Trigger warning: sexual assault
To the Guys Who Took Advantage of Me,
I apologize for lumping you into one letter, but there are just so many of you. This letter is for the guys who refused to take no for an answer. The guys who pushed me into doing things I didn’t want to do. The guys who wore me down until they got what they wanted.
I went out with so many of you. You said you wanted to take me on a date, and then you convinced me to “hang out” at your apartment. Before I continue, allow me to provide you with a bit of history.
I have led a sheltered life. Despite the fact that I’ve been boy crazy for as long as I can remember, I never dated in high school. I went to a tiny school, and there was no one there who I connected with romantically. So, you need to take into account my naïveté and inexperience.
When I got to college, there were guys everywhere! I quickly gained some experience, but then I went into a downward spiral of depression. I left school shortly before the end of the year, and I returned home in the midst of a major depressive episode. This episode lasted for four years.
I was miserable. And then I found something that made me feel better: guys! I joined multiple dating websites, which led to a ton of dates. We started with dinner, but then you always invited me back to your place to “hang out”.
Logically, I knew what that entailed. But you have to keep in mind my level of despair. I never went into it wanting a one-night stand. You told me how great I am, how much you liked me and how you couldn’t wait to see me again. The most incredible part of this story is that I honestly believed you.
I was down to fool around. However, I didn’t want to have sex immediately. You talked about our future, and I truly thought we would have one. So when you asked me to have sex, I said no. I wanted to wait a bit, to really get to know each other.
The next thing you did was ask me again. And again. And again. You said all the right things to wear me down. Eventually, I gave in.
Do you know how I felt afterward? About a million times worse than I did before. I had been so determined not to have sex, but I did anyway. I was an idiot. I was a slut. I didn’t deserve to have a relationship. I was a terrible person. These are the things I said to myself, these things that I thought were true.
Then one day, approximately 10 years later, I read a book that talked about consent. I learned the term “emotional coercion”. That occurs when a person makes it abundantly clear that they want to have sex, but they get talked into it. They say no over and over, but they finally give in to it. Emotional coercion is legally classified as a type of sexual assault.
I cried when I read this. It’s the exact scenario that played out a decade before. Not just with one guy. It happened so many times that you all blurred together. I was stunned to learn that coercion is sexual assault. because that means that the way I felt after, the hatred I felt for myself, wasn’t my fault. It was yours. There was a legitimate reason for why my heart hurt.
I’m sure you never looked at it that way. You probably didn’t realize how I felt, even though sometimes I cried afterward. That’s why I’m telling you now. Please, I beg you, learn from this letter. Respect boundaries. Accept the word “no” the first time you hear it. Stop treating women this way. They don’t deserve it. And neither did I.
The Girl Who Didn’t Want To