Coercion Is Not Consent

My rapist’s name is Keith Stephen Grace. Last I knew he lived in Grandville, Michigan.

The rape took place in 2013.
Keith and I were sitting on the couch in the in-law suite of my parent’s house where I live (we call it the apartment- it is attached to the house but has a heavy fire-door and my parents room is on the other side of the house from it). 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 kissing or foreplay of any kind. Aside from the coercion in this situation he had also been told he had to ask permission to penetrate me beforehand as I didn’t like how he had the habit of doing it without making sure I was ready. Which means he had no consent to penetrate me at all since he never asked and was never given permission.

I didn’t really understand it was a sexual assault at that point, and I wouldn’t make complete sense of it until I read about coercive rape in 2014. Until then I blamed myself for not being strong enough to stop him.

A short time after the assault I ended up on suicide watch a second time. I already had PTSD before I started dating him and had been struggling to recover from that on top of the things he’d been putting me through.
Some of the other things included:

  • My telling him no to nude pics and him continuously screaming yes at me while I yelled no back
  • Telling him that he was hurting me during sex and him saying that he’d be quick
  • Him trying to choke me during sex and having to tell him stop and physically remove his hands from me more than once
  • Him groping my breast and when I told him to stop and physically removed his hands from me he groped the other breast saying he needed to “even it out”
  • Telling me that all my previous boyfriends had wanted to rape me they just hadn’t been brave enough
  • Asking me to tell him about how I was sexually assaulted at the age of eleven because it turned him on
  • Slapping me in the middle of sex and then asking me after he did it if I liked it
  • After slapping me he continued having sex with me despite my obvious distress

At the urging of the other patients at the hospital I called him and discussed with him the way he had been treating me (some things had also been discussed prior to this). I mentioned at one point to him that I was still in pain from what he’d done to me (I had even had an exam done at the hospital because I was in so much pain I thought I had to have tearing or an STD of some kind). I also discussed with him the time he said he’d be quick instead of stopping.

I finally worked up the courage to leave him around New Years 2014. I used the excuse of wanting children since I knew he didn’t, and it would allow me to leave the relationship without angering him or causing drama in the friend group (I had no system of support outside of this group of friends). At this time I was still trying to forgive him since I was sure if I spoke out about what he’d done I’d lose the only friends I had since they were all friends with him first. I saw him in the company of other people a few times but then during one of these outings he grabbed my rear. This time I somehow found the courage to whirl around and yell at him.

I didn’t see him again after that and a short time later I read an article on my tumblr dash about coercive rape. I felt a rush of emotions on realizing there was a term for what I had experienced. I finally stopped blaming myself, and became angry with him. I deleted my facebook and created an account under a different name. He tracked me down, probably through a mutual friend, and tried to start a conversation. I still didn’t want to cause drama in the friend group so I sent him a one word reply and nothing else. He seemed to get the message and I didn’t hear from him again.

I’m not sure how long after that it was before I told Meghann. Who had set me up with him in the first place. I just needed to tell someone what had happened and I thought since she was a self-identified feminist she would believe me. I also thought that since Keith had said, “I feel like I raped her too” in reference to her, that perhaps she’d gone through similar and could relate.

This was apparently wrong since some time after I told her she began dating him. She had me meet her at a library to confess this to me. I wanted to report him but was afraid of losing her as a friend if I did. So I once again tried to put it behind me and kept quiet for a time so she could be happy. Eventually though I couldn’t hold the pain back any longer and talked about it again. A part of me needed people to know who he really was and what he had done.
I also could no longer carry the burden of remaining silent when there was a chance he would hurt her too. If I stayed silent and he did this again it would be on me.
She dropped me as a friend because of it, claiming in a text message that he would not purposely do the things I was saying he did, that it was my fault for not telling him after he did these things that I didn’t like it. Which I most certainly did tell him as that is what no, stop, I don’t want to, and physically pushing someone’s hands off means. That you don’t like what is happening. Not to mention the text I sent him about touching my breast when I said to stop or the phone call from the hospital. She also told me the first time I’d talked about being raped on tumblr had been for attention and to mess with her.

I finally reported him three years after it happened to the police on March 2nd 2016. This was awhile after I had gone to my areas YWCA where I told them what he’d done and they confirmed for me it was considered a sexual assault and I could report it.

I eventually called to get an update on the case since I had not heard anything for over a month. I was told I couldn’t receive information over the phone and would have to file a FOIA. I had to pay $6 just to find out what had happened with the investigation. You can sure as hell bet my rapist did not have to jump through the same hoops.

The report was a mess of errors and typos (they even got our names wrong- calling him Kevin at one point and spelling my last name with a K). In the report he said I dreamed it because of erotica and pointed to me being depressed and having “mental issues” for why I’d report him.

This was my first sexual relationship. I waited 27 years to be in one and this is what the end result is.