The Grey Area

By Anonymous

TRIGGER WARNING: sexual assault, graphic depictions of sexual acts

I don’t remember most of the first time we hooked up. 

I remember going into the bathroom with you and kissing your mouth and thinking that I wanted so badly to keep doing it because I felt validated by you wanting my body. 

I don’t remember getting on my knees. Somewhere between my hands on your torso and your mouth on my mouth, I got on my knees. But I don’t remember it. 

I remember you in my mouth. My mouth felt full and my jaw ached and the cold tile against my knees made my whole body hurt. Your hands were in my hair. I don’t remember if you pulled hard enough to hurt. Maybe you didn’t and maybe it was my idea to get on my knees.

The point is I don’t remember.

All I remember is feeling so very small and young and used when you kept telling me that I ought to go home after what had just happened.

——

We met up a couple more times.

We were always drunk.

Each time I asked if we were going to have sex, you said no, and I left it at that.

——

Somewhere around the fourth or fifth time, we were both drunk again.

I think we’d decided on not having sex again. Maybe I’d asked and you’d said no or we’d mutually decided, but I remember being pretty sure that we weren’t going to have sex.

That wasn’t how it went.

The worst part is, if you’d asked, I would have said yes. I would have told you that it had been a few months since I’d had sex, and I would have asked you to go slow. But if you’d just asked, I would have said yes.

Instead, you said “Just for a little bit,” and then you were inside me before I could even realize what was happening. Painfully and all at once and so quickly that I didn’t realize what was wrong. I swallowed my shock like a pill popped blindly – so quickly that I could only register it as shock now, a year later. 

I asked you to go slower because it hurt. You gave up, pulled out, and hissed, “Never mind then,” as if you were disappointed in me. Instantly, embarrassment bloomed inside me, agitating me.

I was agitated not by the fact that you’d entered me without asking, but by how my physical pain seemed to disappoint you.

“Well, no,” I bit back. “Just go a little slower for a minute and it’s fine.” So, you did and we had sex and I went home the next morning to tell my friends about how good it was. 

I don’t remember the sex feeling good. I don’t remember any physical feelings from that night other than your foreignness inside of me without permission.

I told myself you didn’t know that what you were doing would scare or shock me. That you thought entering me was something I would be expecting because I’d asked about it before. That because I’d entertained the idea in the past, it would forever be on the table in the future.

——

The next time we had sex, I was expecting it. I don’t remember if you asked or not this time. What I do remember saying was, “You should probably put a condom on.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right. You’re more responsible than me, I guess,” you said, and you ignored me anyway. I didn’t push it. I didn’t feel like I could.

Maybe because I didn’t explicitly ask you to put a condom on, maybe that’s why you disregarded me. 

The condom thing never came up again. I didn’t feel like I could bring it up, so I just stopped thinking about it.

——

I asked you to choke me once. It was good for a while, and then it was too much weight and I actually couldn’t breathe. It scared me. I grabbed at your arm and shook it and tried to pull it away from my throat, but you didn’t let up. I shook my head, but I never actually said the word, “Stop.”

I wish I had, so I could stop wondering whether or not you would have listened if you’d heard it. Because now, as things stand, I am stuck in a perfect limbo of wondering whether to credit this to your obliviousness or to your blatant disregard for me.

I will never know, so I feel like I cannot explicitly blame you. The damage is still done. 

——

Once, you told me that it was nice having me as “some random girl that showed up in your bed now and again.”

You made me feel small like that a lot. Reduced me to nothing – no personality, no sex appeal, no virtues or faults – just a body in your bed.

——

I sucked your dick behind a bar once. 

You asked me if I wanted to. I said “Sure, we could go back to your room.” You said, “No, here, behind this bar.” I did it.

I was told I was an icon for that. I was told it was a power move. People said things like that to me a lot. That me fucking you and not catching feelings was an incredible feat. 

I liked comments like that. They made me feel not small. They made me feel valid, like I was reclaiming something I’d lost. So I kept fucking you.

What people were unable to see was the sick attachment I’d gotten to you. It wasn’t feelings or care or anything like that. Somehow, you became a source of validation. 

I became addicted to finding a way to make you feel something, anything, about me. Then I would have something to hold over your head when you inevitably made me feel small again.

——

When I think of you, I am stuck in the grey area. I was not raped by you. I don’t feel unsafe in the same room as you, even now, because each time something like this happened, I seemed to have put myself into the situation. 

That doesn’t stop me from having nightmares about being trapped underneath you. Every time I see you, I can’t help but think of how your penis felt when it was pushed inside me without permission that first time. 

Still, I question whether or not I was assaulted. If I assume the best of your intentions, then it was your obliviousness that led us here. If I assume the worst, it’s that you thought you could do whatever you wanted with me as long as you were given just a little bit of consent. 

Some days I am able to tell myself that it was most certainly assault. That I was taken advantage of. That a little bit of consent doesn’t give the green light for everything else. I am able to remove myself from the internal battle that is me trying to decipher what your intentions were. I am able to recognize that regardless of your intentions – good, bad, or somewhere in the middle – the emotional trauma happened, took its toll, and that means something.

Most days I believe that I am blowing it way out of proportion. 

I know that all of this exists very much in a grey area. I also know that I don’t want to come forward about it. I don’t want to admit that you hurt me because that feels like a weakness. It feels like a step back from all the healing I have done. That to immerse myself again in the things that happened between us would be to force myself back into the person that I used to be. 

So, I sit in my mind. Remembering what happened between us. Working not to let it affect me as I move forward through life. Regaining control by leaving you behind.

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