We had started talking on Tinder.
He seemed interesting and different. He talked a lot about spirituality, meditation and mental health. At the beginning it seemed great. He lived in Vancouver but drove to Abbotsford 4 times a week to pick me up, even when I offered to drive. We’d drive around all night and go to different beaches and places around Vancouver. He was always buying me little thoughtful gifts. He seemed like a quiet, sweet, harmless guy.
I met him at a really vulnerable time in my life. My first serious boyfriend and I had just broken up and I was sad and lonely. I was struggling majorly with my mental health as well. I wasn’t in a good place. He knew that; he loved it.
I definitely started to notice some red flags within the first month, but I played them off as nothing in my head. I had only slept with one person before him, I was still pretty inexperienced, and he would always talk about how much he loved it. He would say things like “it’s so hot how innocent you are, I feel like I’m corrupting you, I love it.” I did think it was weird, but I pushed it to the back of my mind.
One time we took an edible at the beach and he told me if I got paranoid he would drive away and leave me in Vancouver because “there’s no way I’m dealing with that shit.”
The weird comments progressed. I remember him saying something to the effect of “you’re lucky you met me because you’re not the smartest. But that’s ok, I can teach you everything you need to know.”
I had put up boundaries. He wanted to see how far he could push me outside of them.
He was constantly asking if we could stop wearing condoms. I said no. He kept asking. I kept saying no. One day he slipped himself in really fast before I could say anything. I felt completely violated. I also thought it was my fault. I realize now that he was grooming me. I was already vulnerable when we met, and bit by bit he convinced me that I wasn’t smart, that I didn’t know what was best for me, and that I needed him.
One time we were having sex, I finished, and after that I was sore and wanted to stop. He told me to “remember that he knows what’s best and to push through the pain.”
He always wanted to fool around in public places. It made me uncomfortable, but a lot of the time we’d be at a lake or a beach or driving and he’d say “come on it’s fine no ones around.” I’d usually say I was uncomfortable 2-3 times, and then it would go 1 of 2 ways. He’d either pout and say “okay fine whatever” or he would just take it upon himself to touch me over my pants anyways. At that point it just ended up feeling easier to give in because “no” was not being taken for an answer.
Then one day, we went for a walk early in the morning, probably 6 am, no one in the park. We went off the trail to fool around. At that point people were starting to occupy the trail. I kept hearing footsteps and branches break. I would keep pulling my pants up and saying “I’m nervous”, “I’m uncomfortable”, “I think we should stop”. Every time I would pull my pants back up he would yank them down again and shove himself in to me. I remember feeling gross and violated after, but again, I blamed myself.
That same day we went back to my house and up to my room.
I told him he could stay if he wanted but I was really tired and I needed to take a nap. He crawled into my bed with me and started playing with my boobs. I kept moving his hand away, I told him “no, I’m tired”. He didn’t stop. He started inserting his fingers in me. It was clear that my “no” meant absolutely nothing to him. At that point again, it seemed easier to let him do what he wanted so that it could be over with. I felt so dirty. He finally left and I went to sleep. I woke up feeling so confused. Was this my fault? Did I ask for it? Maybe I should have been more clear. As if “no” wasn’t clear enough.
I wish I could say that was the last time I saw him, but it wasn’t. A month after that I moved to Burnaby and didn’t have any friends there, I felt isolated and I felt like he was all I had.
One day I told him that some of the things he had done had made me uncomfortable, that I felt like my boundaries had been crossed. I sugar coated it for sure, but I finally stuck up for myself even if it was just a little bit.
He asked me to say it in a way that sounded “less r@pey.”
Finally, one day, we had sex, and I had a panic attack. Hyperventilating, crying, the whole works. He knew why. He knew what he did.
He never talked to me again.
This was someone that had gained my trust and told me he loved me.
Sometimes it’s still hard not to blame myself. 7 months of manipulation and abuse, and he was the one to walk away.
Manipulation is a powerful thing.
I wish I could say that once it was over my life got better right away but that is absolutely not the case. I had a hard time keeping a job, I was putting myself in unsafe situations, and I started binge eating as a way of trying to cope. I went into a complete downward spiral and thought about ending my life every day.
The thing about this kind of sexual assault is people are not always inclined to believe you. I was already sleeping with him right? It’s hard to open up because so many times I’ve told my story and once they find out that it wasn’t a one time assault, that it was an ongoing sexual relationship, all of a sudden it’s like it’s not that big a deal, and that is crushing.
Things are better now, but not perfect. I have the most incredible, respectful supportive husband in the world, but sex can still sometimes be a struggle for me.
My assault(s) changed me forever.
There is happiness after assault, but nothing has ever been the same because someone thought they had more of a right to my body than I did.
-Kaitlin, Fraser Valley.