My story is long and so over-the-top ridiculous I still can't believe it was a real thing that happened to me. But unlike a lot of stories about predators, this is one where his victims banded together, fought back, and won.
(trigger warnings for mention of childhood sexual abuse, some sexual coercion talk, animal abuse, mention of suicidal ideation as an abuser tactic, rape talk, and of course general abuser talk)
I'm Magpie, 22 years old and a college undergrad. I met my ex my freshman year of college when I was 19 and he was 18. Call him Kylie. (ALL NAMES IN THIS STORY HAVE BEEN CHANGED.) He was the first person I ever dated, first everything, first kiss.
Kylie was not my first abuser. I had negligent and downright abusive adult caretakers as a child, I grew up in chaos and poverty with no stability and the constant threat of homelessness. I've had PTSD my entire life, and an alphabet soup of other trauma-induced mental illness acronyms. I was sexually abused by my best friend at the time over the course of half a year when I was 11 years old. What I'm getting at is I've been victimized over and over again my entire life.
And Kylie has a type. He prides himself on collecting survivors because he's such a "safe" person. His ideal victim is someone who has already been victimized, someone who is eager to please and desperate for attention and doesn't know how to say "no." I was a perfect candidate.
It was our first year of college and we were both living in the same building in apartment-style campus housing. His bedroom was right down the hall from mine. I already knew him as a friend, through a mutual friend who he would eventually isolate me from, and I liked him well enough even if he did come off too strong. His interest in me was painfully obvious and I didn't know how to deal with it.
See, I'm a lesbian. My first year of college was the first time I was out, and openly interested only in other girls. Kylie knew this. He also prides himself on preying on lesbians and making them "switch."
He started making excuses to spend time alone with me. I liked him as a friend because he was nice and funny and charismatic, and they were things he knew I enjoyed doing. He wanted to marathon a TV series with me the week before winter break; it was one of my favorites, and I said yes mostly because I like watching people watch my favorite shows, and I wanted an excuse to rewatch it anyway.
But when I was alone in his room to watch the show together, he started making moves on me. And they were so subtle and "innocent" that I didn't know how to say no. It was just simple things like holding my hand, but from the outset it felt wrong, it gave me all the symptoms I now recognize as a PTSD trauma response, I became nauseated and my heart was racing and my throat got all clogged up. It was only in retrospect I was able to identify it as the exact same set of physical sensations I had during my childhood sexual abuse. Because that abuser started slow too, so much so that by the time I could tell what was happening it was too late.
I should have listened to my intuition screaming at me to get the hell away, but I didn't want to believe it. I want to believe the best in people. I'm a compassionate and forgiving person, which is why Kylie targeted me. I didn't know what actual romance felt like. I couldn't tell why I was reacting so negatively, didn't know if it was a remnant of my past abuse, if I was just fundamentally broken and incapable of love. I was afraid but I didn't know why. Part of me liked the attention he gave me, but most of me just felt sick.
In the end, I was the one who reciprocated. But I still don't know how much it was actually my idea. Kylie lovebombed me like crazy, he was over the moon for me, he made me feel like I was actually worthwhile. I had no self-esteem, I thought I was ugly and unlovable and weird, but Kylie thought I was beautiful and funny and interesting. Kylie slowly but surely isolated me from my friends, because he didn't like them so they MUST be bad people. He has this way of planting ideas in your head, twisting your thoughts and words around to suit what he wants you to believe.
I'm gay. I was never actually attracted to him. But I was attracted to the affection he gave me, the way he treated me. He played me and I fell right into his trap. I convinced myself to like him even though actual attraction wasn't there, because who the hell else would want me? This was as good as it was going to get. I was convinced no one else would ever want me, with all my emotional scars.
We started dating in January 2012. (Note: this was a polyamorous relationship and I went into it knowing this and okay with this. He had another partner, Tay, back in his home state.) The first few months, the honeymoon period, I was happy. I felt so safe with him. He was so sappy about how much he loved me, and he rushed right into saying he loved me long before I felt comfortable saying it back. Like within the first week, I think. Sex was frequent. He made me feel wanted and attractive. At first, I didn't even mind that a good 90% of the time he was with me he was also on his phone texting Tay, because it didn't stop him from showering me with praise and love. We watched more of my favorite shows together so he could learn about my favorite things. I remember him telling me once when we were in bed together that if he was a tree, Tay was his earth and I was his water and he needed us both to survive. It's embarrassing to even think about now.
Kylie was a male sex-positive feminist blogger. (This should have tipped me off immediately. Sighs.) He was all about social justice, equality, healthy boundaries. He was a safe person. He was excellent with boundaries and consent. He was the ideal man, not like all those other men. Kylie told me about how he'd been sexually abused by his father when he was a child, and how he wanted to work with children to keep that from ever happening again. I was starstruck. He seemed so perfect, so sensitive, so knowledgeable.
