MICHELLE, AGE 23
When I was thirteen years old, I had my first boyfriend. We dated off and on since I was eleven. He was two years older than I was. I was in love with him, but he cheated on me repeatedly because I wouldn’t have sex with him. I was scared to have sex with him because I didn’t know what sex was. The last time he cheated, I was so angry I asked him to come over to my house so we could talk, and I took a steak knife with me to answer the front door. Of course he was bigger and stronger than I was, so he took it from me. We ended up in my bedroom with him consoling me, asking for my forgiveness, and promising that he would never hurt me again.
The argument ended with us making out on my bed. Eventually, he pinned my arms down above my head, and he held me against my will. He started trying to have sex with me. I screamed and fought and tried to push him off, but eventually he got his way.
I remember him blaming me and being angry after he raped me. He hit the wall with his fist and accused me of leading him on. I jumped up and screamed for him to leave. I was furious. I was scared. I couldn’t stop crying because I thought he understood he disrespected me by cheating on me with other girls, but his cuddling and kissing led into raping me. It didn’t make sense.
After that day, he repeatedly begged for my forgiveness, but I couldn’t forget what he had taken from me. I thought having sex for the first time with someone I deeply cared for would have more meaning than it did, but instead I was left sad, scared, and alone.
I didn't tell my mom what happened until I was sixteen years old. By this time I hated myself and blamed myself for what had happened. I know the truth now because I once heard you say, “If anyone ever pinches or pushes you, walk away from the relationship so they don’t have the power to hit you.” This is a lesson that struck a chord in me. It made me realize I don’t have to settle for someone who scares me because I’m afraid to be alone.
I am twenty-three years old now, and it has taken years for me to open up and talk about the incident. But I want to let you know I SURVIVED! I am graduating from college next year and look forward to the future.
I took away from my past a lesson about being respected instead of scared. And I now date men who like me for who I am and respect me for waiting to have sex until I’m married.
Please use this letter to help others. I am a survivor who supports the JustUS Love Movement, and I am proud to “Pray it out, Write it out, Speak it out.”
Michelle- 23 years old
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