I am a bi girl (19) and up until a month ago I had never kissed anyone, been in a relationship or anything like that. So I got excited when a guy I met asked me out. I agreed to go out with him and we went out to a pub and had a few drinks, long story short I went back to his flat under the naive assumption we were gonna watch a movie like he said we were. We kissed and I told him I didnt want to go any further. He didn't listen and carried on, I told him I didnt want to, he kept pressuring me so I gave in and said yes. I dont want to go into details because I feel sick at even the thought. I hate myself for being weak and letting him do it, yet I can't blame him because I said yes. This is my fault. I havent been able to get over it, it was my first time and it was so awful and terrifying, all I wanted to do was go home. Since then the thought of even dating a guy makes me feel sick, I can't ever imagine myself in a relationship with a man after what happened, and I know not all men are like him. But still I'm afraid and its stupid because it wasn't like I was raped, it was just that he pressured me. I said yes so its my own damn fault. Now all I want to do is date girls yet I feel like I'm overstating my attraction to girls in order to avoid having to ever go near men again. Now I just tell people I'm gay, not bi to make them leave me alone. I just don't know what to do to be honest. How to I get over this ? Is it wrong of me to not want to date men? And is it wrong of me to tell men I'm gay to get them to stay away, when I know I'm bi?
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Thank you so much for coming to Asking Jude for advice. First, I want to start off by saying that in no way, shape, or form was this your fault. I can’t tell you enough how sorry I am that this happened to you. You did not deserve the outcome of this situation whatsoever.
I know that we are taught that consent means saying “yes,” which makes it understandable for you to think that because you eventually said yes, you gave consent. However, this really wasn’t consent. Consent is an enthusiastic yes without coercion. What this guy did to you was very much coercion. If he were to respect consent, he would’ve stopped as soon as you told him you didn’t want to go any further the first time. An easy way to think of consent from his perspective would be to go ahead once an enthusiastic yes is given, but ALSO to stop as soon as hesitation/a no is given. You gave him a no and were obviously showing signs that you were uncomfortable, which means that you denied him consent and he went ahead anyway. This is so wrong, and your feelings on this situation are completely valid.
I know it is much easier said than done, but please try to not blame yourself for what happened. I’m feeling that there is a lot of guilt and self-hate coming from your end, and I understand it, but at the same time you do not deserve to be feeling this way towards yourself. Your sexuality and what parts of it you disclose to others is completely up to you. If it makes you feel more comfortable at this time to tell others you are gay instead of bi, that is completely okay! It’s the same as someone knowing they are LGBTQ+, but not coming out yet because they aren’t quite ready. The only reason you shouldn’t do this is if it personally bothers you, not because it may confuse others.
It’s very understandable that you have some trauma to unpack because of this very unfortunate situation. And this is okay! I promise you that with time and some work, things WILL get better and you will start to feel more comfortable around men. Until then, though, be patient and kind with yourself. Try your best to admit to yourself that you were in fact taken advantage of, and you have a right to feel nervous around men. It makes perfect sense, and thousands of other women are (unfortunately) in the same situation.
Right now, I would suggest doing what makes you feel most at ease, and if that is surrounding yourself with only women (romantically and/or platonically), then that is perfectly fine.
When you are ready, I would seriously recommend that you tell a trusted loved one about what happened if you have not already, and perhaps work through this with a professional. Although you will be able to move past this eventually, these events would cause trauma in almost anybody and you deserve to receive the help and support you need to work through it. If you feel comfortable enough telling a parent or friend, they may be able to support you during this tough time. Even just confiding in one person can make the biggest difference in recovery. I also highly suggest finding a therapist to help you if this is an option for you. They will know the best ways to professionally guide you through ways that can ease anxiety and help you get back to a healthier mental state, and one where you’ll eventually be able to be comfortable around men. Here are some resources for finding therapy both online and in person:
Find a Therapist:
TalkSpace Online Therapy:
Here are some more resources that may help you:
Self-Blame After Sexual Assault:
When Does “Yes” Not Mean “Yes”?
Coercion and Consent:
Recovering From Sexual Trauma:
Relationships After Sexual Assault:
I want to thank you again for coming here for advice during this hard time. This takes a lot of bravery, and I am so proud of you. You are doing amazing and I fully believe in you on this difficult journey! Take care of yourself and stay well.