He created a tumblr blog because I had one. I'm still fighting feelings of guilt for this because of all the victims he later met through that platform. I know it's not actually my fault, but still, I was the catalyst, and to my heart that's all that matters.
I wasn't comfortable with him looking at my blog yet, because I would talk openly about my past abuse and I hadn't told Kylie about that yet, and I wanted to tell him myself face to face and not have him learn through something I'd written on the internet under a pseudonym. But without my knowledge or consent, he went through all 300 pages of my blog. He found out my blog url through looking over my shoulder. When I found out, he was apologetic, and deeply apologetic that he learned about my abuse through his stalking. He outright said: "You've had your boundaries violated before, and here I am saying I'll respect you and I do the very thing you hate most - I'm an idiot. I'm so sorry." He seemed so honestly remorseful that I believed it, even as he continued to find my online friends through my blog and pick fights with them about social justice crap even though it made me uncomfortable.
Around April, after successfully sabotaging all of my in real life college friendships through manufacturing drama and making me socially dependent on him (I had no other friends or family in state), he started becoming distant, because he was dealing with so many of his own problems, he said. I was sympathetic. I wanted to support him. He wanted me to leave him alone. He would go long periods of time not being okay with touch. I was understanding. I didn't want to trigger him.
I bent over backwards to accommodate him. I drove him around, I bought him food, I cooked him food, I took care of his dog, I'd push his damn wheelchair all around campus when his legs weren't cooperating with him. I would be kind to him even when he was cruel and distant with me. He would go days without so much as talking to me and then expect favors from me as his first interaction.
There were times I was coerced into sex. Many times. Again, it was simple, "innocent" things, I would say I couldn't spend time with him because I had to study for a test or get enough sleep to go to morning class, but he would push and push and be so affectionate that I would let him, because what's the use in fighting? No one had ever respected my boundaries. I couldn't give him a hard "no" because I'd never learned how. It was insidious how he operated. He was such a "good guy" that he couldn't possibly be pushing me into something I wasn't fully comfortable with. I'd miss sleep and be late to class because of him. My grades suffered. My health suffered.
And then he'd withhold sex in those long periods where he would withhold all touch and expect me to be kind and forgiving to him when he was short and irritable and rude. He was always the victim. He was allowed to be cruel because he was struggling so much.
I distinctly remember a time near the end of the school year when I was working last-second on a major final project. He started kissing me and giving me affection for the first time in a solid week - he'd barely talked to me, let alone touched me - and he wanted to take it further but for once I solidly kept my no, I HAD to get this project done, and afterward I'd be happy to - but he reacted like I'd slapped him, and stormed off, and stayed away from me for several more days. In retrospect, I realize that he was punishing me for not being available for sex when HE wanted it.
When the school year ended, Tay came into state to help Kylie move, and Kylie seemed to come back to life, return to being the man I thought I was in love with, the man who never actually existed. Kylie actually spent time being affectionate with both of us. Tay and I hit it off as well. It was nice. It felt like it had before, in the honeymoon period. When Kylie and I temporarily parted for the summer, it was on good terms. We stayed in touch, and arranged it so that at the end of the summer 2012 I would fly in to visit him in his state and help him and Tay roadtrip it back to college.
I spent two or so weeks with Kylie and Tay, and it was then that everything fell apart.
I was a ghost. Kylie and Tay's relationship was disintegrating and I was witnessing the ugly almost-end of it. Kylie hardly even looked at me the entire time I was there. He invited me to stay at his house and kissed me maybe twice, barely even held my hand, barely even TALKED to me. He was too busy screaming at Tay and threatening her or having sex with her to pay any mind to me. For the first time, I started having problems with our relationship being poly. And slowly, in the back of my mind, I started to realize that I had only ever been a replacement. If Tay and I were in the same room, I was nonexistent. He couldn't focus on the two of us at once because I was only the girl he used for sex when he was away at college.
I had PTSD before my relationship with Kylie, but he amplified it and made it so much worse. It was the same with Tay, who had been sexually abused as a child by her older brother. Kylie knew this, and still he terrorized her. He'd pick fights with her when we were in places she couldn't escape, like out in public at a restaurant, or in his car. He'd try to pull me into the argument, Tay apologizing to me profusely the whole time. Kylie would absolutely demand attention and that they talk about their relationship RIGHT THAT SECOND, no matter what else they were doing, and Tay not wanting to talk meant that SHE was the abuser, SHE was the manipulator, HE was the victim.
