when i was 10 there was this older boy i really liked and we used to hang out in his basement and play video games and i decided i wanted to be his girlfriend. i tried to flirt with him and told him i liked him and he would always laugh and change the subject but i had hope. then one time he asked to kiss me and i was elated and agreed. so we kissed. and this happened a few times before he said he wanted to touch my chest and i wasn't sure about it but i wanted him to like me so i agreed. then he wanted to see me naked. and i told him that in church they told us our bodies were sacred we weren't supposed to show those parts to each other, and he told me that it was okay because we liked each other and so i agreed, because he said he liked me, and i really wanted him to like me. then he wanted me to touch him. i told him that didn't seem right but he was quick to reassure me that we liked each other and maybe if i made him feel good he might date me. so i agreed. i still came over every week, and every week he wanted just a little bit more. every week i would get closer to a firm no but then he would tell me if i just did this one more thing he would date me and tell everyone i was his girlfriend. after a few months we got to the point where he wanted 'the real deal' and that was when i told him i didn't want to. that it didn't feel good when he touched me and i didn't want to do any of it any more. and he said that he had been ready to tell everyone i was his girlfriend that i only had to prove myself once more and i told him i that i would kiss him but i wouldn't do anything else. and he kept saying that same thing and i kept repeating myself, but everytime he repeated himself he got a little angrier and everytime i repeated myself i got a little nervouser. until finally i didn't respond and he took that as yes. he calmed down a little and told me it would be worth it. and i told myself it was just once. then it would be over and i'd never have to do it again and finally i could be his girlfriend. when it started to hurt i said i changed my mind and tried to push him away and he told me that the pain was normal and i needed to just calm down. but he had me pinned and i started to panic. i didn't care about being his girlfriend anymore i just wanted him off of me. i kept trying to squirm away from him and started to cry but he told me to shut up that it was almost over anyways. so i closed my eyes as tight as i could and tried to imagine i was anywhere bu there. it didn't work. when he finally let me go i just sat there. he asked if i was okay, if i was crying because it had hurt. i told him i never wanted to do that again and he laughed at me. told me i wouldve made a bad girlfriend anyway. it took me eight years to realise this was rape. because i'd heard about rape in the news and on tv and it was always some woman screaming no or stop and it was always so violent and what he did never checked those boxes in my mind. i never said the word no. i said i don't want to. i never said the word stop. i said please don't. i didn't scream. i cried. i didn't bleed. i just ached. i was 10. i didn't understand that just because you say something quieter than another person doesn't mean you didn't say the same thing. my approach was quieter because i didn't know how to be loud with him. and to my little prepubescent, child's mind, that meant what he did wasn't rape. so but it was. and here i am 8 years later and i wish someone wouldve told me that rape is rape, no matter how quiet your no's or how soft your stop's. because maybe then i wouldn't have spent all my teen years thinking of myself as dirty and disgusting and perverted. but who thinks to define rape to a 10 year old girl. no-one should have to define rape to a 10 year old girl. i wish i could blame the adults in my life, because they're still here for me to yell and scream and cry at. but i can't blame them for not trying to stop what they couldn't imagine would happen. he liked my profile on a dating site a few months back. i messaged him and said i used to know him when we were kids. he asked if we went to school together, because he didn't remember me. i've spent 8 years hating myself for what he did to me, 8 years hurting over what he he stole from me and i'm still hating myself and i'm still hurting and he doesn't even remember. i stared at his reply again and again. i kept going back and thinking of all the things i wanted to say to him. for weeks i kept staring at that message, until i realised that even now i don't have it in me to be loud at him. so i deleted my profile. deleted all my profiles, actually. disapeared from social media all together. because i keep catching myself staring at his instagram and facebook and snapchat. and i still feel so quiet and small next to him even now. so i'm doing this instead. because i know he'll never read it. so i can say all the things i want, i can be loud and no-one has to know it's me but me. i can say you shouldve stopped. you manipulated me for months to get what you wanted and when i finally saw through your crap you took what i wouldn't give you anyways. when i see your picture it makes me sick. but not because i hate you. but because the sight of you, looking so much like you did then, reminds me of how small and weak and insignificant i was next to you. i was just a lonely little girl who wanted a cute boy to like her and you took a piece of my soul i will never get back. i can cry in front of this computer screen and ask all the questions you'll never answer. why didn't you stop. why did you laugh at me when i was crying on the ground. why did you hurt me. why me. i know i wasn't the only girl who liked you. and i would never wish any of this on anyone else but i still wonder why me. did i look weak. like someone who wouldn't fight back. was it because you didn't like me. was i too annoying. did you think maybe if i hurt her she'll leave me alone. i will never understand why you did what you did. but at least now i've told someone. i've put it all out there in words which is more than i've ever done. i've told bits and pieces to close friends or therapists, but never everything. this is everything. and as much as it hurt me to write this, i feel just a little lighter, a little louder.