There is no easy way to start this. There is no easy way to scream out into the world, “I am hurt.” This is the first thing I have ever written and probably most personal I ever will.
When I was 16 years old, struggling with body image, hormones, obsessed with what my peers were doing, a close friend of mine showed me the Insta profile of this hot/rich guy she met and told me to add him on Snapchat so I could meet him. He and I started “talking,” as us millennials love to put it, and he asked me to come see a movie with him. The day of, the movie turned out to be at his house and I already felt uneasy. My best friend was the only one who knew I was going to meet up with him and egged me to follow through.
Maybe some backstory is needed. I never had a boyfriend. I sort of had kissed a guy at this point but not a full “make out” session. I was sheltered and innocent and completely unprepared for what I had just gotten myself into.
Sorry to digress, but anyway, I go to this guy’s parent’s house, we will call him John from here on out. John tells me to “park in the grass,” and I give myself a few seconds to calm the butterflies in my stomach. I tell myself, “it’s fine,” “girls do this all the time.” John comes to my car and opens my door and immediately gives me a kiss on the cheek. I blushed instantly. He walks me inside the house and there are wine bottles covering the granite counters. He nonchalantly mentions, “they are my sister’s.” We sit on this plush white couch and he puts on a movie, I do not remember for the life of me. He puts his arm around me and kisses me on the cheek again. I try to pay attention to the film, but John tries to kiss me on the check a third time, and I was turned toward him.
He suddenly is kissing me, and I try to play along. This is how this is supposed to go, right? Suddenly I realize I cannot breathe and pull away gasping for air. He starts murmuring, “how hot I am” and “how he can’t help himself”, etc. He starts kissing me again and I figure out how to breathe and do this. It starts to feel nice. He starts to unbutton my blouse and unhook my bra. I tell him, “no, not the bra,” because I was scared.
This was all moving so fast. That seems to settle him, and he urges me to climb on top of him. He tries to stick his hand down my shorts and I say, “no, not there,” and he pulls away. We continue to make out and things start escalating again. John asks me, “sit beside me like this.” In the process of me moving he pulls down his pants. I look down and see a penis for the first time in my life. At this point, I was overwhelmed. I felt trapped by him. He grabs my hand and forces me to touch him and I instinctively pull away. I tell him, “no, I am not going to do that.” He starts begging me saying, “how this was my fault he was like this, how I drove him to this point.” I shake my head. He retracts, saying, “it’s okay we can just keep kissing,”
Hesitantly, we start again. He reaches to unclasp my bra and it is hanging by my elbows. He keeps kissing me and I try to pull it back up to cover myself, and he pulls my hands away. I then feel something pointy in between my breasts and I look down to see him jacking off on my boobs. I say, “stop, please, I don’t want to do this,” but his lips cover all my words. Feeling utterly defenseless, I try to ignore the sensation and continue to kiss him. Praying it would end soon. Eventually, it does. John quickly pulls away and I see his completion all over him. I put my bra back on and grab my shirt. He cleans himself off and we just sit there, awkwardly, for a few minutes. I drag my attention back to the movie, asking what it’s about. John, replies, “oh yeah I’ve seen this movie a million times you should watch it sometime.” Still reeling from what just happened I nod. A couple minutes later John says, “I have to go to soon sorry to kick you out, but.” I grab my purse and head for the door. John walks me to where my car is and kisses me on the cheek one last time and says, “thanks for coming over.”
I drive to where my parents think I am and investigate the bathroom. Wondering if everyone can see what just happened and still shaking. Wondering if it was normal what just happened. Feeling violated. Disgusted. Like there was this big neon sign on me telling the world what had just happened. I was ashamed by myself.
A few weeks later, feeling desperate, I message John asking if I can see him. John says, “no,” feeling confused I reply, why?” He says, “because you wouldn’t put out.” I was ashamed. Why did I have to be so innocent and naïve? Was I supposed to go through with it? Feeling insulted, I try to think of something bitchy to say back and all I could come up with is, “your dick is small.” He attacks. He types, “you are so gross and fat and disgusting. I only used you since I thought you would fuck me. My friends all think you are gross and we laugh whenever you post something and talk about how fat you are.”
