Sexual Coercion

Ask The Band: Was It My Fault?

Here at The Band, we believe in kicking stigmas to the curb, flinging glitter, and shining a light into the dark. And now?

Your bandmate needs a sounding board.

It's time to Ask The Band!

I'm so confused.

I have this "friend" who I met over the summer. He seemed like a nice guy - even asked before kissing me for the first time. Eventually, he pressured me into having sex with him, but I didn't horribly mind.

However, with each time we had sex, he became more and more violent. The first two times we slept together, I told and reminded him of my only two rules - no marks, and no finishing inside of me. Every time, he has disregarded these rules.

It started off as just hickies but it's moved much farther than that. On Wednesday, he invited himself over to my house, and I was afraid. He bit my breasts and nipples until I could no longer bear it and started pushing him away, saying no, or not so hard, but he simply continued.

He took off his clothing and asked if I wanted to stop.

I wish I had said yes. Oh, how I wish I had said yes! I don't know what made me say no. Maybe I took it as a sign that he would be gentler. Maybe part of me just wanted to get it over with. Maybe I was just plain scared.

He choked me terribly with his hands and with his penis. I actively tried to push him away from me, dying for breath. He entered me so forcefully that I tore a little, and then he put himself into my mouth again. I could taste my own blood.

Afterwards, he asked me "Why do you like it so rough?" I didn't realize that my suffering had implied that I enjoyed what was happening. I just said "I don't know."

Am I going crazy? Does he really think he's doing me a favour? Two days later, I can still see individual teeth marks from his biting. My most expensive bra has blood on it from him torturing my nipples.

Maybe it's my fault for not saying no "well enough." All I can think is that it's somehow my fault. I can't process what's happening.

Was I raped?

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Why Can't I Just Feel Like Me Again?

Rape is a trauma that lasts with you a lifetime.

This is her story:

About a year ago, my best friend was really into this older guy, and I didn't want to be around him; he gave me the creeps. But she always said, "Come on! I don't want to go alone," so I'd give in and hang out with them.

She'd always been a horrible friend, but I suppose I didn't care (don't worry, because thanks to my current wonderfully supportive, long- term boyfriend, I've since gotten her out of my life.)

She'd accused me of wanting him, which, for some reason, made me want to prove her right. He suggested, through text, that we have sex. I thought, "Hell, she deserves it," and went with it, even though I knew it was wrong.

He asked to hang out with me alone, and I said "sure," but to make it abundantly clear that I didn't want to have sex, I followed that up with, "I DON'T want to have sex with you."

He replied, "Okay, I don't have sex on Sundays anyway; it's a sin."

I'm so stupid - why would I believe such a bullshit excuse? I don't know, I'm young and naive.

We were watching the movie Saw, just as friends, so I wasn't expecting, or hoping for anything sexual. He was.

He started kissing me. I was semi-unsure of what was going on, so I went with it for a moment. Then, he rolled on top of me and started to unbutton my pants.

I was confused.

I pushed up on his chest and asked as quietly and calmly as I could, "What are you doing?" He ignored me. I must have asked at least five more times getting more and more anxious when he didn't reply.

Things got a little blurry - after he put on a condom, I accepted what was about to happen.

I knew no one else was home and I was afraid to run home and telling my parents because I didn't want to get in trouble. So I just laid there with my arms at my sides; I didn't really know what else I could do.

I thought I was okay. I really did.

I felt guilty and for a while I convinced myself that we'd just had sex. Soon, though, I began to feel ashamed and disgusted. The tears came and I realized, I had been raped, violated, assaulted.

After I realized I'd been raped, I went into a very deep depression.

I managed to keep both the depression and the rape to myself, though I came clean to my friend. I was happy that she believed me, because she's the type who thinks people get what they deserve. Soon, though, she began to use the rape against me in arguments. That hurt. A lot.

I told my dad about the rape.

We talked about the rape and decided together not to report it to the police as my rapist had just been arrested for raping and statutory raping a number of girls, so he was in jail for over twenty years.

I became suicidal and I didn't believe it had anything to do with the rape

I went to the psychiatric hospital for a five day stay. Now that I understand the stages of grief after a rape: depression, regret, anger, and guilt you go through it makes sense.

