From Victim to Survivor

Story by Anonymous

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I grew up in a lovely home, went to a lovely private girls school and lived in a beautiful, peaceful area of Australia. I had a boyfriend when I was 17 and we went out for six months. Sex with him had been pretty boring for me, but I ever felt pressured or uncomfortable (except that I was never really physically interested in it).
After we broke up, I was out one night with friends and bumped into a friend I knew. He was with a friend of his. I was 18 and they were about 22. The friend if his and I were getting along and flirting a little bit and he asked if I’d like to go back to his place. The conversation with him was fun so I said yes. We got back to his house and he started kissing me and took me to the bedroom. I was completely shocked and realised that if you said yes to going back to a boy’s house, it meant you were agreeing to sleep with him. I had had no idea he would think that and immediately thought that I couldn’t say no because it had been my fault for going there with him. I just froze and lay there while he had sex with me over and over again. Because I was completely dry, it was incredibly painful. Eventually he fell asleep.
When I woke up in the morning, I could barely walk as I was in so much pain and I was so swollen and bruised and sore that I called in sick to work.
He barely spoke to me and when his flatmate came in, he said he couldn’t remember my name. I felt so sad, so rejected, so used, so ashamed, so confused and my lovely life just shattered.

A couple of months later, I had just finished school and I became friends with a group of boys who were about 21. There were about five of them, and they didn’t work, just hung out at the house all day, taking drugs and partying. Being a sweet little innocent girl I was, I thought hanging with them was very cool and exciting. We would chill out and take drugs together. There were a few times that they would all take me to the bedroom and try to get me to take my clothes off and touch myself for them but I always laughed it off, feeling uncomfortable, but also feeling like as a girl, I was supposed to be flattered by this kind of attention.
I had a crush on one of the boys in the group, and I really wanted him to like me. One night he took me into his room and had sex with me, and I let him as I thought it must mean that he would then be my boyfriend. The next day he wouldn’t talk to me and ignored me after that. I was very confused and felt very sad and used.
A day or so later, a van arrive at the house with three guys in it who were their friends. My friends said I had to get in the van to meet them. I got in, was chatting with them and then they said they wanted to have sex with me, there in the van. I laughed and said no and got out of the van, thinking it was a joke.
A few days leter, I woke up back in my bed at my parents house, without remembering going home, and had sores all over and around my vagina. I didn’t know what it was and assuming it was something I had caught from having sex with the boy, I went to the clinic. I got tested for every STD and HIV and the results were all clear, and eventually the sores went away.
I went round to the house to see them that afternoon after going to the clinic, and I went to the house and there was no one in it, although all the doors were open. I went back to the front of the house, got in my car to drive away and realised that all my tyres had been let down. It could only have been them and they had obviously hid from me when I arrived.
I drove home and never saw them again.

Two years later, I was chatting with my Mum and that time in my life came up in the conversation. She mentioned something about how she had had to come and pick me up from a house and take me home. I had no idea what she was referring to so I asked her for more information.
She told me that a boy called her and just said that “her daughter”, without using my name, was very sick and could she come to pick me up. He gave her the address and she explained where the house was. I have never knowingly been to a house in this area, or know of anyone who lives in this area, and is quite far from the house where I used to hang out with the boys I knew. My mum said the house was filthy, and I was lying passed out on a filthy mattress on the floor and that she didn’t recognise the boys there. I couldn’t walk, she carried me to the car and took me home where I slept for two days.
I listened to my Mum tell me this and felt extremely sick. I am certain those boys drugged me, took me there and raped me.
I didn’t ask her for more details and have never mentioned it with her since. I also have no idea why my Mum didn’t make sure I was ok or ask what had happened.

