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Take It

It's not your fault.


I was lying there on my back staring at your ceiling. My wrists burned from how tight you'd fastened them to the metal part of your bed frame and I couldn't breathe. I wasn't sure what to do next. I felt nothing. Not the kind of nothing where you're going through a depressive episode and you feel like nothing kind of nothing. I could not feel a single thing. I didn't feel cold. I didn't feel sad. I didn't feel scared. I felt nothing and in that moment I truly got to experience what being dead felt like. It's an empty abyss with nowhere to go and you don't feel a thing, but you keep waiting for something to happen and it never ever does. You just die. You can't hear anything. Every sound collides together so fast that you can't hear it. For a while, I stayed there thinking I was screaming. I started hearing myself repeat the same line over and over and over and over again. "STOP PLEASE THIS HURTS" "PLEASE STOP" "PLEASE..."

We met in middle school. You were everything I wasn't. You were attractive, funny, smart, and social. You were new to the school and already made friends with everyone,  just when I was starting to think I had finally fit in after my own move. You were charming and immediately I was hypnotized by you. Your smile swooned me to my core. I wanted to be yours more than anything in the whole world. We started going out from the second you asked me. You were an old fashioned soul who wrote me short love poems and stuck them inside my locker, you brought me words of enormous affection when I felt like I was nothing at home, your house was my house and I was in love with you. I was transfixed completely under your spell, my friends didn't like you so I severed the ties so I could revolve my whole world around you. You told me you loved me. At a time where I didn't feel love from anyone else, not even my own family, I graciously took in your love, eating it up bit by bit, and all I wanted was more.

When my mom kicked me out of the house at fifteen, you were the only one I called. You came in your red truck and helped me with my bags while I cried. Your apartment was small, but to me it was home. You were the only person I talked to, the only person I did anything with, and I never thought there was anything wrong with that. The first time you hit me, I thought it was my fault. I had done something wrong and when you do something wrong you need to be punished. I started shaking after that happened, but I figured I was just cold all the time, as I usually am. The first time you exploded and screamed at me, I shook all over so hard I had a headache for three hours. You loved me and you were just punishing me, everything was fine. You loved me. My friends wanted to see me so badly they set aside their feelings about you in order to spend time with me, you said you didn't want me to go, because you would be alone and it was selfish of me to do something without you. You were right, so I stayed home every day. I severed the ties with my friends again.

You proposed to me with a ring I'd only ever seen in movies. It was shiny and elegant with a peridot stone to symbolize the month we met. This was freshman year of high school and I said yes. I wanted to be with you for the rest of my life. I thought you were the only person who would ever love me and I didn't want to lose you. I wore it around school every single day and told people we were going to get married and be happy. You had been better at home, ever since the proposal, and everything was okay. I started skipping class to see you and took an extra long lunch period just to be with you for a few seconds more. My grades fell. I didn't care. You told me I didn't need to go to school, because you'd get a job that would take care of me. No one mattered to me but you. You told me my dream job was stupid and unrealistic, so I stopped taking pictures and did what you asked me to do.

I gave you my virginity at fifteen years old. I told you I didn't want to do that just yet, I felt so uncomfortable. You said if I really loved you, I would give it to you, so I did. I wanted you to love me. We hid in some bushes at this park, right near my high school. There were needles all over the ground and broken condoms hanging on every branch. It smelled so putrid, my nose felt numb and I wanted to leave. You told me to relax, but I couldn't. You went inside me fast while I was dry and it hurt more than anything I had experienced before. I didn't say anything. I knew that this is what you wanted and eventually it started to feel good. It got to the point where we started doing that all the time. I missed days of school just to sit around and wait until you would give it to me again. My body became yours for the taking. It belonged to you, as did I, and you knew you could take it whenever you wanted. We had sex at least three to four times a day, depending on what day it was.

You could have it whenever you wanted, so why did you take it from me? I thought we were playing a game, but you were the only one who knew how to play. I sat on the bed and watched you grab your ties, sifting through them like you were getting ready for an event. I often looked at those ties with fondness, they were all so cute and unique they really added something to your style. You picked two ties and tossed the rest. You climbed on top of me and pushed me down hard. You grabbed me by the wrists and pulled me to the very edge of the bed. I asked what you were doing, but you didn't answer me. You tied them too tight. I remember saying "Ouch, hey, this really hurts. I don't like this." You pulled tighter and I lost circulation. My hands went limp and I struggled. I wiggled around a bit to loosen them and told you that it hurt. I'd never seen you so aroused before. You started going inside me and I couldn't feel the pleasure. I yelled "STOP! SERIOUSLY, I DON'T LIKE THIS, THIS REALLY HURTS! STOP!" "HEY, BABE, COME ON, STOP!" "STOP, PLEASE!" "STOP!"

So there I was staring at the ceiling thinking I was screaming. I was unable to untie myself after a good minute. I rolled off the bed onto the floor, not feeling a thing, not hearing a thing. I took a shower. The shower is my safe place. It's where I feel the most comfortable, so I sat in the shower and cried while the water made my skin burn. I wanted to melt this off of me, whatever it was, but it didn't. You were watching a TV show we started together. I thought maybe nothing had happened. I sat next to you on the couch and flinched as you kissed me. You said that you loved me and asked me what I wanted for dinner. I wanted to die. I didn't tell anyone about what had happened. The only person I did tell was my mom. I said "Mom...he raped me. I don't know why he needed to take it from me...I just...I don't know what to do, I feel so...nothing, help me please." I was crying harder then I've ever cried in my entire life. She looked at me without blinking once and said "Well, it's your fault. You were the one who moved in with him."

I didn't tell anyone else what happened until many years later. Maybe this is all my fault, this is what all of my friends were trying to tell me about and I didn't listen. I thought he loved me, what did I do wrong? I did everything he asked me to do and still it just wasn't enough. I wasn't enough. I became very depressed. I started cutting myself during my showers with anything that was close to me. Mostly scissors. That was the only thing I could control at that point, except for food, which I had completely given up on. I stopped eating and lost ten pounds by the end of two weeks. Cutting gave me some power back, it was something I could easily control and that's all I needed. I felt nothing for a while. I tried to kill myself three times after I finally began to open up to people about what had happened to me and a friend of mine pulled me to the side and said, "I was at his house for a party a few days ago and he ripped my tights when were alone and....Elizabeth, he raped me. I begged him to stop." If I would have said something that never would have happened to her.

It's been about six or seven years since that happened to me and since then I've told all of my friends what happened and they all stood beside me and told me it wasn't my fault. The people that put me down for that and told me it was all me are no longer a part of my life and I am making progress. It's been almost a full year since I last self-harmed. I want to go to group therapy and private therapy to work through the things that stuck with me since my rape. I still flinch when I do something wrong, I feel my spine go hot when someone I'm with pushes me on the bed, I shake uncontrollably whenever anyone raises their voice to me, but I want to get better. All I hope to gain from sharing this story is to know that I helped someone else who thought that what happened to them was all their fault.

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