(TW: Rape)

After I was raped last spring, I told my best friend and I told my boyfriend. I didn't tell anyone else in my life for a while. I had no intention of ever telling my family. I have to admit that I imagined the worst โ€“ I imagined being asked why I didn't take x measure to prevent it from happening, I imagined being accused of leading the guy on, I imagined being told I was overreacting or being asked if I was sure that's what happened.

My dad and stepmom were visiting a few weeks ago, and it came up when I was telling them about the things that led to my breakup with Mr Joutfitter. So I told them. And I braced myself for what I was sure was coming. But it didn't come. I told them about the guilt and shame that I felt afterwards. My dad hugged me and told me I have no reason to feel guilt, that it's not my fault. They've offered to pay for me to take self-defense classes if I think that will help me as I recover (my therapist suggested this as well, so I'm looking into it โ€“ if nothing else it might help me feel more assertive).

We never discussed sex and assault and consent in my house growing up unless it was in the context of my mother shaming me for my sexuality. But tonight I talked to my dad for over an hour about an article he read about the "Yes Means Yes" law in California, and about rape culture and about enthusiastic consent and about all the things that are wrong with sex education. A month ago, that's not a conversation I could have fathomed having with my father, at least not in such a personal way.

I still don't plan to tell my mother because she'll make it about her and then she'll tell people even if I ask her not to. I still haven't told my dad and stepmom who it was because they know him and they're friends with his parents and I just don't think I can face that particular conversation right now. But telling them what happened and having them respond the way they did has made me feel supported and whole in a way I haven't felt since it happened. I'm so relieved they believe me. I'm so relieved they don't think it was my fault.