Coercion is not consent

It was a typical weekend night for us: he would work late and I would go out partying and I would come back to sleep at his place. I would be so drunk and we would have sex, because for the last two years of our relationship that was the only way I could bring myself to sleep with him. But I felt that I owed him sex, because he was my boyfriend and he was always so supportive of me and I really didn’t want to let him down. On this particular night I was drunk but still coherent and alert. It was the early hours of the morning and I stumbled into his room so looking forward to just going to bed. But he had other ideas. He asked if we could have sex and I said no, I was so tired and I just wanted to sleep. He asked again – please? No I said, I really just want to sleep, it’s already 4am. Please? He tried again. Ok fine I said and I lay there as he rolled on top of me. It was in that moment that I felt like I had just given up. Like I had no control. Like I was trapped. Like a part of me had just resigned myself to the fact that this was how it was going to be. And I lay there while he humped on top of me. I turned my head to the side so that I did not have to look at his face. I might have fallen asleep or might just have tried so hard not to be in my body at that moment, but I remember drifting in and out of reality.

That was the last time we ‘slept’ together and I broke up with him about a month later.

I buried that experience deeply. I didn’t talk about it; I didn’t think about it. Until recently, when a series of events this year meant that I could no longer ignore what my body was so desperate to be freed from. And when I did start thinking about it, all I could feel was a deep sense of shame and guilt: that I should have been stronger, that I should have said no more forcefully, that I should never have given in at the end. But now, through therapy, I have realised that those feelings are not true because it was HIM that was in the wrong. HE shouldn’t have been trying to have sex with someone who was drunk in the first place. HE should have taken my NO’s seriously. HE should have realised that when someone says ‘OK FINE’ that that is NOT CONSENT, that is being forced through coercion. HE should have looked at my body language and realised that the last thing I wanted was him inside of me. IT WAS HIS FAULT.

I’m still working through this experience and others and healing comes in waves. But one thing I do know now is that IT WAS NOT MY FAULT. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ME and I AM NOT BROKEN. I am now on a journey to reclaim my body and my sexuality.

And I just want you to know that it is not your fault either.

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