My name is Beth Leese.
I am 19 years old.
I have been raped.
I was 17. He was the boy I was seeing at the time. He was my best friend. I trusted him. I even thought for a moment that I might’ve loved him.
He knew before we even kissed for the first time that there are things, part of my body, that are off limits, that I don’t wish to be touched. He knew.
It was night time. The weekend before I was going to Spain for a month. I stayed at his house. We watched movies and cuddled on his tiny single bed. It was nice.
As the night went on, things got heated. We were about to have sex when he did something, something he knew was off limits. Something he knew I didn’t want done to me. He didn’t ask. He didn’t hesitate. He just did it.
I slapped his hand away. He asked if he could do it again. I said yes. I thought “he’s already done it once without asking so I may as well say yes”. I did not want to say yes.
I didn’t think anything of it. I went to Spain and had the time of my life. We ended shortly after I got back because he got scared.
I didn’t think anything of it. I told people what he did. I joked about it. They playfully teased him about it and gave him a stupid nickname. I thought it was funny and it served him right after everything he did to me.
I didn’t think anything of it. Being around him made me uneasy. I thought it was because of the breakup. I grew anxious around other men.
I didn’t think anything of it. I got into university and went to college. On the second day we were given a talk about rape, sexual assault and consent. On that day, almost a year later, I realised what had happened in his bedroom that night. I realised he had raped me.
It’s a year after that realisation and I haven’t said anything. I refused to acknowledge the truth of what happened. I told some people that “it technically counts as rape but that a big thing to accuse someone of and I don’t want to pull the ‘rape card’”. I didn’t want to tell people because many people experience much worse things. I didn’t want people to pity me, think I exaggerated to make him look bad or for attention. I haven’t said anything, until now.
It’s not always men spiking drinks or women persuading men to sleep with them. It’s not always waking up next to a stranger or in an alley with no clue how you got there and a gut feeling something awful has happened. But sometimes it is.
But sometimes it’s with people you thought you trusted. People you have known for a long time. Sometimes you don’t realise what happened until long after.
And that doesn’t make it any less valid. It doesn’t make me any less deserving of help or him any less deserving of facing what he did to me.
At the end of the day, someone still thought they could touch my body in a way I didn’t consent to.
At the end of the day, someone still thought they had more rights to my own body than I did.
I didn’t think anything of it.
But I think about it a lot now.
photo from kisspng