*TRIGGER WARNING: rape, self harm, domestic abuse, strong language*
It’s been over two years since I was raped and I still struggle to say the word aloud-its hard enough to write. I still see his face when I close my eyes, still feel every thing he did like it’s burned into my skin. I don’t know if this will ever go away, but I do know I’m finally strong enough to talk about it.
He and I had what could only be described as a volatile relationship, we fought frequently and with great intensity. The flip side of that was that everything else was intense too, it was a whirl of young love, drugs and alcohol.
I thought he was perfect
It didn’t last long. The warnings came thick and fast but nothing clicked. It was only a few weeks before close friends warned me away, but I was convinced it was true love.
He was due in court for assaulting his ex girlfriend but my brain said “that can’t be true, he said it was an accident! She must be lying.”
It’s so clear now I don’t know how I didn’t see it.
After one of our manic weekends, fuelled by prescription pills and vodka, he bit my calf so hard it turned black, and gave me minor muscle damage. I split up with him on the spot.
He bombarded me with calls and texts, apologising profusely and claiming not to remember, and begging for me to forgive him, after these fell on deaf ears he started to turn up where I was staying, sometimes demanding to see me and sometimes just standing outside. For some reason my resolve started to falter, thoughts started to creep on like wasn’t this just him trying to prove how much he loved me? Maybe he really didn’t remember…
I got back together with him after a few weeks.
A few weeks after that I moved in with him, after he pointed out how it would solve my housing issues and wouldn’t I rather live in a flat with him than my tiny bedsit? Of course I would…
The whole situation deteriorated almost immediately. A trip to the shop turned into an argument about cheating, because I took too long and so I must have been cheating. He was convinced everytime I left the house I was cheating on him, every man we saw I was sleeping with.
He would sometimes lock me in the house when he went out, often for hours, sometimes overnight and once for a few days. I felt trapped. I knew I had to get out but I loved him, and I had nowhere to go. I kept telling myself it could be worse, he wasn’t that bad.
The accusations got wilder and the things I had to do to prove my innocence got worse. Once he made me cut my arm because “you’ve cut yourself over other boys, if you haven’t cheated on me you’ll do it and prove it.” He said he wanted them to be the biggest ones, to remind him how much I loved him.
Still not satisfied, he then forced me to have sex with him, even though I was a mess of blood and tears. Afterwards he put toothpaste on my arms to stop the bleeding and hugged me to sleep.
I still didn’t leave.
There were more accusations but I learned to ignore him. I went along with what he wanted. If he wanted sex I gave it to him, he was persuasive and I was still in love.
He started to be more violent towards me, I had fought back to start with but he wore me down until I just couldn’t fight him anymore. People always ask why I stopped fighting back and I’ll say the same thing now as I say to them, I loved him and he broke me.
He dragged me through dog mess and threw me into our porch wall, I forgave him. He would regularly bang my head off walls, choke me, punch me and I always forgave him, he was always so good at acting sorry.
It went on for months before a binge filled weekend ended in him splitting my lip and forcing himself on me, for what I decided was the final time. I didn’t contact the police at this point because I didn’t believe he’d done anything wrong, I was so brainwashed I believed him when he told me I couldn’t say no, if I loved him I wouldn’t say no, being his girlfriend meant automatic consent and I had believed every word.
I left to stay with friends nearby, and drunkenly slept with someone at a party a few days later. That’s when things started to get scary. He smashed the poor mans windows, tried to kick down the door of the flat I stayed in on multiple occasions and threatened everyone that was protecting me. He stood outside constantly, I couldn’t leave, couldn’t even step near a window without inciting a torrent of abuse, screaming and shouting, throwing things at the windows, banging on neighbours windows demanding they open the security doors.
I resisted him for a few weeks but I was filled with guilt, none of the friends protecting me could carry on with their lives with him constantly causing trouble, and there’s only so many times someone will forgive you for your ex smashing their windows.
So as always my reserve faltered and I went over to the flat we had shared after he’d sent me several apologetic messages, claiming he’d realised his mistakes and wanted to talk calmly, telling me he’d packed me some of my things as he knew I’d be wanting them. I thought it was a sweet gesture, so I gave in.
That was the biggest mistake I have ever made.
He locked the door as soon as I walked through it.
We talked, and it wasn’t long before he started asking about the man I had slept with, and asking why I wouldn’t sleep with him. I tried to make my excuses and leave, telling him I’d told friends where I was and how long I would be but when I got to the door the key wasn’t in it and he was behind me.
He dragged me to the bed and that’s where I have to stop with the details for my own sanity and self preservation.
Fast forward through a trip to the medical centre, processing, police interviews and meeting after meeting about how strong the case was, to the few weeks before court and things started to unravel. The officers dealing with the case told me to remove me piercings, and I had to dye my hair in case “the jury made a judgement based on a preconception”. I’d like to know what the preconception is.
The day of court I was told his solicitors had apparently supplied new evidence last minute, but not to worry they said, we’ve got a strong case. Twenty minutes later screenshots of my Tumblr were brought back to me, in particular one .GIF of a girl being spanked, with the caption “rough sex or no sex”.
That picture is what dissolved the entire case. Despite the injuries, physical and DNA evidence, they said they could no longer proceed with the case. Apparently me liking rough sex and admitting to it meant that they didn’t think the jury would believe me. It muddied the waters they said. And that was it. I like rough sex so despite a strong case and strong evidence a jury won’t believe that I was raped.
He served 9 months after pleading guilty to actual bodily harm, then served several shorter sentences for breaching the restraining order.
Is this what justice looks like? Does it matter what I was into? No means no, no matter what.
I feel sick every time I think about what he did and how he got away with it. The way the system works is so flawed, we have slut walks, feminism and no means no campaigns but if I like a bit of hair pulling or spanking I wasn’t raped, after all isn’t that what I’m into?
Something needs to change, and that something is people’s mentalities and rape culture.
No one asks to be raped, not the girl in the short skirt, not the drunk girl or the person walking home alone at night, and not me.
Im sorry if anyone has a problem with this post, it’s a difficult subject but it’s something I’ve needed to get off my chest for a long time, and I’m finally strong enough to do it.