Immediately after this friendship with these boys ended, I began to date another boy. I was in a relationship with him for five years where almost every sexual experience was rape. I didn’t know that then, I only knew that I was depressed, sad, felt controlled by him and lost all my self esteem. He would say I had put on weight, tell me not to wear make-up, not let me talk to anyone or go out with anyone except him or his friends, make me sit and wait for him for hours while he did things he wanted to do or talked with his friends. I had no one…I didnt talk to my family because he told me they were bad for me and made it very difficult with them. He pursuaded me to lose contact with all my friends.
Luckily I eventually left him as I knew that if I stayed with him I would be desperately miserable my whole life. It took me six months of trying to leave him before I snuck out one night and never went back. He was stalking me, calling me and my friends and turning up at my house for the next six months.
Only now that I am reading all about rape do I know that sex with him was rape. I used to tell him I had things to do on the computer late at night and sit there hoping he would go to sleep before I came to bed. He took naked pictures of me and he promised me he had deleted them after I begged him to, but then I found them on his computer. It was a desperately unhappy time.

I then had other relationships with men where they pressured me to have sex with them and I reluctantly let them as I just didn’t have the strength to keep resisting, and I didn’t realise that I could say no, and that forcing someone to have sex with them is not love at all. Often they were controlling, very jealous and said they found me sexy, but then got angry with me for being “sexy”. One time I had a party at my house, with my girlfriends and I got very very drunk. All my friends left and as they were leaving, a guy who I had met a couple of times turned up. I was so drunk I just vaguely remembered him turning up. By that stage I had fallen asleep in the back garden. I woke up in the morning to find him there naked in my bed next to me, with a used condom on the floor. I didn’t even know then that I had been raped until recently when I started looking into it all. All I knew in these situations was that I felt really uncomfortable but didn’t know why.

I am now 31 years old and am finally dealing with the repressed feelings of shame and sadness from all these years and experiences. This happened after a few random sexual harassment incidences here in Paris, where I now live. One night I was going home and a guy tried to talk to me on the train station. Without me knowing, he then followed me all the way home to my front gate where I realised he was there. I was terrified. I yelled and called for help and tried to run away but he kept chasing me and I couldn’t escape. He then pulled his pants down in front of me, which gave me enough time to run to my front gate, put in the code and get inside. He was pushing from the outside, I was pushing from the insde and I managed to close the gate and escape.
Then, a year late, after moving house to feel safer, I went out early in the morning to go to work and a man in a car was waiting outside my door. As I started walking, he started his car, followed me and then drove up on the footpath to block my way. Luckily I am now almost always in a state of almost paranoid hyper-awareness and ran before he could get me. He continued to chase me and try to drive up and block my path but I managed to get away. I have never been more terrified inm y life and went into shock very badly.
A month later I had to go out at the same time so I got my girlfriend to walk with me as I was so scared. He was there waiting for me and started his car and got ready to chase me. We got his number plate and ran the other way. The police got a statement from him and I havent seen him since, but I have also moved house again so he cannot find me.
The night after that happened I went to a club with my friends and someone spiked my drink. I collapsed and spent the night in emergency after being taken away in an ambulance.
There are other incidences that have happened to me, but these are the main ones that are always running through my head.

I am on anti-depressents, am seeing a therapist and trying to deal with all this as best as I can but my life is affected every minute of every day. I cannot go anywhere alone, and feel angry at my lack of freedom and autonomy.
I only just realised the other day with my therapist that I had not been feeling angry at all these men, because I had been feeling sad for my own lack of awareness, and for my own naivety and innocence. I am working on forgiving myself for those things, which are never a bad thing. It is hard to give up that feeling of being upset with myself for “putting myself in those situations”, and see it for what it is which is that they did those things and they are the ones that shouldn’t have.
I find it difficult to trust any straight men, and have no straight male friends. I realised that I have never been physically attracted to men but continued to allow them to pursuade me to go out with them and let them have sex with them even though I got no enjoyment from it.
When I met my girlfriend and finally joyfully and consentually  made love with her, I realised how amazing, intimate and wonderful sex can be. I feel safe with her and trust her and I feel genuinely loved and respected. I am in a relationship with a beautiful and gorgeous woman who is being so supportive as I go this journey of trying to find peace. I hope one day I can.

2 thoughts on “From Victim to Survivor

  1. I am sorry this poor girl has fallen into so many bad situations. I see these same things played out time after time and wonder why the circle isn’t broken. Why not break the circle of abuse? Probably because neither the male perpetrators nor the female victims know things don’t have to be this way. We are all looking for love but it doesn’t normally include physical activity of this sort.

  2. Pingback: You Call That Luck? « Word of Woz

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