Mother Jones


Purity culture taught me to rationalize my sexual assault. #ChurchToo forced me to reckon with it.

IT DIDN’T HIT ME RIGHT AWAY what had happened. It was an upsetting moment, but it was, in many ways, an upsetting relationship. After losing someone close to me, I was questioning my place in the world and what had previously been a steadfast devotion to Christian beliefs. He was battling his own demons.

One February afternoon, we were arguing in his college-boy room, with dirty clothes strewn across the beige carpet and a big computer rig perched atop a beat-up desk, exhaling heat. I was tired of the on-again, off-again, and just a few months stood between me and graduation and dreams of a faraway move and a fresh start. I turned to leave, and he blurted out, “I love you.” It was the first time he’d said it. We got caught up, one thing led to another, and then both our clothes were on the floor. I stopped him at one point, looking into his eyes: “Don’t.”

Shock ripped through me when he did anyway.

I think he may have apologized, something about not meaning to, but the next thing I remember clearly is staring at

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