We were three days into our road trip and I was fed up with my travel buddy. We parted ways. I was in Flagstaff, AZ with nothing but my backpack.
I had 2 weeks to make my way up to Seattle to catch a flight home for the holidays. Just ten minutes of walking alone and a man approached me, said his dog liked following me. He was young and attractive. He told me he was driving to LA from Denver and asked if I wanted to come along. I said yes.
I'd traveled alone before- I'm a smart person. I know when things are good ideas and when things are bad ideas. But sometimes I don't listen to myself. We drove through the desert, arriving at his new home around midnight. He said the hostel was closed and asked if I wanted to make out. Half the drive had consisted of him talking about his time fighting in Iraq, and the other half of the drive consisted of me talking about how queer I am. So when he asked me to "make out", I was very surprised but sort of just added it to the list of unfortunate experiences I'd had with cis men. I said no.
I told him I was learning to set boundaries. Sitting in his truck, the awkward tension grew heavier and heavier until I said we could. I was so used to being taken advantage of by cis men in sexual situations, I felt that it wouldn't make me feel more like a victim than before. After his stubbly face and thick tongue practically gagged me, I found the courage to say no, and stop him from "kissing" me. When his roommate arrived and let us into the house, I laid down to go to sleep.
We slept until 6 am, but woke up to our bodies touching. He began kissing me again. I allowed it because that's what I always did. I told myself if I never said the word "no", then it wasn't rape. But this time was different. I did tell him no. I told him he couldn't go inside of me because he didn't have a condom and because I had my menstrual cup inside of me. He didn't care. He slipped his body into mine and completely checked out. He no longer engaged with me as a human.
His sweat dripped onto my face, as I lay there on his bed in some house in Los Angeles, being raped. My menstrual cup being pushed further inside of me every time he penetrated my body. "I did this to myself," I thought, "I got in his car, I allowed him to kiss me, I didn't get up out of bed and leave. I can't blame him. I can only blame me." He pulled out and ejaculated onto my skin, looking down at me, he said "That was the best thing a veteran could've got on Veteran's Day." I will never forget that disgusting statement.
He rolled off of me and fell asleep instantly. I got up, put my clothes on, grabbed my backpack, and walked to the beach. I called my ex girlfriend but she didn't answer. She lived on the other side of the planet but I just needed someone to protect me. I took a train down the coast and stayed with a friend for a couple of nights. I couldn't stop thinking about him. I hated him so much but I wanted to take my power back. I passed through LA later that week and stayed with him again. I was trying to fix it so I "wasn't raped." I had sex with my rapist again so that it would feel less like rape. So I could feel like the choice to have sex was in my hands, not his. I know now that I fooled myself.
But I do not blame myself.