In 2012, when I was 18, was the first time I was sexually assaulted. It was at a time when I was cripplingly lonely, depressed, and craving intimacy. So I let him touch me, but he did things without asking. The really bad time was when I was screaming and pushing him away, and he was getting frustrated that he was wasting condoms. I was afraid of him, but I didn't avoid him. I wanted to find the good in him, to make it okay that I kept spending time with him.
I remember feeling like, maybe there was some way this wouldn't count. I could stop, and it would only be a few times and I'd be done. We went from friends with benefits to a relationship that lasted 5 years. Instead of avoiding him, I ended up rewarding him. So, of course he did it again. There would be times when I'd say no, and he'd do what he wanted anyways.
I feel like I'm being disingenuous, in saying how bad he was. Because there were times when I'd want to have sex. My most recent relationship suffered because I couldn't say what I liked. Since my abuser was my only sexual partner before that, I'd have to acknowledge that it wasn't 100% bad.
I understand that having times where I did consent don't take away the times that I didn't. But sometimes I think about how crazy my story sounds. Why go back? Why date AFTER you'd been assaulted? For years?? Clearly I'm just exaggerating, I wasn't clear enough. There was no way I'd ever be able to take him to court, to tell the police. Who would believe me?
People do believe me, even after I tell them how the relationship started. But sometimes I doubt myself, and often I feel deeply ashamed, embarrassed. I'm not sure how to reconcile both the good and the bad narrative of the 5 year relationship that I had.