I just signed on to theTribe which I think is a good step. I saw the Blog option and thought I might as well share what happened to me so if anyone out there has gone through something similar, they won’t feel so alone. I don’t think I ever really had big insecurities until late in middle school when I started to feel nervous about wearing a swim suit and conscious of the hair on my upper lip. To start, I am a girl (she/her), I’ve lived my whole life in California, and I’m gonna share about how I was sexually abused for 1 1/2 years and how it affected me. Back to insecurities, once I got to high school, there were always new problems I had with myself. Looking back, I’ pretty sure I suffered from a case of body dysmorphia because I always thought I was gaining weight and my legs were balloons but I was 5’8″ and only 130 pounds, which is underweight-healthy, but I was obsessed with thinking I was fat. I was pretty active, I loved PE and I played rec soccer with a local club. I always hated having to go but I also always felt better after working out, like I was actually capable, so I loved soccer and I was pretty good except for my stamina in the heat. Soon into school and the soccer season everyone was making new friends and finding old ones from before middle school. My best friend (we’ll call her Beth) met a boy (call him Jerkface) and started to talk to him. He was in our band class but I didn’t really know him at all, I just new his name and that he was friends with some of the popular band guys in our class. I knew she was starting to like him so I wanted to know who he was and if he liked her back. As a wing-woman I chatted with him once at a football game (we were required to attend as part of the band) and asked him if he liked anyone in our class, he said no and eventually explained that he’d been texting some girl from our rival high school. I got the impressing he’d been talking to her for a while and even had a date planned out. I tried to promote my friend subtly but mostly just took in his words to report back to Beth. The next week by the next football game, Beth told me she was mad at Jerkface for saying he liked this other girl. Beth had become friends with Jerkface and they’d started telling each other things about their lives, as friends do. He hadn’t had a clue she liked him so much and when he confided to her about his other girl, she overreacted and got super mad  at him for not telling her he was gonna go on a date with this girl. He was confused and annoyed at her reaction because he hadn’t done anything wrong, he’d just asked a girl he liked on a yogurt date. At the weekly game, he told me about it (I’d already heard it from Beths side) and it sounded pretty reasonable. Anyway, in that following week, I’d started to take Beth’s place and started texting Jerkface more and more. (he actually got stood up by the other girl) and as I said before, I was super insecure and hated myself, (I hadn’t been eating breakfast or a full lunch since 7th grade) and his attention was like painkillers. Very quickly our relationship escalated and we’d planned a date at the movies. There we watched the movie and held hands and at the end we kissed. Sounds like a fairytale, right? Well it wasn’t. Little did I know, this boy would go on to be my boyfriend for one and a half years, the worst most wasted years of my life so far. Eventually I had to tell Beth that we were dating which sucked because she still despised him. She said it was ok but I knew it wasn’t. Jerkface called every night and soon he didn’t hang up. He wanted to “fall asleep together” since it was closer to actually being in the same bed. I was still entranced by the fact that any boy would like me so I did everything he wanted. The honey moon phase lasted about a month before he started instigating sexual texting and phone calls. Soon he wanted to have sex. On the phone, I felt confident, I was thinking that I would be cool if I did it and that ‘d be a good girlfriend so I agreed. But as soon as he said he was riding his bike to my house, my mind was changed. From that moment on, I would always feel a rush of anxiety around him, scared of what he’d ask me to do. I almost begged to not do it. Once he was on my porch I knew I wasn’t up for it, but he kept talking me into it,”it won’t be long”, “no one’s here” “you said you’d do it”. So I walked him in. It really hurt. The whole time, it just hurt. He was telling me what to do and where to be and I just did it because I wanted it to be over quicker. He did use protection but the whole time I’d never felt more exposed or more unsure. I couldn’t tell him to stop because then it wouldn’t be a good memory. I just wanted it to be perfect, at least for him, but it was all over the place. Not one second was enjoyable and once it was over he got dressed and that was that. I wasn’t whole anymore. After that day, all my power was gone, and he held my soul in his hand. In the months following our first time, he started to get much more clingy, I started to be with my friends only during class time and my wardrobe dwindles down to plain unisex T-shirts and shorts that went below my fingertips. No leggings, No translucent shirts, no V-necks, no shorter shirts, and I wasn’t allowed to bend over. He even tried to condition me to squat to get something so I wouldn’t chance bending over because if I bent over then other people could look down my short or something. This is where I started to feel like it was my fault. If I had been more confident, or more firm I might’ve held my ground and been able to wear what I wanted. Then came the worst part. My family. They liked Jerkface well enough he was nice and quirky about band stuff. But when we were together, no one else could be around me, even my own family. If my family was going to the movies (we were movie nerds, we loved going to the theater) then he would tell me to ask if he could come. I would always feel my worst anxiety at these encounters because I hated asking my parents for things, especially things about Jerkface. Slowly it was a fight within myself to be able to ask my parents for things about him and he wanted every weekend to hangout at each others houses. If I ever said something like “we don’t have to hangout EVERY weekend” he would guilt me and say “but its the only time we get, don’t you want to be with me?” Now you see, he is a true monster. I tried to convince myself it was normal and I was fine and he wasn’t controlling he just wanted me to love him so I covered the bad stuff and tried to pretend we were perfectly happy and normal by doing anniversary gifts every month. I really did care about him, even if in a messed up way, and I told him I loved him. we started to say “I love you more” instead of “I love you too” because I love you too became our way of saying something was wrong or I’m not really feeling happy right now. By our 1 year anniversary he had raped me a few times (rape being se without full consent). I was never enthusiastic about doing anything sexual but it was always his key reason for wanting to hang out. I would say 9/10 times I had not initially given consent, but eventually I learned to say yes to only get it over with sooner. This is horrible and I know that know but it is part of why I struggle with not assigning myself blame for the whole situation. I just wasn’t strong enough to say no and to keep saying no until he gave up. He would never give up. The next most clear time it was rape was at our 1 year and 4 month-ish time. He was riding his bike with a friend out and about and I was home alone(I think it was a three day weekend) and he texted that he wanted to come by and see me. I think I said something like “ok but just to say hi, I’m not in the mood for anything” anyway he come and I meet him at the door, nit planning on letting him in. I say hi and he asked if he can come in and get water. Seemed fine so he did, then he said he had time. He didn’t have protection but he said it’d be quick. I flat said no, and that I’d already asked him not to. He kept on insisting and I kept saying no but then he begged and begged, adding excuses that we were alone and it would be quick. I’m not really sure how it happened because I don’t remember taking off my pants. I don’t think I did. But a moment later I was face down on the couch crying. He didn’t care until he was done and he asked me what was wrong. I was sad because I felt totally used. Until that point, I had been convinced that even if I don’t want to do this stuff at least he only did it with me because he loved me. But