A few months later, after losing my job, spending time in a mental health facility, and being homeless with her, I finally got a job I loved and I was seeing him exclusively. She had left again right before thanksgiving and the pain I felt drove me to give him something I knew no one would ever have again. My love. He was so happy that we were finally together. It was all he had wanted for years, was to just be with me. For me to be his. In every sense of the word.
I had always thought domestic violence meant bruises and marks. Someone physically beating you, or threatening to kill you. I never knew that what I would experience over the next four years, off and on, would be considered domestic violence.
He loved me, didn’t he? So what he was doing wasn’t wrong. It was December now and he and I had been using the same car to get to and from work, and he just kept telling me over and over again that he was going to take care of me. That I was his. And that he loved me. And then it happened.
One night he was desperately trying to get me to be intimate with him, and I just wasn’t in the mood. I kept telling him no over and over and he just kept pressing the issue. He finally started playfully grabbing at my shorts and trying to pull them down. I half laughed and just kept saying “no. Stop. Babe. I don’t want to. Please stop.” But he didn’t.
He managed to get my shorts off and was leaning over me. I kept my legs together and just kept calmly asking him to stop. And telling him no. He laughed and just kept playfully pulling at my legs and laughing. “Come on baby. Please? I just want to be inside you. Just for a minute. Please?” He kept saying it over and over again, slowly pulling my legs apart. I kept saying no and then he was inside me. Pushing harder and harder. I just laid there and let him do it. I kept thinking to myself that my no must not have mattered. That I owed it to him to let him do what he wanted because I had hurt him and lied to him. “It’s not a big deal. It’s not like I really fought that hard to keep him from doing it.” These were the words I would repeat over and over in my head so I would stop feeling like I’d just been violated. I hadn’t been hurt. He didn’t technically “force” me to do anything I didn’t want to do. And after all, he’d been so playful and cute about it. Just cause I said no, didn’t mean that maybe part of me didn’t want it. Right?
Little by little this became an everyday thing, until one day he came home late from work and drunk. “Come on baby. Let’s get naked.” I was half asleep and so tired so I responded “no babe. I’m really sleepy. Maybe tomorrow. I really don’t want to.” He seemed agitated, but not angry. “Baby. Come on.” His voice was more forceful and a little aggressive. I woke up all the way because it wasn’t a sound I recognized from him at all. “No babe. I don’t want to. I really really don’t want to.” I tried to sound very matter of fact. Just, no. “Yes you do,” he said, “come on. Take off your shorts.” He was getting more and more aggressive and at this point he was pulling at my clothes. He kept pulling my shorts down and I kept pulling them up. “Ugh, another one of his games. Just say no like you mean it and he’ll stop. He probably thinks you’re just playing with him like he usually does.”
“No. I don’t want to. Stop. I’m serious.” I sat up and said it like I meant it. Like I was scolding him. He sat there for a minute and then he grabbed me and forced me back down. His whole body was crushing me and he was pulling my shorts off all the way. “Stop. I said no!! I’m serious! I don’t want to!! Get off!” I wasn’t yelling but my voice was loud and stern. “No.” But he didn’t seem to care. It only seemed to make him want me more. I closed my legs and pushed them as hard as I could together.
“Stop now. I don’t want this. I told you no. You’re drunk. You just need to go to sleep.” At this point my voice was going completely unheard. He was pulling my legs apart with both of his hands and pushing himself on top of me. “STOP IT. I SAID NO!!” I was frantically pushing at his chest, hoping I was strong enough to get him to stop. Now I was panicking and holding back tears. “He’s just drunk. He would never hurt me. Maybe he just isn’t listening.” I thought to myself. But he just kept prying and pushing.
I still remember the way he looked and the way he felt. He was so heavy and I felt so small all of a sudden. I knew what the leaves must feel like when the wind pushed them aside like nothing. He’d finally managed to pry my legs apart and I just started screaming at him. I didn’t feel overpowered or sad, or even violated, I just felt pissed. “What the fuck?? Get the fuck off me!!” By now I was yelling at him and pushing with all the strength I had. One more pry and he shoved himself inside me. “Ow!! Fucking stop!! That doesn’t feel good it just fucking hurts!! Stop!! Get off!!” I was yelling at him and he was grunting. Holding my whole body in his arms and pushing himself inside me harder and harder. I could feel myself tearing inside and I screamed. “GET THE FUCK OFF!!” He stopped for just a moment and slapped me so hard I couldn’t breathe for a moment. “Shut up.” He said this so calmly and so quietly that I almost missed it. “Shut up.”
I just laid there while he finished, holding in tears, because there’s no way he meant to hurt me like that. He’s drunk. He’s just drunk. I shouldn’t have fought him to begin with. You know how he gets when he’s been drinking. He didn’t mean it. A whole new set of lies I would tell myself, but instead of lies for her, they would be the lies I created for him. “This is my going to be my life, isn’t it?” A life of lies created to shield me from a truth I couldn’t bear to accept. I was being sexually assualted by someone I thought I trusted, someone I thought I loved, and someone who told me he loved me and would never hurt me. I was being raped. Not once, or twice, but repeatedly. And that would be my life until I found the courage to walk into the welfare office and speak with the woman who would save my life 3 years later…