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Anonymous but a survivor

Rebecca Paxman

I met him after matching on a dating app for Latter-day Saints called Mutual. I was just about to graduate from college. On the first date, I didn’t know if I liked him but was just intrigued enough for a second date. On the third date, he surprised me at my house just as another date was leaving. And somehow he completely charmed me that night. On the fourth date, he told me he loved me and I believed him. Everything was so lovely. I’d never felt so in love or so loved. He made me feel cherished.

There were tiny warning signs, like when he told me if I ever have to cancel a date, remind him I love him or he’ll freak out. Like when he talked about how all his ex-girlfriends were crazy and are still in love with him. But other than small things, it was perfect. I was utterly convinced he was the one.

Then the abuse began. He would push my head down and force me. I was so innocent that I didn’t understand what was going on or that it was abuse. Until the abuse built up to its climax one night after one of our first fights, when he pulled my shorts down and took my virginity. I couldn’t see his eyes. I had been saving myself for marriage...wanted it to be special. He took that from me. Afterwards, I went to my bishop and repented. It took me three weeks to understand what happened, during which time I had the worst flu I’ve ever had. Now I know the flu was to keep me from seeing my rapist again. After three weeks, I finally opened up to my mom about what happened. A couple months later, I got the courage to report it to police. Nothing came of the report; he refused to go in for an interview. But that’s OK because if he does it to another girl, I’ll be right there with her in court.

What happened to me sucked, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but it made me stronger. It taught me I can handle anything life throws at me. I know who I am now. We’re survivors, and we can get through this together.

From Utah

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