now he had just done it without my consent, without my participation, without anything to do with me. He had now used me for only my body for only his urges, it had nothing to do with his feelings for me and I had nothing to do with it. So I knew now that he wouldn’t care who I was, the only moral part of him would recognize my face and think it was ok because I was his already. If I had been anyone else, that would be the only reason he didn’t have sex with them, because they weren’t already his. I was betrayed, and ashamed. I was never in less control and it was all because of him. That day I was aware of my falling out of love with him. In the last 2 months of being a couple I had started to feel again. The rush of having a crush, of catching them looking at you subconsciously, and getting to talk to them in class. But it wasn’t with Jerkface. I hadn’t even thought about any one that way since I had gotten comfortable with the idea that jerkface would be my forever guy. Sadly the only emotion associated with this new intense rush of crush love was guilt. Guilt for thinking of other people, guilt for not being mentally loyal to Jerkface. I’d say I am a good person. I know this because I’d felt this before. Guilt for not being all in on one designated person. And in that situation id done mostly the right thing. I had ended it because I didn’t want to waste their time and emotions. The process of breaking up with that person was ungraceful to say the least but it was right non the less. So I knew that’s what had to be done with Jerkface. But my reliance on his approval was holding me back and the need to keep his loyalty was so strong that I acted out instead of facing him. I started being distant and irritable under the stress even getting extra sensitive when he touched me(not welcoming hugs or kisses) and I think subconsciously I’d hoped it would make him break up with me so I didn’t have to do it. On the last week of school before finals started he confronted me about my behavior and I just started bawling but I eventually explained that I didn’t love him the same way and that we needed to end it because I wasn’t happy but I still cared. He took it surprisingly well. He acted concerned and calm but no more. He said we should go on a break until I knew what to do and then he’d be happy with whatever I chose. I was shocked. He wasn’t inherently a mean person and he would never physically harm me (hit me or anything) but he was always one to increase conflict and usually make himself the victim and guilt me till I apologized for no reason. So I was both suspicious and relieved at his response. It was also right at the end of 4th period so I didn’t want anyone to notice be sobbing or see us start fighting or anything which is why I was so relieved. I only lasted a day though before I felt totally alone and useless without having to report my every move back to him, and not receiving texts every other minute. That night of my first free day, I called him and said I was confused and wanted to try again but with new rules. I said I didn’t want to be pushed into sex anymore, that if he asked and I said no he would drop it. I said I wanted him to stop caring what I wear and let me wear what I want, and to stop asking to hangout every week. I had made this my new goal. I would make it work and if he didn’t follow my rules I was gonna end it. I told him I wanted to take our “new” relationship slow. He agreed to all. The next day was a Friday. It was graduation Friday and the first day of finals. I had 1st period physics and 4th period band that day for finals. Jerkface was in my band class but nothing else. That morning jerkface met me at the quad and said he’d told his mom that we were back together and he’d asked if I could come over after school. She’d said yes so he asked me if I wanted to come. I said its too soon and that this wouldn’t be taking it slow. He said it was just a short hangout and then we could carpool together to the graduation ceremony (we were both going to play in the graduation band). I didn’t want to fight since we were still on thin ice so I said ok but I dreaded it all day knowing that this was already out of my comfort zone. By the end of band (our final was a dance party graded on participation) he was trying to hug me and be close to me again and I was super uncomfortable. I talked to him privately about how I was firm on not wanting to do anything at his house except videogames or watching cartoons. He said ok. I thought we were all good. I still had a nervous tickle in my stomach when I was around him but I told myself it’d be ok. It wasn’t half an hour in at his house, we’d just finished a few levels of Cuphead and his brother left the room. He pounced. He came straight to me and asked if we could do it. Same routine of begging and pleading and almost crying. He started shaking with the adrenaline. I said no and tried to remind him that he promised but he wouldn’t let it go. He started to take off my pants and open his. I didn’t fight. I don’t know why but I just couldn’t push him off. He forced my legs when I didn’t move them then right there on his parents couch he raped. Again. When he was done I didn’t cry. I didn’t say anything. He had lost all my trust and I knew no matter what I did to try and make us work he would mess it up and I would be miserable. He said his mom needed to go shopping or something and wouldn’t leave us both here alone. (ha!) I said I didn’t want to go so they both went and I laid there on the couch unmoving for 30 min. Barley even thinking. Just laying there upset with myself for not doing anything for not storming out before he had the chance. Anything I might’ve felt for him was then gone. When he came back, I went into his room and I said this wasn’t working. I couldn’t say we were breaking up because my gut couldn’t let go of the only thing that gave me attention. He asked if I wanted to break up and I just said “well I don’t want to but I think we should”. I was just so scared of it all being real. Of facing being completely alone. Eventually it was done and his mom drove me home. an hour and a half later I got changed and my mom drove me to school. He was already there. He smiled and let me be alone. Finally getting it. My only friend that I still had was there for me those last two days of finals. Then it was a summer. I was free. He and I texted to check in twice that first week but then I heard nothing until one birthday text. then more nothing. The next time I saw him was at a camp counselor meeting a week before camp. Band camp was the best and I was so excited to go back, but I had no idea what it would be like around jerkface. When I saw him at the meeting I waved with some enthusiasm (at this point I was indifferent to him, we weren’t really friends like we’d agreed we’d be but I didn’t hate him yet). You know how he responded. With nothing. I get it, I’m the one who ended it but I was mad. He tortured me and used me and HES the one who wanted to be friends but he couldn’t even wave back. Wow. I was mad but I wasn’t gonna complain either, I was fine with no contact because I’d learned not to care what he thought anymore. So I went on. Meeting the other counselors was awkward but fun, and camp was a blast, excluding jerkface’s presence. On the bus ride there my counselor friend who’s from my school told me that during her session at summer PE this summer, jerkface got a new girlfriend in the first week. Oh Hell NO. At first I thought it was just a rumor but then I was pissed. I didn’t care if he didn’t tell me because its not my business and I don’t wanna hear it, but how dare you waste half of my high school experience to just date a new girl after only a week into our breakup. This made his not-wave even more irritating. Like he knew it was wrong and couldn’t face me with it. Anyway camp was really fun. I even met a new crush there. It turned out he was gonna be a freshman at my school while I was going into senior year but I still enjoyed the week around him knowing nothing would ever happen between us. Camp ended and school was starting the following week. I got my schedule and books from my mom who got them from the school while I was at camp but this year they started a new rule about keeping your locker all four years. Guess who’s locker is next to jerkface’s? Yup. Mine. I thought oh well it’ll be awkward but we don’t have to interact. Oh Boy was I incorrect. We didn’t HAVE to interact but in the second week of school I got a text. From jerkface. “Do you not want to be friends anymore?

