I had a friend for many years who always took a fancy to me. He seemed nice and I trusted him and he had been dating my best friend when we were 16 years old. Eventually we ended up at some parties together and he drunkenly used me to cheat on his girlfriend, my best friend 3 times. One of these times involved me being pinned, saying “no” 4 times, and telling them that if he went any further it was molestation. He did not care. He went further. And I was molested by him inserting his fingers in to multiple times, while I was too weak to fight him off of me. I tried to forgive and move on, hoping that if I pretend it never happened, continued being his friend, and never said anything to his girlfriend the incident would go away and I would quit feeling damaged. I tried to speak up, and told 2 of our close friends, but he found out and texted me, infuriated. He later went on to tell me that I was never allowed to talk about it again, and manipulated me by playing victim, and telling me that it hurt him and made him sad when I “brought up something from the past.” Years went by and I thought this boy had changed. At the end of our first year of university we ended up dating. He told me that after college i was to put my dreams aside so that I could follow his. Also during this relationship he would pretend we weren’t together at parties. He instructed his friends to never mention anything about his girlfriend (me) or even that fact that he just wasn’t single. And no, this did not change when I was at those parties with him. He would not dance with me, he would not talk to me, he would not look at me, he wouldn’t introduce me to his friends, he wouldn’t even stand next to me. I later found out he actually enjoyed watching me being flirted with by other men. It gave him some odd and concerning validation by other men that I, as a girlfriend, was attractive and acceptable. While i was being bothered by odd men and extremely saddened by the fact that my boyfriend ignored me in public, i did notice what the goal of this distamce was. He was constantly hitting on other women in front of me at these parties. He would poor drinks for them, take down their numbers, and chat them up all night. When i confronted him about this behavior he quickly made me the villain and said that it was unfair of me to ask him to stop “making friends” and went on to tell me that, even though it made me feel awful, the behavior would continue. At one party another atendee finally noticed this odd behavior and confronted him in front of multiple people about how he should be paying attention to his own girlfriend. My boyfriend at the time proceeded to get very mad at this attendee and told the attendee to stop telling him what to do. Multiple other men approached me that night to explain they had been to multiple parties where they had seen me, and never once got the impression that i had a boyfriend, much less that he was actually at the same party. Eventually I realized I was unhappy and wanted something else, but at the time I was too close to the situation to see how incredibly manipulative he had been. However I did break up with him. Later on in the year i would go on to ask his best friend if he thought that boy had cheated on me, he said he had not cheated on me, but it did seem that he had tried multiple times to do so, only that the attempts failed to be received well by the women he attempted it with. After the breakup we remained friends. However, just to be clear, I told him, about a month after the break up, that I didn’t want to have sex with him. He seemed extremely mad at me for not wanting to sexually pleasure him anymore but also, to my belief, because he had always had an extremely difficult time with women and quickly grasped the unlikelyhood of finding another woman. About 3 or 4 weeks went by and I ended up at a small party at his appartment. He stayed sober, waiting for me to get drunk. Me, being unaware of this tactic, felt I was in a small, safe space, with only close friends and proceeded to, for the first time in my life, get black out drunk. The next morning I woke up, naked, in bed next to that friend, remembering only bits and pieces of the night before. I remember shots, making out with that friend, puking twice, and some fuzzy memory of being naked, on my back, with him on top of me. I asked him what happened and he proceeded to try to initiate sex again. I told him no and moved out from his grasp. He told me we had had sex. This friend kept a security camera in his room that could see parts of his bed so I asked to see the video from the night before as proof. I could only stomach about 5 seconds of the apparently 3 hour rape. I told him that I didn’t like what he had done while I had been in such a state of inebriation. He said, and I quote “I was honestly pretty sober last night…. Yeah, I should have stopped, especially after I realized how bad(ly drunk) you were.” I was shocked. He admitted to being sober, admitted to knowing I was blacked out, admitted to having seen and heard me puke multiple times…. And had continued to sexually assault me for 3 hours. He was my best friend for 4 years and my previous boyfriend. I was beyond hurt. I struggled for a week before I finally broke and ended up telling all of my roommates and my mom about what had happened. I accused him of rape, not because I was going to go to the police, but just because I needed to hear him say it. He went on to deny it, to blame me, and to ignore me as my mental state deteeiorated. All of these things, of course only helped it to deteriorate further. We went to different universities, so I couldn’t even contact faculty to receive a restraining order. Most days I’m fine and I just feel lucky not to remember anything but the 5 seconds of video I saw. But every once in a while I still struggle with this, with being raped, with the fact it was my best friend, with the fact that I can’t put this manipulative sexual predator some place he can’t hurt anybody else. My biggest hope is that one single woman hears this story and somehow gains strength and knowledge from it. The strength and knowledge to leave a manipulative relationship, or to help someone they care about leave one. One of the biggest tellers (and problems) I see is women (and men) making so many excuse for shady/offensive/abusive behavior for their significant other and thinking that is a normal relationship. A partner should not do something to you that you are too ashamed to tell your friends. A happy relationship is not one where you constantly have to forgive and forget things that deeply bother you, or where you are even made to feel ashamed for being bothered. A healthy relationship is not one where you have to say “yes, I know deep down that this is wrong, but he said….” no. You deserve better. The people you care about deserve better. Everyone deserves better than that.
