“Dapat kasi di ka na lang pumunta dun.” “Dapat binayagan mo.” “Dapat kasi lumaban ka.”

Dapat. Dapat. Dapat.

These are what I got when I told them I was sexually assaulted by the man I’ve been seeing.

Just like what we always do, we hang out – in coffee shops, in parks, in his house.

Last Saturday, we had an agenda: to bake his mom’s birthday cake. We shopped for the ingredients together and when we got to his house, we started baking immediately to avoid lazing around.

Everything’s happening the way it should be, or every thing that involves baking a cake.

As I was resting, waiting for the cake to cool down before applying the frosting, I went for a nap in his room. It’s not my first time in there.

The numerous times I’ve been to his house, I’ve been in his room – and nothing ever happens except for watching movies and series, eating and drinking, and sleeping. But a few minutes into my nap, I felt something.

It started on my legs, then it ascended to my things, to my inner thighs. I felt another hand on my hips, moving its way up to my chest. I opened my eyes.

I saw him. Engulfed in what he’s doing.

I stirred – letting him know I’m awake. Letting him know I’m awake, hoping he’d stop.

But he didn’t.

I tried to resist. He pinned me down. I was crying. I cried the whole time.

Then I left.

As soon as I got home, I showered. Scrubbed my skin vigorously. As if it will remove the traces he made on my arms and on my thighs.

I decided to put everything at the back of my mind. My body was revolting against it. I have always took pride in being a feminist, an outspoken person who tries to always be level headed and who sees both side in an effort to be fair.

Shamelessly, I justified what he did to me. I told myself that it’s the same with the other times I had sex. That’s just it.

But no matter what I do, I can’t shake off the feeling.

I decided to tell two of my friends. And what they said broke me more than what he did.

They told me I should have went with them instead with him. I should have fought harder. I should have kicked him.

Yes. I should have went out with them instead of going to his house to bake his mom’s birthday cake. I should have fought harder and shouted NO to tell him I don’t want to do it. I should have kicked him in the balls so he’d stop.

But is it really my fault? Was it?

Was being in his house – a place I also consider home – my fault? Was it my fault that he suddenly had the urge and wanted to do it with me despite me saying no and physically resisting? Was it my fault that I felt helpless while he was violating me?

Was it my fault that he sexually assaulted me? Was it?

I’ve always taken pride in being the voice of the helpless. I’m an advocate of stopping the culture of victim-blaming. But I am now the victim.

I expected my close friends to understand me, to sympathize with me, to console me. But they did not.

The only thing I did was chose to accompany my perpetrator in his house to baki his mother’s birthday cake. But I’m getting the blame. I’m getting all the blame.

I tried to weigh everything out. Okay, maybe it really is my fault that I was there in the first place.

But no. I can’t blame myself for being there, for trusting him like I’ve always did before that afternoon.

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