Relationships Do Not Equate to Consent
In the beginning, he was the perfect boyfriend. Since our first date, we would see each other every single day and we shared the deepest, darkest secrets of our lives within a few weeks of meeting each other. He took me to his favorite places and brought me flowers, met my dog and my family. He was sweet, hardworking, dedicated and placed me on a high pedestal. His family was the best, treated me with such respect and welcomed me like I was their own. I knew we were going to be together for a long time and I was happy – for about 3 months. From there, we slipped into a downward spiral of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Over the course of 3 years, he tore down my entire sense of who I was, every ounce of self-confidence or worth of myself I had carefully crafted over the years. He made it impossible for me to say no to him, even for sex, even if I didn’t want to. I believe he enjoyed it more when I didn’t want to. It took me a long time to realize it was still rape, even though we were in a relationship, even though I eventually said yes. I was scared of him and what he’d do if I said no. So, I remember lying still while he entered me, tears flowing from my closed eyes, forcing myself to leave my own body. I remember every time he laid his hands on my body without my consent, every time he threw drinks on me, pulled me by my hair, every threat against my dog’s life, every moment I felt frightened for my own life. I remember it all… But the weight isn’t as heavy. It’s been almost two years since I left him for good. I know that if I never did, I would’ve been stuck in that cycle for years. And I would have eventually been seriously hurt by him. I don’t know if I believe good things can come out of bad situations, but I’m determined to make that the case here. I use it to be grateful for the things I have today, for who I have now. And no matter how bad I hurt in the past, I have control over my future and the things I do as well as who I do them with.