*Trigger Warning* Talk of rape and attempted rape.
I was 14 the first time I met a guy online that I was interested in. Little did I know he was 45, not 16. It wasn’t until I began seeing someone in real life that he decided to reveal his identity. Man, did that mess with my head.
Nonetheless, I returned to the online dating world when I was 15. A few guys would catch my attention but it would never last. I wanted something more serious and they were all so immature. As I talked to my friends about it, they introduced the idea of dating an older guy. My mind went back to that man I had met at 14 and how he said all the right things. So I decided to give it a try.
And that’s when I met him.
From the start I knew he was older, but I didn’t dare ask how old because a part of me knew I wouldn’t like the answer. A few months of constant conversation, and I began to fall for him. He knew all the right things to say. My parents were getting a divorce and that was hard for me. But he was always there.
For the purpose of telling this story, lets call me Anna and him Tommy.
Tommy and I were friends for a year before he mentioned moving. He said he wanted to get away, escape, and that sounded like the perfect opportunity to meet this man I had began to fall for.
I was wrong.
Silly me told him the area I lived in. And before too long, I saw him in my local park. At the time, I wasn’t sure it was him, but looking back I realize that it was him. He looked years older than all of his pictures, so it made it hard to know for sure.
A few days passed, and I had stopped messaging him, so wrapped up in my own depression. He began to send rapid fire messages asking what was going on. Some of them got a little creepy but at the time I shrugged it off. Told myself I was over reacting and that nothing was wrong or weird. That was until one day, I had missed the bus and refused to call my parents knowing they’d be mad. Walking home I noticed a car kept driving by. Once, then twice, three times, and there it goes a fourth, But the 4th time, he pulls over.
“Hey I thought that was you,” the man was smiling. He had to be in his 40’s or approaching 50.
“Um hi,” I was shy.
“It’s me Tommy. Need a ride?”
I had talked to this man online for over a year now. I felt I knew him. I felt he understood me. And I thought he would never hurt me.
I was wrong.
At first, he was polite. I just wanted to get home, but he had another idea. He took me back to his place.
I refused to get our of the vehicle and he got violent. He forced me out of the vehicle and dragged me into his home. I realized he was going to rape me. I knew it and I knew I needed to save my energy so that I could fight back when he was at his weakest. He threw me onto a bed and gently took off my top, which seemed odd to me. But I shut everything else out, coming up with a plan to escape.
That moment when he was weak came, right before he did. I punched him as hard as I could in his face, then pushed him off with what strength I had.
And I ran. Never looking back.
I now live everyday worrying. Panic set into my bones and wove its way through my life. I wish I could go back and tell myself it was stupid, not to talk to him. But I can’t.
I’m 19 now.
But inside, my life stopped after that day.
Be careful who you meet online and how much you tell them, please.