On Dating: I Said No

Photo: Ghoguma, Creative Commons

I didn’t want to tell my story–the one where I said no and he didn’t stop.

On a cold, dark day in February, 2006–it happened.

A new coworker asked me to drinks after work. He seemed harmless enough, and I honestly didn’t think twice about saying yes.

We drove to a nearby brewery and each ordered one drink.

One drink too many.

One drink for a supposedly “friendly” coworker to turn aggressive.

I don’t know why I agreed to take one car. My car.

After drinks he asked me to go to the beach. I reluctantly said yes because it was cold, and because I thought he said dinner would follow.

After we sat on the sand for a while–he kissed me. I felt uncomfortable, but because we took my car, I didn’t know what else to do.

I persuaded him to go back to the car. I wanted food. He wanted me to park. Since we couldn’t decide where to go to next–I parked.

That was a BIG mistake.

That’s when it happened.

I said no but he kept going.

I tried saying no once.

I said NO twice.

Finally, I panicked and said NOOOOOO for the third time. But it was already too late. My innocence was gone.

I saw things I never wanted to see until my wedding night.

There are no words to describe the shame and humiliation that followed that ride back to his car. I drove as fast as I could–and forced him out. He tried being nice all of a sudden, but I didn’t want to hear any apologies.

I was done trying to be Ms. Nice Girl.

He took something from me that would take me years to get back–my dignity.

I burst into tears and sobbed more than I ever had in my entire life. Looking back, I can’t believe I made it home while driving and sobbing with fogged over windows. On my way home, I dialed my bosses number and left her a voice mail to explain the situation.

I certainly wasn’t expecting to get in trouble for reaching out to my boss for help.

Because the “incident” happened after hours–I was on my own.

There was nothing my company could do to help me. Of course he lied to my boss and his boss. He told all sorts of things to get out of trouble.

Somehow this mess became entirely my fault because I was the one who agreed to a drink after work.

This guy knew I was a virgin. He also knew he could take advantage of me and continued harassing me at work.

Of course he would be the only person I could see from my desk.

Every day, he would slam the door and curse at me in Spanish under his breath–anything to make me feel miserable.

When I finally had the courage to confront him at work–he told me to stop acting like a 14 year old girl.

In other words, he was mad because I didn’t give him what he wanted that night in my car.

Seriously gross.

I felt used and helpless.

I finally caught him at work with an inappropriate email, but he suddenly changed his story.

The same guy who told me he had an ex-wife said he was now married–and that I was the one who was falsely trying to get him fired.

All lies.

I felt so naive.

I started having panic attacks and I didn’t know what to do next.

My parents didn’t know how to help me.

HR told me if I brought up the issue again I’d get written up.

I was the one who said no–so how was it all my fault?

I wrote these words on my blog a few days later because I had no one else to turn to.

“Do not take revenge, my friends” (Rom. 12:19)

There are times when doing nothing demands much greater strength than taking action. Maintaining composure is often the best evidence of power. Even to the vilest and deadliest of charges. Jesus responded with deep, unbroken silence. His silence was so profound, it caused His accusers and spectators to wonder in awe.

Men may misjudge your aim,
Think they have cause to blame,
Say, you are wrong;
Keep on your quiet way,
Christ is the Judge, not they,
Fear not, be strong.

The apostle Paul said, “None of these things move me” (Acts 20:24 KJV). He did not say, “None of these things hurt me.”

It took me many years to forgive myself.

A couple things had to happen for me to share my story publicly.

+ Ruthie Dean wrote To Tell the Truth: Courage to Speak Out against ‘Respected’ Men on ProdigalMagazine.com last week. It was her honesty and similar story that got me thinking about the story I tried to hide for the past six years.

+ I reconnected with a few coworkers on Facebook, and one of them recently sent me a message that brought me to tears. He doesn’t know it yet, but his kind words made me feel safe enough to finally share my story.

Looking back–I know now it wasn’t my fault.

Even though I said “yes” to drinks didn’t mean an open invitation to take advantage of me. Clearly! There are men in this world–bad men–who take advantage of women because they’re evil.

Like the man who shot his girlfriend in the face in front of their 3 month old baby girl and then shot himself.

Like the man who killed his mother and then drove to her school and killed 20 helpless children and six adults.

Maybe there’s nothing you or I can do in the moment but feel helpless, but what I do know is there is God who sees me–sees us. And one day He’s coming back again to judge the earth and redeem His people.

…Until then I keep pressing on.

+++

For those of you who missed it–I wrote a new article for StartMarriageRight.com entitled The First And Most Important Lesson I learned in the first year of my marriage. I hope it encourages you.

Comments

  1. Rachel says

    Thank you for your boldness, Renee. God is using this story to reach others!

  2. says

    I commend your courage! Thank you for sharing! I pray that your post is able to help start the healing process for women across the nation!

  3. Sarah Martin says

    wow, Renee. I hat that you had to go through this. But I so very much admire your bravery. I know someone else will be encouraged or empowered because you shared your story. Hugs.

  4. says

    This is absolutely unspeakable. It’s always people’s response that feels worse than what actually happened. UGGG. I hate this for you, but thank you for your courage to share!

  5. says

    UGGG is right. I think that was the most traumatizing part was having to deal with incompetence afterwards and feeling like it was ALL MY FAULT. Seriously??? WTH?

  6. says

    Thank you for sharing this, doll. You have such a gift of transparency and bravery that is inspiring. I think so many women will be able to relate. I know I can.

  7. InciteFaith says

    The similarities in our story is gut wrenching and proof God’s love is thick and tangible in all of us. We need others to speak up to give us courage to speak of our own story and experiences. Thank you for sharing yours. <3

  8. says

    Oh Julie I’m so sorry to hear and yet it’s sobering how many women share this story in common. I think I’m actually going to change February’s blog theme to address more of this. It’s SO needed!!

  9. says

    I’m so sorry you had to experience something so horrible. My heart breaks. But I rejoice in what the Lord has done in you and, now, through you! Thank you for being so courageous in sharing your story. I know that God will use your suffering to bring comfort to others and to bring glory to His Name.

  10. says

    Thank you so much for your courage in telling this part of your story. My wife had a somewhat similar experience, but it wasn’t a co-worker but a first date. My heart breaks and my blood boils over men who do these atrocities. Kudos to you in confronting this guy and what’s up with “human” resources?

    Your ability to forgive and move forward and share to help others is a testament to your character and God’s grace.

  11. says

    Thanks Jermaine…it does make me sad that this happened but I am thankful that God has helped me to move on. My prayer is that it will help other women come forward.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>