After 3 years I am ready to share my story. Until now I have told exactly 3 people, my absolute best friends, and they have been amazing. But now I am ready to share it here. It is going to be a long story, but I make no apologies for that. And if only one person ever reads this and if it makes the tiniest bit of difference to them, then it has been worth it.
My experience happened when I was 18. I had started seeing someone, and we got on really well straight away. When A. told me that he loved me, I wasn’t really ready to say it back. He was very strict with me about that, and gave me a deadline by which I needed to tell him I loved him, or else he would lose interest. I didn’t know how I felt yet, but I knew I didn’t want to lose him and regret it, so I told him I loved him. That night we were snuggling up together and he asked me, “If you love me, when are you going to make love to me?” I told him that I really wasn’t ready yet and that it could take a long time for me to feel comfortable with that. I was a virgin and he was my first boyfriend. Having sex with someone was a big deal for me, and I wanted it to be something special that we could look back on for years to come.
As we got closer, I started to go to his house after work and relax with him and his friends, who I got on really well with. When we were all together as a group, he would hardly look at me, let alone talk to me. Then he would always lead me into his room afterwards, push me onto the bed and lie on top of me (both fully clothed) , pushing my shoulders down towards him as he thrusted upwards. I was scared the first time. My shoulders hurt, he was much bigger than me so I couldn’t breathe so well, and I didn’t know how far he was going to take it. I told him I didn’t want to do that anymore, but nothing changed. After that I just tried to detatch myself from what was happening when he did that to me. Sometimes I would try to push him off me, but he was far too strong. I would stare up at the ceiling, and focus on my breathing and wait until he was finished, at which point he would roll off and go to sleep. I think he must have taken my submission as a sign of me enjoying it, and he started to want to take off my clothes while we were doing that. That was the last thing I wanted. With my clothes on, he couldn’t rape me. With them off, I knew it was just going to be a matter of time. This went on for about 3 months.
One night he asked me to “use my mouth”. Since I wasn’t going to have sex with him, apparently that was the least I could do. I said no, and was very clear that I didn’t want to, but he pushed my head down and tried to make me. For me, that was a step too far. I pushed his hand away, and got up and left. The following day he came to my house to apologise. At the time I thought that I had finally managed to put an end to it all, and I hoped now we could be together without the scary part. That evening I went to his house. He seemed angry with me. He told me that as his girlfriend, I had a responsibility to show him that I loved him. He said he couldn’t believe that I loved him because I had never *done* anything with him. He suggested that I should just take off my clothes in front of him. I told him that I didn’t want to, because I knew that if I was standing in front of him with no clothes on, he would want more and I wasn’t comfortable with that. He promised me he wouldn’t. For some reason, he was really important to me. I wanted to make him happy and I hated the thought of him being upset because his girlfriend didn’t love him. I took off my clothes down to my underwear. As I took them off he threw them to the other side of the room. That really scared me. He said I was beautiful, but that it wasn’t enough – he needed the underwear off. I reluctantly took it off, and let him look at me for a few seconds. Then I went to get my clothes back, but before I knew it, he had me down on the bed. He was lying naked on top of me and I was pushing him and really fighting back. I was so angry because he promised he wouldn’t do that. I pushed and pushed with all of my strength but it was having absolutely no effect. Nothing is clearer in my memory than the moment I realised no matter how hard I tried to push him away, it wasn’t going to work. My entire strength couldn’t even move one of his shoulders, and he was on top of me, and we were naked. There were a lot of thoughts going through my mind, but most of all I was wondering how I could have been stupid enough to get myself into this situation. I didn’t want to have sex with him, I was scared I would get pregnant, I was angry that he had broken his promise, but most of all I was so mad at myself for letting it happen. After all, I was the one who took of my clothes. I was the one who wanted to please him, and I was the one who wasn’t strong enough to push him away. Somehow, I managed to cross my legs with him on top of me. I decided that, up until the point where he managed to penetrate me, I still had the chance to stop it. So I crossed my legs one over the other and squeezed them together SO tight so that he wouldn’t be able to get through. His penis was going between my legs, but at least it wasn’t getting any further. My legs were aching from pushing so hard but I knew I just had to hold on and wait until he finished. Eventually he did. I had his ejaculate all over the top of my legs and further up. He rolled off me and fell asleep as usual. For a while I just lay there with my legs still crossed in case he woke up and it happened again. And then I relaxed them, and lay staring up at the ceiling feeling pretty empty. I decided then that it had to stop. I had been lucky that time, but once that had happened once, I knew A. was going to make sure it happened again. I couldn’t be sure that I was going to have the opportunity to cross my legs again, and I knew that I wouldn’t be strong enough to get him off me if he started. When I left that night it was just after midnight. I was terrified of walking home by myself, and fortunately one of my friends happened to be just sitting on his doorstep. When I saw him I started crying, but I couldn’t tell him why. He said I didn’t need to, and he took my hand and walked me home. It was exactly what I needed him to do. I saw A. a couple of times after that, but only around other people. I had to move far away for university in a couple of days anyway, so I decided not to confront him about it. That would involve us being alone, which was a risk I couldn’t really afford to take. We said goodbye to each other, and I have not seen him since.
Now, 3 years on, I have a lovely boyfriend who respects me and is there for me. He wants to snuggle with me, and spend time with me. He doesn’t mind if I want to be naked or not, he lets me choose what I want to do, and even though he is stronger than me, if I made the slightest attempt to push him away, he would just go and give me space. I’ve been really lucky and I didn’t know that sex and love could be this much fun until I was with him. He was the first person I told this story to, over a year on from when it happened. It must have taken me about 3 hours to tell him. I just couldn’t find the words. It took me a long time to formulate each sentence before I said it, but he was so patient. He sat with me and just listened. Since then I have learnt how to deal with it all better. The most important thing I have learned is that sex doesn’t need to be scary or forced or painful or hurtful or upsetting, and those are the only words I could have used to describe it when I was with A. I want other women to know that someone being your boyfriend does not give them a free pass to do whatever they want. It might seem like an obvious thing to lots of people, but I think when you’re in the middle of something like that, it feels very complicated. I shouldn’t have allowed it to get so far, but I have learnt from what happened. And if anyone is out there going through a similar thing, remember you are strong even when you feel like you are so weak and powerless. And whoever you are, you deserve much, much better.