The evening after my first suicide attempt, he asked me if we wanted to drive somewhere. I remember the leather of the car seats; the heavy mist over everything; how freezing cold it all was. I remember shaking, squeezing my eyes shut, him telling me, again and again, that I had to be sure I wanted to have sex before we did. I wasn't sure; I wasn't even close. Just a few hours ago I'd cried to him in the school hallway, hugging my knees, telling him I'd tried to kill myself that day, that the depression was consuming me; that I was scared and out of control and only felt safe when I was with him. I wanted to feel safe. I wanted to open my legs and give him everything he asked. I didn't want to feel like damaged goods, incapable of pleasuring him because my depression, my anorexia, and my anxiety were eating me alive.
That night, in the back of his car, he asked me for a yes or no. I tried to relax; I tried to hide how much I was trembling; how freezing I was; the very visible scars on my upper leg. I wanted to say "no" more than anything; to go home, to go to bed, to forget about all of this forever. But I knew - even then, in the middle of the night pulled over on the side of the road - if I didn't give him sex that night, he'd leave. The fear of his abandonment infested every part of me.
When I said yes, I felt the weight of it crush me. I still feel it - the knowledge that if I'd just said no, if I'd just asked to leave, none of it would have happened. That in the end, I chose to be coerced into assault. I remember closing my eyes, trying to imagine a safe place - my older sister's room. A house with curtains over open windows. I tried to ignore the pain; the overwhelming panic in my chest; the weight of what felt like suffocation. He came into me until I couldn't take it anymore - just pushed him off and laid there, shaking, trying not to cry. "Please take me home." That's all I could say. He argued with me; tried to change my mind. I'd never felt more worthless in my entire life—a broken object, used and reused and ultimately useless.
I remember driving back, numb with my whole body aching, jaw clenched, arms folded. I stood in front of the fireplace until the backs of my legs burned red, shaking and telling myself over and over again "That didn't happen. That didn't happen." I couldn't sleep. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I clawed at my arms, at my shoulders, trying to erase it from my mind. Days passed - weeks - months. It didn't go away.
That night, right before my boyfriend came into my tight, trembling body, was the only time he ever said he loved me. I was 17.