I got together with my ex when I started at the university. He lived in my old town, and I saw him on weekends and school breaks. The relationship already started forced, because I actually didn’t want to have a relationship with him. I felt that that would not be a good thing for me. But he kept making me feel guilty for not going out with him. So then we began our relationship.At the beginning I saw the way he acted in bed as passionate and I was attracted to that. But that ‘passion’ was more ‘animalistic’ and knew no boundaries. If he wanted to have sex, he didn’t stop until he got it. He often did that by suddenly jumping on me (while we were watching tv in bed or something), touching me everywhere and laying on me with his full weight. Because this was suffocating and overwhelming, I fought to get out of his grip. After a while he would seem to give up and let me go. But about half a minute later it all started again. This repeated itself until I became so tired I gave up. When that happened, my mind was a little bit separate from my body. Because of that, my memories of things that happened after that are quite vague.

During the rapes there was always something that made me even more uncomfortable than I already was. For example, sometimes he tried to put as many fingers in me as possible (at moments he was supposedly trying to ‘please’ me), so that it felt like I was gonna tear down there. Or he would decide to suddenly choke me. Some things that he did were very humiliating. Of some things, I didn’t even know people did that. A couple of things that happened, I can’t even write here, it’s too shameful. I think no one wants to read that.

I essentially was some kind of doll the whole time, put in all kinds of sexual positions. I tried to stop some things, like pushing his hand away again and again, saying I didn’t wanna do something (anymore), saying something hurt too much. With some things I just let it happen. Mostly because I wasn’t really present when those things happened. There are a lot of memories I lost for a long time. I can also recall some kind of hopelessness, in which I thought: ‘Whether I protest or not, it’s going to happen. So who are you fooling to keep trying?’ And when I felt this hopeless, I let it all happen.

My ex had power over my emotions. He only gave me emotional attention during or after the rapes. I can remember one time in which I could stop him. The consequence was that he completely ignored me. He also had power over my body. At the moment I ‘gave up’, he could pretty much do anything to me. I protested and let him know I didn’t want it, but of course he won. He controlled the whole situation too. He was the one who had decided we were going to be together, and he was the one who decided when he thought it was enough. He dumped me after 10 months. I think he felt like there was nothing left to use.

People don’t understand why I stayed with him, and I didn’t understand it myself for a long time. But it was quite simple, I had no idea what was happening to me. I didn’t see the things he did as sexual abuse. I thought it was my fault, because he said it was (he said I was the one turning him on, even when I did absolutely nothing), but also because I couldn’t deal with the fact that he abused me. So it was easier to put it all on me. Next to that, because I often wasn’t present during the rapes, I didn’t remember what had happened afterwards. And when I did remember, it was somehow quite easy to make myself forget. So I was in major denial, and that’s why I didn’t leave him.

Only after the relationship, when I began a new one, I noticed how weird my reactions to certain situations were. Quickly after that, many things came back and I got depressed.

Now, 4-1/2 years later, I finally feel like I can move on from this. I’m not done healing (are we ever?), but I feel less shame and guilt every day. I know now that HE should feel guilty and ashamed. He did something wrong, I didn’t. I just didn’t react the right way, because I had no idea what the hell was going on.