Saying ‘I Love You’ Did Not Validate The Assault

Gillian Sisley

Each “I love you” was a desperate plea for you to see the monster you had become, and stop what you were doing before it was too late.

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I know, very well, that writing this piece will likely trigger me tonight.

I should be in bed, with my husband.

But instead, I opted to work a little longer. And then work changed into something else.

It turned into pondering.

And when the night falls, the demons in me come out to play.

It’s now midnight, and here I am.

Writing, to you.

My first kiss.

My first love.

My attempted rapist.

You changed me forever, and I truthfully hate you for it.

I hate that I classify as a “survivor” now.

How oddly conflicting a term “survivor” is — it carries with it both empowerment, and resentment.

Don’t get me wrong, over all else I recognize the strength and resilience that comes with this title.

I recognize how fierce and brave and powerful I am to be able to write about this experience unapologetically.

In fact, I’ve written about the sexual assault you committed against me many times over.

I created an online publication with two other incredibly brave survivors to give women just like us a platform to safely and boldly tell our stories.

I’ve written about what you did to me more times than I can count.

But I’ve never written directly to you before. Not like this.

In fact, I promised myself I would never talk to you again.

So why am I here, doing that exact thing, right now?

I have no clue.

But I know by now, full and well, that I’m about to trigger myself.

I’m going to be up for hours warding off a panic attack, until finally the demons lurking inside me ease enough for me to cast away my shame and crawl guiltily into the bed I share with my husband.

I failed tonight. I failed to push away the thoughts again — and now a thing I said I’d put behind me is brimming to the surface with new levels of desperation and hatred.

On nights like tonight, I truly feel like I don’t deserve that man, that incredible husband of mine.

He’s a phenomenal person. More than you could ever dream to become. He deserves better than this — I deserve better than this.

So why am I instead sitting here, writing to the piece of complete and utter human trash that is you?

Beats me.

But while I’m here, I have some sh*t I want to say, and have never been brave enough to say to you, so here it goes:

I can guarantee you and I remember that night very differently.

You thought you were the sh*t back then — you truly did.

You thought you were so smart that convincing me, a stupid and naive little girl, to give up the virginity she didn't want to give you would be a piece of cake.

You clever little sh*t, you.

Let’s give the virgin alcohol. Let’s convince her we’re going to have an innocently romantic night in. Let’s undress her and put her down on the bed and get her to give it up.

I remember lying there and slurring out in my stupor, “Huh — what if I didn’t wait until marriage? I wonder what that would be like?

Did I say that comment? You can bet my drunk a** I did. I even giggled after I said it.

Because it was, truly, an outlandish thought for me to even joke about, let alone seriously consider.

I said it, nonetheless, and saw the immense glimmer of hope in your eyes after I said it.

But you know what that comment wasn’t?

It wasn’t my consent.

It wasn’t a green light for you to have your way with my body.

It wasn’t abandoning my vow to myself entirely just to satisfy your unquenchable lust.

It wasn’t a free pass into the parts of me I was reserving only for myself.

That said, do you know what that comment was?

It was a moment of immense vulnerability in which I felt safe with you.

I didn’t watch my drinking, because I felt safe with you.

I didn’t think twice about us undressing to fool around like we had a million times before, because I felt safe with you.

I didn’t even blink at throwing out a “what if”, similar to “what if I dropped out of school to join the circus?”, because I felt safe with you.

Feeling safe in the presence of my partner of over a year shouldn’t have ever been a mistake.

And the reason it became a mistake is not on me, it’s on you.

You were the one who took our once-safe companionship and turned it into a traumatizing warzone.

And I can guarantee to you, that night was the last f*cking time I ever associated the word “safe” with you in any way.

You became a monster in my eyes from that moment onward — and I haven’t been able to see you differently since.

I still have a score to settle with you.

And I very well am likely to never settle it.

I’m not stupid.

I never reported you, and I’m never going to.

It makes me feel nauseous imagining how smug that makes you feel.

I see your face in my head and wish that terrible, painful things would happen to you.

Although I know I would be ashamed of myself afterwards for even slightly enjoying that concept, I still wish I could watch you thrash and bleed.

The same way you’ve made me thrash and bleed over the years as I’ve battled these horrendous feelings your attack has left me with.

But instead of choosing violence, I write.

I write about the pain and confliction and the cruel nature of having been so deeply violated by someone I truly, sincerely loved.

At the time, at least.

The grey area of my sexual assault is vast because we were in a committed relationship.

But what isn’t grey is the fact that I never gave you my consent.

Flat out, point-blank. You never got my consent. I never said, “Yes”.

My tears never gave consent.

Holding my hand over my vagina so that you couldn’t forcibly penetrate me never gave my consent.

Telling you through my weeping, “No, I’m not ready. No, please,” never gave my consent.

And resorting to pleading with you, telling you “I love you”, over and over again, hoping you would snap out of it and go back to the man I once felt safe with, absolutely never gave my consent.

That night for you was just a hit and a miss — the night you almost got my virginity. Shucks, better luck next time.

But that night for me was one of the most traumatically monumental moments of my life.

The night you almost stole away every bit of me that I held dear — and didn’t even blink an eye over it.

The healing process will never end — and I hope your karma doesn’t either.

But that’s something you’ll never care about, or ever appreciate.

How deep the wounds go from your incomprehensibly selfish act of misplaced entitlement.

How much your viciousness crushes a human soul to the point of becoming a shell of a person.

But that’s fine.

Because this isn’t about you anymore.

Because I’ve put in the work to build a more phenomenal and powerful version of myself, a person neither of us thought I’d have the gumption to become.

My wildest dream, and your biggest nightmare.

An outspoken, fiercly feminist advocate who unapologetically airs your dirty laundry, and calls you out on the worst sh*t you’ve ever done in your life. The sh*t you unjustly got away with.

Although, I could do without the infrequent bouts of violent ideation I have against you on nights like this… but I digress.

This has been good. I feel good. I’m glad we had this talk.

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Online solopreneur. Tea drinker. Committed optimist. I write about trending news, viral Reddit content, and anything else that tickles my fancy.

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