October 6th, 2018, I was sexually assaulted. I'm quickly realizing there's no euphemism for that. I almost feel unqualified using it because it sounds so harsh. In fact, I never thought of it like that until I hit rock bottom.
It began in August of this summer when I took the trip of a lifetime to Marseille. For reference, Marseille is the second largest city in France, right after Paris.
Notre-Dame de la Garde, MarseilleIzzy Angeli
I wasn't wearing makeup that day (as a former Ulta employee, this was big), and I decided I would smile at a cute boy; I wanted to improve my flirting skills before heading to college in the fall.
While visiting the Notre-Dame de la Garde, I saw a boy who was precisely my type— we'll call him John. He was the epitome of tall-dark-and-handsome. To my surprise, he reciprocated my smile with, "hello."
After losing contact for a few days, I found him on WhatsApp. I learned that he was in the army, four years older than me (oops), and lives in Stockholm. Wow. Long story short, he ditched his friends in France and interrailed to Italy, just to see me (since I was on a cruise, jumping from place to place). That's the most romantic thing anyone's ever done for me.
It never occurred to me that he just wanted sex. Why would he waste time getting to know me so well? He also stated that he was a feminist before I even brought it up. Could it be more perfect? We had our first date in a quaint Italian restaurant and stayed there until it closed.
"Izzy this kind of thing would only happen to you" my friend Grace teased.
Somehow, we continued talking for two more months and he booked a flight to Washington, D.C. Suddenly, everything became more real. Before I knew it, the long weekend I had been looking forward to finally arrived. I couldn't wait to jump into his arms and live out our star-crossed lover fantasy that was too good to be true in the first place.
From the minute he stepped off the plane, this was not the same John I had fallen in love with. For the first time ever, it was awkward between us. Because I was so head over heels for him, I let him do whatever he wanted. I paid for all of his meals, and the Airbnb we stayed in. I dug into my savings for that, which my father has been investing in since the day I was born. In total, he cost me about $1,000.
I never heard "thank you," and he would yell at me for "looking at him for too long." When I would ask questions to engage him, he would respond with "don't know, don't care."
One night, I took him out to a club with my friends. He flirted with the bartender and other girls there and proceeded to tell me about it. When I tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around with his hand raised, as if he was about to hit me, and yelled "what!"
He got me too drunk. He was watching how much I drank the whole night, knowing I was a lightweight. I don't remember how, but we ended up at the Airbnb and he sexually assaulted me.
I was aware enough to know what was going on, but I was drunk enough to let him. If I was not inebriated, I don't think events would've transpired the way that they did. Regardless, he didn't ask for consent and I wouldn't have been able to give it because I was drunk and he was sober.
I woke up the next morning in pain, physically and emotionally. As soon as he left, he blocked me on every social media platform.
I didn't use the word abuse for the longest time. When you fall so hard for someone, they can do no wrong in your eyes. One thing I know for sure is that these events are not a reflection of me. Sure, I can be too trusting of people, but that is a good quality and something I don't need to change.
Grace forced me to take my journal (which is a habit I highly recommend) and read the entries I made when I first met John. Then she instructed me to cross out his name, but keep the rest of the details to remind myself how I felt when we first met.
All of those wonderful compliments he gave me were true, before and after I met him. I didn't need him to tell me in order for it to be true. Now I know that the next person I'm with needs to make me feel that good, and not ruin it all by taking advantage of my body.
"You strike me as an optimist...that's a good thing. I like a woman with a brain," he said. One day, I'm going to find the John who appreciates every piece of me. And if not, I'll be perfectly fine, in solidarity, with me and my beautiful brain.