It was at the beginning of summer when I decided to take tutoring lessons for my university entrance exam. When I got to the tutor’s house we briefly chatted and then we started studying. We were alone in the house. After more or less twenty minutes he asked me to take a break and I agreed. He started asking me intimate questions about my life, and he told me that it had been a while since he last had sex. I felt uncomfortable and didn’t reply. He carried on saying that he found me attractive and that he would have liked to have sex with me, but he didn’t want to have “anything too serious”. I smiled back at him nervously, I was hesitating: I didn’t expect this to happen. I could feel my heart beating really fast and I started thinking about the guy I was seeing at the time. I told him that I didn’t want to, that I was already seeing someone else. What follows is more difficult for me to describe in detail since it still hurts me. It hurts me even more knowing that I have processed it on a conscious level only years after it happened.
He started getting closer and telling me what he wanted to do to me, pressuring me until he put his tongue into my mouth. I froze. I was an athlete and I had practised martial arts for years, but I didn’t do anything. Nothing. I didn’t even dare to breathe. It happened so fast that I didn’t realize what was happening at first. Until I had a moment of clarity, I quickly got up, grabbed my things and walked towards the door to leave. I felt his hand grab my wrist and he pressed his body against mine so that I couldn’t leave, while he told me “we might as well now…”. It was horrible, I was his. My body didn’t belong to me anymore and I couldn’t escape. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. I did whatever he asked me to do, like a doll. I still feel his hands touching me everywhere, I still remember the feeling of him penetrating me, pushing my head down without telling me. I remember running to the bathroom and spitting out his cum. I remember being embarrassed, I remember asking him if he enjoyed it: I was so stupid, wasn’t I? “You were scared” my psychiatrist tells me “that’s what saved you”. I was trembling and I couldn’t drive. It took me an hour to get back home and when I got in my mother immediately understood what had happened.
“It was me, mum, I was the one who provoked him/ it was my fault/ if I really didn’t want it I would have left.” For years I told all my friends that I had been the one “to sleep with that guy”. But it wasn’t like that and it never had been. Subconsciously I knew it – I had suicidal thoughts, panic attacks, I was apathetic and was self-harming. I was diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder. I don’t want to say that this was the only thing that provoked my mental illness, I was bullied and psychologically abused for most of my school years, but I think that this was the last straw. I realized what had happened only recently when I accidentally read the definition of rape by coercion. I started crying and all the memories of that day came back to me like a tsunami together with regular panic attacks, depression, anxiety, insomnia, cuts on my arms, flashbacks and nightmares in which I saw him rape me. I called my best friend and told her “now I understand you, I am sorry if I didn’t do enough for you at the time.” After a short silence she said, “you believed me, you were there for me. You saved my life”.
I am crying while writing this and I don’t want to make it to long but I want to say this: a rapist is not only the stranger in a dark alley with a knife: he is a teacher, a tutor, a boss, an abusive boyfriend, a family member, a trainer, a group of “friends”. Every person that ignores your “no” whether it is verbal or not. Every person that manipulates you to get sex. Every person that makes you feel like you “owe it to them” as if you were an inflatable doll. Every person that takes advantage of your vulnerabilities to put their hands on you. If you are verbally or emotionally blackmailed it is not consent. I wish that media, newspapers and people stopped portraying rape as necessarily physically violent. Some rapes don’t have DNA, they don’t have bruises or blood, they don’t have videos or proof and they are, juridically speaking, the most common ones and also the ones that will never be reported. The ones no one believes in, but also the ones that you will always carry with you.
The man who raped me will always be a piece of shit, but I have to recognize him one thing: he committed the so-called “perfect rape” and I will never be able to press charges against him.