Change My Mind

**Note: Content on this blog may cause significant distress to readers (commonly known as“activating” or “triggering”). Please use your own discretion when reading. If you are in distress, please call or text the following support services:

- 24-hour Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre at 1-866-956-1099

- Adult Mental Health Crisis Services at 780-342-7777

- Edmonton Distress Line, 24/7 at 1-800-232-7288

- One line Sexual Assault Services, text or chat 1-866-403-8000

It was my first one-night stand. I woke up in the morning and was shocked when I looked in the mirror. My breasts were covered in bruises. Immediately, I felt used. I was just a body for him to grab, and squeeze, and have sex with. I thought back over the ten minutes of apparent “lust” I had experienced. It wasn't enjoyable. It didn't make me feel good. It didn't even make me feel desired. Society taught me to behave in a submissive way. “Please him! Your goal is to leave him satisfied.” I read this in a magazine when I was 14.

He was being quite aggressive, but I went with the flow. At one point I nervously laughed and said “Woah, you don't need to hurt me...”

Looking in the mirror at the bruises on my body, while my eyes welled up with tears, I had a very important realization. At no point was I enjoying myself, and at no point did I show enthusiasm. Although my silence and passiveness should have been loud enough, I couldn't find my voice.

If at any point during a sexual encounter you realize that you do not feel comfortable, you have the power to say “Stop!”. It doesn't matter if it is twenty seconds in or two hours in, if you don't like the way you are feeling, use your voice and tell them to stop. You have every right to change your mind! Protect yourself. Your body is yours, and yours only. This goes for all genders, of all ages. It may be scary, and it may take a lot of courage, but it is so important to take control and keep yourself safe.

The bruises will fade and then disappear, but the lesson will stay with me forever. I am in control of my own body, and it is perfectly okay to change my mind.

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