Letter to a Victim Blamer

Dear Meghann,

You were the first person I told what he did. I thought I could trust you. I thought you’d believe me. Instead you decided to date the man that abused and raped me after I told you. Instead you took my pain, my trauma, and made it about you by saying I talked about being abused and raped just for your attention and to mess with you. I talk about what happened because I’m in pain, because I need support, because I’m still processing what happened and trying to find some peace by letting the hurt out.
You want to believe that I’m the one that did something wrong. That I didn’t communicate enough. That he didn’t do it on purpose. You were not there. You did not have to be subjected to his anger or his actions.
He had no problem lying to the police, telling them I dreamed it because of erotica and depression. You honestly think he’d have an issue lying to you?

These are things that actually happened:

When he was on the couch with me and began groping my breast. His hand beneath my shirt. His rough fingers digging into my skin. I told him to stop, physically removed his hand. He groped the other one instead saying he needed to “even it out.” There are three reactions to violation: fight, flight, and freeze. I froze. I froze the way many women before me have when touched without their consent.
I texted him later. Explained it was wrong. The fact I’d told him to stop and removed his hand should have been enough communication.

He would try to choke me during sex. I had to tell him to stop more than once. Had to push his hands from my throat more than once.
The fact I said stop should have been enough communication. Physically removing his hands should have been enough communication.

During sex when he asked if I wanted to try something, I smiled and asked “what?” He then slapped me several times in quick succession across the face. Only after he did this as I struggled not to cry did he ask me if I liked it. I told him no.
This should have never happened. This was flat out assault. I should have been given my right to refuse before he acted.

When he stated we would be taking nude pics. Not asked. Stated. I told him no and he started screaming yes at me. Because how god damn dare I tell him no. Which I continued to tell him. Loudly. I walked away from him wanting space and he stalked after me while continuing his demands.
The fact I was yelling no repeatedly should have been enough communication.

When we were sitting on the couch and he asked if we could have sex I told him, “I don’t want to.” He started pressuring me and I said, “Maybe later.” He kept pressuring me and I said, “I’ll think about it.” Then he screamed at me, “Now I’m getting angry.” I said “okay” because I was afraid he would become violent. I didn’t move from the couch though. So he started screaming at me again, “I want you naked and on the bed!” So I ran into the bedroom (once again fearing violence) and got on the bed but didn’t undress. Instead I sat on the bed shaking. He came to the doorway and yelled, “That’s not what I told you to do! I said I wanted you naked and on the bed!” So I took off my clothes and laid on the bed. He put on a condom and did what he wanted. There was no foreplay or lube, he just tore into me. I still remember the look on his face. How angry his expression was.
This was coercion. This was rape.

You want to believe he was just being selfish, imperfect. That this was somehow an acceptable pushing of boundaries. You want to normalize relationship violence because you love him. Then turn around and discuss what it means to be a feminist as if you are one. You want to act as if you care about victims of rape, of abuse, but you don’t. Not really. Your actions have proven that.
You want to blame me for not speaking up. Not communicating. Not sitting him down on the couch, taking his hand gently in mine and explaining, “Keith, sweetheart, you’re being sexually abusive.”
Is he not a grown man in his thirties with an understanding of what the words “no” and “stop” mean? Am I to be his teacher? His mother? His instructor in the ways of consent? If he has no concept, no understanding of what these words mean at his age. Of how to respect boundaries. Then I am filled with horror thinking of the women who have come before me. I am filled with certainty that he has done this before. That he has harmed and violated other women.

I did in fact discuss the way he had been treating me. I called him from suicide watch the second time I was on it. Told him his behavior was not acceptable. That I was still in physical pain from what he’d done (I even had a pelvic exam because I was in so much pain). That telling me he’d “be quick” from a previous incident where I’d told him he was hurting me during sex was not okay. That he would have to prove he was sorry through his actions.

I am NOT the one with the communication problem. HE IS. He is the one who cannot accept a refusal to a sexual act. “I don’t want to” does not mean try harder. “No” does not mean to keep pushing. “Stop” does not mean keep going. “You’re hurting me” is not permission to negotiate. Pushing his hands from my body is not a signal to try again.

Did I not say these things loud enough to be heard over his anger? His entitlement? Did I need to say them louder? Scream them until my throat was raw? Please tell me at what volume must my voice have reached before I had communicated enough? How often must I have spoken these words, these refusals before my abuse and rape becomes valid to you?

And I haven’t even gone into the disgusting things he said to me.  Like telling me all my boyfriends wanted to rape me they just hadn’t been brave enough and asking me to tell him about being sexually assaulted when I was eleven because it turns him on. These things are fully his responsibility not to say in the first place. It was not my job to police the vile things that came out of his mouth.

I am a victim of his actions. His words. His choices. It is not the victim’s responsibility to stop their abuser from abusing. It is the abuser’s responsibility to not abuse. To not say or do horrible, despicable things in the first place. Believing otherwise is victim blaming.

I did not in some way ask for any of this. I did not stay silent in the face of his actions. I spoke. I denied consent.

This was not my fault. The blame is on him.