Gaslighting doesn't make it okay. It makes it worse.
I was 19, I think. I can't remember much of it: my memory has been shattered after, not just of the event, but of all my life before, during, and after. I was gaslit out of my mind. He told me I wanted it, he told me I was begging for it. He made my body react to him – and despite the fact that all the time there was this voice in my head, telling me to get away, telling me this wasn't right, I listened to him over myself. How could I not? He was my whole world. I was isolated, completely emotionally dependent on him. He undressed me carefully, he told me "Oh, so that's what you wanted all along" after my body reacted to his touch. He asked me if certain things had been done to me before. I said no. I remember, even through the haze clouding my mind, he was ecstatic at the thought. He was tender. I was convinced that we were in love, that we were meant for each other, that our very souls would always be driven to one another, like two halves of a whole. I didn't know at the time that actively distracting myself and dissociating throughout the whole process was not usual, was not okay. I didn't know feeling like a doll in someone else's arms was not okay. He was a guy in a female body, and I'm only attracted to female bodies, so it all became okay in my mind at the time. But it wasn't. It was my first – and only – sexual experience. I couldn't let anyone else touch me after that, I still can't because it feels like I'm trapped again, like I'm dehumanized again. The morning after, he asked me if I was okay, he said he was worried. I reassured him that it was. What else could I do? It wasn't, though. I felt even at the time that it wasn't, but I dismissed the thought because – How could it be rape when I felt like I couldn't say no? But it was. I realized what happened years after it did. Six years, to be precise. And all the while I thought I had no right to feel like there was something wrong. I don't remember it, but I'm told by a person I trust that I cried for two months after that night, every day there were constant tears in my eyes. We both thought it was okay because we believed it. But it wasn't. Even saying that out loud, of writing down, feels liberating in its own way. I still want to claw my skin off sometimes, when it feels particularly bad. I still hate my body. I suffer from PTSD which had gone untreated for seven years because I had been battling the thought I don't deserve to heal. It was hard, but in the end, I won. What happened to me was wrong, and so hurtful, but I'm a survivor. I can heal. I will heal.