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I was 19 when I was sexually assaulted by the boy I first loved. He was my everything. The person I thought I was going to marry. He was planning on leaving on a mission for our church, and I told him that I never wanted to do anything that would harm his chance of going. It was the last night we were going to be together and we were cuddling, enjoying that time together.

Things started to escalate as we started to kiss and then he started to move down towards my pants, and slid them off. I knew that this was not what I wanted and I was afraid to say no, because I didn't want him to get mad. He always got mad whenever I didn't want to make out or if I didn't want to touch him. I just wouldn't be in the mood and he'd get mad. That night, not even five minutes in, I told him to stop and he didn't until I pulled away. I started to cry, saying this was all my fault and that I was sorry. Even though it wasn't my fault. It wasn't. He did it. He knew that I didn't want it. No means no, and he didn't listen. 

For years I thought it was my fault, and that I was the person responsible for what he did to me. But I wasn't. It was him. I know that there are worse things that people have experienced, but what happened to me changed me. It made me scared of becoming close to someone again. I stayed in that relationship for two years and I was so blinded by his words and my infatuation with him that I didn't realize I had been assaulted and that I was in a verbally abusive relationship.

No one deserves to ever feel like it was their fault—because it's not. 

I started seeing a therapist recently and he has helped me in many ways. It's still hard for me to open up about what he did, because I'm scared people won't believe me. But, you need to speak out more and be strong and know that you will get through this. Better days are ahead. You are loved and you deserve to be loved, respected and treated the way you're supposed to be treated.

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