You too? Because sometimes it feels like it is just me.
I was wearing sweatpants, hair a mess. I was laying with a man I trusted and cared for. I was expecting a quiet night and a peaceful sleep. I was hoping to wake up in the same strong arms I had fallen into so many times before. You too?
I remember a warm bed, a soft kiss, and a curious roaming hand. I recall my instincts kicking in and grabbing his forearm with pressure, subtly letting him know this wasn’t going to happen. I thought he didn’t understand (or chose to ignore my signal) and continued to force his hands on me. I know I said, “No.” I know I said, “Not tonight.” I know I said so many things, begging for it to stop. Yet he chose to hear my words and not hear their meaning. You too?
I fled after sharing an evening with a man who so casually forced himself on me, despite my pleas to not. I escaped when he finished getting what he wanted, not what he needed. I left and now am constantly looking back on a moment I won’t forget. You too?
Even with 7 years behind me, the thought of it makes me feel just as uneasy, uncomfortable, and unimportant. I’ve spent years coping, alone, with the thought of a man’s hands on my body without my permission. I have spent countless nights thinking about how the word “no” is utterly powerless. I’ve debated back and forth in my mind a hundred times wondering what I did wrong, what I could have done stop it, and if I somehow had brought it on myself. You too?
I now find myself withdrawing and pulling away from smart, intelligent men that pose no threat to me. I catch myself wondering if every man I talk to is just thinking about having his way with me. I worry that every man I say no too, will ignore my voice. I question the motive of every man. You too?
When I think about the man I am supposed to be with, I’m haunted about having to explain to him why I am so apprehensive about intimacy — socially, emotionally, and physically. Talking about it makes me feel dirty, like I did something wrong. You too?
I will need a man to be patient and know that at the first sign of a real connection, I will pull away. I will need him to know that sharing a bed is a terrifying thought to me. I will need someone who can understand that what happened is something I can’t forget and it is a part of me, my story, and always will be. You too?
I am a smart, funny, caring woman with so much to offer. I am tolerant, sensitive, and appreciative. I care about others and myself. I strive to make this world a better place. I long for a man who can see all of these things in me. I deserve love and respect. You too?
And while I may not be there yet, deep down I do know that I am worthy of that love and respect. You are too.