Manipulating Consent.

This is a story that I have never spoken of out loud.

When I was sixteen, I was in an on-again, off-again relationship with this one dude. We met when we were both volunteering at the hospital. One day I was sitting at the emergency room desk when he came in to volunteer also. Our schedules must have been mixed up, and we both ended up volunteering together.

So, we had a really short initial relationship, but I ended up breaking up with him because he said he was going to spend my birthday with me, but proceeded to not answer his phone on my birthday and I spent it alone (in lieu of hanging out with my friends or family).

However, he was the only other queer person I knew at sixteen, so I wanted to get back together with him. I surprised him on his birthday a month later by coming over and bringing homemade cookies. He was pleased with the cookies, but didn’t want to get back together. Fine, that was his decision. But he still wanted to have sex with me. I told him I didn’t want to have sex with anyone unless we were in a relationship, and didn’t really want to have a random hook-up, anyways.

I hung out with him for another hour, and he makes the crude move of standing up in his basketball shorts and drawing attention to his member. I told him I’m not interested, and started to leave, but he shouted out “I want to get back together” (which was kinda my whole point of going over, anyways).

So we “got back together” that night, and 10 minutes later, we were having sex. I thought this worked out pretty good. I got back together with my ex, and got to have sex. Sixteen year old me was very pleased.

Like an ass, 5 minutes after we finished, he starts going into a panicked rant. Here are some choice phrases:

  • “I made a mistake”
  • “I shouldn’t have done that”

and worst of all,

  • “I didn’t really want to get back together with you. We’re not back together.”

I was hurt. Confused. Mostly, I felt duped. I left immediately, drove home crying, and stayed in bed the rest of the day.

Looking back, I now see how truly messed up this situation is. My ex raped me. He manipulated my consent, by getting into a relationship with me just to have sex. He used my personal morals against me, and manipulated them, luring me into a false sense of security. I said explicitly I didn’t want to have sex with someone I’m not in a relationship with. For years, I blamed myself, saying that I was trying to trick him to get back in a relationship with me. However, looking back on the circumstances, I was ready to leave on his birthday and be fine with not being in a relationship, but he emotionally manipulated me to have sex with him. Even though I gave consent, I was clear I would not have sex with him if we weren’t in a relationship.

So, to all the people out there, yes, these fuzzy situations DO happen. This is why consent needs to be so explicit. And sometimes, even when you are explicit, people will find ways to make it feel like it is your fault. This was the first time I was raped, and I was finally ready to discuss it.

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