A few weeks ago I was raped one Saturday night. It was by someone who I love dearly, and I want to trust completely- my boyfriend. We had become intimate and more affectionate with each other, and up until this point it was consensual and within my boundaries. We had healthy communication in our relationship, and I made it clear that I was not ready to go all the way and I wanted to get to know each other more. He agreed with me and was receptive and respectful of my standpoint. However, after a while I felt pressure to progress things further than I would have liked to. When it happened we had been kissing, cuddling and feeling each other. He wanted to take it further, and yet again I said ‘no, I’m not ready.’ so he listened, and held me in his arms until we nearly drifted off to sleep. I will be completely honest with you and say that we weren’t wearing any clothes at the time- which is why I feel I am to blame for what happened. Suddenly he moved out from under me and I tried to roll onto my back to get out of his way, but he pushed me back onto my stomach and got on-top of me. “Wait…” I was nervous and tentative, as I didn’t want to encourage this to go further. But he couldn’t hear me at this point. He penetrated me numerous times, and each time I said “No. Please stop, it’s really hurting.” emphatically. It escalated until he pinned my arms down and started thrusting in and out. “Please stop” I whimpered,trying to get him to hear me, and notice the pain in my voice. I was close to tears. Despite my final plea, he did it harder and faster, and I couldn’t move or breathe. Somehow I came to the realisation and acceptance of what was happening. I went somewhere else- I’m not sure where- but this is the part that is blank. Suddenly a surge of pain pulled me back from the trance. “STOP!” I screamed, and he jumped off me out of shock. I lay there in disbelief; disbelief that I could allow something like this to happen to me, disbelief that he could be capable of doing such a thing. I was numb; I didn’t cry, I didn’t get angry at him, and I wasn’t scared.
“Sorry” he laughed nervously. But I wasn’t laughing. He leaned over and gave me a tender kiss; one that would ordinarily make my heart sing, but now made me sick to my stomach.
He went to the bathroom, and I slowly and mechanically got dressed again. A wave of humiliation and guilt washed over me, and I felt so insignificant and tainted. I hid myself under the covers, and when I heard him walk back into the room my heart beat faster. ‘Am I scared?’
That night we had a conversation about what happened, but it didn’t ease my pain or allow me to put it behind me. He was insensitive to how he had made me feel and therefore showed no remorse, and I couldn’t adequately articulate why it didn’t feel right as I hadn’t had time to process it. The following morning I looked up the definition of rape, and read other people’s experiences and soon realised the reality of the situation. I was going between denial that it had happened, and recognising. I found it hard to validate my own experience, and felt it was insulting to compare myself to others who survived sexual assault or rape- even if their story was reflective of my own. That day we had a family gathering he was invited to, and of course I had to pretend like everything was okay. I couldn’t tell anyone what happened, least of all my parents. I pulled him aside to talk about what happened again, and told him that what he did was not consensual and I felt disrespected and hurt- physically and emotionally. He showed remorse and began to understand the consequences of his actions.
There was physical pain as a reminder for 2 days after this incident. For the next week I felt ill, and I couldn’t focus on my studies. I reflected on it every day, and cried into my pillow and behind closed doors. I learned to quieten my sobs, and to stifle my tears. The following weekend we went out together, and he could tell that I was not my usual self. I told him not to worry and to just enjoy the night out, but he insisted I tell him what was wrong. This time I could express the full extent of the impact it had on me and will have on me, and called it what it was. Finally he saw the pain in my eyes, and heard the hurt in my voice. He realised that it would be so hard for me to trust him again. He was close to tears and I was a tearful mess. After the heated, emotional and public conversation we had I was satisfied that we would not go back to that place.
Slowly he is regaining my trust through his actions, but I don’t think I will ever be able to forget what he did. The broken vase has been glued back together, but you can still see the cracks from the damage that was caused.
Although I am receiving the support I need from him to heal, he will never fully fathom the lasting effects this will have on me. I need to talk to someone who has been through something similar, to break this feeling of isolation.
— Survivor, age 22