* Names have been changed for my safety and peace of mine
I have tried writing the beginning of this post four times now. I’ve always had this idea of how this post would be written and what the flow would feel like, but now that I have actually sat down to start writing it, all of those ideas and thoughts have flown out the window. For me, this is going to be the last step of healing. I have kept this deep in my closet of things I neither wanted to acknowledge, let alone ever tell anyone about. This has followed me for 7 years, and I am finally ready to let it go.
I was in a sexually and emotionally abusive relationship when I was 17 years old that lasted 2 years.
It doesn’t seem like it lasted that long at all, but at the time, it seemed like it would never end. I guess I’ll start at the very beginning of this mess…
It was November 2009. Nutcracker season. I was waiting backstage for the show to start with one of my (then) friends. We were both in the show, and were having a hard time containing our excitement. Out of boredom, we prank called our friends from each others’ phones. She had typed this guy’s number into my phone for me to call, and told me he was a good friend of hers. Little did I know, this boy was her childhood best friend who lived across the street from her. The conversation didn’t last very long, as I got bored with his lack of reaction. Later that week, the same boy had messaged me on MySpace and wanted to get to know me a little more. Yes, this was back in the days where MySpace was better than Facebook. Only the coolest people used MySpace.
His name was *Aaron.
We started talking and things hit off pretty quickly. We liked the same sort of things and he thought I was an amazing dancer. We decided to meet up at the downtown mall and hang out for a bit. He went to a completely different high school than I did, and we lived on the opposite sides of town, but we all know how new relationships are; thrilling and exciting. I was not used to a boy actually liking me for who I was, and I was willing to do anything it took to make it work. At the time, I was 17 and he 16, or at least that is what he told me.
Things picked up a little too quickly, and it took a very dark turn. It was New Year’s Eve, and I had a performance that evening. All night, Aaron was texting me, asking me to marry him and that if I didn’t, he’d kill himself. Seventeen year-old me did not have the tools to deal with someone who would say those kinds of things, and at the time, I was trying to swim through my own depression and this was not helping. Needless to say, the show was a mess, I was a mess and had no idea what to do. I ended up telling my mom, and she forbade me to ever speak with him again. Now I understand why she said that, but I thought I was in love with this boy, and I was not going to let my mom get in the way of the feelings I thought I had.
The new years starts; 2010. Aaron and I talked shortly after my performance and got things sorted out. We got back together, and we started hanging out at his dad’s house instead of the mall. Things started out really nice, just sitting around and playing video games, and things started getting abusive. He started getting jealous of all of my guy friends at school, and told me that if I didn’t stop talking to them, he would cut his wrists open. He would get mad when I talked about guys that I danced with and threaten to hang himself. He would tell me that if I moved away for dance, he would kill himself. He would call me every night, pissed off at something I would do. He’d scream and yell at me and tell me that ‘This was the last night’ and hang up. I wouldn’t hear from him for days, and then he’d show up like nothing had happened, and acted so loving towards me. If I spoke back to him when we were hanging out, he would slap me across the face, grab my wrists as tight as he could, get an inch away from my face and scream at me. This went on for months.
One Saturday in March, I went over to his dad’s house to hang out as we usually did. His dad wasn’t home, and the day in general was very foggy and strange feeling. I remember we started out playing video games, and then we were making out, and then he started trying to take off my clothes. I told him no, that I wasn’t ready, but he continued to take my clothes off. As much as I told him no, he ignored and continued to push himself onto me. The whole day past that point was so blurry; I remember feeling so much pain, then absolutely nothing. I felt nothing for a whole week until the following Saturday when the same thing happened. I remember coming home and immediately taking a shower. I scrubbed my skin until it was red, and cried until the water turned cold. I had always heard about these sort of relationships, but I never thought in a million years that I would be in that relationship.
I was raped every single weekend for 5 months.
The incident that has given me Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is one from my 18th birthday. I told him I wasn’t feeling well, and that I just wanted to watch him play his stupid Call of Duty and let me sleep. That is all I wanted. Instead, I got exactly what would happen every single weekend. After it was all over, I just sat on the bed and cried; It had officially been the worst Birthday ever. He walked back into his bedroom to see me crying and lost his shit. He started screaming at me to stop crying, and when I didn’t he started throwing things at the bed towards me. Scared for my life, I got off the bed and onto the floor as he left the room. He came back with a set of steak knives from the kitchen and started throwing them at my feet, screaming at me to stop crying. I eventually stopped crying, Aaron halfheartedly apologized and I went home like nothing had happened.
My Senior Prom rolled around and I took Aaron with me. He had never met any of my friends before, and I wanted a memorable prom experience with my friends. This was the night I found out his actual age; 14. I remember looking at his school I.D. and wanting to vomit. How could someone so young have done this to someone and feel absolutely no remorse about it? Prom was not the experience I had wanted. It was so awkward now that I knew and I tried to keep as much distance from him as I could. I went to my Senior All-Nighter and Aaron was beyond mad that I was there with my friends (including guy friends) and that he couldn’t be there to watch me. My friends ended up taking my phone away after seeing what he was sending to me. Looking back, I am so glad they did. I had so much fun with them, running around and playing games to win prizes to take to college or wherever you went after graduating. It was a wonderful break from the nightmare I was living.
Right after I graduated, I flew off to the opposite side of the country to a dance intensive. I didn’t tell Aaron that I was going, and his anger blew through the roof. I would get about 50 missed calls from him, my voice mail box was always full, and it got to the point where I had to change my phone number. I breathed a sigh of relief that day knowing it was all over.
It was far from over.
