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Every Time I Said “No”

I could write a novel with the sexual harassment and mental and physical abuse i have survived in my lifetime. Yet i will stick to the worse three sexual assaults..

I was brought up in a very religious home. Not so much *the good type* of religion, yet the type where it is a man dominated atmosphere and the women must be submissive. Where the human body is taboo and intercourse is only for once you are married.
I was a good daughter. I did my best to make my parents proud in any way that I could. I had the notion in my head since i was young that I would save myself for marriage. I was always teased for being a virgin yet I was strong and courageous back then, nobodies opinion about me ever seemed to bother me. I believed man kind was good, evil only existed if we believed it were there. A spark in my eye and a fire in my heart. eager to explore the world and meet new people. To some day fall in love and full fill all my hopes and dreams.
One day everything changed.

It was autumn when I was 16 years old. My older brother and his best friend were drinking while my parents were out of town. His friend asked me if I had ever played a drinking game before. I hadn’t so he got me to pull up a chair. He was a family friend for 8 years at that point, I had no reason not to trust him, plus my brother was there. I had two friends over who were tired so they went to my room and went to sleep, after drinking quite a bit. My boyfriend at the time went home. I was laying on the couch passing in and out of consciousness and my brother’s friend came over and started kissing me. He told me to “suck him off,” yet I wasn’t even capable in the state I was in. I remember him getting angry and calling me a tease and he asked if he could fuck me. I said no. I was facing the back of the couch, he was pressed behind me. He continued to press himself against me and kept asking and I kept saying no till I passed out. I don’t know the time that went by yet i woke up and he was inside of me, I mustered all the strength I had in me and tried to push him off and said *no!* …ill never forget how it sounded coming out of my mouth…I was confused and …terrified. He tried to then force himself in and sodomize me, I jerked forward and again cried *no*. He got furious and shoved me, got up off the couch and called me a little bitch. I started to cry and said *You’re leaving?*, it wasn’t how I imagined my first time. I thought my first time would be as magical as a disney movie. I thought birds would be singing and I would be overwhelmed with love and joy. I thought afterwards there would be cuddling and joyous laughter. I didn’t expect it to be this way.

Of course I thought it was my fault in some way. “i shouldn’t have been drinking” I also felt ashamed…i was supposed to wait till marriage after all…I thought if I told that my Dad and my Brother would literally kill this man. I wrote it in diary and told no one. My cousin read my diary and forced me to counseling…the counsellor was my neighbor and knew the kid that did it…i didn’t try counseling for many years after that. (My friend admitted to me years later she heard what what happening and did nothing)

I remember the next day I skipped school and tried to find a mourning after pill, I had no idea what it was and the pharmacy said they couldn’t give it to me. I went to the local health centre and explained what had happened and was in tears so a woman gave me the pill yet told me I should get tested…I didn’t know how to do that..so i finally had to tell my mom. It was one month later and I told her what happened…I went up to her and said I had to tell her something but she had to promise to keep it a secret. All i got out between the sobs was his name and she said “DID HE RAPE YOU?!” and she burst out crying with me. She took me to get my first physical exam..we cried the whole time. After all this I was a different person. The giggly care free blonde was now dressed in black boys clothing with black hair. never smiling. not wanting physical contact. I remember forcing myself to have sex with my boyfriend at the time because I thought somehow he would know I *cheated* on him.

