So there’s this story. It hasn’t been told much, at least this specific one hasn’t, but it begs to be told. It begs to be heard because it’s like so many other stories.
It was the summer before her senior year of high school. Summer in the suburbs with short shorts, bonfires, and house parties. At the end of her junior year, she had acquired her first ever, real boyfriend. He was a year older, a baseball player, and had a little bit of a reputation. But he cared for her, he listened to her, and well, he made her feel special. It wasn’t the most functional relationship. Their intimacy grounded in the physical rather than the intellectual and emotional. But she always stopped anything from getting too far, you know.
As most young relationships go, she fell fast and she fell hard for him. This was love. Things moved fast in this relationship and about two months in during the summer before senior year, it went over the edge.
The boy had an older brother with his own place. Weekends usually ended up there at various get togethers. This night was different. Everyone a bit more rowdy, a little more alcohol had been consumed, and the boy seemed a little more aggressive. The girl laughed it off. It came time to go to bed.
The two usually slept in the guest room. They walked in and shut the door. The boy immediately started kissing her, but she wasn’t too caught off guard, I mean they were dating. He seemed a little more forceful than usual, but again he was her boyfriend, so she went along with it. Articles of clothing started falling and the girl found herself under him. Her underwear being taken off and still he was pressing himself on top of her.
This is when the panic started. Her chest getting tighter, her breath becoming shallow. But he was her boyfriend so ‘this is okay,’ was all she could think. But deeper in her mind, she knew she didn’t want this. She could hear her voice screaming no, but her vocal chords seemed paralyzed.
“I love you.” Whispered with beer stained breath into her ear. Her mind going into chaos. He loves me? He’s my boyfriend? So, this must be next. I love you, said again. And then she felt it, she felt the pressure into her lower body between her legs.
All she could manage was, “I love you too,” whispered back in between blows into her body.
He soon finished, rolled off, and passed out. She curled her body into herself. Attempting to become as small as she could. Attempting to gather herself up again. Attempting to process and figure out what had just happened in the shadows between sheets.
The next morning she woke up with his arm around her waist. She turned towards him expecting some type of recollection about his professed love for her the night before. Some type of evidence that what she thought happened, actually happened.
But it never came. Those three words whispered in the darkest moment never spoken again for another two months. The boy didn’t even remember what their bodies did the night before. One time when she mentioned the night, the boy immediately told her it didn’t happen. What she was saying happened, isn’t what actually happened. The girl stayed silent, questioning if what she remembered really happened at all. But her body told her it did.
This is a true story. A story I am sure many individuals can relate to. Sexual assault can happen in intimate partner relationships, but we fail to recognize it. We think in relationships anything goes because there’s automatic consent because two people are committed to each other. It simply isn’t true.
If you need help or just want someone to talk to:
JMU C.A.R.E (Campus Assault ResponsE) 24/7 Helpline: 540-568-6411
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)