Tay was trying to escape and Kylie wasn't letting her. I wouldn't realize that until months later but when I did it hit me like antifreeze to the gut. I wish I'd escaped with her. The two of us got along better than either of us did with Kylie, to be honest, and it's one of the cruel ironies of the universe that we met through him.
I have a very clear memory of when we were all in the car in the middle of nowhere, way out in the mountains. Kylie had bullied and cornered Tay into talking, and Tay, trapped, said she wanted to break up with him. Kylie FLIPPED out, screaming, speeding, swerving across lanes on a dangerous mountain road, slamming his hands onto the steering wheel and dashboard over and over again, enraged. Tay apologizing to me over and over, me frozen in the backseat with fear. There was no way to escape. There was no way to get out of the car, and even if there was, there was no way to get back to his house where all my belongings were, and no way to get back to my home state. Tay and I were trapped. It was the first time I was truly afraid of Kylie: it was the first time I saw him for what he really was.
The road trip back to college was absolute hell. I was crammed in the backseat of the tiny sedan with the dog and all of Kylie's belongings and I was utterly ignored. If I'd try to talk - about anything, just chat - Kylie would immediately shut me down with "Tay and I don't like talking on roadtrips." (Tay never said anything to this effect. It was entirely Kylie.) He'd then, less than twenty minutes later, force Tay into conversation, leaving me out of it. I would curl my knees up to my face and cry alone in the backseat.
The whole roadtrip, Kylie continued to abuse Tay, have sex with Tay, and ignore me. There was an evil aura in that car. It felt like suffocating, being trapped in there. I had felt so safe with Kylie and I was watching on helplessly as he ripped that away from me.
But when we got back into town, and Tay flew back to her home state - when it was just Kylie and me again - he was sweet to me again. We laughed about washing his little dog together in the motel sink before dorms opened. He wasn't very physically affectionate with me, but it felt like a new start, it felt like things could go back to the way they were before when he acted like I was worthwhile.
Literally the day we moved into the dorms - apartment style, 107, I'd specifically chosen to be his roommate again because we were dating - literally that evening he comes into my room, shuffles his feet, and says point blank: "I don't want to have sex with you anymore."
That was his conclusion to an eight month long relationship. My first relationship.
He may as well have eviscerated me. I felt hollowed-out and exposed, raw. I said, "I could tell." I stared him down. I wanted him to show remorse. I wanted him to apologize. I wanted - I wanted him to act HUMAN, act like a human with empathy and actual human emotions other than avarice.
He said, "I feel uncomfortable, can I leave?"
And that was it.
Three days later, he was dating a girl he'd just met. They were all over each other, always holding hands and kissing and being sappy and gross. Just the week before he'd been saying to me he wasn't in a good place for touch, he couldn't do touch, he withheld all physical touch from me when he was the only person in my life who could give it to me. Again, I had no friends or family in state except for him. He couldn't do touch for me, couldn't even hold my hand, but he could make out with this new girl in the back of my car when I drove him places because I STILL WANTED HIM TO LOVE ME, even if it was only as a friend. That's how deeply he wounded me, how deep his talons sunk under my skin. He made me need him. I desperately, desperately wanted him to love me again. I didn't know how to stop loving him. He and his new girlfriend would be all over one another in the common spaces in my own home and there was nothing I could say, nothing I could do to stop them because Kylie lived there too.
I was a corpse. The months that followed were some of the most difficult of my entire life. They were a lot like after I'd reported my abuser when I was 11. At that time, I stopped doing schoolwork, I stopped doing anything, I stopped caring about anything. My mom was desperate, she took away computer rights, she took away book rights, she took away privileges to everything imaginable to try and make me do the simple coursework so easy I could do it in my sleep but I could not, all I could do was stare at the wall and after she'd taken away every other option, that is what I did. I would sit in the corner curled up in a sleeping bag and stare at the wall for hours on end and dissociate entirely to escape my body and how violated it felt.
Kylie made me feel like a used condom. He used me for sex and he threw me away when I ceased to be interesting, and he still expected me to cater to him. And I still did, because I'd been so groomed to do so. I either couldn't sleep or I slept too much. I would start crying spontaneously in the middle of the day and have to leave class to go sob in the bathroom for no reason. I was dissociated half the time and felt like I was walking underwater, at the bottom of a deep lake where I was alone. I was taking my DREAM class, the class that made me choose the college I did, I'd been on the waitlist all summer and finally got in and I was damn determined to enjoy it but it was so difficult to slog through with how much Kylie destroyed me.
He made me feel worthwhile and wanted and attractive, so when he took all that away, what was I supposed to believe?
