** trigger warning: sexual assault
When people think of sexual assault, they think that strangers are the only danger. You’re taught to expect this from strangers, but never people close to you. You’re taught that it tends to happen when you’re under the influence.
My sexual assault story doesn’t involve a stranger. It doesn’t involve a night out. It doesn’t involve any substances. I was completely sober and I was sexually assaulted by someone I considered a “friend” at the time.
When I was 20, I moved in with my best friend and her boyfriend because their roommate had moved out. I came in to essentially cover the rent they were missing out on from him. The problem is, a couple months after I had moved in, my friend decided she didn’t want to be with her boyfriend anymore.
As the distance began to grow between them, he started to develop feelings for me. After she left, I stayed because I just wasn’t ready to go back to my parents. I was enjoying the freedom of not being under their roof.
But as I said, her then recent-ex began to have feelings for me. He would make comments about how we were the same person and he would hint how much we had in common. Despite me repeatedly telling him that I was not interested, he continued to push.
Eventually, he convinced himself that my feelings would change towards him if he had sex with me. This was something I did not want at all, and I expressed that several times. Despite me saying no, he went for it anyways.
I dissociated the whole time. My body went numb and thankfully, I felt nothing. But, it didn’t change the fact that it happened. It didn’t change the fact that my boundaries I tried to set were disrespected.
I called my best guy friend and had him help me gather all of my things and I moved out that night.
That assault has had a serious effect on me and my relationship. I jump a lot of the time when I get touched now, even by my own boyfriend who I trust completely. There are times that I am afraid to close my eyes when I’m intimate with my own boyfriend. Other times, I will dissociate while we are intimate.
Despite my boyfriend knowing that this happened to me, it’s hard for him to understand why I am jumpy when it comes to being intimate. After all, he is my boyfriend, I trust him, and it is consensual. The problem is, my body remembers the trauma from that one time. And it’s hard for someone who hasn’t been through it to understand. It isn’t a conscious thing.
It’s something I wish I never had to go through. I never took any action. In fact, I had convinced myself that it wasn’t rape for years. I remember a conversation I had with my therapist expressing these thoughts. I told her I didn’t think it was because I gave up and just took it because my repeated no’s didn’t work. But, it was absolutely rape because it wasn’t consensual and I didn’t want it. There was absolutely no part of me that wanted that.