I'm currently working through the guilt stage following the rape. I know logically that the rape wasn't my fault; that he should have taken no for an answer the first time. But still, I feel I need to go back and change the past; like it was all my fault.

I'm scarred.

I was raped.

But I have a voice and I intend to use it to help myself and anyone else who has been through a rape.

Have you survived a rape? How did you cope?
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My "Best Friend"

Sexual abuse is devastating, even more so when the abuser is a friend.

This is her story.

Age 13. Should be a time with no worries, right? Wrong. That was the year I was sexually assaulted and violated by my best friend.

One day she forced me to look at porn with her. When I looked away she made me. Another day when we were hanging out she tried making me remove my pants, but I said no. Not long after, she forced me to take off my shirt and felt me up even when I was practically almost crying. After I put my shirt back on she tried kissing my neck to give me a hickey but I shoved her off me.

Just before I left, she gave me a hug while grabbing my ass.

My mom asked me about a year and a half later why this girl and I weren't friends anymore. I broke down and told her. She was extremely supportive and I thought the pain was finally over. Wrong again.

I'm 22 now. I had forgotten about it for years until a close friend of mine sent me an episode on YouTube of an Oprah show talking about same sex rape and incest, not knowing what happened to me. My past immediately came flooding back to me and it keeps haunting me. It won't stop and I feel like there's nothing I can do. I don't want to date, get boyfriends or even have sex ever again after this suddenly came back.

I just want to make it stop.

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Behind The Rose-Colored Glasses, I Have Been Emotionally And Sexually Abused

Teen dating abuse can give scars that last a lifetime.

This is her story:

I started dating him in March of 2008, my junior year in high school - that June, we went camping with his family.

That's when the emotional and sexual abuse began. When everyone was out, we were taking a nap in the camper. He started touching me - I felt violated and powerless - I couldn't say "no" because I had nowhere to go.

We were that on-again off-again couple.

He made me feel dirty, like no one else would want me after what he'd done to me. He made me feel guilty for not reciprocating the sexual acts he did to me. I felt like a possession; an object to him.

In April of 2011, we were looking at engagement rings. One of the jewelers asked when he'd propose. He said he'd propose before boot camp in June.  It was like a train hit me. "I don't want to marry him! It's too soon!"

I explained that I didn't want to get engaged before boot camp, I'd wanted to be engaged for two years before we married. He was heartbroken - he didn't say so, but I saw it.

A couple of nights later, he told me he didn't see me as his wife before listing everything he hated about me: I was "just like my mom," I'm high maintenance. He couldn't make me happy.

I was in tears.

I felt like I couldn't do better than him - my self-esteem and self-confidence were destroyed. Rather than tell him off, I melted - told him everything I "loved" about him and begged him to stay.

He relented.

Little did I know... he'd been playing online video games with another girl. He decided to pursue her, but keep me on the side.

His friends were always at his house; we never had time alone. He'd violate me, touching my breasts, messing around under the blanket, in front of his friends. He didn't want me to hang out with my friends - he wanted my life to revolve around his.

It made me mad so I tried talking to him, confiding in him, but he never had an opinion - he just listened. He never confided in me but confided in everyone else. After our fight, he pressured me to do things sexually I wasn't comfortable with. He manipulated, coerced me.

He began acting strangely, hanging out without me - his friends were more important. I just wanted to feel loved; like I was important. 

In an attempt to keep him, I went against my morals and decided that even if he dumped me, I'd take his virginity. He acted like he "deserved" my virginity. Before he took my virginity from me, I asked if I was his first.

Yes.

I knew he wasn't The One; it was all so wrong. I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with a person who wasn't right for me. He told me that the idea of "The One," didn't exist. I believed him. I felt no one would understand me, put up with me.

Three days after he took my virginity, I got my period and he was sad, disappointed. That evening shit hit the fan.

Memorial Day weekend, sitting on the couch, I asked him what was wrong? He was acting weird, distant, isn't my virginity what he wanted? His eyes wandered - I knew wasn't telling me something. I asked if there was someone else and he went silent, then nodded. I wanted to leave, I was sobbing. He grabbed me, on top of me now, holding me down so I couldn't leave.

I couldn't look at him. 

"Was she your first?"

"Yes." 

I punched him in the jaw.

