Coercive rape is not often spoken about. Victim blaming and rape culture have created a shell around this form of abuse that most victims feel powerless to break through. ”I said yes, so it wasn’t rape,” is only half of the story.
When I was 19, I fell in love. We started out as casual sex partners, but grew into more than that quickly. Within a few months, we were living together. I was very sexually active, and most nights I honestly, truly wanted it. But there were nights when I didn’t. I was sick or overtired or just not in the mood. Yet if I wanted to get any sleep, I needed to agree to have sex with him. He would bug me and poke my back with his erection, beg and plead, bargain, whatever he felt he needed to do in order to make me agree until I finally caved. He was never violent or physically assaultive, so I never thought it was something I could rightfully complain about.
Even after I had surgery to burn away cancerous cells on my cervix, waiting two whole weeks for me to heal was beyond him. The first few days, he was understanding and sweet, but by the third or fourth day, he was frustrated. Our nights ended in fights because not only was I trying to follow the doctors orders, I was still cramping and passing burned tissue. A week after the procedure, however, I finally caved. He promised to be gentle, to be careful. All night long I cramped in horrible pain, but he snored in post coital bliss.
A week or two later, I ended up in the emergency room with blinding abdominal pain. I had pelvic inflammatory disease, and infection of my reproductive system that raged from my cervix, through my uterus, and all the way up through my fallopian tubes. They tested me for STD’s, as these are usually the cause of PID. But I was clean. The doctor told me that it was clearly caused by the procedure I underwent, and asked if I had followed the doctors aftercare directions. I lied and said that I did. He told me that PID leaves such a large imprint of scar tissue behind, women have a 33% chance of infertility afterwards. He educated me on ectopic pregnancies and what to look for. He encouraged me to prepare myself for the possibility that I may have just lost my ability to bear children.
Coercive rape is not publicised. It is swept under the rug and left there. The responsibility to persistently say no is held onto the victim, when in reality, the responsibility to hear no the first time needs to be held onto the rapist. I was raped repeatedly from March of 1999 to August of 2000, yet law agencies would have laughed me out of the room. I said yes, finally, and therefore I was not a victim.
Yes. I was. And it almost cost me my son.