I was raped. I don’t know what’s worse, seeing it in print or actually saying the words. I didn’t tell anyone what happened until it was too late, and it has affected the course of my life ever since.
I didn’t report my assault because I was scared, so I am writing this to try and inform others -- rape isn’t something to be ashamed about.
I was raped when I was 19. Prior to this, I was a fun-loving and bubbly person. I worked hard, played hard and had the best time.
The night it happened I had been out with my best friend at the pub. It was a Friday night like any other. We were reveling in the fact that another working week had come to an end and were dancing away to the jukebox and supping on vodka, lime and sodas. My mum and stepfather were away and I had the bright idea to hold a house party.
I had a running flirtation with a guy who was in the pub and had bumped into him at a party the previous weekend where we had kissed. He seemed like a lovely person and so emboldened by alcohol I invited him to the party.
At mine we had a bit of a kiss and a cuddle, all very innocent but as I had work the next day I kicked everyone out of the house at about 2 o’clock and dragged myself off to bed, dreading the hangover.
I had locked the doors, so was surprised when I heard a noise coming from downstairs. I thought if was probably one of my dopey mates and went to look around.
It was the guy from earlier -- we’d been kissing a few minutes before, so I wasn’t too worried, I just offered to ring him a taxi. He told me he hadn’t enough money so I offered him the sofa and went to bed.
The next thing I remembered is him being on top of me.
When I eventually told a friend, three months later, she looked at me incredulously and asked me why hadn’t the neighbours rang the police whey they heard me scream. But I hadn’t made a sound. I couldn’t really take in what was happening to me, or move -- let alone scream.
When it was “over,” I just lay there terrified in case he did it again. I got up for work the next morning and he acted as if nothing had happened (he even asked me for a cup of tea).
This is where the awful grey area comes in. I knew if I told the police they would speak to people at the party and would discover that I had been talking to and kissing him all night. And so stayed silent. I told one friend and that was it.
The next three years of my life went by in a blur of drinking and (though I hate the phrase) self-destruction. Instead of retreating into myself and becoming more sedate, my reaction was the exact opposite.
I would go out each weekend and often end up in bed with random guys, but when the crucial moment came I would find that I couldn’t sleep with the guy in question and would feign sleepiness.
I haven’t been in a serious relationship since I was attacked -- I can’t hoist all my excess baggage onto someone else. Basically I have been living a half-life.
I am finally at university now far away for the small town in which I grew up but it still doesn’t make it any easier. I am currently back at home for the summer and working in a local pub.
I haven’t yet encountered the man who attacked me, but it is only a question of time.
I have missed out on so many precious years. Friends of mine are having babies and getting married while I am still wondering how to get my life sorted again. I am writing this because I have finally realized I am sick of being scared and it is time to embrace my life. I just wish that I had done something about it sooner.
My one wish from writing this essay is that it gives someone else the courage to report their rape -- or that if you know someone going though a similar situation that you will try to help them do the same.
I only wish I had.