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I want to stop the silence because what I was taught about rape was incomplete. The reality of rape and abuse can be far different from how the movies portray it to be. My story, along with so many others, wasn’t a result of “stranger danger,” nor did it initially begin as a violent act. I wasn’t attacked in a dim alley or tied up in a dark basement. I was simply an 18 year old who had put her trust in a seemingly-loving person.

My rapist was my boyfriend.

I was a freshman in college, and I met him the very first day of class. We instantly connected and turned into friends. The first month of college had passed, and we had already shared our first kiss. We weren’t “steady” at the time for various reasons, one being that it annoyed me how much he partied. I would remain sober, and he would waste his nights away.

The last party I went to with him he pulled me into a bedroom, he and I fought both physically and verbally as he tried to convince me to have sex with him. I eventually left the party walking alone, in the dark frozen air, over two miles to my apartment. When he eventually sobered up he called me and apologized for what he had done, and blamed it all on the alcohol. I believed him and told him that if he never drank again, I would continue to date him. 

The semester ended, and we both went home for our winter holiday, and before the break was over he had asked me via text message to be his girlfriend. I accepted, and when the break was over and we were both back at school, we spent nearly all of our free time together. Studying, laughing, and kissing.

One weekend, a couple weeks later, my roommates decided to take a quick overnight trip into the city. I stayed behind, as I didn’t have the money to go with them. That evening, I invited my boyfriend over to watch a movie. We made ourselves comfortable, and pulled my mattress out of my bedroom into the living room to watch the movie. When the film had finished he reached into his bag, pulled out a condom, threw it at me, and told me to put it on him. I looked at him in disbelief, and he proceeded to tell me that we could do it “with or without the condom” and that the choice was all mine. In a panic, I realized that I couldn’t risk getting pregnant, and proceeded to put the condom on him. He then ordered me to put him inside me, and once again in alarm, I did what he said. 

As he moved around with his eyes clinched shut, I remember tears welling up in my eyes. I wanted to hit him and scream at him at the top of my lungs and order him to open his eyes, so that he could see the pain literally dripping from my soul. But I remained frozen. When he was satisfied he stood up angrily and, without looking at me, went to lace up his boots. He told me that I had “ruined him” and that he couldn’t believe what I had done.

I had never been taught about rape, and as he left me alone in my empty apartment that night I came to the realization that what had happened was indeed all my fault and that I needed to do everything in my power to “fix him” and eventually marry him. I was unclean and unholy and needed to make things right. For this reason I remained with him and put up with his abuse for nine more months.

It wasn’t until three years after I severed ties with him that I realized the entirety of what he had done to me. I now understand that I did not ruin him, and I have always been clean. It’s been a year since I realized what happened, and almost 5 years since I was attacked. I still struggle with feelings of worthlessness, and have anxiety attacks every now and then. It’s definitely still an upwards climb, but I feel more free with every step I take!

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