I felt like a monster. I didn't know why he broke things off so suddenly. I didn't know what was broken inside of him. I thought there had to be something broken inside of me. I would sob and sob as I searched my memories trying to pinpoint the moment he fell out of love, trying to suss out what it was I did wrong. That's what haunted me: I assumed it was my fault but I didn't know what exactly I'd done. Maybe it was some internal flaw I could never erase. Maybe I would feel like this for the rest of my life. Maybe I was just fundamentally gross and unlovable and meant to be alone and hurting forever.
I couldn't write on my blog about how I felt because he still stalked it, long after I told him I was uncomfortable with him doing so. He claimed he stopped, but I knew he didn't. I couldn't call him out on it because he had this way of twisting things around, it's never his fault, it's always someone else's. All his "crazy ex" stories started to make more sense.
And then the lightswitch incident, the single stupidest thing to fight over - when the daylight hours shrink in the autumn and winter, I suffer from strong seasonal depression. My classes got out after sunset and I had to walk across a pitch-dark campus to get home, and Kylie insisted the main lights be left off even during the daytime and I'm night-blind, I can't see. It was dark and dark rooms are a trigger for me, so I left the light on in my bedroom so I'd be able to see the light under the crack of the door to guide me to safety.
Kylie started going into my room without my permission to turn the light off when I was in class. He didn't say a word to me about it. At first, I didn't even know it was him, though I suspected. His room was directly across the hall, two feet away. Apparently the light that leaked under his door was a personal affront. When I suspected it was him, we had a very vague discussion where he mentioned that he doesn't like "wasting electricity" (he who keeps the heater on all day even when he's not in his room, and owns six friggin computers that he leaves on and running) and I mention that darkened rooms stir up childhood trauma.
The next day, I come home and the light is off in my room again. That someone was entering my room without my permission was a gross violation of my privacy and honestly, I interpted it as a violation against my own body. My room is my sacred space. It was my only place safe from Kylie, my only escape to cry and cry, even though he was mere feet away and I could hear his awful music he played 24/7. I could not deal with these intrusions, so I wrote a note that basically said: BACK OFF. I placed it over the lightswitch. To read it, you would have had to break into my room.
Kylie did. I came home after class and he immediately confronted me, storming up to me and getting into my personal space shirtless, screaming, my note in his hand and him crumpling it up right in my face, screaming about how I am NOT allowed to do that, I can NOT have the light on in my room, that is NOT acceptable, how DARE I do that. I screamed back at him, I slammed my door shut and locked it and moved a chair against it and fell into a violent panic attack that lasted 7 hours. I couldn't stop shaking the entire time.
I barricaded myself in my room for three consecutive days. I was TERRIFIED of him. I crawled out my ground-floor window to go to a crisis walk-in at the counseling center. I would listen carefullyto know when he was in or out of the house to know if it was safe to use the kitchen or bathroom or if I'd have to grit my teeth and go hungry or piss in a freaking cup because he wouldn't leave the house and I didn't dare leave my room when he was there.
I almost got him kicked out of the apartment. I talked to the campus housing office and filed a complaint. I was one email away from having him booted out, but - I had been so thoroughly ensnared by him that after all that, I still wanted to be his friend, I still wanted him in my life, even when he was treating me like this. I was so desperate for things to go back to how they were before. I never sent that email. He got to stay.
I still think about it, sometimes. If his body count would have been lower if he'd been forced off campus. I know he would have just found a new pool of victims. I know it's not my fault. But it still feels like it is. It feels like he is my responsibility, the monster I was tasked to tame and failed because he'd so tamed me instead.
I tried to initiate contact with him again. We never actually sorted out the issue, and just continued being terrible one-sided friends.
I had in the past told him about my complex with people getting into my space and into my stuff. When I brought this up, he denied that I'd ever told him. But I KNOW that I had. But he was a master gaslighter, I'm still missing huge holes in my memory from trauma and there's all these hazy fillers from times he manipulated my thoughts and made me believe things that weren't true. I still don't know the full extent to which he gaslit me. I still don't know how much of that relationship was actually my idea, and how much was pure manipulation.
I coped. I would drive 70mph down the highway in a 60 mile round trip just to go to his favorite restaurant and eat there without him. I had a breakup playlist I'd play in my car and if I wasn't shrieking along to the lyrics I was just screaming, just SCREAMING, incoherent and raw and broken. I would just go to the parking lot and sit in my car and scream to try and get all the hurt out, but I never could. There was always more pain bubbling just below the surface. Kylie stirred up all the trauma I had ever experienced, not just that which he inflicted on me. I was reliving two decades of abuse as well as dealing with the fallout of dating a narcissist.
