I have been working my way to this post. This is the really hard one to write, the one where I explain the lowest points in my life and how I got there. While I will try not to be graphic, I feel some things need to be explained in order to deliver a better understanding.
When I was a teenager, I had my very first boyfriend (someone I’ll call Vader).We shared mutual friends who set us up together. He seemed like he’d be the perfect first boyfriend: kind, funny, great to spend time with.
I quickly discovered, however, that he wanted things his way, not mine. As I said, he was my first boyfriend. I had never even held hands with a boy before him. I wasn’t ready to do anything beyond that. Vader had other ideas, though.
He planted a kiss on me knowing I was nervous and not prepared at all. Two weeks after I met him, he decided he wanted more. I tried to fight his wandering hand, but he refused to listen. He just kept telling me to relax and enjoy it.
I didn’t relax, and I did not enjoy it. I was saving myself for marriage, and he knew this. I cried because of this, but he said he did it because he loved me. I wish I had dumped him then. I had no idea that the worst was to come.
One month after we met, Vader and I were alone in his house. As far as I knew, someone else was supposed to be there so we had a chaperone of sorts. Plans changed, apparently, and I was not aware of this until we were already there.
Could I have left? I wish. He is a couple years older than me, so he had driven. I wasn’t yet old enough to drive. If I had called for a ride, I couldn’t figure out what to say without making Vader look like a bad guy. I thought I loved him. He said he loved me. I thought I could trust him.
We ended up in his room, how or why I don’t remember. I recall him stripping his clothes off and starting on mine though I told him to stop. He pinned me down and raped me. I was so terrified, I went into shock. I couldn’t talk. I could barely breathe.
I cried when he was done, and all I remember him saying is that I should get dressed so I did. I was numb at this point. My parents were gone when I got home. I showered, dressed, and thought about what happened. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t stop seeing it and feeling it.
I was too frightened to tell my parents or any other adults. The few people I found the nerve to tell either didn’t believe me or didn’t want to. They questioned what really happened or whether I saw it differently than reality. They made me feel it was all my fault. After that, I didn’t trust anyone else with this information.
I knew one thing and one thing only: I had to make the pain and sorrow end.
I came up with a plan. I knew how I would kill myself and when. I thought it out for two days. On the third day, the day I’d decided on, I found myself crying on the bed. What the heck was I doing? I wondered. I was planning suicide because of a boy. I would no longer exist on this earth because of one boy and what he did.
Obviously, I didn’t go through with it. Thank God I didn’t even try. Instead, I broke up with Vader. I did it publicly for safety. I had an urge to slap him across the face, giving him back a bit of the pain he caused me. Even with witnesses, though, I was too terrified he would hit me back. It was all very messy but quick.
I wish I could say that’s where it ended, but he had been my “first love” (no, I don’t consider him that now) and I was such a sucker for his pleas and apologies.
After we got back together, he routinely took me to his house, where we inevitably ended up alone somehow or other every time. I would all but beg them not to go. They weren’t bothering us or in the way, I’d say. I enjoy their company. But they’d always leave.
Vader would always take me to his room after that. He’d strip us down though I tried to fight him off. He would literally use all his body weight to hold me down and force me to do things I didn’t want to. I sobbed and begged him to stop. I tried kicking him off of me. He’d tell me to stop crying and that he would let me up if I’d just do what he wanted.
Why did I stay with him? I can hear you asking that question. The simplest answer I have is this: I was frightened. If he hurt me this way all the while saying he loved me, what would he do to me if he hated me?
I became a robot after this. I would just give him what he asked for because it was terrifyingly less traumatic. I didn’t know I was suffering from depression at this point. All I knew was that I preferred the path of less pain. “No pain” was not an option with Vader.
After three months of suffering, I ended it with him for good. Manipulator that he is, however, he wouldn’t let me go. We broke up, yes, but he called me all the time for the next year telling me how much he missed me, though he had a new girlfriend.
(Here is where I apologize to any girl or woman he might have hurt after me. I prayed every day that my silence didn’t make him think he was right or somehow justified in abusing anyone else. I hope his rape and assault ended with me, but the realist in me won’t let me disregard any other outcomes.)
I, meanwhile, had lost interest in everything. My friends, my family, schoolwork, dances, parties. None of it meant anything to me. I didn’t have words or labels for how I felt. I just knew nothing would ever be the same. I wasn’t sure happiness would or could ever find me again.