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No person should never have to say NO more than once. The word NO should be respected and the other person should end the behavior all together. By not having the word NO respected in my past, it has left me two years later with issues of self-worth. I feel so degraded, and on occasion will have anxiety and panic attacks. By having one man in my past not respect the word NO, I have PTSD. 

In social work classes I never understood why, when reading case studies, women in abusive relationships stayed with their abuser. I never understood until it happened to me. The paralyzing fear struck me when the thought, “What if I left him?” came to me. I was petrified that he would come and find me and rape me. Even with those thoughts, that’s what happened. 

I met him online and we talked for months before meeting. He was, in theory, my perfect man—tall, blonde, athletic and Lutheran. Having both been raised with conservative values, we both were waiting until marriage, and it felt right. 

That feeling only lasted about a month into our relationship when I saw red flags begin to sprout up. I think I wanted this relationship to happen so badly that I pushed those red flags and my friend’s opinions of him to the side and just lived in the moment. He’d told me he had had an addiction to pornography and had never been physical with a woman before. It all makes sense now. The pornography was in turn the reason he treated me the way he did, or that’s what I choose to believe. 

It was two months of repeating the word NO while being pinned down onto the couch, unwillingly stroking the part of the man I’d never seen before and having me being rubbed and felt in places I didn’t want to be. It then became verbal as he would say things such as “You’re such a tease,” and, “You deserve the way you’re getting treated.” 

By the time the weekend came to a close, we were always yelling at each other and by Wednesday or Thursday he’d apologize and say it wouldn’t happen again. I would tell him it’d better not. 

A few weeks later, I drove to his place (he still lived with his parents) and he forced me to take my clothes off and just lay in bed with him. Harmless, I thought, until he said he wanted to try something. I said NO very clearly to his request but his response, “Just one time, to see if we like it, please?” And he took my head and forced it upon him, pushing it deeper and deeper into my mouth. The more I fought back, the more he pushed, so I just let it happen. 

Three days later I called my sister, and didn’t speak of anything that happened but asked, “How do you break up with a man who doesn’t respect your physical boundaries?” 

Although two years later, I live with guilt knowing I never reported him. There are times when I still feel damaged and worthless but talking about my experiences helps me to move on. My experiences help to break the silence of a horrendous event that happens too often in this world. It’s an upward climb and things can only get better because I have faith and hope for a better life and a loving relationship.

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