I called my mom and my best friend and I would sit in my car and scream and cry over the phone at them as I vented and kept venting. I was amazed at how much hurt I was able to carry, how many tears were inside me. How loud I could scream. I would go out at midnight to eat greasy comfort food and afterward play pokemon alone in the darkness in my car until the batteries died. I would sit alone in my dark room lit by christmas lights and write and write and write furiously about how much I hurt. I drafted letters to his new girlfriend. I drafted letters to my younger self.
I set up my room exactly how I wanted it. I put up the posters and decorations that made it feel like my place, like it was safe. I refused to move out. I had the option to, but I'm stubborn as hell, and I did not want him to feel like he'd won. This was probably worse for my health, in the long run, but it still feels like a victory, that I didn't let him chase me away.
Kylie got a new dog. His old dog was a little shi-tzu, and he wanted a bigger dog to act as his service dog. He did a little bit of research and got carried away in his enthusiasm and picked up an extremely high-energy large dog from the shelter, named Zoe, 6 months old. He did not know how to properly care for that animal. He was not prepared to have a big dog, or care for two dogs at once. He was careless and let her play with his shi-tzu unsupervised and without meaning to, she was too rough, and the little dog's eye popped out of the socket.
There was a surgery that could have saved his life. Kylie is a rich white boy from the suburbs but his mom didn't want to dish out, because she's as awful as he is, really. I was the one who drove Kylie and his dog to the vet. I begged him, I told him I could help spot some money, I told him we could have a fundraiser because everyone on campus loved that little dog. But Kylie chose to let his dog die, instead.
Inevitably, he took it out on Zoe. He willfully misinterpreted her play behavior with a person who was afraid of dogs, and brought her back to the shelter saying she was aggressive. She was killed. She was six months old. She could have had a long and happy life had she gone to a family who actually knew how to care for her, but Kylie wanted to get his voucher back so he coudl get a new dog. He sentenced her to death for his own arrogance.
Kylie's girlfriend at the time, the one he took on right after me who was a dog trainer named Kaz, took issue with this. Their relationship fell apart. Kylie actually said to her, "I'll still be your boyfriend if you train my service dog."
Kaz's relationship with Kylie was only two or three months but it had been intense - Kylie would talk to her about marriage in front of me - and she is now disabled with PTSD because of her experiences. (She knew that I was Kylie's ex, but I would find out later, she had no idea that he had so recently dumped me. I was glad to know that she wasn't awful, but also sad that she had also become a victim, I wasn't able to warn her away.)
Kylie trash talked Kaz loudly and vocally. He'd laugh that she was terrified of him, because he was Such A Safe Person. He thought it was ridiculous that she was afraid of him when he was in her same class, and that she had to switch classes and actively avoid him on campus. She had become yet another crazy ex.
Kylie got a new dog, Dara. She was ten months old and the sweetest, kindest-natured animal in the world. In the middle of dumping Kaz, Kylie hooked up with Kaz's then best friend, Ace. Kylie wedged himself between them and drove them apart.
Kylie and Ace were, for a while, what looked like an actually healthy relationship. Even if Ace was doing a disproportionate amount of the work - cooking meals for Kylie, walking his dog, basically living in our apartment to cater to him even though he lived upstairs. They seemed happy. It was easy being friends with the two of them.
Over winter break, 2012-2013, I started to actually heal. The pain had been an infection I'd had to lance and drain over and over again but it felt like things were finally getting better, the toxin was finally leaving my body. I was at peace with whatever the hell happened with Kylie. This new year was going to be better than the last.
WRONG. 2013 can go suck a bag of dicks. I do not miss it.
Kylie and Ace started having trouble when Kylie became enamored with Jay, who he met through tumblr. Kylie and Ace had a poly relationship but like Kylie had done with me and Tay, he favored ignoring Ace in favor of Jay, even as Ace was literally doing all of Kylie's chores for him. Jay didn't realize this. She talked to me about it a few times, how she felt bad, like she was getting in the way. She liked Ace and didn't want to hurt him.
Ace and I went out to dinner one night as friends and started talking about Kylie, as their relationship was really going down the tubes, and as we started to compare notes, things fell into place. We recognized patterns of manipulation and abuse. We reveled in our shared experiences. The clarity that came to us. The realization. The growing horror, the actualization of that nasty suspicion creeping in our brains like a tumor. We still didn't want to believe it. We wrote Kylie off as just another damaged abuse survivor lashing out in his pain. We didn't want to believe he was purposefully orchestrating it all.
As Kylie spent more time with Jay, Ace spent more time with me. We did the whole friends with benefits thing, but we were really reaching out to one another because we had been hurt by Kylie and desperately needed affection. We took care of one another. We were kind and gentle with one another. I don't regret any of it. At that point in time, we both really needed that closeness, whatever that relationship between us was. We helped each other heal, and recognize what love actually looks like.