I went through the next few years binge drinking and being angry at the world. drinking was the only way to numb myself and forget what had happened. I was out with three friends drinking when I was 19 years old. We got back to my friends house and his brother who was also my friend wanted to hook up. I said no. He put a bottle of vodka to my mouth and forced me to drink till I could no longer move. All i remember is my other two friends coming in his bedroom and my pants were down, they laughed and left. I woke up and woke up my friend and asked her to take me home. I told my boyfriend at the time what had happened and he called me a cheating lying slut. I still didn’t report anything.
By this time I had an insane eating disorder where I would eat only 200 calories a day, usually in soup and I would be purging 5-10 times a day.
It was the second time I had said no and the second time I had been raped.
Subconsciously I didn’t say no anymore…I started to crave it. to think if I just did it that they couldn’t rape me. that if i wanted it then rape was impossible.
There was a crazy pattern for a long time….drinking, not eating, and lots of sex I did not want.
I started to see a counsellor when I was 23. My depression was getting the best of me again. Being suicidal for 7 years was taking its toll.
when I was 25 I was working at a bar and made some friends with my coworkers. My best friend wanted to go drinking with a boy we worked with and liked so i went as her protection and he brought his wing man who we also worked with. we were all friends.
after the bar we went to royals house (one of the guys we worked with) so she could hook up with his friend. they went to his room and i was going to go to sleep. Royal wouldn’t leave the couch. I told him to go to the other couch and he wouldn’t. I was very nervous and said I wanted to go to sleep. He pressed himself against me and started to kiss me. I kept saying I did not want to do this and no over and over again. i kept asking him to stop…at this point he had me face first..once again..into the back of the couch. he kept humping me like a dog in heat. Every time I said I didn’t want to he would say *yes you do* every no was replied to with a *yes* I couldn’t fight, i couldn’t scream…i was frozen. I became weaker and weaker each moment that went by till my voice was a tiny squeak out of my throat till I no longer could make a noise. I remember going numb and leaving my body so to speak. he pulled down the back of my pants with his arm around my neck and sodomized me. Once he finished I got up and had a smoke on the balcony, he followed me. I then went back into the house and went down the hallway, he followed me to the bathroom..he said I should have a shower…I said no and that I had to use the washroom so he left. He was out for another smoke and I snuck out the door, walking the 5km home, crying the whole way. I felt disgusting, ashamed, dirty…I got home and took off all my clothes and laid in the bathtub, completely numb. I got out and lined up all of my prescription medications and a knife.

I looked down, ready to take it all…..something in me got me to pick up my phone and call my counsellor. it was a holiday so the man on the phone talked to me for awhile. he made me promise him I wouldn’t kill myself right now. that I had to talk to my counsellor first. It took a long time but I finally promised and I’m a women of my word.

a couple nights later I was with my boyfriend of 2 months. I told him I had something to tell him. I told him what happened and he laughed at me and said *SEE YAH* and walked away. I started crying and asked him why he was leaving and that it wasn’t my fault. he said if it wasn’t my fault then i would report it. We stood in silence for a long time, with random burst of him blaming me. he finally gave me the ultimatum “Either you go report it to the police and ill back you up 100% through this, or were done”

I just wanted someone to believe me. I wanted to see if i went to the police if finally someone would hear my silent screams.
I went to the hospital to report it. No one there believed me. I was treated horribly and completely disrespected. The doctor seemed annoyed and irritated that he had to deal with another “rape” victim. he sighed a lot and showed no sympathy till i burst out in tears while he stuck a finger in my rectum. He said there was no damage…a good thing i suppose yet not when they need “proof”.
I was then interviewed by a female police officer who was a bit nicer yet not by much. She took me down to the station where she questioned me like i was the bad guy. She said she would be going to the bar and handcuffing him and putting him in a cell and interrogating him till he confessed. she did not do any such thing. she questioned him the same as she questioned me. she questioned his best friend who told them i was a *crazy lying bitch* my own friend joined in with them and laughed while they had females threatening to beat me up etc.

the verdict came back as *not enough evidence*

Even though i knew what the answer would be I burst into tears.

I stopped leaving my house. I triple checked every room and closet and lock before i would attempt to sleep, always with a knife or hammer under my pillow. I couldn’t breath. I was terrified of people, the public, human contact. I couldn’t do anything.
when i was 26 I told my dad what had happened. he always thought i was a little slut for having sex before marriage.
After i told him he said *what did you do to deserve it?* i cried and said it was not my fault and i did nothing wrong.
he said a man wouldn’t rape a woman for no reason.

I told my older brother when i was 23. He wouldn’t believe me. I was forced to be in his wedding party with his *best friend* for a week in Cabo. I don’t see him much anymore now.

I am 27 years old. Its been 11 years since my first attack and i am dealing with it more now then ever before. I am finally gathering some of my strength through people like Linor and things like #Yes all women on twitter.

It’s an amazing feeling to know that I am not alone.
I am with a wonderful man now who believes me and protects me and tries his best to understand. he is everything I always wanted and more.

My next step Is i want to put on an art show to bring awareness to sexual violence.

I want to find 15-30 local women and get their individual stories. I want to paint a picture depicting what stands out to me. I want to help them find closure even if it is through me. I want to help other women not go through this. I want to be a voice in the silence.
I hope I can deal with it as well as Linor did. It will be a constant battle but I have proven that I will always survive no matter what is thrown at me.

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