"He would never do that".
That's what they tell me, anyways. Because he was a high school freshmen, just 14 years old. On the basketball team and transitioning into the football season. His friends are all jerks, but that doesn't define who he is.
"I'm not trying to validate what he did, but he's a freshmen boy. He probably doesn't know any better."
Those were the exact words of my high school guidance counselor that still give me chills to this day. How could you not know any better? When a police officer tells you to pull over, you pull over, right? When your friend says you can't come over, you don't go over anyways, right? And when your guest turns down the coffee you offered them, you don't make the coffee anyways, right? All of those things are considered the incorrect thing to do, and we typically don't do them.
So why is any of that different from not wanting to have sex with someone?
What any normal person would notice about his behavior is that he changed his story so many times. It became inconsistent very rapidly. First, I was begging him to have intercourse with me, then in the next version, we never had sex, then in the next, it was my fault for not leaving his house. Now, I'm not sure if all of these versions of his story are what exactly came out of his mouth, so please take it with a grain of salt. I heard some of these versions from friends, strangers, and school officials, and it is possible that they may have been told wrongly. Humans always vary stories subconsciously without even knowing because it is based on their account. But what I do know is that what he first narrated versus what has been reported to me time after time are two completely different stories, so I have plenty of reason to believe there has been alterations to his original statement.
He will claim that I have "cried rape" twice. Why? Because shortly before knowing him, I had a very bizarre encounter with another boy, which has now been altered into false accusations of me making false accusations. We were driving in his car on a Friday night when he said he had a bottle of booze in the trunk. Having SAT exams the next day, I said no thank you because I wanted to be able to concentrate on the exam the morning after (not to mention I am not a fan of drinking in the first matter). We eventually pulled the car over by the park at my house and he dug the bottle out of his car anyways. He opened the bottle up and held it near my face, telling me to drink it. So, what happened? I'll tell you the honest truth. I got pissed drunk. Except when we got back to my house, he kept trying to make a move on me, and I had him leave the house after he brushed his lips against mine. Does that sound like rape to you? Because it sure doesn't sound like rape to me. It just sounds like two teenage kids who made some dumb decisions before things got too weird.
During that time, I was out of a long term relationship and looking for attention to take my mind off of the pain I was brought during my first big heartbreak - It happens, and it's normal to be vulnerable in times like these. I remember receiving a private message on Instagram from a freshman (this was my junior year) telling me I was cute and he wanted to talk to me. Admittedly, I found him rather attractive, so we started to get to know each other when I started realizing he was rather obnoxious towards me. The first time I talked to him in person at school, he told me to leave my art class to see him in the hallway. Reluctantly, I complied, and we were talking together in the hallways of the school for a few minutes when he stopped me to give me a hug. I became nervous when he started feeling my body as he pulled me towards him, so I squeezed out of the hug to keep walking back to my art classroom. Before I went back into class, we had a moment where we almost kissed, but I quickly parted ways because I didn't know him very well and I wasn't the type to jump into things like that. Being around him quickly became rather nerve-wracking for me because he was very physical like that, and if I ever upset him (which was quite frequently), he would clench my wrists until I pulled back or anything simple that would inflict pain on me. I began to feel scared and didn't know what to do. I did think he was attractive, and he generally boosted my self esteem when he complimented me, but neither of those things were worth the pain he inflicted upon me. He was really good at manipulating me into feeling sorry for him when he treated me poorly, and he was also really good at guilting me into doing things he wanted me to do. It was very evident that this was an unhealthy "relationship", though we were not actually dating.
One day, he asked me to go to his house after school. I said yes. He had been bugging me to come over for about a week even though I always told him I was busy - I wasn't busy, I was too nervous. He made me feel guilty when I couldn't be with him after school before he eventually guilted me into complying. At this point, I was extremely anxious. He had hit me at times and would grip my arms if I tried to walk away from him in school. It was getting really bad and I didn't know what to expect. Would he try to kiss me? We had never kissed at that point. Would he just ignore me and play his video games or something? I didn't know, but I do know that I agreed to hang out with him only if he let us do what I wanted to do. I told him I just wanted to watch television and cuddle up before taking a nap, and he agreed that yes, that sounded fine.
After he shut the door to his house, he began to kiss me. My brain told me this was a huge red flag. I pulled away at times, but he kept forcing me back on to the wall to kiss me. I was so uncomfortable that I literally stopped kissing him back, and he was just kissing my lips. He didn't stop too, he just kept kissing me and walked me over to his living room. That's when I thought I would sit on the chair because he wouldn't be sitting next to me and I could be by myself. That didn't happen. He hovered over me on the chair and continued to kiss me, trying to feel for the zipper of my jacket to take it off. I pulled him off of me and held on to the bottom of my coat, and he asked why I wouldn't take the jacket off. "It's cold in here," I lied. I even tried to grab the attention of his cat, who was wandering around the living room and kitchen to distract him from kissing me. Despite this, he pulled the jacket off of me anyways and pushed me back to my original place in the chair, continuing to kiss the lips that weren't kissing him back. I don't remember how, but I ended up laying on the floor with him hovering over top of me.