Things fell to pieces in what I affectionately refer to as "waterpark hell" in June 2013. Kylie deliberately manufactured me having a panic attack in the middle of a crowded water park by abandoning me in a crowd and leaving an equally panicky Ace to take care of me. Ace and Kylie got into a confrontation in the parking lot when Ace tried to get his stuff out of Kylie's car and Kylie smashed his wrist against the window.
And I HOWLED like a banshee. I was curled up on the ground in the parking lot sobbing into a towel and I couldn't take it anymore and I just let loose everything I had ever wanted to say to Kylie at the top of my lungs: you have never valued me. You have never respected me. You never cared about me. Why don't you care? WHY DON'T YOU CARE?
One of the parking lot attendants came up to me and asked in a rush, "Ma'am, are you okay? Is he hurting you? What do you need?"
"I need him to GROW THE HELL UP!"
He stepped back, and before he turned around to run off, said, "Can't help you with that, ma'am!"
Kylie drove off like a bat out of hell. Ace and I were furious and in tears and vowed to break off all contact. Ace and I were going to live together in an apartment for the summer, but school was still in session and I was still living with Kylie. I basically moved into Ace's room until move-out day, when Kylie crapped his pants over an altercation about who owned a set of cookie sheets, and his godawful mother defended his manchild behavior.
Ace kept in contact with Kylie. I did not. Me shaming him in the waterpark parking lot was the last time I spoke to him directly.
Ace and Kylie maintained this terrible, toxic relationship of Ace striving for things to be the way they used to be as Kylie focused all his time and energy on Jay, who he lived with in a house they were communally renting. Ace didn't realize that Kylie was actually cheating on Jay, who wanted to be monogamous at that point. And Kylie was still, for the love of god, in contact with Tay throughout all of this, without Jay or Ace knowing.
Ace alternately hated Kylie and loved him. They would fight and have sex and fight and stop contacting each other and meet up for sex and fight some more. And then Ace backed off - I don't even remember what it was about, but he finally broke off from Kylie.
And then in September 2013, Kylie attempted an overdose on one of his meds - one that he outright knew was impossible to fatally overdose on. This was to punish Jay. He wound up in the psych ward, and for the few days he was there, all of us were able to safely communicate with one another.
Jay reached out to Ace, desperate. She said: help me. I have been trapped.
Kylie operated by keeping his victims separated from one another, from discrediting their accounts. He'd told Ace and I that Jay was a sadist who got pleasure from stalking our blogs and reading about our struggles. (That wasn't Jay, that was him.) As long as we weren't talking to each other, he could get away with doing whatever he wanted without repercussion. He'd already taken issue with Ace and I being close, he'd try to keep us apart, but failed, and that's when things started to unravel.
Jay told Ace that she was financially dependent on Kylie, because she didnt want to go back to her poverty-stricken and at times abusive family. She was trapped living with him because he paid for her living expenses. He raped her basically every time he . He would push and push and push and he would threaten to kill himself if she didn't have sex with him. He'd cut her off from all her friends - he'd cut her off from Ace and I by telling lies about us - and she had nowhere to go. He monitored her every move, stalked every aspect of her life.
I have never stopped being astounded at her strength and courage. Despite everything he did to her, she retained hope that good existed in the world. She was brave enough to reach out, even without knowing if she would be heard.
We listened. Ace and I orchestrate a mass move-out of everyone in that household while Kylie was in the hospital. One of Kylie's roommates who he'd also met through tumblr, Iris, came to live with Ace and I. The only roommate left, G, was the ghost roomate who was out of the house most of the time and the poor sucker returned to an empty house and no way to pay rent on his own. He started trashing Kylie's stuff before he moved out because he thought he was already gone and had abandoned it. I still smile thinking about Kylie digging through dumpsters to salvage his belongings.
Jay was able to safely escape Kylie. She became our friend again. We all banded together.
And we got Kylie's dog out, too. I'd known that animal as long as he had and she was unrecognizable. She was grossly obese and had muscular atrophy in her legs that made it hard for her to walk. She was infested with fleas and she'd chewed off all the fur on her belly from anxiety. Her nails were overgrown. She smelled like piss. She was afraid of us, of everything, seemed disbelieving to be outside. She showed food aggression when she never had before. We learned that Kylie kept her locked in her crate 18+ hours without food or water or letting her poop or pee, or so much as talking to her. The house stank of piss from all the times she'd stress-mark on the carpet when she was actually let out of his room. He'd scream at her when she'd stop responding to commands - after he willfully sabotaged his relationship with that dog, he still expected her to respond to him. But she was still a baby and she loved him and was terrified of disappointing him.
