Scared of My Ex-Boyfriend
It's been seven years since this happened and I wasn't even sure it was rape or sexual abuse at the time but I'm realizing now it is. I'm now 24 and have finally been able to tell people about what happened to me 7 years ago. I started dating what I thought was a great guy when I was 16. My parents loved him and he was in marching band with me. A few months after we started dating, we were at the movies and we were kissing. Suddenly his hand was up my shirt feeling all over the place. I was shocked but we were in a theater so I couldn't bring myself to say no. He asked me later if I liked it. I told him I wasn't comfortable with that and he knew my stand on anything other than kissing. He said he was sorry and wouldn't do it again. A few weeks later the same thing happened only we were at his house. This kept happening and he kept getting more aggressive as time went on. Every time I would tell him to stop and he would apologize and promise it would never happen again. At the time I was struggling with an eating disorder and it got worse the longer we dated. I couldn't break up with him because it seemed wrong somehow. I felt bad and I was also struggling with my self-confidence. There were times when we would be out somewhere and we would be making out. Then he would lock the doors of the car and force me into the back of the van. Those are the times that I'm still trying to block out because I enjoyed the kissing so it makes it hard to admit other things went on. He would put his fingers inside me and would be so rough that I would come home bleeding at times. He would also force me to touch his penis and play with it. On New Year's Eve we were locked in the basement and he forced me to give him oral sex. I resisted as much as possible and then he decided to perform oral sex on me. I was scared because I had no idea who I could trust. I was too afraid to tell my parents. He called the next day to apologize yet again and say it would never happen again. When I left for college I knew I needed to break up with him and started dating a truly nice guy at college. Over the Christmas Break, this old boyfriend and I went out on a date. In the parking where my family lived, he forced me into the back of the van (how I hate vans to this day) and tried pulling my clothes off. This time I was able to say no and it scared him enough to stop. I haven't spoken to him since but now certain things truly scare me. I know I need help but I'm afraid of how people will react because he was my boyfriend and I was kissing him.
Dr. Patti responds:
I can not tell you how many girls write to me about not feeling confident enough to tell a parent about their abuse. This is particularly true when it is someone the girl is dating. Sounds like you did not trust that your parents would believe you and side with you because they loved this boyfriend of yours. If you knew that your parents would have backed you up you would have told them, or at least your mom... So instead you held this in, felt guilty and responsible and now you are dealing with it all. Bravo that you are dealing with your past abuse. I think you need to figure out why you would see this ex-boyfriend again. If you are dating a nice guy now that is great. The next time the ex-boyfriend calls you-you need to force yourself not to see him. He is bad news, and when you are together you seem to fall back into the passive girl and he knows it. Of course, NONE of this is your fault!!! NONE OF IT!! He is the abuser. Girls become confused because kissing is a turn on and they think that they are responsible for the rest of it. You did not want him to hurt you, make you bleed, you did not want to "play" with his penis. You felt trapped and forced without any options. But now you are 24 and you have all the options in the world. Do not see him, do not believe him.
I do not feel you need to tell many people about this. Find a friend who is in your life now, that does not know him and open up to someone trusted and tell your experience. It is great that you wrote to me and now it is time to reach out to others! Even just call a hotline and tell a stranger.
................................xoxo, Dr. Patti.