I was in pieces. Love, trust, hope, shattered. Why would someone do this to me? 

I thrashed underneath him, trying to get free, to run away, but this wasn't over. 

We were both in tears on his front porch, his friends filed out, watching the end of our dysfunctional relationship. Why hadn't they told me?

He confessed he'd hoped I was pregnant. I tried to wrap my mind around it. Trying to justify staying with him.

"Will you stop talking to her?"

"No."

I could not live with that.

"Is she prettier? Does she have bigger boobs?"

"No."

He'd had sex with her because I didn't believe in sex before marriage. The next day, I went to a party at a mutual friend's house. She told me he'd had sex with the other girl all the time, he'd come over and talk sexual details.

Before that night, I was a strict goody-goody Christian girl, I didn't smoke pot, drink; I didn't want to be around those who did. I thought my morals made me better than everyone. I was wrong; naive.

At that party, I drank until I passed out. That summer, I went to a lot of parties, but I didn't pass out, sleep around, or wake up and say, "I don't know what happened last night." I just needed some time to discover myself; to let loose, to be carefree.

I accomplished that.

I went on a few dates until I met someone from church, my "dream guy." He was a complete player, knew what to say, everything I thought I wanted.

He was the last lesson I learned.

My dream guy treated me well. We spent a night with friends with a beach bonfire drinking. We fell asleep on the beach for awhile until he drove us back to his place. We spent the next day together lounging around. It was the epitome of a summer fling.

He didn't want a relationship, friends with benefits, so after two months, I was done. He pressured me to do things I wasn't comfortable with. Manipulated...again. Since he preferred drinking at the bar to hanging with me, I couldn't handle feeling that I wasn't worth the effort.

He taught me not to fall so fast, to avoid doing things against my morals to please someone else.

I didn't bother breaking up with him, I just stopped talking to him.

My ex sent me a letter and apologized. He was dating the girl he cheated on me with, they were engaged after six months. I saw him in his dress blues after boot camp, when I told him that he'd been an asshole; that we'd never date again.

I explained how he'd hurt me - he didn't care; he was glad I was hurt. His fiance knew he'd cheated, but she "put it behind her." They married in April 2012. Doubt I'll hear from them again.

I decided to go to a college party with my coworker in September of 2011. We waited in the parking lot for our host to let us in. Finally, he strolled up, smoking. I was introduced. He flashed his smile and I was intrigued. That smile. His face. His eyes.

I was spellbound.

Inside, he was playing beer pong, his smile seemed so familiar. He caught my eye, asked what I was looking at.

I yelled, "You look familiar!"

He couldn't hear, so he walked over, and chatted it up with me. He's smart, funny - we have the same sense of humor. His ex cheated on him too. I wasn't entirely sold - he could be another jerk-bag. When I was leaving, he asked for my number, which I gave.

I thought it'd be the last time I saw him.

Over the next two weeks, he courted me. He texted me, I visited him at work. I gave him a chance. It was effortless, natural. The beginning of something new, something I didn't know existed.

On our first date he picked me up and took me to a really nice restaurant. He held my hand, kissed me goodnight on the forehead. It was as though we'd known each other forever.

At the beginning of October, I told him about the last decent sunset of the season. He said he'd take me after work. I had no idea what was in store for me. We walked along the sandy beach, the colors in the sky like a painting. We took pictures as we headed towards the pier. At the end of the pier, I continued taking pictures.

After the sun finally set, he turned to me, holding my hands nervously, and asked me to be his girlfriend. I was all smiles. I was shocked, happy. I told him it was the best question he'd asked; I'd be happy to be his girlfriend, to be his.

On the drive home, he told me that my ex-coworker had told him that he knew a girl he thought was his type. I was that girl. My coworker was right 

We've been together over a year now. All the struggles were worth it. Without those, I don't think I'd fully appreciate all that he does.

It's been hard to let go of the emotional and sexual abuse, to embrace the blessings in my life. My past haunts me - I need to work through my trust issues, and the guilt I feel.

It hurts my boyfriend that I can't trust him, but I'm afraid that at any moment, he could flip a switch. I know that's not who he is, he's my best friend, my lover, my soundboard, my everything, and I love him with all my being.

Hope For Tomorrow

With him, it's okay to be the real me.

