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Feb 15

Katie Jenkins’s Story: Long Distance Abuse is Still Abuse

Back in June of 2015, I entered a relationship with someone over the internet. This wasn’t my first long-distance relationship, so I was very aware of what I was getting into distance-wise. This person came off as really funny, charming, and seemingly very sensitive and understanding. What a catch, am I right?

The problem was he had a very high sex drive, while I didn’t have much of one due to being asexual. Once we were relatively far into the relationship and things seemed to be getting serious, he asked for revealing pictures of me. The first red flag should have been the fact that I was 17 at the time and he acknowledged the fact that this was illegal. In my mind, it wasn’t that strange considering he was only a year older than me so I agreed. At first, I didn’t mind being a bit more intimate in that way because I loved him and he deserved it, right?

Soon after, he asked if we could engage in “skype sex”. The thought made me a little uncomfortable, but again I agreed to make him happy. The experience wasn’t that great for me, but he seemingly loved it because he continued asking if we could do it more and more and asked for more explicit pictures when I wasn’t able to get on skype. I kept growing more and more uncomfortable, and started telling him that I didn’t want to do that anymore.

At first, he seemed relatively accepting of this; he would complain but he would never push it too far. However, the experience had left me somewhat sex-repulsed for awhile and whenever he’d ask, I’d turn it down. I think he began to grow frustrated not only sexually but at me specifically because that’s when it went bad. He started being noticeably upset whenever I’d tell him no, and he started accusing me of not finding him attractive anymore or he’d tell me that if I still loved him, I’d do this for him.

You see, when I was in this relationship, I relied too much on him/our relationship for emotionally stability. I was struggling a lot with anxiety, depression, and disordered eating and felt like I needed him to have any good in my life. I think he knew this, because pulling the “if you loved me” card had me willing to do anything to keep him. Despite me having clearly said no previously, I was coerced into continuing to send pictures and engage in cybersex to keep him happy.

He broke up with me about one year ago as of when I’m writing this because of me being trans/nonbinary, and I’ve done a lot of learning since then. Only within the past month or so have I realized how abusive that relationship was to me, both sexually and emotionally. Despite this, I’ve struggled to call this man my “abuser”. After all, given it was over the internet it’s not like he could have physically made me do the things that I did. I know that this mentality is ludicrous and toxic and I know that of course he was abusive to me and he deserves to be labelled as such. But part of me invalidates my own experience because of the long distance status.

But I know I was sexually abused.

My ex-partner was my abuser.

All my friends may think he was a good guy because of the lies I told them about our relationship, but that doesn’t change the fact that he took advantage of me.

Just because it was long distance doesn’t mean it wasn’t sexual abuse.

He questioned my obvious loyalty, he questioned my obvious feelings, and he made me feel like it was my fault that his hand wasn’t satisfying enough to accept the lack of clear consent from me.

He didn’t respect my boundaries when I originally said no.

When he wasn’t using me as his sex toy, he was playing his video games and he didn’t even bother to acknowledge my fucking existence.

Just because it was long distance doesn’t fucking mean I wasn’t abused.

Me not realizing that this was abuse at the time doesn’t make it any less hurtful and destroying; this only delayed the pain and feelings of betrayal and guilt.

I was sexually abused.

About the author

WYR

When You’re Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

Permanent link to this article: http://whenyoureready.org/katiejenkins/