It was an exciting romance, at least the idea of it was. He was my teacher at university, and I his student. I always had a fantasy of being with a professor, and in my last semester of university the fantasy came true. All semester long I sat in his classroom with my jaw proverbially dropped as he spoke my mind out loud in a room full of attentive pupils. He was captivating, knowledgeable, and whenever he turned the lights down to show a video his eyes fixated on me and didn’t move.
I barely spoke in his class but I knew that at the end of the semester I had to give him my number. My attraction to him was strong, and I needed to learn more about him. So after classes ended but before the final project was due I went to his office hours. I knocked on his office door and when it was opened I found him standing in the middle of the room conducting a meeting with ten other professors in attendance. I fumbled on my words a little bit but managed to squeeze out a shy “I was looking for you”. He said to me in a cool tone I’ll never forget “just give me five minutes,” and then the door was shut and I was on the other side of it.
I waited for roughly 20 minutes before deciding that was too long to wait to give someone your number and knocked on the door again. By this point only one of the other professors remained and I asked him when his next office hours were so I could come back. He invited me in as he finished the meeting, then the other professor left and we were alone.
Later he would tell me that was the first time he was in his office with a female student with the door shut, he had a policy of not being alone with female students. I told him I had a few questions and proceeded to ask my first question about the final project. Then when that was out of the way I said, “Now the next question is not school related…I was wondering if you’re seeing someone.” He paused, let out a big “wow” and then I proceeded to say “I know, I don’t normally do this but so many of the things you say in class are so in line with the way I think and I was wondering if you wanted to grab a cup of coffee or do something some time.”
We both sat there, kind of shell shocked, and with my nerves jumping I managed to say “How about this. Why don’t I write down my number on this post-it and when you’re officially not my teacher you can give me a call.” He said “alright” and I shakily wrote down my number, saying “I’m not sure if I can even make this out”…He replied “That looks like it says…” and read my number back to me to confirm that he had the right one. I said “yup” and he said “okay. Let me know if you have any other questions about the final project” and within seconds I was back on the other side of the door on my way to finish the assignment.
About a week after graduation I received a text message from an unknown number, claiming it was him and asking if I was still down to do something. I responded yes, and a couple of phone calls and text messages later and he invited me for “a smoke” by the water. I was surprised to learn that a smoke was of marijuana and not a cigarette but I was intrigued all the same. At that point I wasn’t a big smoker, but I occasionally dabbled in weed here and there. We went for a smoke which lasted about three hours, mostly consisting of him talking my ear off the entire time, and ended the night with a Corona on the window sill of his Old Montreal apartment.
At this point I was on the fence about whether or not to see him again, but sure enough we ended up back together the next night. This time going for a drink and a long walk home from downtown. We stopped to kiss on our way back to my home, several times along the way and finally, lastly, in front of my apartment. At this point I was all in, I had been pining for him for months from the seat of the lecture hall and now my dream was finally coming true.
But be careful what you wish for.
The next morning he invited me over to hang out and excitedly I got out of bed, put on Drake’s “Find Your Love” and got dressed. I still remember what I was wearing, a light grey striped crop top with a pair of baggy white sweatpants. I showed up at his place excited at the prospect of pursuing a romance with this man I found so intriguing and similar to me in so many ways. We ended up in his bed, my clothes eventually off and engaged in what was up-to-that-point the most charged sexual experience of my life. I remember thinking as he kissed down my torso “what have I done to deserve this” thinking I was the luckiest girl in the world.
Everywhere I wanted him to touch he touched, everywhere I wanted for him to kiss, he kissed. Then it all changed. I was prepared to engage in sexual acts, but not the act of sex itself. I wasn’t ready. I really liked this guy, and wanted for it to work out and knew that waiting for sex was the best course of action, so I said no when he wanted to take things further. But that didn’t stop him. In the blink of an eye everything changed as he overpowered me and thrust himself inside me, having sex with me against my will. I remember feeling slightly embarrassed as he used my body as a play toy, and when he finished I said to him “you know that wasn’t consensual, right?” to which he responded “sometimes no means yes”. I then said “I think I’ve heard that in a courtroom before”. And that was it.
I’d like to tell you that the next thing I did was go to a police station and report the incident. I’d like to tell you that I walked out of his apartment that instant and never saw him again. But I didn’t. That’s not my story. I proceeded to go downstairs and fill the parking meter, pick up a coffee for him at the Starbucks next door and go back upstairs to spend more time with my rapist. You see, even though I’m a bright intelligent woman, and even though I’m quite strong, I deleted the whole incident from my memory. I don’t know why and I don’t know how but after our brief post forced coital conversation, I literally forgot the whole thing had occurred. Chalk it up to an incredible degree of shock, or call it whatever you want, but the rape occurred in June 2010, and I only finally remembered the whole thing in October 2013, three years later.
We had a long drawn out on and off relationship after that point. He never raped me again, but the threat of it must have always been there. I fell for him, hard. I’d call it love, but I know that love doesn’t do that. I know that love doesn’t rape. We had an intense mental connection, it both intrigued me and scared me from day one, but I had never experienced that sort of connection with someone before and I always wanted more. For years I let him string me along, giving me very little until finally, somehow the relationship came to an end. To quote Beyoncé, “thank God I found the good in goodbye.”
Years later I have struggled with getting over this man that so brutally mistreated me from day one. It has shown me the incredible intricacies when it comes to matters of the heart and just how far we can push ourselves to pursue a romance even when that romance is so blatantly wrong for us from the start. Now he’s pursuing a career in comedy, and I find myself wanting to call him to talk about it…why, I don’t know, but even though I’m deeply in love with someone else and have for all intensive purposes moved on I still find myself periodically wanting to reach out.
Not many people discuss rape by a lover. I have yet to read a piece or see an interview of someone who’s been through it, but I know that it exists. Rape in relationships is more common than you’d think, and like many cases of domestic violence the women stay. I started this article telling the story of how the relationship came to be, but I end it with a cautionary message of learning to love yourself first. Don’t let yourself overlook violence because you love him. Don’t convince yourself that it’s love when it so blatantly is not. Love may hurt, but it’s not meant to hurt in that way.
If I could I would go back to that day in June 2010 and walk straight into that police station only blocks away to report the crime that took place. I would take him to court and watch him pay for the crime he committed against me. Having your body treated as someone else’s property is not only a violating but a heartbreaking experience. I wish I could turn back the hands of time, but I can’t, but it may not be too late for you. The scars of that relationship have persisted with time, I’ve learned from the experience but I’ve also lost because of it. In sum, don’t delete violence at the hands of a lover from your memory just because of the promise of what could be, face reality and walk out before you lose any more time. Time is precious, and I have come to learn that love can be everything you want for it to be, if you let it.