How My Rapist Made Me Stronger
He can't hurt me anymore.
It is your 17th birthday. Everything is going to change within a year. In the next year, you will begin your adult life. Everything is going to change Valentine's Day of 2015. You will agree to work a weekend at that stupid Italian restaurant with Megan. This is when things begin to change, you think it's for the better, but I wish I could have warned you.
You walk in the door and finally meet the boy you had crushed on during freshman and sophomore year. He was an upperclassman at the time and didn't even know you existed. Your heart begins to flutter as he asks for your name. You try not to tell him you already know his, Nick. If I had been there I would have told you to stay away from him, I would have told you he is not a good person.
You instantly hit it off and catch him glancing at you when he thinks your not looking. You agree to a full-time job there, trying to find time to manage work, school, and dance team. You throw yourself into this job, and at him, and he definitely notices.
A month later, he told you he loved you. You were making out in your front yard late at night. You didn't say it back. This was your first real relationship, and you were not prepared for that.
In hindsight, I don't think he really ever loved you, nor did you love him. You must have said it back and forth at least a million times. Mom loved him; She even made him take you to prom. You felt so accomplished bringing your 20-year-old boyfriend to prom at 17. It was a magical night, and you ended up sleeping on your couch together overnight.
The rose-colored glasses I wore masked who he really was under that cute boy facade he managed to put up around everyone. He had everyone fooled, but once we were alone things were very different.
I saw the drugs, the emotional abuse, the rape—things no one else saw until I pointed them out over a year after our relationship had ended.
My 18th birthday. We went to Pittsburg to see One Direction, my favorite band, the day before and then drove to see family in PA the day of my birthday. That's the day he broke up with me. He left me for someone else, and they are now married. Three years later, that is the thing I am most upset about. The cheating.
I probably should be upset about the rape, but I'm really not. I don't remember much of it, I only really remember texting my friend Mal to tell her I thought I lost my virginity. Sometimes I don't even think it happened, but the few flashbacks I have prove me wrong. That should have made me leave him. But, I thought we were in love.
I don't hate him for it either. He had no right to touch me like that, especially while I was under the influence of codeine from getting my wisdom teeth removed, but he made me who I am today. I am much stronger, wiser, and more aware of things happening around me because of him. It is not how I imagined losing my virginity, nor is it how I wanted to lose my virginity, but there is nothing I can do about it now besides embracing it. I want to educate people about rape, the effects it can have on victims, and hopefully put an end to rape altogether.
He has made me the feminist I am today, and he is the reason I consider myself an adult now. Nick opened up a whole new world to me, one that I was not ready to be a part of, but there is nothing I can do to change that. It was not my choice.
He might have been my first time, but he did not take my virginity. Virginity is something I am in control of, and I get a say in who takes it. It is a social construct made by men to control women and I, for one, am not having any of it. If I have to live in a patriarchal society in which we are forced to use the word "virginity," Nick did not take it from me.
His touch did not make me any less pure since it was not with my consent. I personally wanted to wait until I was in a really serious relationship (we had been together for three months at that point), or until marriage. I have since had consensual sex with two other people, and consider one of them to be my first time.
Nick was an incredibly bad person and he has probably had a large effect on why my standards for a relationship are so high. I will not date anyone who does drugs, or who hurts me in any way. I have learned this lesson twice now and refuse to be hurt again by a stupid boy in his early 20s.
You control how you feel and who you let hurt you. Do not let someone make you cry who will not mean anything to you in a year. You do NOT have to be with someone you don't want to be with. It doesn't matter who they are, if your family likes them, if their family likes you, their mental state, NOTHING.
If you are not happy with someone or how they are treating you, leave them.
I repeat, IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH SOMEONE OR HOW THEY ARE TREATING YOU, LEAVE THEM.
I know from experience and I do not want someone to be in this situation ever. It is the worst thing imaginable. I know it can be hard if you think you love someone and they try to hurt you, but I promise you will find someone who loves you more than you ever thought you loved the person you were with in the past.
We are strong. We are beautiful. We deserve the BEST.