I feel personal guilt for what happened to that dog. I feel personal guilt for what happened to Jay. I think about the times I'd heard Kylie and Jay having sex in Kylie's room when I still lived with him on campus, and realize that he was raping her, and feel sick down to my soul. I wish I'd done something sooner. I wish I'd known. She was only feet away from me and too afraid to reach out because of Kylie's manipulation and lies.
Kylie's dog Dara went to Kylie and Ace's dog trainer, Ashley. Ashley placed the dog with someone who, unfortunately, wound up also being terrible, and still screams at that dog and thinks she's still fit for service work, but at least she's being fed and exercised. (I still want to get her out. That poor creature.)
Kylie got out of his hospital to find the house empty. He was forced to move, and when he had nowhere to go - this is just the cherry on the cake here - he moved in with Ashley, who needed a new roommate in order to keep paying for her house. Ace had to encounter him in order to see his dog trainer.
Ace got in contact with people Kylie knew in high school: his track record goes all the way back. We have no idea how many people he's actually hurt. We got in contact with other people at the college he'd raped. Kylie's body count is over ten, at the very least. And he was going to just keep going and going, destroying people one after another with no one to stop him.
Ace is vindictive. He is not one to be trifled with. He got Kylie's OKCupid account deleted. He wrote a callout post and published it on tumblr.
It got reblogged by the right people and it exploded.
Things spiraled out of control. Ace never expected the callout to get this much attention. Kylie - who Ace was keeping close tabs on - started receiving anonymous death threats. The obvious solution to this problem was to file a restraining order against Ace. Receiving anonymous hate on your blog means filing a restraining order, right?
So now Ace REALLY couldn't go see his dog trainer because he wasn't permitted within 500 feet of her house. Ace decided to contest it - he was going to take Kylie to court.
We actually went to court because Kylie was getting anon hate on the internet. This was the culmination of two full years of absurdity. I still can't believe it.
We got in contact with all of the known victims. Ace became something of a ringleader. Some were out of state and unable to make it, but others were available to either share their testimony or show support. Ace, myself, Jay, Kaz, Kaz's friend Lilac, one of Kylie's tumblr victims named Shane, and Ashley collaborated on the court case.
Ashley, as it turns out, was as sick of Kylie as the rest of us. She for a short time almost gave one of her service dogs in training to Kylie before seeing how he treated her and redacting the decision. He was a terror, never doing his chores, leaving his junk all over the house. She wanted him gone, and she witnessed him saying about the anon hate and Ace, "I don't know who's doing it, but I need to blame SOMEONE."
I was the driver. We woke up at the crack of dawn to drive several counties up to the courthouse, seven people and three service dogs. When we walked into the courthouse together it must have seemed like the friggin circus was in town.
Kylie was there waiting in the main area, looking smug. He tried talking to Jay a few times - he still idealized her, idolized her, and was convinced he was sick in love. He leaned up against the water fountain and stacked his backpack there so that none of us could get water. He was aggressively in our space and I was so afraid of him I had to run and hide in the girl's bathroom, sitting on the floor, head between my knees, breathing. Ashley came in with her service dog and had him assist me, and I started to realize that I really was disabled, I really had a right to ask for help and accommodations. I would benefit from a service dog. (And I have one now, and he's wonderful. Thanks, Kylie!)
The court case was an absolute joke. The case directly before ours involved three separate Vietnamese interpreters, something about underwear, dirty looks from across a crowded casino, devaluing honor, and nasty phone calls about "at night I think of you dying in many ways." No one, even the judge, knew what was going on. They needed a recess before calling a verdict. I still don't know what it was.
At any rate, that judge was just DONE. She shared my name, and reminded me a lot of Minerva McGonagall from Harry Potter. We were her last case of the day. (She was not having a good day.)
She was unamused by Kylie. As soon as she realized what the case was about - when Jay testified, and said, "He is a rapist. He raped me multiple times throughout our relationship. We wrote the callout post not to incite violence against him, but to warn people to stay away."
Ace showed screenshots of his posts telling people to quit interacting with Kylie, that it wasn't the point. We had to explain to a middle-aged woman how tumblr works, in a court of law. It was surreal.
Ashely went up to the stand to mention what Kylie had said about not caring who was actually responsible, he just wanted to take it out on someone.
All of the evidence Kylie supplied actually wound up incriminating him, because as soon as he can't use his usual abuser tactics of manipulation, all his arguments fall apart. We had him pinned down naked and vulnerable and stupid. He was so certain that his reading of the law was right, that he was in the right, but he was not. One of Kylie's "evidence" screenshots was a response Ace wrote where he called Kylie an assbasket. Kylie was so convinced this would help his case he made the judge read it, and in a court of law she read the post word for word and looked directly at him when she uttered the word "assbasket" without pause.
