I was 16, he was 18. I was captivated by his charm. He was so mysterious. I quickly fell in love. He struggled with a pornography addiction, often giving me an ultimatum to either have sex with him or he'd get it elsewhere.
Slowly, I recoiled.
I didn't want to be kissed by him. I didn't want to be touched by him. He was angry and made it known that no one else would stay with me like he was. I felt lucky, but I also felt worthless. Maybe that's why I held on for so long. After a long, grueling three and a half years, I finally let go.
Even though I let go, part of me still felt connected to him. I couldn't really place my finger on it, but something wasn't right. Over a year after we broke up, he called me. Half-drunk, half-sober. You know, that point when you're aware of what you're saying, but you don't know any better than to tell the truth.
"I touched you while you were sleeping."
I can still hear these words when I close my eyes. These words let me know that that the boy I once loved sexually assaulted me while I was sedated over and over and over again. And I didn't even have the chance to fight back or to protest.
Life changed after this. I developed depression and PTSD. I was afraid of men, of relationships, of love. I carried around pepper spray. I lost my appetite and started sleeping all the time to escape my thoughts while I was awake. I started going to therapy. I stayed in my room all day. I was startled by loud noises. I was easily irritated. I started having flashbacks and nightmares. I asked God to take my life. I lost friends. My best friends blamed me for what happened. I felt dirty, worthless, unlovable, damaged.
Some days, I still feel that way.