I Didn't Know What Else To Do
When I was 20, I married and had a wonderful baby girl. We had a cute apartment in one of the nicest neighborhoods in the state, two cars, and access to vacation time whenever we wanted it. It seemed like the ideal life, and everyone around me reinforced that notion by commenting on how lucky I was.
My husband soon revealed his dark side, becoming emotionally and eventually physically abusive. He viewed my body as a spoil of marriage, insisting on sex when I was obviously in no condition to want it. He repeatedly "woke me up" by having sex with me and ignored my noises of pain and discomfort. He would insist on sexual activities that I did not like, initiating them even when I was crying. I would shut down and go off somewhere else when we had sex, thinking that, if this was married life, why was anyone married?
It got to the point where the only time he would touch or kiss me was when he wanted sex. I would go along with it because I just wanted him to leave me alone and if I let him get off, he would. Within a year I had become a drugged up, alcoholic with straight Fs in college, multiple suicide attempts, a complete lack of parental skills, an eating disorder, and a job as an exotic dancer (I support sex workers and their professions, but this job was not empowering for me and I entered into it for unhealthy reasons).
I finally left when, after raping me, he wreaked a bunch of our furniture and threw me across the room. I thought it was over.
A few months after our separation, we were exchanging our daughter and I had to ask him to carry something heavy into my new home. He started trying to touch and kiss me, and I froze up. I told him no a couple times, but I was mostly too scared and confused to do anything else. Would he hurt me or my daughter if I refused? I had no idea. He eventually knocked me down and tried to kiss and undress me, saying, "I'm still technically your husband, you know..." I kept repeating no while my daughter played not 3 feet from us. He eventually got up and left.
I reported it to the police, but nothing came of it, and the police officer interviewing me asked, "So, you invited him into your home...are you sure you didn't initiate some of it?" His family sent me hate mail afterwards, asking me why I chose to rip apart a good family.
Sexual assault should never have to be a part of someone's reality. I will do my very best to educate my daughter about rape culture, entitlement, privilege and power structures in the hope that she has as many tools as she can to speak out. I will never tell her that her father is a rapist. He hurt me in every way, and it was wrong.