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Before the Rape
"I love that you're a Christian, I love that you have goals,-"
"Yes, :) go on?"
This was how he started dating me. He made himself the gentleman who was looking forward to the company of a young woman with similar honorable traits. We couldn't have been further from opposites. The one thing honest that he did do was tell me that he had had sex before and that he did think that it was ok to have sex before marriage. That wouldn't stop me from dating him, but I made it clear before we agreed to date that was not what I wanted. "I don't mind if you've had sex with past girlfriends, but I am not having sex until I'm married to the right person. If you want that, then you better look somewhere else."
He took that as a challenge.
Yield, Stop, and Other Less Obvious Signs
There were clues. He would always ask about my virginity. Always. At times he would ask things to test how naive I was as a joke, and at other times he would simply explore what the church believes in when it comes to sexual experiences and timeliness since I was so involved in the LDS (Mormon) religion. I was so eager to share my testimony of the Gospel that I took it as an evangelistic opportunity. I can't be in his head, nor do I want to be, so I don't know what he took it as. Now just to be clear, he didn't ask these things creepily. He asked these things while concluding that he thought it was cute. I liked seeing his smile when we talked. It was intriguing that we were opposites, and I liked the way he flirted with me. It was just innocent teasing.
If there was one thing he learned about me; I was very proud of being a virgin.
After a while he shared with me stories of his life that reflected 1. his parents treating him terribly or 2. his heroic military efforts overseas. He would milk them pretty well... full-proof with tears and everything. And seeming since my empathy test on college strengths results were "DING DING DING! We HAAAAVE A WINNER!!", this was not surprisingly a very strategic, successful way for him to try to manipulate me. For instance, when he would talk about somebody badly or try to be a little inappropriate, my mind had more leeway on forgiving him because its response was constantly "He doesn't know better. He didn't grow up with good examples to teach him." I don't even think that those stories were true. The benefit of the doubt is still to this day my desire to give, but as far as I had found out by two reliable sources, he was never even in the military.
I'm Smart, I Swear.
A few months later I graduated from LSU with a minor in Piano Pedagogy and a Bachelors of Business degree. As a college student and a worry-wart's daughter, I was made painfully aware of the statistics of sexual assault on campus. I was super cautious. Every time I went to my car, night or day, I would take my headphones off and thoroughly search my surroundings. If there was a sketchy vehicle by mine, I would enter in through the passenger's side like an embarrassing ninja. Pepper-spray was my best friend when it was late at night going to friends' off-campus apartments. My boyfriend's apartment was in an especially sketchy location so every time I visited I made him walk me from my car to his door. It's ironic, but if I would have known, I would have been more careful about getting away from my boyfriend than from the strangers in his garage.
Stop Playing Taboo, and Start Addressing the Issue.
Parents, guys, and girls need to know that although rape is an uncomfortable subject, it needs to be brought up. Sexual assault needs to be discussed with young men as well as girls. There are a lot of ways to prevent this from happening to our friends, our children, and our loved ones. I'll share more on how to avoid sexual assault, harassment and rape. Will you?
© 2018 Elizabeth Kris