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Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month – part 2

{this story is the second in a series of submissions to WCASA in response to our call for reflections on themes related to National Teen Dating Violence Awareness & Prevention Month in the form of writing, artwork, or multimedia production; we thank this survivor for sharing her thoughts and experiences honestly and candidly; as difficult as it can be to read her experiences, we know that survivors speaking up is an important part not only of their individual healing process but of our collective ability to increase the visibility of these crimes}



I started dating Jake when I was 14 years old, the summer of eighth grade.  Jake was 15 and in high school, but he didn’t look it.  He was on the swimming team and was 6’ 4”.   He always told me how beautiful I was, but looking back on it now, I still had poor self esteem.  I was always watching what I ate and starving myself.  I look at pictures of me back then and I see a young girl whose face is thin, pale and sunken.  At the age of 14, I was willing to do anything to keep Jake happy.  He was my first boyfriend.  He was a big, strong diver and I wanted to be his beautiful girlfriend.

At the beginning of our relationship everything was okay.  My parents knew Jake’s mom.  His dad passed away when he was six.  My parents even liked Jake.  My older sister wasn’t so sure.  Every time I was with Jake, he always had to be touching me.  He wanted to hold my hand or put his arm around me.  When we walked on the street he insisted I have my arm looped through his.  I found it flattering.  My older sister hated seeing our public displays of affection (PDA).  I always said she was just jealous.

Six months into our relationship, Jake’s mom decided they should move for financial reasons.  Off to the east coast they went to live with family.  I was heartbroken but Jake vowed to keep in touch with me and said our long distance relationship would work.  Jake called me every day and we spoke for hours.  Back then he racked up quite the long distance phone bill.  When we weren’t talking on the phone, we found a way to keep in touch through email.  Before Jake left, the only physical intimacy we engaged in was kissing, holding hands and hugging.  After he moved, he started pressuring me more and more.  Jake was hundreds of miles away but I remember him pressuring me as if he were in the same room.  Both Jake and his mom would be coming back to Wisconsin to visit.  As the days got closer, the more Jake talked about sex.

The first thing Jake asked for were pictures.  At first it was normal pictures- me playing softball or with my family.  Then he wanted pictures of me in my bathing suit.  His demands fueled my starvation.  He eventually asked for intimate pictures- specifically my fully shaven vagina.  I knew I could get in trouble and I was sick to my stomach with worry of what he would think of my most intimate parts.  I did what he asked and sent them anyway.  I loved him, right?  But that wasn’t enough.  Jake started asking me to participate in phone sex.  I was now 15 and although I knew what he was talking about, I still had no idea what to do.  Again, I gave in to Jake’s demands and did what he asked of me.  I loved him, right?  I did it multiple times.  There were times when he would call, ask for phone sex and then hang up shortly afterward.  Our ‘relationship’ no longer resembled a relationship, just a reason for him to get off.  I didn’t even enjoy our phone sex sessions.  It wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about pleasure, it was about Jake.  All of it was about him.  His sexual desires were being fulfilled by a young woman that didn’t feel like she could say no.  I didn’t know my own body then, let alone what to do with it.

I stayed with Jake because I really did feel like he was ‘the one.’  I had no guidance about healthy relationships or healthy sexuality for that matter.  All I knew was I didn’t want to be alone.  Without him I wouldn’t be beautiful, I would be ugly and no one would want me.

The following summer Jake and his mother returned to Wisconsin to visit.  During his two week stay I had every ‘first’ sexual experience taken away from me.  I was coerced into performing oral sex, receiving oral sex and losing my virginity.  There were times when I would try to stop him.  I would say I wasn’t ready or that I was nervous but that didn’t matter.  All Jake could talk about was how we were meant to be together and how much he loved me.  He had me convinced that I was ready for sex too.  If I tried to push him off me while he was attempting to perform oral sex, he would push my hand away or tell me how good it would feel.  For the record, it NEVER felt good.  It never felt right and I never felt ready for any of it.  Jake never left bruises externally, but he had damaged me emotionally.  He said if I loved him I would perform every sexual demand he had.  I remember performing oral sex and him forcing my head down so much I started to choke and gage.  He was so forceful during sex I bled for hours.  This was love… or so I was told.

After Jake returned to the east coast with all of his coercive sexual conquests, he called and said our relationship was no longer working out.  He went on with his life and I checked into an in-patient psychiatric facility.  He left me broken and sexually damaged.  It’s only within this past year, twelve years after the fact, that I have finally started to identify myself as a survivor of sexual abuse.

Posted in Teen Issues.

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