My mom once told me is that the good thing about youth is that you are unafraid to try things. And in this story I was definitely unafraid to try something, or rather someone, new.
I was doing my usual work outs at the military gym; a man had suddenly started to hit on me, he wouldn’t leave me alone. With no clue what to do I innocently asked another kind looking man to escort me to my car so I wouldn’t be followed. He did as such, we carried a long conversation in the parking lot and he told me, “If anyone tries to bother you again call me.” We exchanged numbers.
Things started to feel like a fairy tale at this point. I was 19 and had never been on an actual date before until I met “The Man in Uniform”. He was charming, he was sweet, he even bought me the soy milk I liked because he knew I was allergic to regular milk. We went on a couple of dates; the walks we took felt so refreshing I had thought I was completely safe with this man. Until he came over to my house.
I was having a rough day, I told him about it and he decided to come over to cheer me up. I told myself, “Why not? You’ve been on a couple dates with him. You can trust him. Don’t be scared.” He came over with the usual chocolate soy milk. But as I started to vent to him about my day he started putting himself on me. He kept attempting to grab me closer, and each time I pushed him off and told him to get off of me. He kept repeatedly trying to force himself in me, and every time I told him to get off he would reply, “What? I’m just messing.” It got to the point where he wasn’t just messing, and out of fear of his heavily built body and aggressiveness I paralyzed my body into submission.
I was weak when I needed myself the most; and to top it off, he gave me an STD, which was curable. What’s taking longer to cure though is my diagnosis of severe depression and PTSD from this one event that permanently changed my life.
My mother taught me that youth does not fear to try things; and, although I was unafraid to let “The Man in Uniform” come into my house, now is the time for me to be unafraid to conquer this one experience. And I believe that I, as well as you, can too.
— Jessica Ruth