“When No Wasn’t
I never had a boyfriend before Vic. We were in the marching band
together and met in the summer of 2001. We became friends and soon
Every day with him was a new experience for me. I fell in love. I
was a girl who had chronic depression who finally found a feeling of
love and acceptance. The poetry I normally wrote took a dramatic
turn. Out of its once somber and morbid verses came words of love
and dizzying happiness. It was a feeling that I would do anything to
keep. I always told Vic that I would do anything for him. I told him
I’d never stop loving him no matter what. I never thought he would
take advantage of that.
For four months we dated, and for four months I had a knot in my
stomach. Vic was controlling. He didn’t like me being with my close
friends, and he was always telling me to grow out my short spiky
hair. For four months, I spent every weekend of my life with him. We
were always at his house tucked away in his room. The few times we
went out, it was because I planned something. I was blind. I didn’t
see the way I caved in for him. My friends vanished, and my hair
started to grow. I just wanted Vic to be happy with me. I wanted
that feeling of being loved. I was obsessed with that feeling, and
it blinded me to everything else.
January 11, 2002, was a normal Friday. Midterms were to start the
following Monday, so I was looking forward to a relaxing evening
with my boyfriend before a weekend of cramming for exams. I was in
between two medications for depression, and the combination was
making me super-tired. I asked Vic if I could lie down for a while.
He was doing his homework, so he didn’t mind. I woke up with a start
a little while later. The room was dark, except for the glow of the
television screen. I realized I had woken up because Vic was kissing
my neck. I playfully tickled him
to make him stop because that made me incredibly uncomfortable. He
laughed a little, but he didn’t stop. Instead he grabbed my hands
and climbed on top of me. I laughed at first, but I stopped quickly
when I saw that his pants were unbuckled. I looked down and realized
that he was working to pull mine away from my body.
I pleaded with him to stop, but he told me that he was doing this
for us and that I would thank him. I told him I didn’t want it, and
he said that he could never fully love me unless he had all of me. I
said no, but he told me to relax and that everything would be all
I remember closing my eyes and squirming beneath him. I could hear
his heavy breathing, so I tried to close my ears too. His kisses
felt like acid on my lips, and no matter how hard I tried, I
couldn’t avoid feeling the sharp pain in my lower body. I kept
whispering to him that he didn’t need to do this, that I didn’t want
him to do this, but he didn’t listen to me. It never occurred to me
to scream, or even to push him. I was frozen, and my mind went
I remember him shaking me after he finished because I had spaced out
by then. All he said to me was, “You really didn’t want that, did
you?” I was silent. I said nothing, and when he kissed me goodnight
at my doorstep, I flinched.
At the time, I didn’t understand the idea that rape was unwanted
sexual contact in itself. I thought that because I didn’t try to
scream or fight my boyfriend, it couldn’t be called rape. Now I know
that it was rape the minute I said no. At the time all I knew was
that I didn’t like what had happened, and three days later I broke
up with Vic. I went back into therapy because after the break-up my
depression level skyrocketed. When I finally explained to my
therapist what had happened, she told me I had been raped. It took a
while to sink in, but when it did,
I got angry. When I saw Vic in class, I wouldn’t speak to him except
to tell him I never wanted to see him again. He didn’t understand
why we couldn’t be friends.
I filed a police report, and he got a warning, but nothing really
happened. Every day I would see him in band class, and it was like
torture. When summer band camp started, things were awkward, but I
told him we would have to be civil with each other. I couldn’t do
it. Every time I saw him, I felt myself die all over again. I felt
like there was nothing I could do to make the pain go away. Vic took
every opportunity to remind me of it. Whenever he was in close range
of me, he would jokingly throw a drum mallet at my butt, or grab me
by the shoulders. One time, he even touched the side of my face to
tell me how pretty my earrings were.
By September, I had simply had enough. I filed for a protection from
abuse order. I knew if I got the order, he would have to leave the
band, and then I wouldn’t have to see him anymore. He perjured
himself in court, telling the judge that he never raped me and
saying that he was completely innocent.
His attorney hurt me by making accusations I never thought possible,
but the judge saw through it. The judge saw through the lies and
granted me the order. I felt alive again. I won some of my freedom
back because someone believed me.
It hasn’t been an easy year. When I went back to school, everybody
knew what had happened, and the boys were afraid of me. No one
believed me. They started petitions to get me kicked out of the
band, and they called me a slut when they saw me. They said that
what happened to Vic wasn’t fair and that I deserved to pay. People
were so quick to judge me. I told my story to my close friends and
let everyone else believe what they wanted to believe.
I lost a lot of people, but an experience like mine shows you who
your true friends really are.
I’ve always seen myself as a fighter. I used my public speaking
ability to give a speech entitled “Rape: Hidden Epidemic” at high
school speech and debate tournaments. I told my friends how they
could stay safe and told them the most important thing I know:
Always trust your intuition. Never do anything that makes you feel
I have spent my entire senior year of high school fighting for the
one in four women and the one in six men who have experienced what I
have experienced. I would not change the decisions I made,
regardless of the people who now hate me. My respect for my beliefs
and myself is far more important than my reputation. I urge you to
follow your heart and trust your gut. As cliché as those things
sound, they may one day save you from something terrible.
Tomorrow I graduate from high school, and this time last year, I
never would have believed that I could come this far. Always believe
in yourself, fight for your rights, and trust your heart.