I have been called a bitch, a slut, and a tease by both men and women— but who really is? I don’t think they realized it could hurt me. I don’t think I deserved it. I’ve had to remind boyfriends that no means NO, more than once. I couldn’t believe it. Because we are in relationship doesn’t mean I want sex whenever you do — How could that possibly be? What don’t they f*ing understand? It’s an angry, heartbreaking feeling. I’ve had trouble dealing with the anger—to stop myself from feeling it so completely, to not act out. Heartbreak almost feels easier to surrender to.
I’m “supposed” to feel heartbroken. I’m “supposed” to cry. Anger is for men, I’ve been told, “men think with their penis” and I’m supposed to feel sorry for their “blue balls”. Sometimes it’s not funny. And why did I know these terms so early? Even before I was sleeping with anyone. Because it’s implanted in us— it’s taught to the boys as well as the girls. I’ve lost the battle of “no means NO”. My brain could form the non-consent while I was drunk, but I couldn’t fight you off me. Apparently your brain couldn’t process “No,” because I always gave in before. Apparently if you love me it doesn’t matter. These stories need to be told. Is it because he’s attractive that he can do no wrong? No. These things really happen. And it’s not just the ugly men that do them.
I don’t know how to change the world, but I know that sharing this might help one person. That’s all it takes.
Change the mindset.
I wish old women would stop telling young girls to cover up. I wish boys were told to not sleep with the drunk girls. To get consent every time (consent is a verbal “yes”). I wish we weren’t afraid to talk about that.
Amber is 23 years old and lives in Albany, NY