My boyfriend is the man my ex said didn't exist. 

He does.

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Ask The Band: I Can't Get Over My Abusive Relationship

Here at The Band, we believe in kicking stigmas to the curb, flinging glitter, and shining a light into the dark. And now?

Your bandmate needs a sounding board.

It's time to Ask The Band!

We were together nearly three years.

I loved him. 

A few days after we got together, our sophomore year in high school, he professed his love. I told him I didn't feel the same. A couple of weeks later, he convinced me that I did. I still wasn't sure.

After we'd been together a month and a half, he pressured me into sex with him even though I wasn't ready. Somehow, he'd convinced me that I wanted sex as badly as he did.

Later my sophomore year, he convinced me that I might be pregnant - he thought the condom broke. I was terrified.

Finally, I told my mom, who went out to buy me a pregnancy test.

I wasn't pregnant.

He'd created this pregnancy scare so I'd feel I needed him. That's who he was: he'd do anything to make me feel like needed him to survive

On my sixteenth birthday, he raped me for the first time; no, that's not true, he'd raped me well before that. See, shortly after we began having sex, I realized that I hated sex and I didn't want to do it. He'd managed to con me into it by making me feel guilty.

He'd even cry.

Not because I wouldn't give in, but because he felt bad for wanting sex when I didn't. Or, at least, that's what he told me. Now I can see he was manipulating me.

Eventually when he wanted to have sex, I'd say "I don't know" or nothing. He'd end up having sex with me no matter what my response was.

Four times (including my sixteenth birthday) he forced me to have sex after I'd clearly said no. Other times, I told him I didn't want to have sex, and he'd reply that he wasn't going to make me but he wanted to "lay" with me. "Laying with me" meant he wanted to lay naked together. He'd say "trust me," but eventually, he'd "lose control" and force me to have sex. I still can't hear someone say "trust me" without crying.

He isolated me from my friends; manipulating me into ditching them because he didn't "trust them." If I wanted to hang with them, he'd make me feel guilty

That's how I lost my best friend. Twice

I didn't realize he was emotionally controlling; abusing me.

On the other hand, he was always saying things to make me feel special, "I will always love you and only you," and "If you ever break up with me, I'll be dead mentally and emotionally, but not physically because you asked me not to kill myself."

He claimed he'd been suicidal when we started dating; that I'd saved his life - he planned to kill himself the night he asked me to homecoming. When I said yes, and agreed to date him, he decided he wasn't suicidal. I still don't know if that was a lie.

After I broke up with him in June - I told him I didn't want to be in a long-term relationship for awhile - my mother informed me that he'd been abusive and controlling me. Looking back, she's right.

He'd "buy" my love after he'd abuse me so I'd stay. I'm ashamed that it worked. I dated him longer than I should've.

After our break-up, he stalked me.

He'd show up at my house at all hours. He'd visit my campground. He'd even show up at work. Eventually, I had to hide from him.

I thought I was over him.

I'd had a fling with a guy who broke my heart. Another guy used me. Stupidly, I made out with another guy.

I'm now a freshman in college, finally in a healthy romantic relationship. I still don't enjoy sex; I'm petrified of having another abusive relationship. But I know my new boyfriend would never abuse me.

Lately I've been thinking about the good parts of that relationship; I find myself missing him. I think about the good times; how he'd been practically family.

I learned he'd been planning to propose before we broke up. He'd been looked at engagement rings and was planning to ask my dad for his blessing.

I feel like I'm betraying my new boyfriend, even though I've already told him this - I don't want to keep secrets. He told me not to worry about it; he wasn't upset, he was glad I'd told him.

I want to get over that relationship - to stop missing it. That relationship damaged me. I know I did the right thing by ending it. When I'm home, I miss him.

He's in a new relationship with a friend of mine. He loves her, but I'm afraid he's abusing her. I'd love to warn her, but I know she won't believe me, and I don't want to ruin their relationship if it's healthy.

I feel stuck. I desperately want our relationship in the past, but I don't know how to get over it.

------------

The Band, do you have any advice for this young woman? Getting over a relationship - any relationship - is tough. She could use your love and wisdom.

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A note about commenting: It only takes moments to comment but makes a world of difference to an author to know they are not alone: They're with the Band! Please share your support here!

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