No means NO

I have received the first experience-story submission. This experience comes from Lily of the Valley. I want to personally thank her for her bravery in sharing her story. I know it can be difficult. Please know that you have our support and that what happened was not your fault.

The summer that I was 23 was a summer I’ll never forget. In many ways, it was the best summer of my life. I got to follow a rock star across the country, I had an awesome vacation with my friends and I managed a 4.0 GPA for the summer semester. However, on the flip side of the coin, it was a difficult summer. My grandfather lost his battle with lung cancer which ended up dividing our family. That summer was also the summer that I became a statistic. I was raped by my boyfriend at the time.

I will never forget this day. I had just come back from California and he and I were lying on my bed watching a movie in our pajamas. He turned over and said “I missed you,” and started rubbing my clitoris through my shorts. “Don’t,” I said. “I’m jet lagged and I just want to sleep.” For the next 10 or so minutes he kept at it. Finally, when he had stripped me of my shorts and had put his fingers into my vagina, I said “Whatever…” and we had sex. It didn’t dawn on me until much later that this was rape.

It wasn’t until after we broke up that I realized that almost every time we had sex for the last year of our relationship that it was like this instance. A lot of the things he did constituted sexual abuse (examples: buying me a sex toy and telling me that I should use it, calling me his slut, pressuring me for anal intercourse, etc…). I also realized that he never had a nice thing to say about me. When I told him that I was going to see a therapist about the depression over my grandfather‘s passing, he told me “Maybe if you lose weight, you’ll feel better about yourself.” Ironically, when we broke up, I ended up not needing that therapist.

What I know now is that none of this was my fault. I did nothing to deserve the hell that he put me through for 2 out of 3 years. I will never get that time in my life back, but I can use my time now to help other victims of sexual assault.

I didn’t report what he did to me. Now that I recognize what happened to me, I will report it if it happens again. Thankfully, I now am with someone who loves and accepts who I am. It’s nice.

From: Lily of the Valley

Stories of in-relationship sexual assault can be particularly hard to share because of the overwhelming level of animosity on this issue. Like all women who have been through this situation, I hope that everyone out there knows: you have a right to say no to your partner and expect to be taken at your word.


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