Sexual assault trigger warning.
My current partner is an amazingly respectful man, and has never once made me feel, or put me in a position, where I have felt sexually uncomfortable. I had a recent pregnancy scare that has made me feel very anxious about sex, and my partner has been extremely understanding. I have had partners in the past however, who have made me feel at fault for not wanting to reciprocate their sexual advances.
I'm one of the unlucky 1 in 4 Canadian women who have been sexually harassed while at work. My experience wasn't violent and didn't result in rape, but still needs to be talked about.
The first time I experienced this was while working the summer between first and second year. I worked at a popular coffee and donut store and one of my coworkers made sexual advances. After telling him I wasn't interested, he persisted. This advanced to a point where I was being touched inappropriately at work, being called a bitch (from him as well as other coworkers) for not sleeping with him, and pressured into sexual activities.
I was told it was inappropriate, but I was told it was normal. That I had to accept the fact that my bottom would be squeezed, my upper inner thigh felt, my breasts touched and my waist held.
This is the first I've really talked about the experience I had a couple summers ago. I still feel as though what I went through doesn't count as anything bad because I wasn't raped. I still feel as though I was asking for it. I have a flirty personality and had slept with one of my other coworkers. Wasn't I asking for it?
Last night I had an absolutely wonderful experience that made me rethink everything.
I was with my partner in bed, and as clothing started to come off I started to feel anxious. I asked if we could stop.
I didn't have to put up a fight or even be aggressive about the way I asked. I asked in a very tentative voice and the response was amazing. He stopped right away and gave me a hug. I apologized time and time again, saying I was sorry that I wasn't ready and he told me it was absolutely okay. That we wouldn't do anything I wasn't comfortable with.
I thought back to our first date. When we went back to my place and were having fun. But the second I told him I wanted to slow down, he did right away, and didn't put up the slightest fight.
This is how things should be. This is what the response should be when someone doesn't want to have sex. This is how boundaries should be respective.
I shouldn't need to apologize for only doing what I'm comfortable with. I'm not an object to be used by others for their pleasure. I'm a human. And no one should be allowed to use me.