Short Story: I've had intimate relationships with Intimate Partner Violence
Long Story: There aren't enough blank pages but I'll give you my best with what I've got.

I went off to a big 10 college on a full academic scholarship. I write to you now as an esteemed alumna of The Ohio State University. Ironic to note that because when I started college it was "expected of me.' Yet, when I graduated college was an accomplishment because of all the hell I had been through. Life has a not so funny way of humbling us.

I met my first abuser when I was 18. Actually 17 because we belonged to the same scholarship group but 18 is when everything went wrong. He was my complete opposite. A tragic childhood, a stereotype in some ways, and a success story in others. After all he had been through by 18 he made it to a higher education, starting the American Dream. He wasn't the nicest, another glaring opposite, but after getting to know him I realized he was actually hurt. At college orientation I declared my superpower to be Love. He was my first test. We were the perfect empath/melancholy match but at 18 I simply called it romance. Looking back there was quite literally nothing we agreed on, except the sex. We were each other's first in different ways: he was my first sex partner, I believe I was his 1st (and hopefully only) victim. After a semester of nuanced disagreements and now clear grooming we decided to be just friends. The 1st night back from Christmas Break he went from thinly veiled friend to very clear rapist. I would lose my funding that year and spend my summer between depression, appealing the decision, and disclosing my assault. I returned with my funding renewed. I would spend the next 4 years completing college alongside my rapist, even graduating on the same day.

Unfortunately, that would all be too simple. My Sophomore year I began dating a coworker. I thought there could be nothing worse than experiencing rape at the hands of a former friend. Then I feel in love with a narcissist and lived the true depths of hell. The best way to describe those 2 years were living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was equally parts fascinating as it was terrifying to watch someone put on such convincing acts. Unfortunately, his acting career almost cost me my life. By the time the Domestic Violence started I had been through all other forms of abuse but not all knowingly. I KNOWINGLY went through financial, emotional, mental, and verbal abuse. I SEMI-KNOWINGLY knew there was sexual abuse as well. After a drunken night I was shown a video of a things I didn't remember. I can't explain my feeling as anything other than intuition but when that video started rolling I knew something was wrong. What I remember as falling asleep was actually me passing out with someone I trusted only to be taken advantage of in ways he knew had already happened. Years after that relationship I would have memories return: I had been raped- again. In another bout of irony he would say these words seconds before trying to kill me, "You know what Tyne? All you are is rapable bitch. All you will ever be good for is raping." This wasn't the first time a seemingly out of the blue obsession with my rape had been referenced. For months he would bring it up in fights as fuel, what I believe as an admission of his own guilt. He walked me to the couch that night by my throat. I can tell you what my last breath sounds like.

I eventually got out of that relationship. Not that night but I left only due to other unfortunate circumstances at home. God has a not so funny way of saving us. It is my firm belief that if I did not leave that summer I would have been dead by August.

College was supposed to be filled with experiences and memories to be fond of. They are memories all right. But instead of my favorite campus eateries, my favorite classes, and accolades I tell of different memories. Memories of therapy sessions, PTSD diagnoses, and suicide attempts. Days turned into years of depression and panic attacks. Before I knew it I was walking across the stage free from my hells. But perception is not always reality and it is a daily struggle to remind myself that I am indeed free.

Six years removed from my first rape and about three from my first and only relationship which was abusive in similar and distinct ways. I realize that time has found a way to both stretch forward and remind me that it's just beginning. In some of my darkest days I've found the light of my future. The future is neither dark or light but a mixture and I'm okay with that. Some of my biggest triumphs will be birthed by my biggest demons. There is no need to fear death and fire because death and fire have made me.


Tyne <3