I loved my rapist.

I thought he was charming and fun to be around and I wanted to make him happy. I was oblivious to the fact that he was not treating me right and I never quite noticed when he was being manipulative.

It never quite clicked that I should not have to censor what I talked about based on his interests and that I should not feel like a failure for crying around him. But what I did notice was him coercing me.

There is one specific sexual act I absolutely loathe and I never wanted to partake in. Unfortunately, it was something that he enjoyed so occasionally he would ask if I was up to it. I would always still say no and that should have been that. But it was not. It never was.

He would always ask again mere minutes later, sometimes accompanied by a statement like, “please? It would make me feel good.”

I never wanted to. He knew that. I always said that I hated it. But I loved him, so eventually I would give in.

In case you did not know, if you have to ask more than once for something sexual, then the real answer is probably no. Even if they eventually give in, they still are likely to dread the act. This may seem insignificant or like it should not have much impact, but it affects me years later.

I have trouble enforcing my boundaries since my last relationship essentially socialized me into believing that if my partner wants sex he should get it, regardless of what I want.

I have also had days where my chest is tight with fear and the only thing running through my mind is “don’t touch me” over and over again. And unfortunately, I still think about it a lot.

Despite this, it took me about a year to put a name to it. I had even told him after we had broken up that what he had done in those instances was unacceptable.

But I still had not called it what it was. Rape. He raped me. I had not wanted it, and he that no one else will believe me either and the pain and fear this causes me will somehow be invalidated. But this is why sexual assault is an issue.

We do not talk about how rape is not always violent or obvious. We do not talk about how someone saying yes is not consent in all circumstances. And even more importantly, we do not talk about how people do not always realize they are doing it.

I 100 percent believe my ex would be confused (among other things) if I told him that he raped me. I am often scared that no one else will believe me either and the pain and fear this causes me will somehow be invalidated. But this is why sexual assault is an issue.

Not because of bad people or even necessarily because of intentional bad choices but because we do not talk about what consent actually is, especially the cases where people convince them to say yes.

Sex can be fun and can be great for your mental and physical health, but it should be that way for everyone involved. All partners involved should be excited and not have to worry about their boundaries being respected.

If there is ever any doubt, I really hope someone involved would start a conversation to make sure everyone is on the same page.

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