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Break the silence that surrounds sexual assault, sexual harassment, interpersonal violence, relationship abuse, stalking, hate crimes, and identity-based violence. Share your story here on our anonymous blog.

To speak about an experience with any form of interpersonal violence is difficult, but it is also empowering. Breaking the silence reduces shame and helps others to speak out about their own experiences.

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Because this blog features stories of interpersonal and sexual violence, we offer this *content warning* as a way of caution. We also ask that you do not reproduce any of the content below, as the authors of these personal stories are anonymous, and cannot give consent for their stories to appear anywhere other than this blog or at a Project Dinah-led SpeakOut event.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

We were in love. We were meant to be together forever. At least that’s what I told myself.
It didn’t start out as abuse. We held hands, we kissed, we cuddled, we went on dates. We were normal. We were in 8th grade when we began dating, 9th when I told him what my uncle was doing to me, 11th the first time he hit me, and First years when the bruises became too hard to hide.

I thought he was protecting me. He didn’t want me staying out late, he didn’t want me wearing revealing clothes, and he didn’t want me alone with guys. Then one day he found out that I had been hanging out with a guy and he broke up with me. Just like that. I cried, I begged, I pleaded for him to forgive me.

When we got back together rules began to be made. I had to respond to his texts within a certain amount of time so that he always knew what I was doing. I had to answer all of his phone calls. I had to check in with him so that he could make sure I was “safe.” If I didn’t, there were consequences. It started off as name calling and threats to leave me. I became so afraid of making the wrong decisions I got into the habit of asking him before I did anything—he liked that.

I remember the first time he hit me vividly. We were arguing over whether I could go to Governor’s School. I finally said that I was going and that I didn’t care if he didn’t like it. The next thing I knew I was on the floor and my face was red with his hand print. He apologized. He got down on his knees and cried at my feet for what seemed like hours.

When I got back from Governor’s School it continued. He would go through my phone daily, he would hit me when I disobeyed him, and he chose what college I would attend based on their distance from him.

After entering college I was raped at a party—a party that my boyfriend had told me not to go to. When I told him what happened he said it was my fault and the next time he saw me he forced me to have sex with him. He said that it was my punishment for being such a whore. Then he broke up with me. I cried, I begged, I pleaded, and a few weeks later he took me back. But he wasn’t the same. The smallest things set him off. He began to hit me for random things: tripping over rugs, taking too long to shower.

In between these violent spells we were a normal couple. We held hands, we laughed, we kissed. He would say things like “you’re everything to me” and “I would die without you,” and I said them back. Every hour of every day was about him and what he wanted me to do and what he thought about what I was doing and wearing and going.

I remember the first time my roommate questioned a bruise on my arm. I made something up like “oh he was drunk, it’s no big deal.” I remember her shock, and I remember thinking that she just didn’t understand. She became my best friend. She made it harder for me to make excuses for him, and when things got good she reminded me of how bad they could get. Then one day, during finals week, he broke up with me again. I cried, I begged, I pleaded, but this time I had my roommate. She held me, she comforted me, she told me I was better than the names he was calling me, and she stood up to him for me.

I started to realize that the guy who kissed me under the stars and the guy that punched me in the face were the same person. I realized that he didn’t change, that he had always been the same, and once I saw that he did not change into this monster, I began to understand that he would not stop being this monster. That summer he begged for me back, and for a few weeks we dated. Everything was perfect until I made plans with someone else without asking first, and he hit me. I ended things with him, I moved away, and I began to heal.

It’s been a year since I left him, and I still jump when I’m touched and have nightmares and get confused when my boyfriend doesn’t control me, but I’m improving. I’d like to say that it was that last hit that gave me the strength to leave him, but it wasn’t: it was my roommate—the girl who spent hours and hours telling me I deserved better and continues to help me through it today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My story is extremely similar to yours, down to details about Governor's School. Thank you for your story, it really speaks to me ♥