It’s been one week and three days since you raped me. I don’t know who you are and probably never will. I will never know why you chose me or exactly what you did to me. I am nineteen. I remember meeting an amazing diverse group of people. My boyfriend (of three years) and I had taken our first holiday together to a hostel and on our second night we decided to go out with our new friends. Yes I drank a lot but who cares if I did or not? I knew my limits, my boyfriend was sober and we watched each other’s drinks all night. I danced, I drank, I laughed, I tried to speak some terrible French, I remember all of it, everything. I remember staying out later than everyone else with my boyfriend talking and staring at the stars. I remember climbing into the bottom bunk with my phone in hand, whispering goodnight and taking off my glasses.
Then I remember nothing.
I remember waking up in a blissful ignorance. I remember feeling an unsettling breeze on my legs. I remember looking around in confusion at the fact that I was in a different bed to the one I had fallen asleep in. I remember feeling the most haunting pang of panic as I realised my trousers and underwear had been pulled down past my ankles over my shoes, my glasses and phone gone. I remember the awful feeling of embarrassment as I feebly tried to pull my pants back up under the blanket without exposing myself to any of the other people in the room. I remember standing up and marching to my boyfriend’s bunk and hissing about us needing to leave. I remember picking my glasses back up from my original bed and finally seeing the blood covering my jeans. The rest is a blur of language barriers and swabs and tears and repeating the same story over and over to dozens of strangers who didn’t speak my language or seem to show any empathy. They questioned me over and over, angry that I couldn’t remember, suspecting my boyfriend, photographing me in my blood covered underwear. I was a mess, covered in menstrual blood and tears and so numb from shock and whatever drugs you had given me in my sleep that I couldn’t even feel the pain. We flew to Edinburgh that night. I paid €500 for plane tickets and my father drove for four hours to pick us up. It had been my mother’s birthday. We got home at 3am and my boyfriend finally cried in front of me after having stayed so pretensively strong for so long. The rock which had been my support until then shattered before me.
We spent the next day making phone call after phone call. The police refused to see us at first claiming it was Germany’s concern. We finally got them to respond after I tracked my stolen phone to the UK. It was another 9 hours before I was sent to another hospital, this time they gave me the HIV drugs and Hep B vaccine that the German hospital had failed to give me. They reexamined me on my request. As they swabbed and poked and stared, I cried on that table, finally realising how much physical pain you had caused me. The doctor made false promises about finding you. I know they’re just false hopes. I know you’ll get away with it and do this again and sleep easily because you don’t have a conscience or a soul. No one that could do this could possible have a soul.
Currently I am still in shock. I spend more time looking after my family and boyfriend than they do looking after me. I have taken drugs to help me sleep, just to stop the thoughts for a while. But they don’t stop the knowledge that you did this to me. They don’t stop the fear of the fact that you could do this to another innocent girl.
I hate you. I hate you making me feel like this is my fault, like I am somehow to blame. I hate you for hurting my family like this. I hate you for taking away the future I had. I’m only nineteen.
— Survivor, age 19