Two years from the day that caused events that will probably haunt me for the rest of my life. It’s been two years, and I still remember every detail. Two years, and before now, only five people on this planet knew even a fraction of this happened. I didn’t tell Kaylah until September of twenty-sixteen. It was her who actually told me what had been done to me- that I had been sexually abused. Astrid knows. T obviously knows, but I don’t know if he understands exactly what he did. I haven’t seen him since April twenty-sixth, twenty-sixteen. My boyfriend knows, but not to the extent of this post. I intend for him to be the first one who reads this, because sometimes I don’t think he knows how deeply this cut. He can’t really feel when I flinch in reaction when he touches me sometimes. He probably barely notices that I go quiet when scenes depicting sexual assault, abuse, and rape are showing. He probably can’t tell that sometimes I just cry, or have nightmares about it when he’s already asleep. And when he’s not already asleep and he asks me why I’m crying, I don’t really have an answer to give to him. He doesn’t understand why ignoring me when we’ve had a disagreement gives me anxiety so severe I sometimes throw up. He doesn’t understand this part of me. At least not completely.
My family won’t know until they read this. I was too scared to tell them because I didn’t want them to do anything rash -which I know would have been their reactions. (Here’s some comedic relief: No, Shay, you may NOT allow Shaheed to hack his accounts or anything of the like. And you’re also not coming to Georgia to hunt for him. And Keem isn’t allowed to either. NO.) I didn’t want to tell anyone for fear of being judged, or seen as not being strong, or not having “evidence” to prove anything.
So when McKayla Maroney came out about her abuse after all these years, my dad posed the question, “Why now? Why didn’t she say anything before?” I can’t answer for her, but I know what mine was. I was scared and didn’t know any better. Sex education and videos and books and pamphlets can tell someone all the logical steps to take when they’ve been sexually abused. But logic doesn’t exactly win when it’s happening to you.
I want to keep the conversation going. I want others to know that it can happen anywhere. It can happen from a complete stranger, or someone that you love and trust. It can happen in a relationship or outside of one. He can be the nicest guy you ever met. Or she the most charming girl alive. It can happen anywhere and by anyone.
Simply put, I want people to know. Me too.