I thought that I was going on a date with a nice LDS returned missionary. He had told me about his dad being a bishop, his sister serving an LDS mission as well, how much he loved his mission. Earlier that year, I had broken up with my one and only boyfriend and was feeling like it was going to take another 20-some years for any other boy to ever find me attractive. But then, lo and behold, here was this boy who had all the qualities I was supposed to be looking for…and he was interested in ME.

I didn’t even think twice about getting into the car with him that day. We had been out the night before and it had been fine. We talked, we kissed. It wasn’t a crisis situation. He had told me he wanted to talk and his comments about finding a spot where people couldn’t see us went right over my head. I figured he just was going to kiss me again and didn’t want an audience.

When he pulled me into the back seat, there was a moment of panic. I hadn’t realized how strong he was. But I told myself I was overreacting. He was a good guy. A nice guy. He liked me. He wasn’t the type. He was charming and charismatic and active in my church. He wasn’t the kind of guy I’d been warned about.

I let him kiss me. I wanted him to kiss me. But I also wanted him to stop when I said no. When I tried to get away. When I was bleeding and crying and terrified I was never going to make it home. I didn’t want him to kiss me goodbye when he dropped me off.

I remember walking into my apartment in a daze and bursting into tears again as soon as I walked into my bedroom, realizing I was now all alone. Starting to realize the full extent of what had just happened.

The crazy thing is, I told. I called the police. And I completely understand why most people don’t. Everything I told myself to convince myself I was overreacting, I heard. He doesn’t seem like the type. He’s such a nice guy. We don’t want to ruin his life. They were good, kind people but the system that’s in place is not always kind to victims.

He didn’t care about ruining my life. The first few days after it happened, I couldn’t shower. I couldn’t see myself naked and, even after I could do that again, the cut on my head made it too painful to wash my hair. I just stood in the water hoping that sheer force of will would wash what happened off of me. I brushed my teeth over and over trying to get the taste out. Part of me, a pretty big part, still feels like something is wrong with me now because of what he did. I am torn between wanting to fall in love again to prove myself wrong but also still feel like vomiting when I have to be alone with a man. I still break down in a panic when the smell of that day comes back to me. I’ve moved three times just trying to feel safe. It’s a process in which I am still very much at the beginning.

I do not know how to cope correctly. Most of my coping mechanisms haven’t been helpful. But one day, I know that I will be able to deal with all this. I refuse to allow his broken definition of intimacy to steal more of my life than it already has. I will not be silent.