Writing by Adrienne Grey // Photograph by Toni Antonia
There is this guy that I met. He was wonderful – and I mean, absolutely wonderful. We had our first date at this cute cafe in one of my favorite neighborhoods. We sat and talked for hours. I didn’t even realize the people coming and going. I was wrapped up in him. For four hours, it was just us. He made me nervous — which never happens– and I liked it.
Then, he asked me the dreaded question (or, maybe I asked him first — yeah I asked him first): “When was your last relationship?” We both lied, and said a year prior. Naked truth was, I was at the tail-end of a “situationship”, and had ended an actual relationship less than a year before.
I had a feeling that his truth was similar. What he didn’t know was that he was the second person I’d been on a date with in years, the first person I would actually like to see for a 2nd time, and he’d also be the first “new” person I would start dating after being raped. (God, even writing that is difficult — I still don’t want to believe it.)
I thought I’d be okay dating because, up until then, I was fine. It had been a few years since it happened, and I was starting to come to terms with it. And by that I mean, acknowledging that someone actually forced themselves on me. (Like the doctor said, “he didn’t drug you to steal your purse.”) I hadn’t had any problems with the people I was dating before — nothing recent, that is– so it wasn’t even something that crossed my mind… until the second date.
He took us to this escape room. You know, the ones where you get locked in a room with seven strangers, and the only way out is if you solve the mystery? At first, I was like, c’mon dude, it’s our second date and you’re going to make me stay locked inside a small room with you for an hour?? But, I’m always down for an adventure! So, after texting five trusted friends my location (safety first), we met at the place. He was looking fine, and I made sure I looked succulent, of course. We got into the elevator and he took notice of my outfit, compliments me. I blushed. We got off of the elevator, and the entire floor looked desolate. Empty offices. Dirty hallway. No working lights. My first thought was: “Is this where he’s going to do it?” My heart started to race, and I immediately began thinking of how I would get out alive. I checked for the nearest exit, and prayed my cell phone had service. My mind was blown that I would even think like this. But, here I was, praying for my safety. Hoping that this man, who’s done nothing wrong, wasn’t planning to rape me. Then, he says “I think this is the wrong floor… this is so embarrassing.” I smiled through my pounding heart, and said it was no big deal. We got back on the elevator, and went down to the rest of the group.
I couldn’t shake what just happened. I needed air. I needed water. I went to the bathroom to get myself together. When I came back, there he was, waiting for me. Smiling. What made it worse was that he could tell. I was scared and embarrassed at what I just went through.
He tried to calm me (which was the fucking sweetest), and it didn’t work. Luckily, it was time for the game to start and I was able to talk myself out of my thoughts.
The rest of the night was fine. We went to dinner, had drinks, laughs, and even shared a cosmic kiss at the end of the night — I was smitten. I thought that would be the end of my worries because I liked him so much, but for the next few months, I would be reminded that I was still haunted. I remember my arm being under his while we were kissing once, and his muscle flexed naturally, tightening his hold on me. My heart sank. My gut reaction was: he’s stronger than you.
Just about everything he did was a trigger, and it was torturous… I would talk to my best friend about it, debate whether I should tell him or not. I didn’t want to seem like a victim or a poor, helpless girl. It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t his burden to carry. Plus, how do you tell someone, a complete gentleman, “hey, by the way, I was raped a few years ago, and there are things you do that remind me that you could rape me if you wanted to”.
It’s absolute torture to have someone touch you in all the right ways while still fearing rape.
The triggers started to fade as I began to trust him but part of me wishes I told this new guy because he was so kind. He didn’t deserve to be in the dark about something that affected my behavior toward him.[share]