Content warning: Sexually aggressive themes Ever since early high-school I hear from friends and the media that women like men who are rough and mean. I’ve grown up on a steady diet of porn that tells me that women like to choke on d*ck and be spanked and pushed around. I overheard a girl in my secondary school saying that she got bored of her boyfriend being nice and wishes he would call her a bitch. All girls I’ve ever been with have been sexually submissive. It leaves me feeling scared that if I’m too nice, I will lose the person I love. My girlfriend stops me when I half jokingly tell her she’s ‘my bitch’ and when I’m too aggressive in bed I’m grateful for that because I never want to hurt her.
An ex told me not to kick someone if they were trying to rape me, because “that would hurt.”
I was at a festival with my boyfriend, walking hand in hand(!) when a man grabbed my butt. My boyfriend didn’t see it and I was so shocked that I couldn’t do anything. After he walked away I realized what had happened and stopped. I wanted to run after the man, tell him my opinion, ask his name so I could report it to the police somehow. But he was really tall, probably three times heavier than me, he was holding a beer in his fully tattoed muscular arms and most of all he didn’t seem that type who would want to talk with me. I felt ashamed, powerless and mad. I wanted to pour his beer in his face and shout with him at first but that really wouldn’t have solved the problem. Then I wanted to talk with him, tell him what he was doing but I had a strong feeling that wouldn’t have worked either. I told my boyfriend the story and my thoughts about it and he just seemed to not get it. He is the best person I know, he is clever, correct – politically and in other ways too – he is a feminist as well but he still didn’t seem to understand me. And more, he didn’t want me to react anything. In our country, the police wouldn’t do anything, one from every five men who are staring at me on the streets are from police cars, winking or just checking my body. Talking wouldn’t use either, my boyfriend said that it would have just got me in trouble. Maybe he is right. But the feeling of my powerlessness haunted me for weeks. It still haunts me. If it happened again, I still couldn’t do anything. I would have to walk away and hope that we don’t meet again.
My boyfriend telling me that if he asked me to wear makeup, it would be because he is just expressing an opinion, not because he doesn’t like me without it, and I should do it because it makes him happy – and don’t I want to di things that make him happy? My boyfriend seeing nothing wrong with the above.
I was recently dating a guy who had the same level of education as I did. We both were proud of personal involvements in industries such as the art, politics and economics and naturally we were both very opinionated on the goings-on in society and wider-culture. We would often enter debates about politics. (this was a hot topic as Britain had just voted to leave the EU) and whilst I love debating ideas, hearing the thoughts of others I found that he was willing but only up to a certain extent. We would be debate, sometimes disagreeing before he would suddenly reach over and kiss me and say “enough of this talk about politics” as if I should be more interested in kissing and sex than Britain’s political climate
When I had turned 15 I went on holiday with my family abroad. While we were at the hotel a male staff member pulled me by the hand and arm round to the back of the hotel away from guests. He pushed me against the wall and proceed to touch my breasts and French kiss me (after I wouldn’t let him kiss me) until I managed to push him away. When I returned back to England I told my boyfriend. He proceed to shout at me and argue with me, saying I had cheated on him until I apologised.
I remember being objectified as a woman as long as the boys noticed I didn’t just add ‘pointless’ tidbits to classes but I also had breasts. I remember in primary school the confusion when I argued with boys, even if I didn’t get it. I remember hitting puberty at school and being openly groped by a boy in my year at 14+ everyday at lunch with both hands and as a reflex laughing it off and feeling as if it was a compliment. I remember being harassed throughout chemistry about whether I ‘shaved’ or not. I wish now I had learned to make a fuss, not to just be complacent. I always believed myself to be a strong woman as I was always raised but as long as I just didn’t stand out too much. When I got my first boyfriend at 17 I remember being picked apart ’til I I felt there was nothing left, being called ‘unattractive’ in the shower and asked to lose weight. When I once plucked up the courage to tell him I thought he should get more muscle-y his response was simply ‘no’. I also remember the two times he raped me and how he apologised but did it again. I remember how it took over a year to come to the conclusion it was rape, because we were in a relationship and I guess these things just happened. I remember at 20 when my boss continually harassed me by text and after many rejections told me I ‘deserved to be in (his) pants’. I also remember how he stood in the way of another guy I liked, how he wouldn’t come near me because even though he appeared to be disgusted by his behaviour explained to me quite plainly it was kinda like a guy code. And I still don’t know by which of these two men I was offended more by. But I can say this. As a 21 year old woman I am loud, I speak out, I tell men and woman who are sexist exactly why their behaviour is wrong, I am sarcastic and I am confident. Because of projects like this I know I am not alone, that I do not deserve this and this behaviour is not normal. I now openly tell people my boss is a sexist prat that doesn’t have two brain cells to rub together and have managed discuss with friends the verbal abuse I suffered under my ex boyfriend and utter to even a few the categorical rape I have suffered. Because no this is not normal and no this is not okay.
The other night while walking home, i realized that i am stronger than he is. It was an idea i’ve never considered before. Me, stronger than the man I love. What if I know it, and he never does? Can I accept that role? Will it comfort me, or make me feel alone? The very idea of it made me feel like my whole world was turning upside down. And what if I’ve been the strong one before? But I’ve never felt it. Never acknowledged the possibility. I think it’s fine to say that women and men can have varying roles within a relationship. But when you actually find yourself filling a role you never saw yourself in. It’s a strange feeling to sit with. I still don’t know how I feel about it.
I was taking dinner with my boyfriend, at the end he said he would like to pay, I was okay with it, but then said “give me a kiss in return for paying dinner”. I broke up with him after that.