My #MeToo Story: Five Years and Counting

Trigger Warning: 

The following article contains serious and graphic details about my sexual assault when I was 16 years old. Viewer discretion is advised. 

The Story: 

On a cold September morning in 2012, I confidently walked through the doors of my new high school with my head held high. It was the first day of my grade 11 year and I had just transferred over to a new school. I had previously met a small hand full of people from here and little did I know they were considered to be members of the ‘popular’ group. If I could turn back the clock to that day, I would have never interacted with the group of people who would end up turning their backs on me during one of the worst moments in my life.

I am a very outgoing, friendly person. I was eager to find my place within the new school and make some new friends in the process. On the first day, I was invited to sit in the cafeteria at lunch with my friend and her group. I noticed that there was a handful of people who were familiar faces — quite a few of them were in my first-period gym class. One of the familiar faces stuck out like a sore thumb. He was loud, charismatic — and hilarious. So, I made small talk with him. We ended up talking throughout lunch, then we exchanged numbers. Throughout the next couple weeks, we started talking more and more and before I knew it, we were in a relationship. 

Something was always off in our relationship and it took me a very long time to realize that I should have listened to my gut. 

He was my first official boyfriend, but he was not my first sexual experience. This was something that angered him and would continue to be spoken about for the next year during the duration of our relationship. I never understood why he was so angry about me having had sex previously with one other person when he had sex with four girls prior to me. The double standard was constant.

Fast forward a couple of months. I was not feeling a genuine connection with him and I wanted to break up with him. This was when the first cycle of emotional and psychological abuse started. 

It started off with the guilt-tripping, where he would start threatening to leak the provocative photos which I sent him in confidence — as well threatened to self-harm if I were to leave. 

I just got to this school … I can’t afford to have people think of me badly. Not after everything I’ve had to deal with before …

I thought that maybe my feelings for him would change as time went on and that the more time I spent with him, the quicker those feelings would develop.

After the first time I tried to break up with him, he began to get very controlling. I was not allowed to hang out with my friends without him being there and he began to drive a wedge between my mother and me. He always insisted that other people had bad intentions for me and that he was the only one who loved me. Everyone was out to get me, but not him.

How could I be so stupid?

Having now successfully burnt bridges with those who meant the most with me, he had successfully isolated me from any immediate support from friends. I was the girl who chose her boyfriend and his circle over her friends — and he wanted to keep it that way for as long as he could.

My feelings never changed and I should have listened to my gut. The night that my assault took place will forever be branded into my memory. It was one of the most shocking, embarrassing, and traumatic experiences in my life — and it changed the way that I saw the world from there on out. 

It was now October 2013. We had been invited to a house party at a friend’s and before going, he had coaxed me into smoking a large amount of marijuana, that resulted in me feeling extremely anxious and paranoid. I told him I did not feel comfortable and that I needed to take it easy at the party because I already could barely function anymore.  

We arrived at the party and almost immediately he was insisting that I drink. I reminded him once again that I could barely function as is and that there was no way I could drink more and be ok.

Don’t be lame in front of his friends … Just do it.

So, I drank — foolishly.

He brought me back to his house that night, despite me telling him that I wanted to go back to my mom’s house alone. When we got back to his house, he started kissing me. I told him I could barely walk, let alone want to have sex. I expressed that I could not control my body and that I was uncomfortable and wanted to go back to my own bed. This is where things went south, quickly. I had refused sex and the word “no” was clearly not in his vocabulary. Not only did he not take my “no” seriously, but he took it as some sort of threat towards him. 

He snapped. He roughly grabbed my hair and threw me onto his bed. The room was dark and cold. I remember him putting his entire body weight on top of me and my begging him to get off of me. He was a bigger guy and I was barely 100 lbs. After this, he grabbed me by the shirt and proceeded to rip it off of me. I started hyperventilating because I didn’t know what was about to happen. He then proceeded to flip me around and ripped my jeans off of me. I began to shake uncontrollably and screamed “STOP” at the top of my lungs. Without any warning, he proceeded to penetrate me unprotected. I kept insisting that he needed to stop because it was hurting me. The following five minutes of my life felt like five hours. He had ripped my clothes, shoved my head into pillows and did whatever he pleased with me. When he was about to finish, he threw me from the bed onto the floor and the rest is pretty straightforward.

What just happened? How could this happen?

I could not believe what had just happened. I could not move or speak. I was in a total state of shock and I could not process what had happened to me. As I was sobbing and shaking, I had asked him why he did that to me. How could he do that to me? 

“Who is going to believe you? I’m your boyfriend. Don’t ever tell me no again.”

Those words would haunt me for the rest of my life. My own boyfriend was able to betray me like this. My boyfriend. Not a stranger, but my boyfriend! The person who was supposed to protect me from bad people had now proved to me that even he could not be trusted.

