[Trigger warning: This post includes details of sexual assault.]
The (second) time I was assaulted by him.
It was surreal. It felt like I was in a soundproof(-ish) (maybe even visual-ish-proof) box.
I’d said things out loud…
And everything I said was either completely ignored, or was (legitimately) laughed at, and on and on.
Also, oof. I am *terribly* embarrassed to admit this. Don’t tell anybody. 😉 But, I even cried as it was happening.
It was like, “Am I speaking English? … Am I showing normal human emotion clearly here? Because I’m preeeetty sure I’m doing both of those things.”
And yet, none of it was respected in the least.
I don’t know a better word for that event than surreal.
…A question that could come up here (and sometimes does) is why didn’t I physically fight him (instead of merely recoiling and crying and such)?
Well, for one thing, as I said, it was surreal. It was as though I didn’t even understand what was happening, or how it was getting so out of control so quickly, or why it seemed like I could not be heard.
I found it hard to react to that situation, when I was still trying to figure the situation out.
In my head, I was punching against that imaginary box I was trapped in. (While in real life, I think I was pretty much frozen in shock and fear.)
I vividly remember screaming in my head, “I hate you right now.” (I know hate is a mean and strong word, and I try not to use it a ton… But that sentence was rocketing through a megaphone in my mind…) But my body didn’t move…
Because, for another thing, I was legitimately afraid of him.
(I’m honestly still a little afraid of him…. I mean, I’m facing that fear enough/ignoring it enough to write about my experience… But I’m afraid, still.)
And I was afraid as it was happening – too afraid to fight back.
When it was over, I immediately got up from the bed and walked away in a trance with empty eyes, still just trying to process what in the world was happening.
He followed me into the shower and started to touch me again, saying, “Now that we got me off, let’s get you off.”
Ugh. I get sick thinking about that even now…
He spoke as if what had just happened was anything I’d wanted at all… As though everything that was happening was 100% normal… as if me being in tears (and saying out loud that that was because I was uncomfortable with him) was just not a big deal at all…
In fact, he even said (as I tried desperately to explain how upset I was), “Everybody cries during sex! It’s not a big deal! It’s totally normal. Sex brings up all these hormones and emotions. Everybody cries during sex, Aurora.”
NO. THEY. DON’T.
I’d never cried during sex before in my whole entire life. Nothing about it felt “normal.”
So, back to the shower. I stood frozen there for a moment as he looked in my eyes, and he gave me a little half smile, and started touching me.
I can still see his face so vividly… Sometimes, weirdly, I have more of a nightmare about the shower where he acts like everything is fine, than of the act itself. I was looking at him with my lifeless eyes, as I leaned against the shower door – feeling like I didn’t even have enough energy to stand upright – as he reached out one hand to touch me and play with me.
And I felt completely numb. It was like, I could see what was happening in front of my eyes. I knew his hand was down there. But I just couldn’t feel anything. I don’t know what other word to use other than numb.
He looked at my lifeless eyes and practically limp body and said, “I can’t tell if what I’m doing is good.” And I finally found some more strength inside myself, and pulled away, leaving the shower, walking back into the other room.
As he followed me, I tried to tell him how exceptionally wildly uncomfortable/upset I was… And even still, I tried my best to tell him in the calmest manner I could. I was a little riled up, sure. But I still didn’t scream or attack him or anything.
And even in the midst of being as civil as I possibly knew how to be, even on that exceptionally upsetting day, he told me, “You think you’re upset about this. What you’re really upset about is [insert some other thing here]. He did that a lot that day – in the bed, after the shower… He did it in general in his time with me, but he did it multiple times that morning, no matter how many times I tried to voice that I’m upset because you are making me uncomfortable… “You’re upset about [a close friend of mine getting a routine test at the hospital, which really didn’t bother me all that much – hospitals are safe].” “You’re upset about [maybe not doing so hot in your class at BMI].” “You’re upset about [mention anything to fill in this blank, as long as it doesn’t have to do with him – even if I explicitly say it does].
“You think you’re upset about this. What you’re really upset about is….” That’s exactly how he phrased it…
That became a running thing with him if I brought this (or anything important) up – to just fill in that second blank of what I was upset about with any semi-stressful thing from my life (even if the thing he mentioned wasn’t that big of a deal to me). (Sorry, I think I just repeated myself. It was frustrating. And it feels hard to explain, though I think you understand what I’m saying…
Him saying that sentence is him ignoring and dictating my emotions/concerns in basically the most literal way he could’ve.
Yeah, I know. *shivers.*
I should’ve been more self-respecting (and more feminist!) than to just take at face value that I might be mis-reading my own emotions… Because I actually did stop for a minute and think, “He’s so sure… Is he maybe right?” And that’s embarrassing that apparently some part of me thought I can’t possibly know for myself, or express clearly, what I am (rightfully) upset about. Gah!
Goodness, there’s a lot more to talk about.
But at least we got through this main story…
[Edited to add: It might be confusing how it got to that point (of the start of this story). After all, I went over with the intention of having sex with him, right? (Right.) And we did have normal, consensual sex before the assault happened.
We’d been fighting a lot that week – and even that night (mainly about me feeling so talked down to, but about other stuff that surrounded that too… And it certainly didn’t help that he’d already assaulted me once).
I came over with the intention of finally talking out all these little fights we’d been having – I even organized my thoughts in actual physical notes (because he asked me to), and I stayed very calm as I tried to have a normal conversation to get on the same page… But instead of jumping on board with deescalating our situation that was growing ever more volatile, he spent a lot of the night making fun of me and needling me, and being suuuuuper condescending to me. And it was building and upsetting me… But every single time I brought it up, he’d say something along the lines of, “I didn’t mean it that way.” “I’m just teasing.” “Oh, come on.” etc. etc.
Huh… Well, okay… I – I guess you’re just teasing… I’ve said everything on my notes… I guess we’re okay… Let’s not waste this time together. Let’s have a bunch of sex, right?
And when we were having (normal, consensual) sex, he was on top of me. And I was feeling a little weird that the man who seemed to be metaphorically looking down on me (over and over – not just that night, not even just that week, but almost since we’d started sleeping together) was literally looking down on me in that moment…
Even though I was trying to assuage that feeling in me by reminding myself, “Maybe it’s in your head… You did voice this concern to him. He said he’s not looking down on you… Maybe it’s all a misunderstanding.” And while my inner monologue is running, he commented something about how it seemed like maybe I felt weird or something. I said, “I’m a little in my head, but please keep going.”
Yet he stopped.
And obviously, that’s more than okay! He’s under no obligation ever to continue having sex with me. The problem was when he stopped, he got exceptionally condescending as he explained to me, “I’m stopping for you because you’re so uncomfortable” (and on and on and on)… even though I’d asked him to keep going. He completely ignored my words, and then blamed me for why we weren’t having sex in that moment.
And that’s when I burst into tears because this was the millionth (only slight hyperbole there ;)) time that he had completely ignored what I said and told me how I was feeling. And that’s when the situation really started escalating. It all just seemed like the situation got out of control so fast. I balled up a bit (kind of in the fetal position-ish) crying – telling him I was crying about him (when he was telling me I wasn’t), and when that conversation started to die down a little and my crying just began to sort of end-ish (though I was most definitely still crying), that’s when he told me, “Well, since we can’t get you off, let’s get me off.” And he climbed on top of me. And that catches you up to the beginning of this blog post. That’s how we get there…]