This story contains details about sexual assault that may be triggering to survivors.
The family I stayed with must have thought it would be fun for me to be taken around by him—he had an accent, played in a band, and he liked The Doors. And he was six years my senior. I was instantly smitten. We ended up spending a lot of time together. Things are different abroad—everywhere we went, I was offered a drink. I looked a lot older than 11, which must have helped. But I also stood out like a sore thumb in a sea of dark-haired and olive-skinned people: I was pale and had natural platinum blonde hair. Even at such a young age, I could tell I was being fetishized and sexualized—I got more attention than ever. And he treated me like a little trophy; by the end of my trip, we kissed.
When I went back home that summer, he wrote me letters—these long romantic missives about how much he missed me and couldn’t wait to see me again. I was 13 when I went back—which would have made him 19. He took me out to dinners and we went to bars together. I had kissed boys before but he was probably my most serious boyfriend. I figured that, at some point, if I was going to have sex, it would probably be with him.
The night before I was to leave for home, he came over to say goodbye. I had packed all of my things so I was wearing a pair of loaned men’s pajamas. It was late—probably nine or 10 at night. The family had already gone to sleep. He sat down on the living room couch and was having a drink. I sat down on the floor next to him.
He was saying: “I’ll write you, I’ll miss you, I love you, I can’t wait to see you again.” And then he sat down next to me and we started kissing. I was okay with that. Then we were laying down kissing, and I thought that was okay, too. He got on top of me. He was tall but slender, so I never felt confined or uncomfortable. I felt fine and I was enjoying the kissing. Then, within seconds, without any notice whatsoever, he was inside me.
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