I knew I had to leave, but I couldn’t. He wouldn’t let me leave and I knew that calling my mom was not an option either. 

I can’t call her. She will know something terrible has happened to me.

I stayed the night. I did not sleep a wink. I stayed up all night staring at the wall as he slept beside me. I had felt like I was being held captive. The following morning, I had my mom come pick me up from his house, as previously planned. Upon leaving, I had to pretend like nothing had happened. I lied to her about my night, told her how I had a quiet night in — when in reality, I had just had the worst night of my life.

When I got home, I went to the bathroom. I saw that I was starting to bruise around my thighs and that my upper arm had a large bruise as well. I knew the right thing to do would be to end the relationship and report him, but I knew what he would be capable of doing if I did report it. He had threatened to leak my photos and to have people turn their backs on me. I had never felt so alone and desperate for help in my entire life. 

I want to die. 

The following three days were the worst three days of my life. I had visible bruising and I knew that once he had done it once — he’ll do it again and again and again. All of the previous emotional and psychological abuse began floating to the surface. I finally saw what I should have clearly seen months ago.  I debated killing myself: multiple times, to be honest. I could not even look at myself in the mirror. I was scared he was going to show up and do it again. He was going to say that he did nothing wrong when I know he did something wrong. I felt so scared and ashamed. 

Three days later, after missing a lot of school and not returning calls and texts — I finally made the decision to end my relationship with him. This was a hard decision because I knew what was to come once I made the decision to end the relationship. I sat in my bed, thinking about why I should live. I wanted to one day be a mother, have a loving husband, a career that meant something to me — I couldn’t let all of those dreams and aspirations go to waste over someone whose name will fade away.

I was ostracized by his friends and the entire school was talking as to why I broke up him out of the blue. I would go on to be harassed by him for the next six-plus months, constantly being called and texted — despite asking him to not speak to me anymore. I nearly had to go get a restraining order. I was fortunate enough to not have to do that, but I am aware of how many women are not so lucky.

He never did end up leaking photos, but he did, however, give me the stain of being a bad person who “blindsided” her boyfriend. I was the bad guy and nobody would know what had really happened. I did not care anymore. I was free. 

If only everyone knew the truth

The same girls who would proceed to talk poorly about me would never know the truth of what happened between their friend and I. Those same boys who to this day who walk past me at my UNIVERSITY still make me uncomfortable and feel like I had done something wrong.

To them, I say, I forgive you. You did not know what happened and I don’t blame for you for being loyal towards your friend. I’m sorry I did not have the courage, to tell the truth and I don’t think I ever will. I hope you do find out one day, but it won’t be through me. 

To him, I would like to say, I do not forgive you — and I never will. I am extremely resentful towards you because you took my good, trusting nature away from me. I used to believe all people were good, especially those who are involved in your life. You proved to me that I have to constantly be alert of my surroundings and the behaviour of my significant other. I hope karma gives you what you deserved. Shame on you for what you have done. 

Why I didn’t report:

Statistically speaking in Canada, the majority of sexual assaults go unreported due to multiple factors. For me, I did not report my sexual assault for three reasons: I was ashamed to admit to my mother/loved ones what had happened, I knew that having been in a relationship with him would lead people to not believe me, as well as coming from two very dramatically different socio-economic backgrounds. There are many women who have felt the same way.

Honestly, it has taken me five years to openly admit to myself that I was raped. It wasn’t until the #MeToo movement took place that I began to start unblocking the memories which I had suppressed for over four years and begin to critically think about how it affected me mentally and emotionally. 

Something that I take away from all of this is that I know I have the upper hand. In my mind, I walked away from that situation and made the best of what happened into something positive for my future. After the assault, I somewhat unintentionally focused all my time and energy into school. Despite not being an A+ student by any means, I still found something to occupy my time with that is positive and not detrimental. 

Overall, I think that our legal system is quite bullshit. Statistically, the percentage of rapes/sexual assaults that go on around us unreported is staggering. Shame, guilt, stigma — all are contributing factors to why women (and men as well) don’t report when they’ve been assaulted. Look at our own current events — rich men and women get away with their horrific actions because they have money. College boys, like Brock Turner, get a mere slap on the wrist so it “doesn’t ruin their future,” while their victim has to live with the shame and pain for the rest of her life. Or instances like Canadian Federal Court judge Robin Camp asking a sexual assault victim why she couldn’t just “keep your knees together” — all of this is bullshit. Something has to change. 

It’s time for an overhaul in the justice system — for fellow victims like me, who have had to suffer for years with embarrassment over the actions of a terrible person. 

Thank you for listening to my story.

#TimesUp #MeToo

Sources:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/sexual-assault-unfounded-stats-1.4757705

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2017001/article/14842-eng.htm

https://www.cnn.com/2016/09/12/world/robin-camp-rape-comments-trnd/index.html