In a court of law, the judge called my abusive ex an assbasket. What a time to be alive.
She also said to him, in her verdict, "It is not against the law to accuse someone of a crime."
Because the callout post was meant as a community warning and did not supply exact contact information, it was valid. Kylie was literally faceplanted onto the table, sprawled out over it like he'd been hit by a truck. (We would later find out that this judge also worked as a domestic violence judge.)
We won. Kylie was still for the time being in his last 20 days of living with Ashley (she'd kicked him out for being terrible but had to give him 20 days) and he holed himself in the room upstairs while the rest of us partied downstairs with pizza. We bought a balloon that read "It's All About You!" and floated it up the stairs and into his bedroom.
I had been a wreck throughout the court case, trembling, crying, unable to look at Kylie, supported by people on either side holding my hands and stroking my hair and holding me close. I feel guilt and shame that I shouldn't, here. Because Jay was so eloquent when she went up to speak against Kylie, and I could say nothing. Jay had been hurt the worst out of any of us and she stared him directly in the eye when he tried to talk to her when I fled to the bathroom just from him smirking my way.
Out of all of us, Kylie had been in my life the longest. I had been there to watch him systematically destroy each of us in turn. I feel guilt for how much I'm affected by him when he's hurt others worse, but now I think of it this way: I am bearing not only my own hurt, but all the suffering I saw him inflict on other people, people I blame myself for not protecting. If only I'd had him kicked out of the dorms. If only. I'm still fighting that guilt. I am not responsible for the wellbeing of everyone in the world. It's not my fault. I was a victim. It was not my job to be a hero.
That was in November 2013. That was the last time I had any form of contact with Kylie, and I want it to be the last time I ever have to encounter him for the rest of my life.
He's living with his mom again, now, after going through something like 5 roommates and being kicked out each time. He has no friends left. He has isolated himself with his destructive behaviors. He still tries to make OKCupid accounts and Ace still gets them taken down. It is the sweetest, most just desserts he could ever be served: for everyone he isolated, he is now isolated himself. He is as alone as he made all the rest of us feel, and we are all together. All of the people he worked so hard to keep separate came together to defeat him.
There's details of this story I left out. Details like the summer after waterpark hell when I was avoiding Kylie, how we wound up working in the same call center and I would hide under my desk to avoid him. Details like the gifts he gave me I've since disposed of and gifts he gave me I'm still trying to figure out what to do with; one is a nice leatherbound journal with birds on the cover, and I think I will use it to write words against him. Details like how I am legitimately triggered by Glee covers because he played them on repeat in the car during that road trip from hell when he abused Tay in front of me and I was helpless to stop him. Details like all the little times I bent over backwards for him and he threw it back in my face.
I DO NOT recommend going after your abuser like this unless you have solid ground to work with. This only worked because we had so many people cooperating and so much evidence against him, and sheer damn luck was on our side for once. We were all in a position where he was powerless to hurt us, but we had power to stop him from hurting anyone else. Reaching out to other victims rarely goes this well. I owe our success to Jay's courage and Ace's compassion.
But here is the most important thing in all this for me personally: for so long I was so afraid to lose him, but when I severed our relationship in that waterpark parking lot, I was amazed at how quickly I got used to his absence. I had dreams about him, at first, just dreams where we were friends again. It hurt, for a while. But I didn't miss him for very long. I noticed how much happier I was without him. It was like I'd spent the last year and a half with a mountain sitting on my chest and it was finally lifted off and away and I could breathe again.
He had never been worth my time. I am so much better a person without him. I don't need him to feel worthwhile and attractive and lovable. I have always been those on my own merits. He is nothing. I have better people in my life now. I am happier. I am recovering.
In my mind and heart I have to separate out the person I thought he was from the person he actually is. The person I was in love with never really existed, but I have to give him birth, in my mind, and I have to kill him. I have to mourn for him. I've kept some pictures and keepsakes. It's nice to pretend when I know I'm pretending. Let me have this one childish thing. Let me hold on to some small amount of nostalgia for when he actually made me happy. Let me pretend that he was someone I loved who died and who I had to grieve and let go of. Let this be a bittersweet memory.
I still have a LOT of issues to work through that he gifted to me, on top of everything else I've been given throughout my life. But I am finally getting myself together. I have good friends and a good dog and I'm about to start my dream internship in my final year of college. It looks like I am going to be able to have a career in my dream job and be financially stable and live in a city I love. I'm still struggling, but I have all this good in my life, and Kylie has nothing left but himself and all of his own poison he has swallowed. Sometimes, there is justice in the universe. Sometimes, you win.