My rape was framed as BDSM. We had been texting for two or three weeks, about hooking up, and what types of sex we enjoyed. Eventually the topic of BDSM came up and we chatted about what BDSM meant to us, and what our limits were within hooking up & BDSM. Like many people who live with in the experiences of BDSM, the things I do with hookups and the things I do with longterm partners vary drastically. He introduced some topics that I quickly vetoed as being off limits for a hook up.

He came over immediately after bootcamp, he had texted me instructing me to start drinking before he got there. Am I ever glad I do not respond to authority well. Out of playful spite I did not start drinking. The up side to being sober is that I remember everything. The down side to being sober is that I remember everything. And these memories crop up at the worst times, even three years later.

Afterwards, men that I confided in & considered friends had the nerve to pose the question “Had it just been BDSM gone wrong?” or “Hadnt I asked for it?” (for the record, I never asked to be punched in the back of the head – or suffocated under pillows). These same men wondered why women would just shut down mid conversation about these topics. Broaching a difficult topic and being told that maybe we just have it all wrong, or having our friends play the “devils advocate” with our psychological well being isnt exactly something that will make us bare our hearts.

It took me a long time to feel angry. Feeling hurt happened almost immediately, but anger took a while. Anger felt like a luxury, as the guys had mentioned – Hadnt I invited this? No. I hadnt. I did not invite someone to take violent liberties with my body. I had invited someone to take pleasure in my body within a set of limits that I had set. Those limits were not only tested but broken. In that moment it became a non-consensual act. It became rape. Rape. RAPE. Does that word make you uncomfortable? Good. Being raped made me incredibly uncomfortable.

Today should have been the day that drove me over the edge. Today should have been the day that I lost my mind.

Being back in Nova  Scotia is always hard on me. However this time I have prepared myself. I have wonderful lovers & friends waiting for my return. I have amazing friends here in the province giving me moral support. I am free of all this winter drama for a few weeks, no one sticking their nose into my healing business.

But as it goes I still have to visit with family. I managed to politely tell my father to go fuck himself when he tried to guilt me into doing something I wasnt emotionally prepared for. I did not blow up at my mother for talking to thin air, which is a miracle because I hate it when she does that.

Then my rapist contacted me. It has been 1yr 51wks since the rape. I told him what I thought of him. He apologized for giving me vaginosis but not for raping me,… Small. Angry. Steps.

But then Kitten needed me. He was having a rough 24hrs. And all of that other shit, well it was was just that other shit compared to Kitten needing someone to talk to. All of my anger towards my parents disappeared. All of the hurt my rapist caused fell away. This winter, never happened. Why? because someone needed my attention.

It sounds dependant, it sounds hollow. The truth is, for most of my life Ive been looking for people to take care of, and to take care of me. I love to take care of people in some small way. Not because I want them to be dependant on me, but because I want them to have one less thing to worry about when they close their eyes at night. It is just too bad so many people in this era seem to think that is somehow a bad thing, an unwanted trait in another person… Fuck them.

(this piece originally appeared at Higher Unlearning)

Ive always been a reserved person, quiet, observant, removed. Before it happened there was a bubbly under current that would surface if you were patient. Now there is a dry riverbed, because he turned that babbling brook into a torrent of tears. My heart is dry, and it aches and no matter how much positivity I try to pour into it, it leaks out through the cracks.

I used to love to go out and meet people. Make out with strangers, in the comfort of a well known bar. Dance with all the right-wrong people. Cop’ a consensual feel at the bar counter. Have my breath taken away by someone at the bus stop. When he wrapped his hands around my throat, and forced my face into the pillows he wrung out my spontaneity. Now instead of passion for the new and unknown, i feel trapped in a cave when left with new people, blocked in and nervous.

I used to love to be watched and to watch, we all people watch. Now everyones eyes are on me even when they aren’t. Tearing me apart like animals at the feed. Waiting for me to play the victim, or bluffing into survivor mode. I feel pressure from all corners to be strong, to be weak, to get over it, to relax, to not take it so seriously, to take it more seriously, to get back on the horse, to take my time. Nothing I do will ever be right in other peoples prying eyes. Their prying judgment:

I didn’t react properly,
I don’t react properly.
I’m obviously lying.

Some people think I must just be so traumatized, or even better that I’m a liar, or I was asking for it. It was circumstantial event, he obviously “wasn’t aware”, he was just too “into it”, or maybe (!!!) it was bad kink scene.

Beating a woman you just met, and fucking her without a condom shows complete awareness – he knew what he was doing, and trust me when I say he was REALLY “into it”. Ive had bad kink, from people who were kind of scummy, but when I said no or used a safe word they always stopped. This wasn’t bad kink. Baiting me for more information that will somehow prove that I asked to be treated horribly and inhumanely shows just how much we as a society just want to pass the buck. How we believe that we have no say in how these things play out :

She must be a slut, it is her fault. How did she ask for it, how didn’t she ask for it. How can we not blame rape culture. How do we look the other way while an entire group of people are screaming out in psychological and emotional pain.

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We could have been happy, me and those three other girls. You could have died. You could have stepped on a land mine. You could have done us the favour of being taken hostage and being shot on third world television by some extremists. You sexually assaulted all four of us. You claimed to be a feminist. That you worked towards bettering the world. But you sexually assaulted all four of us.

At first boys tried to convince me that it was my perception of what happened that was wrong. That I had just had a bad subdrop. But I knew that wasn’t it. Subdrops never made me feel ugly and dirty on the inside, they never made me feel raw or taken advantage of. Then I found my friend knew you. And you had done the same thing to her. We commiserated over it. We plotted your down fall… in word only because what could we do.

One of our male friends who overheard us introduced us to another girl who had the displeasure of meeting you and your wildly liberal ways. And then another… Four out of four women who had separate experiences with you infact all had the same experience. What are the odds.

So yes, you could have stepped on a land mine, or had an SUV roll on top of you. We would have thrown a parade on top of your grave. I would have baked “rot in hell” cupcakes for you and thrown them at your tombstone.

It is needless to say that I have trust issues now. I never really believe men when they tell me are feminists, all I can think is “Yeah, I heard that once… then I was raped”. So be proud, you changed the world. You changed the worlds of four women… probably more.