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Author Topic: This happened more than three years ago, but...
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Neophyte
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Well, I'd like to know what others think about this. I'll go through what happened as best I can, then bring up the questions I have.

When I was fifteen, I told a guy friend that I had a crush on him. He was the first person since kindergarten to return -- or claim to return -- my feelings. Not long after, we were boyfriend and girlfriend. He was a freshman and I was a sophomore, though he was only a few months younger than me.

Things started out well. He was sweet, and used lots of silly, nerdy pick-up lines. He seemed to care about me. It was something I thought I needed, too. I had been suicidal since the beginning of freshman year. I thought I deserved... I thought I deserved much worse. I'd moved to a new place just before high school started, and had to start all over -- which was good, actually, as I was bullied nonstop from first grade through eighth -- with all new friends.

My first new friend had gotten raped by her older boyfriend early in my freshman year. I blamed myself for this, because I'd had a bad feeling about him, but hadn't told her about my distrust because I didn't want to be alone in school again. This began my depression, and family issues quickly caused it to spiral into something very dark indeed. The only reason I survived without an attempt is because I decided early on that my first attempt would be my last. I wished with all of my heart that I could have been the one hurt instead of her-- She kept trying to kill herself, and it hurt. Other things were going very wrong in my life, too, but it's too long a story to document here.

Anyway, this is the emotional state I was in when this relationship started. He was so sweet to me, and helped me forget about the bad things... At first.

After a week or two, things got more serious than I was expecting. I'd been saying some very suggestive things to him, yes, but I thought that I was supposed to talk like that. He liked being turned on. I thought I should talk to him and turn him on. He got an erection every time I was within ten feet of him. I could feel it pressing into me when he hugged me. I thought that meant he liked me, because I'm not attracted to people unless I'm emotionally attached.

Now, I'm not sure. He never once kissed me, but after a while, he started touching my chest -- through my shirt, or where my neckline dipped to -- then my butt. At first, he touched my butt gently through the cloth. After a while, he started slipping his fingers under my underwear. He also started touching between my legs. It was through cloth, but I was absolutely not ready for it. I told him to stop after letting him for a while, and he would stop-- But the next day, it would happen again.

This went on for two weeks. They were the worst weeks of my family life, on top of everything. I almost ran away from home. I was scared to go home one night, and went to stay with a friend instead. I almost jumped off my roof. My mother pulled my hair and screamed at me.

I tried to tell him. He was unsympathetic, didn't listen, and was no comfort at all. I justified this by telling myself that I didn't deserve to have my problems listened to, and that I was just burdening him. I think that I stopped saying no at about this time. I guess I should say that my body enjoyed it. I certainly didn't.

Not long after that, he got so turned on by this that he said that he had to do something about it. He made me cyber with him, even though I was obviously not into it -- which he got mad at me for -- and he was creepy and didn't care that I was so terrified that I wanted to cry. I don't have this awful IM exchange saved anywhere, but I remember him asking me what flavor I wanted, and when I replied with a shrug, he said, "Doesn't matter. Vaginas can't taste anyway." When I couldn't bear it any more, I made up an excuse and signed off. I cried myself to sleep, feeling disgusted and horrified with myself. In part, because at the time, I thought that this sort of thing made me a bad person. In part? Because I believed I'd let him down and I shouldn't have, because I deserved so much worse.

One day, he went to touch, and there was something harder than cloth blocking him. I was wearing the largest pad I could find, even though I hadn't started my period yet. That was finally enough to stop him. It stopped him so well that he got very, very bored of me. He stopped looking at me on the bus. He played video games while I stared out the window. At the end of the week, he wrote me an IM.

Gems from that IM have lingered in my mind for years. "You're not too ugly." "The flame has gone out. I don't know why. It just has." "I will live forever alone with only the darkness as my blanket."

The point of this IM -- he blocked me after sending it -- was that he was dumping me. He didn't speak to me after that. I was friendly, and smiled when I told him I wasn't angry, but he wouldn't even look at me.

