Stray’s Story: Why did I ignore the signs?

Stray’s Story: Why did I ignore the signs?

I’ve never felt ashamed of who I was until I was with him. It was slow, almost methodical the way he did it, but by the end of the relationship, there was nothing left of me. This is my story from the very beginning.
We first met in rookie school, and to be honest he was a complete ass. I told myself though, that he was a good guy and that he was just being funny. These were the first of many red flags that I would continue to ignore. This included degrading comments about women, inappropriate workplace touching (he came up behind me and poked both sides of my waist), and he was engaged to another but still flirted with me. In my defense, I didn’t know it was flirting at the time. I thought he was just being nice/joking around. Rookie school ended, and by the end, we were good friends. I’ll even say he was my best friend.
We remained in contact with one another, and I was there for him (as a friend) when his fiancée ended things. Two months later, he asked me out. I honestly, never thought of him as anything other then a friend, but when he asked, I thought “why not.” The first few months of us dating were great. He was there for me, and I could tell his rough exterior was beginning to come down. I really thought that this could be it. And then January happened. It was the start of the worst year of my life.
I had a minor cough and felt sick, but still wanted to hang out so invited him over. He bent down to kiss me, and I said in a funny/serious tone, “Hey I’m sick get away.” He continued to try, and I continued to dodge stating that I’m sick and I didn’t want to. He finally gave up and sat on the other couch next to me. For the next few hours I would try to talk to him, but he gave me the cold shoulder. When I finally asked him what was wrong, he said it was because I didn’t want to kiss him. I was in such disbelief; I didn’t know how to respond. My illness made me the bad guy somehow. This was the first red flag that would ultimately lead to me getting raped.
Over the next few months, he would get angry with me when I did not want to show physical affection. I’ve never been much of a physical touching kind of person, but he made me feel terrible every time I refused. He called us friends with benefits because I didn’t like to show physical affection publicly or privately. I would try and say it’s just how I am, and that it’s not about him, but he never accepted it. There were times when we would be driving, and his hand would be on my upper thigh. I would move it closer to my knee, and he would just move it back up. One time he even stated, “What do you think I’m going to grope you?” and then grabbed my crouch before moving it back where it was. One night when he wanted to have sex and I wanted sleep; he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I was so tired so I said he could continue to rub against me, but I was going to sleep. I told him he could, but I didn’t think he would. I woke up later when he was wiping his semen off of me. It felt so weird and wrong, but technically I said he could, so I ignored it. When he wanted to do it again, I said that I thought it was weird and didn’t want him to do it again. He got angry with me and asked how it was weird. It was weird to me, that should’ve been enough for him. When we were out of town visiting my parents, I told him that I didn’t feel comfortable having sex in my parent’s home. I told him this well before our trip, but he tried anyway. Each time I shot him down. About halfway through our trip, I noticed he was starting to treat me as he did when I was sick that previous January. When I once again confronted him about it, he said that he wasn’t mad, just annoyed that he wasn’t having sex but had to lay next to me at night. I couldn’t take how he was treating anymore, and when we were hiking alone one afternoon, I said that we could do it there. After, his demeanor changed completely. I learned right there, that if I didn’t give him what he wanted, he would treat me like I was this awful human until I did.
The day I was raped, I was depressed before he even came over. For months, he had never respected my boundaries physically, and he made me feel inadequate as a girlfriend. At the time, I didn’t think the depression was linked to the relationship. He treated me bad, but he was also good to me. How can someone that says they love you, treat you badly? It had to be me, it was my fault, right? I just wanted to try to make it work so badly that I ignored every red flag that appeared and blamed myself for it. So, I invited him over even though I was depressed. In the past I hadn’t, and I think it was because deep down I knew he would want sex. My text roughly stated that I was having a bad day and didn’t want to do anything due to depression, and that he didn’t have to come over if he didn’t want to. He did though. At first, we just cuddled on the couch. When he started to “make his move” I said that I didn’t want to because I was afraid that it would make me feel empty. I was already in a depressed state, and it took a lot of energy for me to say that. I don’t know how much time had passed, but he then started to kiss my arm and continued to make his way down to my legs. I didn’t fight, I didn’t say anything. But my mind was racing. He started with oral on me, and then I heard him take his shorts off. I remember thinking how I didn’t want to, but also how I couldn’t say anything because I didn’t want to make him mad at me again. During, I remember looking straight ahead thinking now I’m empty, there’s nothing left. Once he finished, we kissed right after, but I couldn’t look at him. I went to the bathroom to wipe him off of me. I then returned to where I was. I don’t know if I said this, but I know I at least thought it, “I told you that I didn’t want to.”
We dated for another few months, and to be honest, I blocked out the rape completely. I told myself that it wasn’t rape because I didn’t fight, and I wasn’t clear enough to him. It was my fault, I caused it. Still, I knew that I needed to end things with him, but never could. It took me getting in a car accident for me to finally break up with him. I then wanted to prove I was okay. After a month, I tried dating again. The first guy I dated, sexually assaulted me and brought everything that my ex did to me back to the surface. I told him it was only our second date and that I wanted to wait, but he kept going. The whole time I was protesting, he kept touching me and kissing me all over. I no longer had a voice, and once again felt that I caused the situation. The only thing that saved me here, was the fact that my pants were tight, and he didn’t take them off all of the way. They prevented him from finding my vagina, but he still wiped his dick all over me trying to get there. What made me feel even worse though, is that he apologized for his behavior, and I said that it was ok.
I then realized how messed up I was due to my ex and started therapy. There I realized that my boyfriend was emotionally abusive and that he raped me. A lot more happened before I was raped, but I feel like this story is long enough. It doesn’t need everything he did to me or how he made me feel to get my story across. I am still in therapy, and though I have some good days, most are either bad or empty. The empty days are what scare me most. I was once a strong person, but now I feel so lost and broken. I keep telling myself that good days will come, but sometimes it is hard to get past the self-blame and self-hatred. There were so many signs in front of me, why did I ignore them and stay? How did it get to the point that I felt like I couldn’t even stop him from doing what he did to me? How could I lose who I was, so fast? I may never know the answers to these questions, but I need to learn to live with it somehow. I hope this story helps others, as I hope writing my story helps me.

Author

WYR

WYR

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

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