me-“not particularly”

him-“How come? what changed?”

I went on with how he addressed me before camp and his girlfriend and stuff and just fell apart with ” I know it was a mistake” and “I goofed”

Yeah he “goofed”. I was mad and said I didn’t wanna talk to him so for the next month he texted me and complained about how I treated him and how it took such a little amount to make me this way. Even after we were broken up for 3 months and he got a new girlfriend he was the one harassing, manipulating me. I wasn’t having it. This time he had nothing on me. I was done and I didn’t care anymore. Now he’s dating a girl who was a good friend before she started dating him. When I found out they were together I texted her to ask if it was true. She said it was and that she didn’t know how to tell me because she didn’t want me to be mad at her. I told her I wasn’t mad and I even gave her advice “set your boundaries sooner rather than later”. I was sooooo cool about it and for a little while we stayed friends. But eventually she stopped responding to me at school and they only hung out with each other and became the source for a lot of roasts and gossip. Now were in quarantine and I have no idea how they’re doing. Jerkface hasn’t texted me since December 2019, and I’m finally able to say “I love you” to my mom without feeling guilty or uncomfortable. I still struggle with feeling responsible and guilty about it all. I try to tell myself its not my fault and that ill be loved properly one day but I’m scared that I won’t know how to treat someone who likes me, that I won’t be able to trust them fully, and that no one who could love me would treat me any better.

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