I’m not entirely sure what guys want. If I text my boyfriend good morning and appreciate him when he does something kind, I can put a smile on his face. If I study hard and be respectful and loving, I can make my dad light up. If I work out and stay healthy, my grandpa is pretty proud of me. I have a nice relationship with the men in my life- respect is a two way street and since they’re always willing to give it, I’ve gotten used to expecting it.
I know guys want sexual things sometimes and that’s cool and that’s fine by me. I don’t mind loving, respectful physical relationships as long as he asks if what we’re doing is okay with me, if it feels good to the both of us, and neither of us is being coerced or convinced into doing anything we don’t want to do or feel ready or comfortable enough to do.
I’m used to having not only my body, but also my heart, head, and soul valued when I open up to a man. I’m allowing him into my circle of trust and I hope to be appreciated and shown kindness in return.
You say that you loved me. You thought I was cute, smart, bubbly, whatever. I would have appreciated all the good qualities you have in you, too, had you given me a chance. But you didn’t care about my rights or any shrivel of respect you had for me when you put your hands (hands I’d only known for two and a half weeks) into the waistband of my shorts. You listened to me when we did biology together, but you didn’t think it was important to listen to me when I told you no (or tried to take your hand off my body).
I guess you thought that because we watched movies together, because we walked to class together, because we ate together, because we studied together, because you comforted me when I was homesick, I owed a part of myself to you. I guess I thought that because you had done all of that, I could trust you. I wanted to be your friend. But I don’t think you cared about that when you lost your respect of me.
When I woke up this morning, I didn’t think about my wonderful, caring, loving boyfriend’s good morning text. I didn’t think about my mom bringing me my favorite good. I didn’t think about my birthday come up.
I thought about your cold hands and where they’d been. You’re not a man and I don’t think you can be. A man’s hands are supposed to feel kind and gentle and loving; not strange, or foreign, or dirty inside of you. I feel unclean through no fault of my own and you’ve scratched at my heart and head in a way I can’t wash away. I sit around moping and crying, wearing the same old tee shirt on my bed. My roommate gets sad when she looks at me. My friends think it’s depressing to be around me although they’re being as supportive as they can. I can’t tell my parents or my boyfriend, the people I love most, because I know they’d go to the end of the earth to fight for me, and I can’t imagine the pain they’d feel if they knew the whole truth. I have to keep this secret to myself and I shake when I realize how alone you’ve made me feel; isolated and far away from all the people who want to be there for me right now. I miss back w hen my main causes of anxiety were studying for a Chem quiz, the long walk to my 8 AMs, and finding time to go for a run. I had it good.
I lost sight of all the goodness in my life for some time.
I lost my confidence to stay alone in my dorm at night. I lost my confidence to keep my head held high when I walk into the classes we have together. I lost my confidence in the opposite gender which is unfair to all the men in my life who have always fought for me and continue to do so. My hands weren’t strong enough to stop what you were doing. I’m not too sure if my heart is strong enough to get over it.
— Survivor, age 17