I was never the type of girl who would sleep with anyone. I was, what the boys used to call me back in high school, ‘frigid’. In reality, I was just shy. I believed in intimacy as being something between you, and your partner with whom you loved and cherished. It was something special. Something you would only be doing because you WANTED to.
So at 20 years old, I was still a virgin. I hadn’t met that person I wanted to bare my soul to yet. I buried myself in work, and in my writing and books, hoping that one day I would meet ‘the one’. I’d lived on my own since I was sixteen, in a small town just outside of the capital. For years I always wanted to move into the ‘big city’.
Five years later, I finally did it. I was already working in the center of town anyway, and my soul-sister had a spare bedroom. So I moved in with her. That very week, J went down to London to work, and so I had the flat to myself. I was really able to feel, and breathe in it. It was insanely beautiful. Everything around me, from the flat itself, to the lake a few minutes walk down the road, was genuinely my ‘home’; and I loved it.
But five days later, I met a ‘friend’ from work for coffee. Let’s call her Em. After a long catch-up, we went back to my flat, had a glass of wine and some strawberries. I showered, and then she suggested going to her ‘friend’s’, who lived 2 minutes up the road. We ended up going there, but there was an additional two guys there, on top of Em’s so-called friend, Mr S. They were playing a drinking game. Ping pong. I joined in. I remember drinking 1 glass of wine, I was handed a shot of gin. . . I had no money, so I drank it.
The next thing I remember, I’m waking up, in MY bed, in my new home, with one of the guys on top of me.
There are moments – like right now – when I cringe at the very thought of him. When the flashback feels like too much, and I close my eyes, accusatory at my own foolish reactions, at his weight pressing into me, at my unfathomable guilt, self-blame and utter hatred.
It makes me want to smash things. Or vomit. Or cry (if I could).
I will never forget that night. It happened only 3 weeks ago. Just over a week before my 21st birthday, to boot. Since then I have felt numb, sick, angry, hurt, shamed, violated, humiliated, and sore. A mixture of feelings, really. Lately I’ve been blaming myself for what happened. I analyse every single detail, and pick the parts that are most questionable. Why did I do this? Why did I go back into the bed with him? Why didn’t I fight him harder, instead of just laying there?
I don’t know.
I can’t even remember going out clubbing with them before hand, like Em had told me the next morning. Apparently I was so drunk that the bouncers refused me entry into so many different clubs. I couldn’t walk in a straight line. I was spewing everywhere. Small details such as my clothes being scattered around bedroom when I came thru, my curtains being drawn shut, my bra still on, proved that I was not the normal Ailie. I was violated, in the worse possible way. By a man I later did not fight, did not cause a scene; but just lay there, letting him do to me what he wanted, in the hope that I’d eventually get some sleep, and the nightmare would be over with.
At one point I was so wasted with alcohol that I actually thought it was someone else. I even tried to ‘enjoy’ it, a little, though my attacker wasn’t exactly gentle. In fact, he was so rough. Way too rough for my first time.
That’s what I can’t get over right now. The fact that I was a virgin. This man – this foreigner whom I’d never even met until Mr S’s apartment! – knew I was. He used, and abused me like a sex doll. An unconscious object with whom he could objectify in any way he desired. He twisted and pulled me, re-positioned me like an origami doll. His fingertips left bruises all over me. His teeth penetrated my skin.
I know that in time my wounds of what he did to me will heal. That even if you cut scars into a tree, every day the tree will grow larger, and it’ll manifest into something beautiful and otherworldly; with the scars within it growing smaller every day. I know that. But this man took something precious from me, that really I’ll never be able to give to the one I love. Not anymore.
And so this is why I reported him.
Not only does he deserve to be punished for what he did to me, but we, as good human beings, need to make sure he doesn’t do this again. That he doesn’t take more poor girls home, abuse them, and then think he’s done nothing wrong. Regardless of his actions, when someone has passed out, that does NOT mean they can be raped. Just because we can’t verbally give consent doesn’t mean we condone it.
I know that things will only get harder when the trial actually begins in a few months time. However, I now know how strongly I feel about speaking up against those who harm others. In this case, rapists who get of scot-free. We deserve so much more. Those who shine good are all beautiful, and it’s our job to make sure the rain doesn’t dull our shine too much.
The medical examination, and the statement (which in total took 12 straight hours 2 days after the attack, when my sister convinced me to report it), was the most horrific moments of my life. But it was worth it. Because now I know that this animal’s going to get what’s coming to him, and won’t be able to pray on innocent victims ever again.
The shame, the guilt, the anger and even the flashbacks will soon fade. My scars will shrink, and my body will transform into something more beautiful than how I’m feeling right now. But I’ll be able to sleep better knowing I did the right thing.
Please think deeply about reporting your abuser. Not just for you, but the plenty other men and women out there who may fall victim to their prey.