I’m ready to talk about it. I want to talk about it. I want to climb out onto my roof and shout it into the sky so the entire city can hear it. I am a rape survivor. I was raped. Repeatedly. Over a course of years. By my husband. It was not my fault. I did not bring it on myself. It happened. It was real. My story is true.

The first time I had sex, it was with him. And it felt like an eventuality, like something that was going to happen anyway so I might as well just get it over with. I realize now that isn’t how it’s supposed to feel. I didn’t know that yet.

The first time I remember him having sex with me when I didn’t want to was later that year, in our shared bed, in our shared apartment. I had just gotten off the phone with my dad. He told me that he had cancer. I was crying. Drew came in and asked why I was upset. I told him my dad was sick and it was really bad, the survival rate is really low, my dad is dying. I don’t remember anything else until he’s on top of me, and I’m still crying and crying and trying not to think about my dad dying while my boyfriend has sex with me.

I remember having sex with him a lot when I didn’t really feel like it, because he would tell me that it had been 3 days. 5 days. A week. Two weeks. And that it wasn’t fair for me to hold out on him like that.

We got married. And we moved far away from our families.

I remember the forcible rape in snapshots. Me, watching tv in bed, with the bedroom door closed. Him, in the doorway, with an angry look on his face. Me, on my back, with my legs closed. Him, on his knees, pulling at my underwear. Me, trying to keep my underwear on, in my closed fist. Him, prying my fingers open and my legs open. The ceiling fan. His sweat, dripping on me. The corner of the room where the blue accent wall met the closet door. The feeling of the sheetless mattress under my skin. Me, lying silent and still on my side all night, numb. Crying in the shower while getting ready for work the next day. Silently sitting at my desk, staring ahead blankly.

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The feeling that he no longer cared if he hurt me. The realization that I no longer felt.

A few more years of having unwanted sex to keep him happy later, I told him that I felt like he had raped me. He told me that he didn’t see it that way, that it was manipulative of me to even say that.

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He accused me of giving him an STI. I have never had sex with anyone else. He forged my signature on a move-out notice to our apartment complex, and gave me 6 weeks to find my own place. I went to Planned Parenthood, where they asked me if I felt safe, and was tested for sexually transmitted infections. I moved into my own apartment, and locked the door.

I see Anna, weekly, at the rape crisis center, for counseling. She believes me. I believe me. My story is true.