It was easier to do nothing
I don’t really remember a lot about you. I can’t even remember how I met you. You were older, I know that much. I know that I felt special because you liked me. I know that I was too young for you.
I remember getting into your car. I was excited and nervous. I did not know what was going to happen. I had to lie to my mother just to leave the house. I told her you were a friend’s brother. You weren’t, you were just some guy who hit on me. She knew something was wrong before I did. I assured her I would be okay, it was just for a few hours and I would be home safe and sound.
I am not sure what I expected that night. To feel more mature? To feel beautiful? To feel desired? I don’t know, really. I just knew that for one of the first times in my life someone liked me and I felt valued.
We had just started driving around and you touched me. It shocked me that you touched me. It was like you felt that you had the right. Like me being in your car gave you the right to touch me. It was just a hand on my leg, or grabbing my hand, but I did not like it. I did not even know you and you felt like you could just touch me whenever you wanted. I knew I did not like it, but I had never learned how to tell anyone “no.” Always be polite; always care about the feelings of others, even at your own expense. Those were the lessons I learned that I now realize contribute to women repeatedly learning that it is not okay to set boundaries or to have their boundaries respected. I was trying to find a way to tell you to take me home when you stopped the car suddenly. You started kissing me. You chose not to notice that I kept trying to turn my head away, you kept forcing me to look at you. You ignored my body wiggling to get away from your intrusive actions. I remember cringing as you and moaned against my ear. You had awful breath and you tasted like ash. I desperately wanted to get out of the car; I wanted to be free of you, to purge myself from the memory of you. You just kept stopping the car to make out with me. Every mile or so, you would stop and I would have my mouth invaded and your hands all over my body. I was too afraid to ask you to take me home. I kept insinuating that my curfew was coming up (it wasn’t) and that I had to get up early the next day (I didn’t). You ignored these things. I felt like I was your possession until you decided to let me go.
You kept driving and I began to really comprehend the seriousness of the situation I was in. Where were we going? You drove and drove, talking about yourself like I truly cared. You never asked me about myself, you just went on and on about your life. I stopped listening and began to try and find polite ways to get the fuck away from you.
You finally parked at the town’s make out point in the middle of nowhere. It was dark and the lights of the city were in plain view. It is a beautiful spot that has forever been tainted with a terrible experience.
You did not attack me. You just prattled on and on about the beautiful stars or some lame bullshit. I remember realizing that I you were expecting me to have sex with you. I was afraid to outright refuse and demand to be taken home. I was worried I would be beaten, called names, or God forbid-you would stop liking me. How pathetic is it that your opinion of me still mattered? The self-esteem of a teenager is a vulnerable thing and mine was based solely on the opinion of others.
You stripped me off my clothes, you positioned me how you wanted and I just laid there. I tried getting you to stop touching me at first, tried turning away, telling you I was not comfortable doing these things. You didn’t listen and you didn’t care. I tried to be still to showcase my disinterest and you just carried on anyway. I may as well have been a doll. I did not touch you, that much I could not bring myself to do. I remember thinking that I wanted you to just get it over with. Just fuck me so you can get what you want and I can be left alone. Once you were inside me, I went numb. I already felt ashamed, ashamed of what I was “allowing” to happen to my body and ashamed that I did not have the courage to fight you off. Tears were pooling in my eyes as I waited for you to finish. I started at the brown ceiling of your dirty car, willing it to be over as fast as possible.
When you were done, you said “You make me sweat. That was amazing, girl.” I remember thinking that you were such a loser. Who says that when it was so clearly a one-sided event? Now, I realize that it is probably because you were used to your sexual encounters looking this way. You did all the work, they lie there, and you think that is what amazing sex looks like. I assure you, it’s not.
I felt so sore, it was only the second time I had ever had sex. I felt sick with myself and I kept trying to try and find ways to tell myself that I had to go through with this. We were in the middle of nowhere, pre-cell phone era, and it was the middle of the night. If I refused, you could have kicked me out of the car. Then what? I would be wandering the streets where I could “really” be raped. Because rape does not look like what I experienced, it looks like a random stranger in the bushes with a dark hoody and a knife. Rape is only when the girl fights and screams, begging for help. Rape is only when she gets beaten to the point of submission. Rape can even look like the college guy who slips something into a co-ed’s drink at a frat party and violates her while she is unconscious in his bed. Rape does not look like a subtle refusal of a girl who is afraid, rape does not look like she finally just gives in after being pestered all damn night long and it is not some guy who refuses to see those repeated subtle rejections.
But it is.
You did drive me home, after. I can’t remember if you were quiet or not, or what was said. I can’t remember much, really. I do remember you stopped two blocks from my home, my sweet safe home. You undid your seatbelt, slid over to me and tried kissing me. At this point I had had enough. I was done being manhandled and violated, I was done pretending to like you, and I was done wanting to be liked by you. I pulled away completely, shoved you away, and said I wanted to go home now. You looked hurt and sad. I stored that look away as a little triumph. I think it is pathetic that you had to violate me in such an intrusive manner for me to get to that breaking point.
Once I was inside my home I stared at myself in the mirror, wanting to see if I looked different. I examined my body and saw a giant purple hickey on my neck. If there was a way I could have carved it off my flesh, I would have-I even considered it. It was like you branded me. I wore your brand for a week, every day I looked at it in the mirror. It was a little reminder of my shame. I wore it as my friends called me a slut and gave me lectures about “not being easy.” I wore it around town and saw people stare at me with disgust. For a while, I believed they were right. I believed that I did something shameful; I deserved the label of a slut.
A few days later you had the audacity to call me; the fucking audacity to call my house after what you did to me. I ignored your calls, hoping you would get the point. You didn’t. Why would you since you hadn’t before? But I continued to hope to never hear your voice, thinking that eventually you would lose interest and leave me alone. You were such a dense bastard. You pestered and pestered, until my brother told you that he was tired of taking your messages and that I was clearly not interested.
It was not until years later that I was able to organize my thoughts about that encounter and recognize it for what it was. It was rape. You raped me. You treated me like a possession, an object meant to service you. It is so easy for me to see what you are now. I pushed you out of my mind for years. I was so ashamed of myself, I felt like a whore. I felt worthless and confused.
I never really understood what happened to me that night and why I felt so sick about it. I hadn’t learned that even though I was not physically harmed, it was still coerced and forced. When my thoughts did wander back to you I never classified what you did as rape. It was. And it was wrong.