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Gray Areas

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I’ve been waiting to speak out for so long, and today is the day.

He called …

I couldn’t say that I was his girlfriend, but there wasn’t much certain about the relationship anyhow. I had thought he was my boyfriend, he acted as such, but when it came down to it, he wasn’t. He had certainly fooled everyone though. All my friends thought he was “the one” and he seemed to worship and adore me at the time. He would send text messages to say he was thinking of me, how “awesome” he thought I was …

It was strange that he never seemed to really care about the things I would say when we talked. He never laughed at my jokes, or really seemed interested in me, although he would flatter me to everyone around. “Doesn’t he get how funny you are?” one of my friends remarked one afternoon after we had all hung out. That was the first time I made an excuse for him, saying “he’s just a little tired, that’s all.”

A few weeks later, he told me he was going out of town to go snowboarding—his passion in life. Of course, I was disappointed because it was a big weekend for me. I was graduating from college, my family and friends would all be gathered, and he had said he wanted to be there. But when I tried to call him, something was wrong. I could just sense it. The dial tone on his phone was strange, and the message in Spanish told me he was “out of the service area”—he was in Mexico!

I tried to rationalize everything, even worrying that his phone might have been stolen or left on the wrong bus. He came back into town after the weekend had passed, and that’s when I found out: he had been taken a trip to Mexico with another girl. Even though I was hurt, crying in my kitchen, he tried to have sex with me—forcing his kisses on my mouth and grabbing me. I kicked him out. I would never talk to him again, I told myself, but after some time passed, I though we might be friends. I guess I felt guilty that yet another relationship had not worked out, and felt that I should try to end things amicably. I also felt sorry for him. We had planned a ski trip for Christmas day, and since we both still had tickets, I figured it would be fine to go—as friends.

When I got to his house, he acted as if we were still dating, and I was more than confused. Christmas eve, we ended up have sex, and I immediately regretted it, knowing that it just didn’t feel right. He had, as during our entire relationship, “convinced” me to have sex, begging me, telling me everything I wanted to hear. He told me how beautiful I was, how much he had missed me. Everything but the truth and how he really felt.

The next day, we went skiing. It was much more fun that I thought and after a while, I started thinking maybe we had just slipped up—maybe we could just be friends. On the way back to his house (where my car was) I fell asleep, exhausted, and decided to stay on his couch that night. That decision—and many others—are why it has been so hard to accept what happened next:

He started to kiss me on the couch, me half-asleep. I asked him to stop, but he wouldn’t. I turned my head away and told him, flat out, that we weren’t in a relationship and I wasn’t his girlfriend. He started again to beg and plea with me to have sex with him—he told me that since we had “done it” the night before, it wasn’t any different. He said, “I tell everyone you’re my girlfriend. I think of you as my girlfriend,” as sincerely as possible.

I looked him in the eye after that and said, “But I’m not your girlfriend, am I? I don’t mean anything to you,” there was nothing he could say. By that time, it was late and he was pawing me again, pulling at my clothes. Almost to make him stop, I agreed—I don’t know why I said okay at first, but I’ve thought about it a lot. I was tired of fighting him off, and felt so awful about saying that I would stay over in the first place. As soon we were in his room, I said no again. I didn’t want to. But he kept insisting, manipulating the situation, and my emotions for his gain.

Once he had started, I felt completely dead inside, paralyzed and only able to cry, but he didn’t seem to care. At one point, he took his condom off—and that’s when I felt myself come back enough to say “NO” as loud as I could. He kept going, though. Once I managed to push him off of me, and the strangest thing happened: he pretended to be asleep. I wanted to chew him out, to tell him off, but he just shut his eyes and turned his back on me. I tried to sleep, rest enough to drive the hour home, but I couldn’t move or shut my eyes. The next morning, he made me breakfast and I started to rationalize again—maybe I had over-reacted. Maybe it was all a bad dream.

The next few months, I’ve had so many nightmares. I went to the doctor and got tested for everything. I found out I have an STD, which opened up all the wounds again. I’ve managed to talk to two friends about it—one of them is an ex-boyfriend who, through everything, is still my best friend, and one of my best girlfriends. He was the first to say “you were assaulted.”

I always thought of violent strangers when I thought of assault, or date-rapists putting drugs into your cocktail. I could have just run outside. I could have gotten in my car and left. There were too many great areas for it to be assault. I also admittedly did a lot of things that were unwise. I let him talk me into things I didn’t want to do, and let him degrade me time and time again. My girlfriend and I had a visit a few weekends ago and I finally was able to talk to her too. “Honey, he assaulted you. He coerced you into doing things. And it doesn’t matter. When you say no, he has to stop. You would stop if he said no, right?”

She was right. I finally could see that what happened wasn’t right. I could also see that, even though I did things—stayed at his house, ignored the signs that something bad was happening, and had sex with him in the past—no one should have to be “talked into” having sex. No one should be lied to, manipulated into doing things, or treated less than human.

So when he called, I didn’t answer, but I did listen to the voicemail. He was just calling to see how I was doing—that his number hadn’t changed and that he’s been thinking about me. I deleted the message and although I fantasize about calling him back, telling him what a horrible person he is, and how he hurt me, there’s something inside me that is still paralyzed.


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