I was talking to a guy for about a month or two sometime last year. I had just gotten out of my first relationship, and I wasn't ready for anything serious. I invited him over one night while my parents were out of town because I'm scared to sleep in a house by myself. He tried to get me to smoke with him, but at the time I'd never smoked pot and didn't really want to be high for the first time around somebody I didn't know well. I said no, and he pressured me about it all night.

I got annoyed, and I was tired from work that day and I was on my period, so I decided I wanted to sleep. He said he wanted to have sex, but I told him I was too tired. I fell asleep, and woke up to him having sex with me. I told him "I'm trying to sleep" and he said "I'm trying to fuck". I tried to push him off of me but I couldn't. He got off of me midway, forced his knees over my arms to hold them down, and put his penis in my face.

It sounds so much different when you say dick than penis. Penis makes it sound so uncomfortable, so unwanted. It was both of those things. He tried to force me to suck his penis, he pried my mouth open but stopped because I guess it was too much trouble. He climbed on top of me again and then finished inside of me and rolled off. I didn't cry, I didn't move.

He was on the outside of the bed, I couldn't get out of bed. I stared at my ceiling and I heard him fall asleep and I wondered how early would be late enough to say I had to leave, so did he. I woke him up at 6, saying I had an early study session before class. He got dressed and kissed me goodbye and left my house and I went and took a shower so hot I thought my skin would melt off. At the time I wished it would have. I didn't feel like myself.

I got a Kroger brand plan B and I went to class. I got drunk or high every weekend after. He started to stalk me, told me he was in love with me, said he didn't understand why I didn't want to be with him. He'd send me pictures of places that I had been during the day. He threatened to shoot my best friend because my best friend was a guy and no other guy was ever allowed to touch me again. I spent months terrified. I stayed at friend's houses for weeks at a time just to not be home. Just so he didn't know where I was. I drank all the time, I smoked before and after class every day just to get through the day. I'd go home and smoke on my hour breaks. I got through life in a daze, forgetting it ever happened except in nightmares. I'd ignore the texts and the pictures.

Eventually I blocked him, feeling more secure. Until he found a way to message me almost a year later, letting me know that he loved me and I had screwed him over. He had a girlfriend but he was still mad at me. I messaged him and told him that if he ever talked to me again he would regret it. Then a few months later I saw him on campus. I froze. I've never been that scared before. About a week later, I tried to kill myself. I felt horrified, my body felt foreign. All the things I thought I had pushed away a year ago came flooding in all at once. I never dealt with it, I never got help.

When I woke up in the ICU I realized I needed to accept what had happened and reclaim myself as a person. Reclaim my body and my security and my assertiveness. I started to make changes, I started to take time to myself. I stopped drinking and I started talking about what had happened to me. My friends all understood, some even had stories like mine. Whenever we're having bad days with it, we can talk to each other. It's like a support group. It feels good to be understood. I thought I was losing my mind because I'd lost myself.

Once I got to a point where I could accept that the things that have happened to me don't define me, I got to a point where I could become myself again. I'm not afraid of new people, or going out in public, or strong men. I'm cautious, but I'm no less myself than I was before this happened to me. I'm more myself. I found a way to become a better person, to better my life and my look toward it, for my own sake.

I learned how to be happy despite the nightmares and the worry. I figured out that he doesn't get to take that from me. I learned how to love myself again, how to look at my naked body and reclaim it as my own. It's the hardest thing I have ever done.