And there are things I haven't even mentioned. How he'd shout at me and call me an idiot whenever I said something he disagreed with, or he believed to be condescending. How he'd flirt with all of my female friends instead of talking to me, which wouldn't have bothered me if he'd asked whether it mattered to me. How, upon hearing how I feel about love as a bisexual girl -- a sexual orientation that I had finally learned about, and was so excited to find out that I wasn't messed up, there was a word for it -- he called me a 'slut', then laughed. How he never wanted to talk about anything other than sex.

This all happened over the course of a month and a week.

I still have flashbacks, sometimes so bad that I break down crying. Until this spring, I felt dirty and unclean. I was ashamed. I put all the blame on myself-- I thought that it was my fault for 'leading him on', for not saying no forcefully enough, for deserving the treatment. I developed a fear of guys that only since going into college -- I'm going to be a sophomore next year -- have faded. When I got into my next relationship, I let her grope me, too. It's only in my third and current relationship that I have learned that I don't have to be treated like that.

I have a wonderful, supportive boyfriend now-- And that's how I finally realized that I deserve good things. I'm no longer depressed. I'm no longer in the pits of self-loathing. I'm content with myself and my life. He makes me feel beautiful and clean on every level, even when I've just woken up and I have morning breath and messy hair after a night of sex. He makes me happier than I've been in my entire life. Maybe the bar was low, but that doesn't make it less powerful.

And so now I realize that what happened to me was probably sexual abuse. But I want to hear what other people -- people who don't know me personally -- think about the whole situation.

I'll answer questions within reason if anyone has any. My questions are:

Will the flashbacks go away entirely someday?

My ex doesn't remember that I ever said no, and told me that he was doing it for me when I asked him about it. What should I do? Am I wrong? If I'm wrong, why do I have these awful flashbacks?

Will my friends side with him if I tell them? They all believe him to be a really nice guy. My college friends know what happened, but only my very best friend and ex-girlfriend know both him and the truth. Should I tell, or keep it secret, for fear of them rejecting me or saying things that will make everything worse?

What label should I use to describe this whole thing?

I think that's enough for now. Thank you so much for listening.

Have a nice day!

[ 07-28-2008, 12:57 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

Posts: 38 | From: Traveling | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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What I'm mostly hearing here is emotional and verbal abuse and some measure of sexual harassment.

One place where this stuff gets tricky is that when someone says no to something one day, asking them again the next day isn't dismissing their no of the day before unless they in some way made clear that they also did not want to be asked again, or sexually approached again. I'm not so sure what the situation there was based on your post. With the cybersex situation, that still would tend to be classed as a verbal or emotional abuse by most definitions I know since actual sexual contact wasn't an issue.

People also aren't responsible for having erections, just so that's clear. A guy can often not will himself to have one, it just happens, and with young men, it often happens very frequently (to the point that it makes many of them feel awkward and embarrassed). That of course doesn't mean a guy can't control rubbing his erection on someone, mind.

But certainly, I hear sexual harassment here, I hear emotional and verbal abuse.

It should also be said that for any given person who abuses someone, at least one other person -- and and often more -- will think that person is "nice" or benign. Most abusive people aren't abusive to everyone they know, and usually not to people who don't get very close to them. So, that is almost always an issue: disclosing abuse to people and having them react with disbelief in that way, and it's unfortunately often inescapable to some degree. But you disclosing to people close to you -- to whomever you need to for yourself -- should be based on what you need and can handle above and beyond all else.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Okay. I wasn't sure what terms to use concerning the whole thing. It was only within the last several months that I even realized that anything was abnormal about this relationship at all.

I'm not sure whether I could clarify the touching situation much more, as I know how I meant it, but I don't know how it came across to him. By my standards of virginity at the time -- I was raised in a rather religious family -- I was terrified that I'd lost my virginity. I didn't want it to happen. I was also warring with my hormonal body. So I really don't know what to make of it, sometimes. Is it ever normal for your body to enjoy something when your emotions are completely against it?

I do realize that he couldn't control his erections. I should have been more clear about it. What bothered me wasn't the erection, but it pressing into my back or stomach. I knew then that it wasn't something he could control. It was just something that I took to mean that he cared about me, was the main thing.