Things got even weirder when he asked me if I wanted to have sex with him. Now, there were times where we had been texting and he had me talk dirty to him because "he was in the mood". Except I really didn't know what to do because I didn't even know how I felt about him other than he made me feel scared at times. This made me pretty uncomfortable but I also remember making it clear that those were not my intentions for the day. In that moment, I told him I didn't feel comfortable doing anything because it was too soon. He gripped me down and continued asking me the question again and again, and he pretty much heard the same response every time. "I just got out of a relationship", "You'll never talk to me again", "I really don't think this is a good idea", "I don't know". That last one was his way of telling people I didn't "technically say no" and therefore I wanted it. He continued to inflict pain on me (I don't have a very clear memory of what he was doing besides pinning me down and tightly gripping my arms) and kept telling me, "Come on", "Please, Alison", Don't be a coward". At this point, I knew I was in trouble. The more I declined, the more he would coerce me and hurt me. I knew there wasn't much hope for getting out of this, and I was terrified as he continued to feel my body and take off my belt without my permission. He was slowly undressing me and my anxiety was skyrocketing. I whispered to him, "Please get a condom".
For quite some time, I felt guilty for saying that last sentence. As I told my story to my close friend, she warned me that he might turn around and say that this was my verbal consent towards him. And for a while, I blamed myself for this. Could that have been misinterpreted for consent? I was so scared to tell people my story even though I knew I didn't actually give him consent. But the truth is, I was worried for my own safety, and I knew that if he was going to do such a horrible thing to me regardless of my consent, I was much safer if he used a condom. I was raped - He coerced me and physically forced me to get what he wanted, and after everything was all over, he kicked me out of his house and into the freezing cold December night to wander aimlessly. My sister came and picked me up from a nearby grocery store a few hours afterwards. I woke up the next morning to painful marks and bruises all over my bottom and forearms (from where he had pinned me down), I also discovered painful brush burn around my elbows that morning when I was volunteering at a local food bank. I no longer have my texts from that morning, but I do remember asking him why he made me have intercourse (non-consensual, all be it) when I told him I wanted to watch television or something instead. His response was, "I thought it was the right thing to do".
He cut me off that same day, and he told me he didn't want to be with me anymore. This devastated me for a day or two at most, but I was too consumed by the trauma brought by what he had done to me. I was okay with anything at that point because it was hard to feel anything at all. I didn't really speak to anybody because I couldn't feel many emotions. I just sat in my room all day, laying in bed and replaying the scenes in my head to figure out what the hell I was even feeling. Finally, a few days later, I told my close friend, whose boyfriend at the time was ex-best-friends with my abuser. As it turns out, her boyfriend was reading the messages, and as revenge towards his ex-best friend for harming me, he and my friend decided they were going to egg his house and spray paint 'rapist' on the sidewalk. Later that night, the cops arrived at my abuser's house and asked for his story, to which he had the nerve to claim that I "only claimed it was rape because he left me the next day and I had my panties in a bunch". At about 10:30 at night, my home phone rang, and my mom answered the call. I was minding my own business in my room about 10 minutes later when my mom stormed in. "The cop's called here, you need to tell me what the fuck is going on."
The cops never asked for my story. I've been told that the cop knew my abuser and honored his story rather than hearing what I had to say. I have tried taking my case to the school board twice, but the most that I ever got out of doing so was having them "let him off with a warning". I do not know why they didn't decide to take more action, but I do know there was another girl at school going through the same thing with the school board after her boyfriend raped and harassed her. Personally, I was told that trying to take it to court would be "a waste of my time" because my texts before going to his house were "not enough proof" that I didn't say no. It hurts me to think that a group of higher up individuals who are supposed to be concerned about student affairs at a public school would not assist or support me during this time. This year, I am a high school senior, but I made arrangements to go to community college for my senior year in order to avoid my abuser and the people who accused me of lying about my story - The people who refused to acknowledge my suffering and instead shamed me for what I endured.
I felt so alone during this time because I didn't have many friends who supported me. The one's who did were so incredibly amazing, but at the end of the day, I didn't have much to work with in my time of recovery. I left for community college after spending the rest of my junior year afraid to walk into the doors of a school that was supposed to make me feel safe. Time took away from the harassment but not the pain. I had and still do have reoccurring nightmares about my abuser, and it's still so hard to tell the story without feeling the pain that comes with it. You see, once you fall into the position I did, you can remember the chills down your spine, the shakiness of your voice, the adrenaline pumping through your veins - All it takes is just one small memory to bring back 1 million feelings. Now? I am with my boyfriend of a little over half a year and am trying to teach myself coping strategies for the present and future. I commend my boyfriend for having the patience to glue the pieces back together of a broken girl who never thought she could trust a person ever again. I love him because he treats me with respect and reminds me that I am never alone because he's been right by my side from the beginning.
Here's a note I wrote in February 2016, just two months after the incident.
To my oppressor, you left me in pieces. I can't even tell you how many times I've referred to "the incident" over the past year. A lot of people don't look at me the same way now. And I've pushed so many people away because of you. But I want you to know that now I realize what really happened. You made me feel so damn guilty, when you completely understood what you were doing. You were trying to save yourself, so you pushed me under the water and drowned me. And that was just it. How could you be so evil? I'm going to get better, but that doesn't take away from the urgency of this disaster. I want to feel okay again, but there isn't a day that goes by where you don't numb my brain. I wish you would understand that. I wish you understood how corrupt this is.
And to the people I thought I could trust? I'm sorry my story was apparently too much for you. If your schedule was too busy for me, I'm sorry you didn't "have the time" to help the broken girl who was so desperate for help. I'm sorry you went behind my back and trusted the person who changed their story so many times. Just so you know, he'll never tell you how he made me feel or how he manipulated me to stay with him until he got what he wanted. He'll never be honest about what he really did to me.
He would never do that.