I was groomed as a child. A man rang my house phone and told me that he knew my mother. For talking to him and doing what he told me, my mum would get loads of money. I can’t remember exactly how I old I was, I think I was about 6 or 7. I remember thinking that money was good because my parents worked so hard all day, so if I could contribute and get them some extra money maybe they wouldn’t have to work so hard and they would be happier and i could see them more. He asked me to tell him what color my underwear was, to touch myself and tell him what it felt like. It didn’t feel good and I thought what I was doing was wrong but I also was scared to tell my family. He rang me several more times. Breaking point came when he told me that he would meet me before school and ‘show me his if I showed him mine’. I knew that was wrong and also my Nan took me to school every day. I told him and he seemed annoyed, after that every time he called I hung up the phone and never told anyone. One time I panicked and just handed the phone to my sister and she said ‘Tara, how did the man on the phone know your name’. I’d never felt so scared, but my mum just told her to leave me alone I hadn’t done anything wrong. One time at school I told my teacher that a man had rang me and asked to meet me and I said no, she didn’t say anything. That was the only time I’d ever mentioned it. I have to say that although I kept it my dirty secret and sometimes would panic that I could never tell anyone because I would tear our family apart, I largely forgot about it once I started secondary school and it’s hard to say how it’s affected me all these years later. I still have no idea who the man was, but he must of have known my mum or dad to have our house number and know my name.
When I was 16 I was at a party with a friend who I had dated in the past but now had a girlfriend and got really drunk and then he fingered me in an alley way, I remember feeling like whats going on, then shame and just confusion. He was my friend and had a girl friend, but at the same time I felt pressured that I should be doing these things so I told a friend that it was consensual. That night began the start of an affair that I was too naive to really understand. He knew that I was a virgin and had never done anything like that and really pressured me to have sex, one day he raped me. It was only for a few seconds then he stopped and apologized. I never told anyone about that. A year later I got really drunk and had consensual sex with him. After that I had the closure I needed and never needed to talk to him again, I tried being friends with him but realized he was a massive twat who i had wasted two years besotted with and manipulated by.
Sometimes when I don’t want to have sex or don’t enjoy it I just lie there and switch off and then when my boyfriend has finished I go to the bathroom and cry. I love my boyfriend and he loves me and this confuses me because I think he should know through my body language that Im not feeling it, but at the same time he’s not the most intuitive of people and I haven’t said no. It brings back memories and guilt and shame and anger.
For a long time, I denied that I was raped and blamed myself for putting myself in that position. Now I look back and think yes it was silly of me to put myself there, but the person at fault was the man that put his penis and hands inside me without my permission and used my lack of experience to manipulate me. I also know that I was a child, a very lucky child that I was never raped by my groomer, but that doesn’t mean that his words and what he made me do have not affected me and I also know that it was not my fault as I was a child, again manipulated by a man who used my innocence against me.
I have a long way to go, I need to let go to really experience sex and fully put my trust in the man I love in that area of our lives. But I am still choosing to keep these secrets. I do not know if I can ever fully heal without talking about what happened to me, I admire each and every one of you who talk openly about your experiences, that is true bravery and I can only hope that when the time is right in my life I will have that courage.