‘you do realise you were raped, right?’

‘you do realise you were raped, right?’ i didn’t want to answer. the question coming from someone almost a decade younger has better understanding of boundaries than i do. i knew they were right. but i didn’t want to answer. i knew the answer, i was just not ready to accept it. ‘i consented’, i said meekly.

he always had higher sex drive than me. but he always assured me that he would stop if i ever were uncomfortable. the first time someone did stop when i said no, i cried in their arms. it was years before i met him. i have times when i do not have sex at all. to me sex feels like a time pass that you do when there is not much else to do, and i always have things to do. and he was respectful at the beginning. he stopped when i said no, or i wasn’t in the mood. i took it as a sign that he is nice. i also felt bad. i knew he has higher drive than me, and me not being able to meet his needs has made me feel guilty about myself. what was my worth if i can’t give him everything he wanted from me? i loved him. i would have given my life for him.

first time it happened was in a party. he drank. i did not. i was trying to be off alcohol. he kept touching me in front of others, and i was uncomfortable. previously i have broken up with another partner who did this sober, in daytime, in cafes. this time i justified it by telling myself that he is drunk, he is at home, with me. i did say no, and he stopped for sometime, and then he said, he is sleepy, and whether i can accompany him to the bedroom and lie by him till he falls asleep. i agreed. he started undressing me as soon as i got in, and the door wasn’t even locked. i tried to stop but he said he can’t stop because i am so attractive. i did feel desired. so despite the fear that someone might just walk in on us and see me naked, i gave in. he went to sleep once he was done, and i laid awake with guilt.

he said sorry the next day. he also said he is hornier on alcohol and he also is hornier by the fact that he might get caught and it carried him away last night. but he loves me and can’t think of doing this with anyone but me. i thought to myself, that it is just one time then.

as he cut me off from my friends and kept telling others that they should contact him instead of me, i got more and more isolated. it was only him who was giving me validation and i felt grateful towards him. i would have done anything to keep him happy, to keep myself desirable to him.

he kept asking other people to the house, and as they were sleeping, more often than not, his hands would go inside my top. he would play with my boobs and eventually his hands would go down. he wanted me to wear skirts during bedtime. he said it provided easy access. i took it as a sign that he desires me badly. he got me skirts too, and i am always partial to skirts because they go spinny.

i said no multiple times. at the beginning he would stop, but with more time he just got more bold. i never wanted to have sex with someone present in the bed. so, i wanna be able to move freely, and i wanna be able to moan and make noise. i could do none of that. i also did not wanna have sex clothed, under sheets, and taking on his body weight, that was hot and sweaty and uncomfortable. but if i didn’t gave in, he wouldn’t stop. he kept doing it till 4 or 5 in the morning. i am the designated homemaker. i had to take care of the house, i had to drop off garbage, clean up. and i cant do that if i get to sleep at 5 am and wake up at 12 or 1 pm. so i gave in. it was over much quicker that way. i got to sleep early.

this turned into a ritual. he would invite people over. there would always be someone in the house, sleeping in the bed despite me crying begging to him to have alone time with him. he would invite others and tell me that they wanted to come and they need to be here. i have always struggled with my inability to say no. he knew this, and took complete advantage of that. this i got to know when i told my friends and they said they never asked to come beforehand, he always invited them. and if they wanted to talk to me, he would tell them i am not mentally well enough to have a conversation, i am depressed and overwhelmed. which i was, but i wanted to talk to people that came over to my house.

every night, for months on end, he would keep doing the same to me. if i initiated sex when we were alone, he would flat out refuse to. once he went out, and i put on sexy lingerie, lit up candles, and lied down on the bed like one of those french girls you want to paint. he walked in and burst into laughter. i have never felt that bad ever in my life, i could do nothing but cry, and he said he laughed because he did not expect to see me that way. now i know, at this point he has been cheating on me for months. when he went to mumbai a few months before, he stayed with this wannabe influencer who has been called out as a groomer before, and both of them sported hickies that were not there before. he told others that i gave him to them, but he wouldn’t sleep with me when we were alone, and it happened almost two weeks after he left for pune, even if i gave him hickies, they would have been gone by then.

yet, i liked to think i consented. but when i told my therapist this, they said, it doesn’t count because it was never an enthusiastic yes. i did not have the choice to say no, because saying no made things worse for me, so yeah, what my friends have been saying is right. i was raped. day in and day out, for months. by someone i loved and cared for deeply. and he didn’t see me as a human, but an object for his perverse desires. i do not know how that makes me feel. i do not want to believe i was raped, i do not want to believe an intimate partner was sexually violent towards me, abused me as he pleased, and abandoned me when his needs were met.

i gave him everything he wanted out of me, and i gave him space to heal, and even that wasn’t enough for him to love me. maybe i’ll never be enough for someone. i have been loyal, i have been subservient, i supported him when he had no work from my savings. and that wasn’t enough. i am never enough.

but it is okay, i can’t change the past. i do realise i am not dateable, i can give a lot of labour, but no one is willing to love me for it. so i’d do this labour for me, at least i can’t abandon myself even if i wanted to.