I am the sort of person who can't keep anything about themselves a secret. I hate hiding the truth, and I hate being secretive. But I don't want to tear this issue open again, and if they ask for his side of the story, he'll call me a liar, and... I just don't know how I could handle it if my friends believed that.

During Ten Fingers -- also known as I Have Never, and this version was played without alcohol because I don't drink -- he always put down a finger for having reached third base. It always scared me, because the rules we play by state that a story can be demanded at any time, and I was so ashamed... But he just said things like, "Well, we just skipped kissing," and stuff to me when I brought it up. Sometimes I'm really frightened that I'm remembering incorrectly, and that I never said no out loud, and that it really was my fault...

*sigh* I'm sorry. This is a very difficult subject to talk about, even now.

Have a nice day!
Very New To This

PS - Oh, darn, I signed my name in my first post! Is there any way to delete my name? I wrote that last night, when I was getting tired and forgot I didn't want my name attached to this, even though it's a common enough name.

Posts: 38 | From: Traveling | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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quote:
Is it ever normal for your body to enjoy something when your emotions are completely against it?
It is. It's also normal and common to feel great conflicts, whether we're talking about fear or sex or sexual shame, or about a sexual attraction to someone who emotionally or interpersonally you feel repellant towards, or who is just a jerk. In your case, sounds like both those issues and likely more were factors.

If it helps, know that one Big Bad when it comes to people legally and otherwise deciding what is and isn't rape, for instance, has been basing a determination of that on if a victim reached orgasm. While it happens less often than times it doesn't, sometimes even people who are violently raped will reach orgasm during their rapes. That is often particularly tough to deal with, because it feels like the body has betrayed the mind or heart, and because, of course, so many people deny or defend rapes by saying someone "enjoyed it."

In terms of sharing abuse, it is hard being very public about abuse. I can tell you that as someone who is VERY public about it -- as in, having been published widely talking about it, bringing it up in public talks and forums -- that even when in those talks or pieces no one knows my abusers personally, I've certainly had to deal with backlash far more than once. I certainly don't say that to silence anyone: I think our silences do us harm, and that talking about our experiences is powerful and important. But in the spirit of self-preservation and taking care of yourself, it's salient to be only as public as you can handle. If you don't feel like you can handle that backlash -- or want to -- if it happens, then I think it's best to disclose only to people you know well and trust and have a pretty good idea will be supportive and caring.

No need to be sorry for any of this. Again, talking about abuses is rarely easy. It gets easier over time, but it's still very challenging and often emotional. That's okay.

(And I'll take care of that edit for you right now.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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That's a relief to hear. It's one of the reasons I was particularly ashamed, and I even blamed myself for rushing him, though it's hard to believe that now, looking from a distance. I was so hard on myself. Thank you for telling me that.

I guess that I'll keep it mostly to myself and those who don't know him. I tried to tell my sister, once, and she said it was my fault that he yelled at me. I didn't dare tell her the rest. That's what really got me scared about telling anyone. This is at odds with my personality, though, so I've been debating with myself for a while.

Thanks for being so understanding. This is a really great site that you run. And thanks for the edit-- I really appreciate it.

I hope you have a great day!

Posts: 38 | From: Traveling | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Over the years, I've done a lot of reading, observing people who do victim-blaming, and what I have tended to notice is that it seems the people who do it are usually:

a)Victims of some kind of abuse themselves and stuck so deeply in self-blaming that they blame others, too,
b)Victims of abuse themselves who are in denial, or
c)Abusers themselves, close to abusers, or people, who for one reason or another, enable abuse. There are "benefits" to enabling abuse even though they're granted by having your foot on someone's else's back.

It sounds like -- even if it was just for a while -- the household you grew up in was pretty dysfunctional, if not abusive. If so, that alone could have been a reason your sister said what she did. That doesn't justify the way she treated you, mind you, but it might at least offer some explanation as to how it probably wasn't about you yourself. Victim-blaming is most commonly about anyone BUT the actual victim.

Glad to have been of some help. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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