A couple of years ago, I asked my ex if he’d give me a massage because my back had been hurting. He said he would only if I took off my clothes. I said ok, but I do not want to have sex, don’t want this massage to lead to that, etc. I laid down and he gave me the massage. As I was laying there afterwards, relaxing, he initiated unwanted sexual activities. It hurt and I couldn’t believe he was doing that after I had already said no, but I was too shocked to speak. We proceeded to go through the motions until the end, all the while I’m clearly uninterested, in pain, crying, etc. At the end, when he realized how much I was crying he asked me what was wrong. I told him I had said no at the beginning of the whole situation. He responded with “well you don’t think I r*ped you do you?” Even though I know it’s possible, my brain couldn’t rationalize a committed long term partner hurting the other like that so I told him no. But I truly felt like he had but I was too scared to upset him. My brain ended up blocking out my memory of the event, but once we broke up I remembered it again. Once I remembered, I remember thinking about how it would ruin his life if I publicly told people and I didn’t want to hurt him like that, even though he didn’t have the courtesy to think of me when he violated me.

I struggle with whether this counts as SA or r*pe because I told him I didn’t think he r*ped me. As time has gone on, I realize he did and that even though my experience doesn’t mirror what I see in the media, it’s just as valid. Committed partners can still do this to us. Other people may not understand, and they may question your experience, but regardless of how it looked for you, your experience and emotions are valid.

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