I was humiliated, seeing the girls he does post and what they look like all my insecurities start to rise. I am fat. I am gross. I do need to lose weight. That’s why guys like him won’t date me.
I felt worthless. Unloved. Used and discarded.
A few weeks pass, and I try to forget all about John and what he said. I wanted to pretend it never happened. John begins to message me again about how, “he’d only hook up with my fat ass if I had anal sex with him, how fat I am,” and plenty other atrocious things. I ignore it. This lasts 3 months.
He finally switches up his game just asking, “if I would hook up with him, we should go out, etc.” Like everything before never happened. Again, I continue to ignore him. This lasts a year.
Eventually, John stops messaging me, and I forget all about him. I forget what he’s done to me and the way he made me feel. I move on with my life.
Flash forward, 3 years later, and I see on Snapchat, John is in my college town. Being blackout drunk, still trying to get the party to live on; I invite John to my friend’s late night after party and welcome him with open arms at the door.
In my inebriated state and thanks to the passing of time, I have forgotten everything. He joins the small group and I continue my conversations with other people. Around 4 am, a few drinks, and drunk party games in, everyone is making out. I leave.
Early afternoon, I hear all about the escapades I missed and hear about how John and my good friend, we will call her, Stacey ended up hooking up and hitting it off. I am a little taken aback but shrug it off.
Finally, we reach today, a couple months later. I remember John. I remember the way he made me feel worthless. How he used me. Violated me. Truthfully, how he abused me. Stacey is still seeing John and I feel like I might puke at the idea of having to be around him. I try to explain to her, confronting my past, and it is too late. John is back in my life. I am forced to spend time around this man.
All I want to do is scream. Scream from the rooftops what he has done and what I was so scared to face. Scream for my 16-year-old self who was violated, ashamed, and too afraid to tell anyone what really happened. Scream for my 20-year-old self who was still too scared to face it. Too scared to tell Stacey what really happened to begin with. Scream for the stupid 20-year-old self who forgot and let him back in.
It took me 4 years to realize what really happened. It is so hard to say that I was a victim and that my first real sexual encounter is one that is still haunting me to this day. I just want to hide back into my shell of oblivion and forget that I remembered. I cannot. I cannot forget what it felt like to have his hands shoving mine away. I cannot forget the sense of helplessness in that situation. I cannot forget that I tried to say no, that his need overtook mine.
I cannot forget that Stacey, my best friend, is continuing to see this man after knowing what he did to me. I cannot forget that he is going to be back in my life. I cannot forget that it is all my fault for letting someone like him back in.
Was I sexually abused? I don’t know. I choose to forget these memories and cannot remember exactly when I gave and when he lost consent. It’s grey. Did I do/say horrible things? Possibly. Did he take advantage and ruin the self-image of a young girl? Absolutely.
The hard thing about the grey area is you don’t know if your feelings are valid. You don’t know if you can firmly say, “this man assaulted me.” You don’t know what truly happened. All you can really do is blame yourself for not speaking up. Not telling him straight out, “no,” and leaving the situation.
Four years later and I am trying to make sense of what happened. Trying to understand if I am a victim. Trying to make sense of all the emotions I feel now and what I felt then.
Will Stacey and I be able to stay friends? I don’t know. I feel guilty for not telling her to begin with, but I wanted her to find happiness even if it was with him. I wanted to stay in my shell of oblivion. I was not ready to face what happened. I still don’t know if I am ready to face it, but I am.
I wanted to pretend I was okay. The thing about pretending, you can only do it so long until you want to scream.
I am determined to become stronger. To face things that scare me. To not do everything alone. To be vulnerable. I am determined to forgive myself for the things that have happened. I am determined to never let John make me feel that way again.