Warning: talks about rape
Infidelity or cheating in my eyes is something that should never be done. To me the act of cheating is unforgivable. However that does not mean I am a saint, I have been unfaithful in the past. I was raised to see cheating as any action that should be reserved for your partner happening with someone else. (eg. Dates, kissing, sex etc.) It was very black and white, if it happened it is cheating, no ‘if’s, ‘and’s or ‘but’s.
I was dating a man a few years back and my best friend invited me to a party. My boyfriend, lets call him Craig, had no reason to have a problem with me attending. I’d gone to plenty of parties with my best friend without him in the past with no issues arising. So with no reason to not trust me going he told me to have fun and he’ll pick me up afterwards. The party was being held on a party bus and we had a blast; we were drinking, dancing, and conversing the night away. By the time the party was over everyone was fairly intoxicated, and we were all splitting ways: some to continue drinking and others to go home. My best friend and I said goodbye as we had to go opposite directions for our rides.
I’ll admit I had a bit too much to drink and was not fully aware of my surroundings. As I was walking towards my destination one of the guys who we were partying with appeared next to me. He seemed nice enough and we were both heading the same way, me for my ride and him for the bus. We easily fell into conversation, and were seemingly walking innocently down the street. I knew the area pretty well and it was a pretty safe place so I felt fairly comfortable. However I did not take into account that the person I was walking with could potentially be a threat. Although he seemed nice enough, that night my attempts to fight off and plead with him to stop were futile and he is now my rapist.
When I finally met up with Craig I felt dirty, violated, and ashamed. I wanted to go home, sleep, and tell him what had happened. However seeing as he had a bunch of friends in the car with him who wanted food, that did not happen as the only way to make him change his mind was to blurt out in front of everyone what had just happened. Which put off me telling him for the night seeing as I was dead tired by the time he dropped the last friend off at home.
In my state of intoxication I knew it was rape, and not my fault. I had no issues telling him about what happened, Craig was my boyfriend and I trusted him. However when I woke up in a clearer, more sober state of mind I started second guessing myself. I still knew I was raped, however I started blaming myself. I chastised myself over getting drunk and the ‘what if’s started arising. What if I had gotten Craig to pick me up closer? What if I had been more aware of my surroundings? What if I kept my guard up? Countless scenarios went through my head including if I had fought harder, I tortured myself with these thoughts for months. Along with these thoughts came the fear that Craig would see it the same way. Would he blame me? Would he consider it cheating? That scared me and pushed me into not telling him.
Months went by and I was withdrawn, depressed and ashamed. Eventually I tried to tell Craig and it came out as a garbled mess. By that point some part of me had twisted it into I had cheated and I was to blame. Thankfully he did not see it that way, he saw it just as rape and not an act of infidelity. It had taken me quite a while for me to revert to that way of thinking as well.
Infidelity is the action or state of being unfaithful to a spouse or other sexual partner. I had classified my rape as infidelity because someone other than my boyfriend had been ‘intimate’ with me regardless of consent. Someone else had touched me places reserved for my boyfriend. I had in my mind skipped over the part where I had not willingly allowed those events to happen, I only focused on the fact that it happened. I should not have thought that way, but I had.
Rape is not an act of infidelity. No one chooses to be raped. Infidelity is a choice someone makes. The only part of rape that is a choice is the rapist’s choice to violate someone when they have not consented. No one should blame themselves of cheating if it was rape. The person did not choose for those events to take place, they did not consent, making it rape. If someone you are with is raped and you blame them for cheating you are wrong. No one should feel or be blamed of cheating if they were raped. It took me a long time to separate the two, but I don’t know if I would have without the help of my boyfriend. If he had blamed me I don’t know if I would be able to separate the two and be able to say I was raped without classifying it as infidelity.
Unfaithful: engaging in sexual relations with a person other than one’s regular partner in contravention of a previous promise or understanding.
Rape: unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.
They are not the same.
Stay Loud. Stay Proud. Stay Faithful.
Marie Olsson xx