The Mighty Logo

Why It Took Me So Long to Admit I Was Raped

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

For the longest time, he was just a number. Truthfully, he was the second person I’d ever done it with.

“Oh we had sex,” I’d told my best friend the next day. But she didn’t know exactly what had happened the previous night. And as for me, I just blocked it out.

It wasn’t until I got with my fiancé that I really started to explore my mental health. The more I delved into my past and my issues, the more I realized there was some dark stuff lurking around in the farthest recesses of my pretty little mind. Sure, I had thought about that night and wondered if I could call it rape, but then I pushed it aside… Every time.

See my rape wasn’t like off of a TV crime show. It wasn’t brutal and aggressive. I wasn’t hurt nor did I feel like I was raped. But I was. That night I was tricked into being somewhere I shouldn’t have been. And then asked to do it… Over and over. No matter how many times I said no or expressed I didn’t feel like it was a good idea (I tried to be polite), I knew I couldn’t stop what was about to happen, so I stopped resisting.

I stopped resisting for the simple reason that I wanted to go home. I wanted this to be over with. I knew he was a big dude, already pinning me down trying to kiss me. My objections were met with, “But it will feel good” or “Just let me do it for a minute.” I was 17. I was scared. I had already been tricked into being somewhere I hadn’t intended to be.

But I wouldn’t call it rape. Technically, I had given in. I had said “OK” after a lot of back and forth. I did not feel like I had the right to say I was raped or sexually assaulted. I felt like I was a slut for a long time. I had let him do that to me. I let it happen. Why didn’t I fight harder? Why didn’t I get more aggressive? Why didn’t I claw his freaking eyes out?

It wasn’t until I saw him at a restaurant while I was with my fiancé that I realized my feelings were valid. I had a long conversation with my fiancé about it. I have a right to say I was raped. Not ever assault is brutal and violent or looks like an episode of Law and Order: SVU. But it can affect you in some of the same ways.

I believe it isn’t until you confront those feelings and call it what it is that you will ever be able to move on. I now feel a sense of freedom from that baggage that I carried for so long. Don’t be afraid to tell someone what you’re going through. Don’t be afraid to face those dark places in your head. And always know that you’re a survivor.

If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via kevinhillillustration.

Originally published: August 11, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home