I found out halfway through the summer intensive that I was pregnant. I remember looking down at those 2 lines and feeling like my whole world was crumbling around me. I remember being on the phone with my mother, crying hysterically because everything I thought would never happen to me was happening. This pregnancy was my worst nightmare. It would keep me tied to Aaron, a boy who had raped me for five months and threatened to kill the both of us if I had tried to leave him. I would be tied to him for the rest of my life. My mother flew out to me at my dance intensive and I elected to have an abortion. I know I am going to get so much shit and hate for this, but it was in no way, shape, or form my choice to get pregnant at all…
The day it happened is very much a blur to me. I remember going to the clinic and paying for the exam with the money I won at my Senior All-Nighter. I remember waiting in the lobby for what seemed like a lifetime. The next thing I remember is being in a car with my mom and a lady who worked at the clinic who was giving us a ride to the hotel. It was probably the most painful thing I had experienced at the time. I rested for a full day, and then went back to the intensive two days after. I cried hysterically when my mom left, and we just told all of the teachers that I had to have a serious medical procedure in that area that was very sudden. All of them understood and didn’t ask any other questions, and neither did any of my friends.
My life would be so different if I hadn’t made that decision. I would probably be living a Hell I could never have dreamed, and raising a child I would not ever love. It would not have been fair to anyone.
I came home at the end of my dance intensive and things seemed to go back to normal. I met another guy named *Justin, and I thought that I could put everything that happened in the past. Things were looking good.
October came quicker than I thought, and Justin moved out of town. It was a mutual decision to end the relationship, but looking back I am disappointed that we didn’t at least try to continue things long distance.
Needless to say, my same dance friend and I were hanging out at the mall when Aaron showed up. I remember feeling like my gut was going to fall through my butt or that I might faint. He kind-of apologized, we talked and somehow made up. God only knows what was going on through my head when I agreed to give it another try.
The sexual abuse stopped, but emotional and physical abuse continued. This year, I learned to drive (thank goodness), and on top of that, I was taking my ballet classes about an hour away in another state 6 days a week. This left me with very little time to hang out with him; I was able to distance myself from his with as many distractions as I could handle. We hung out maybe once or twice a month now. Unfortunately every time I did see him, it was another slap to the face or being thrown into a wall again.
I managed to survive until my next dance intensive, and my very first year training under a school on the opposite side of the country. Aaron did not know this. He, once again, wanted me to give up my dream of dancing professionally to live with him in his grandma’s basement while he finished school. Hell to the no. I didn’t even tell him I was leaving.
I got to my dance intensive and once again my phone blew up. 50 missed calls, 25 voice mails and 32 texts the first day I was gone. I finally answered one of his phone calls while I was hanging out with a friend and I was met with anger, and a threat to kill my entire family. Needless to say, I was shaking. My friend made me call the police and file for a restraining order. Later that day, I received emails stating that every single one of my passwords had been changed; My email, my Facebook, Instagram, everything. I got a call from an unknown number. Surprise! It was Aaron. He had taken control of every single one of my emails and social media accounts, and demanded that I leave the program and come home to be with him. I tried persuading him that if he really loved me, he would let me pursue my dream and he, of course, called bullshit. He pulled the ‘If you loved me then you wouldn’t have left’ card and it continued back and forth.
Looking back, I’m not even sure how I was able to get the password he changed it to, but I did and put up extra security measures so this wouldn’t happen again. I blocked every single number he called me from, and later in the program, only allowed people who were in my contacts to call me. I was fighting as hard as I could to get this nonsense to stop. I had one week of absolute silence from him and finally broke down. It was over.
I moved to that same city in August that year and my life was so normal it was freaking me out. I, surprisingly, ran into Justin whilst exploring the city, and I was so happy with my love life for once. There was one night in January while Justin and I were hanging out when I got a call from an unknown number. I answered and felt my gut fall to my butt; It was Aaron again. He had called to tell me he had slept with a friend of mine and gotten an STD and said I probably had it too. I knew I didn’t, and I knew he was just bullshitting his way through a conversation with me. He started getting really nasty with me and I could feel my anxiety building. Justin noticed my distress, took my phone and ripped him a new one. I have not heard from Aaron since. Shortly after, I parted ways again with Justin and moved back home where met my husband, Ryan.
Over the years, I have passed Aaron either in a car or at the park, and nearly every time, I’ve had an anxiety attack. Ryan has been extremely supportive and understanding throughout the entire healing process. I used to have serious PTSD every time he would grab my wrist. Of course, it was meant to be playful, but I would have flashbacks and completely shut down. His patience is incredible, and I am so thankful to have him by my side.
January of 2016, I finally took the plunge and went to therapy. I had been contemplating it for a while, and after talking with a friend about, I made the call. I was so nervous when I went in, but my Therapist was a lovely woman. Her office was very cozy and warm and homey feeling, and that definitely helped me open up more. I left that appointment exhausted from crying and letting it all out, but it felt so good to finally get it all of my chest. I went twice a week for a full month, and once a week after that. It took a good 5 months of therapy to go over everything that had happened and begin the healing process. My last appointment was bittersweet, but I was so happy.
It took me 6 years to heal from this, and I couldn’t have done it without Ryan, my best friend and my therapist. Thanks you guys ❤
To anyone out there in an abusive relationship, please reach out for help. I know it can be absolutely terrifying and scary and it seems like it will never end… but I promise that it WILL end. I’ve linked a few hotlines below if you are needing someone to talk to or need help getting out.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline – They have both a phone number to call and a 24/7 Online Chat when you need help. Their phone number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Sexual Assault Hotline – They have a plethora of resources and their phone number is 800.656.HOPE (4673)
This is all for today my lovelies.