It took 19 months for me to accept that my sexual assault happened, but only two weeks thereafter to talk to a friend, seek legal counsel and confront my ex about the night I wish I could forget.
I carefully considered the words I wanted to share with him so that I would be succinct, firm and honest. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to say, so I practiced and wrote everything down in a letter to give him when I finished talking. I wanted to make sure he didn’t forget how he acted.
However, the night didn’t go quite as planned. He showed up late to the event I was planning to stop him at, and before I could get very far into my story, he interrupted me. Nonetheless, I was prepared, and I handed him a letter with all of the details he needed to know.
When I told you it’s hard for me to be around you because of how you treated me when we dated, there was something I wasn’t ready to talk about when you asked me to explain why I feel this way.
When we shared a hotel room in New York City one night, I told you I didn’t want to have sex and I don’t engage in casual sex. Later in the evening, you asked if I would be comfortable being completely naked, and I said, “No.” Later on, you slid your hand underneath my panties, and when I rejected this activity, you replied, “Just lay back and enjoy it.”
I didn’t know how to respond at this point. I laid there like a dead fish hoping the fact that I was clearly uncomfortable would make you stop, but you didn’t. Eventually, as it started to hurt, I thought of something else to say, which was, “Could you at least try to keep my underwear on?” You grudgingly backed off, highlighting that it wasn’t like my underwear covered much anyway. However, my underwear DID cover that area of my body, I DID NOT consent to being touched there that night, and I definitely DID NOT enjoy it.
There are two distinct phrases I remember hearing from you on multiple occasions that always upset me:
“You’re so lucky you don’t have to stop.”
“I don’t understand why you don’t want THAT.”
I will never forget this experience, and every time I see you, I relive it.
I’ve consulted legal counsel, and I’ve debated filing charges. I don’t want to go this route. All I want is to NEVER see you again.
I can’t make you quit working with the community theatre group, but I can file a sexual assault charge against you, pursue a restraining order, and speak up about what happened.
You didn’t just hurt my feelings when we dated. You took something I can’t get back, and you will never understand the damage you caused.
A few hours later I received a text apologizing for interrupting me earlier and wishing he had heard me out. Of all of things he could apologize for, he apologized for interrupting me. A week later, I reported the sexual assault.
Our last “conversation” may be incredibly unsatisfying, but I still hope it is our last. Part of me will always wish that I could have seen his reaction to my revelation in the letter; however, a bigger part of me wishes it wasn’t a revelation at all since he was there, on top of me, when this happened and couldn’t have cared less. For someone informed on the matter of consent, he missed the point: consent involves care and respect. If you don’t care about and respect what your partner is saying, doing and feeling, consent isn’t there.