Content note: sexual assault
I told myself that he’d just made a mistake.
I was 25. I’d never dated anyone.
He was my study partner, helping me get through senior level classes. He knew I was planning to move out of state after I graduated college in a few months.
“Neither one of us have dated many people, and if nothing else happens, that’s okay,” he said. “It’s just practice dating.”
Just practice, he said.
His hands were all over me the first date and I wasn’t sure what to think. We didn’t end up watching the movie he picked.
Our study sessions shifted. I owed him “cuddle time” afterwards. He said he was rewarding me.
“Don’t you like this? Isn’t this nice?”
I wasn’t sure what I felt, but it was all moving so fast.
Then December came. He planned this big date for us to celebrate finals being over.
We’ll go see the holiday lights at the zoo, have dinner, then go back to my apartment afterwards.
Walking through the zoo, I couldn’t breathe. Winter air felt like dry paper inside my lungs. Dizzy, disoriented, I thought I’d vomit.
He was angry because I was ruining his perfect plans. So I tried to keep going.
I tried so hard to eat dinner, tried to make him happy. He acted like I was inconveniencing him by getting sick. This is not how he wanted his night with his girlfriend to go.
He took me back to my apartment.
“I just want to go to bed,” I said. “I’m sorry, I just feel awful.”
“Let’s just cuddle a little bit,” he said.
He wanted more before. No, please, I just want to sleep.
He got on top of me. I felt myself crushed into the bed over and over and over.
I gave up.
There was no more breath to say no.
If you let him do it, it will be over faster, my mind whispered.
“You don’t seem like you’re enjoying this,” he said.
I was just the possession, the blow up doll.
“Don’t you like this?” he said.
He just didn’t understand, I told myself. He just made a mistake. I didn’t say no enough times.
I took a road trip for over a week, spent Christmas with family and friends. When I came back, I broke up with him. I knew I couldn’t date him anymore.
He wanted to come over at 3 a.m. when I drove in, but I didn’t want to see him. I dreaded the next time he’d come over, but I didn’t know why.
I unfollowed him and put him on my restricted list on Facebook several months after the breakup, but I didn’t actually unfriend him until a few weeks ago.
It took three years for me to find the words: sexual assault. #MeToo
“Do they all have to be as bad as him, to make it count? Does it only count if you really have done it to loads and loads and loads of women or does it count if you do it to one woman, once? I think the latter.” - Emma Thompson, BBC interview, Oct. 12, discussing Harvey Weinstein.
The Atlantic: The Movement of #MeToo
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