I was 16 when I had my first kiss, 17 when I met my first boyfriend and lost my virginity.
I was a shy girl, the one who blended into the background amongst her more attractive friends.
Dennis was tall, blonde and exotic- All of us were drawn to him.
I couldn’t believe he would pick me. Maybe he sensed my vulnerability, my shyness and knew I was easy prey.
The relationship lasted 2 years. I moved in with him and away from my family. I was isolated and 1500 miles from anyone who cared.
I endured 15 months of domestic violence- Broken ribs, broken nose, bruises and blood. The physical pain of physical abuse was tough but the sexual abuse that came was worse…Forced to have sex, NO! that fell on deaf ears, torn, sore tissue, bitten breasts, bruises,muffled cries into pillows, feeling my insides being stretched and violated by foreign objects I didn’t want in me.
I felt trapped and worthless. I was broken down to bare bones. I was 17, then 18 and I didn’t know I deserved better.
On one of the rare good days we went to a biker/music festival. Dennis abandoned me while I went to the portacabin toilets.
I was left in a field of 50,000 people with no money, no phone and only a vague idea of where our camper was.
After hours of searching I left and headed to the camp.
I couldn’t find the camper.
I sat in a heap, crying and the strangers called over.
3 middle aged bikers, friendly, they spoke English and helped me look for my camper.
We couldn’t find it, so they told me to come to their van and have a drink while they called Dennis for me.
I took the drink and that’s all I can remember.
I woke up, disoriented and horrified in the back of the van.
My long top was rolled up, bra pushed above my chest, my underwear was by my ankles and my tights ripped.
Worst of all was the comatose figure laid on top of me, half on me and half off, flaccid penis glued to my thigh.
I was humiliated. I felt sick, sicker than I’ve ever felt in my life. The rest is a blur- I rolled him off me, stumbled over his friend laid next to him with his jeans around his ankles and heard the third guy snoring in the cabin.
As I ran to the road my thighs chafed and stuck to my torn tights, raw and sticky with unwanted fluids.
I got a lift home by a family leaving the festival.
I never discussed it. Dennis, who beat me and used my body as a sex doll wasn’t going to help me. I was ashamed to tell my family- The family who begged me not to leave home.
I got out. Moved back home and struggled.
I drank too much, pushed my family away, started failing school and got lost for a while.
Two years later it happened again.
I worked in a bar part time, while studying. Ivan was a regular customer, a bit of a character but well enough liked. He was kind to me, I knew his wife and children.
We went out socially in a group, he was there and we all had a good night.
He bought me a drink, left and after drinking it I headed home.
My lift let me down and I was sat on one of the street benches, figuring out my way home when he pulled up.
I was surprised to see him but gratefully accepted the offer of a lift.
I’ve tried so hard to remember what happened after that but I can’t.
I woke up in his summer house, naked and laid on my stomach on a single bed. I wanted was paralyzed
with humiliation, grief and panic.
He walked in, naked and said I had got paralytic with alcohol and couldn’t direct him to my house. So he took me to the summer house. I told him to help me undress for bed, so he stripped me, which is why I was naked.
Just like that, he told me to get dressed and he’d take me home.
I don’t sleep naked, I hate it and would never have wanted this man seeing me.
My body didn’t feel like it was my own. I wanted to shed it like a second skin. My buttocks were stuck together with semi dried fluids and denial running rampant through my mind.
I saw him every Friday for the next 4 years. I couldn’t tell anyone because I couldn’t remember how I got there. How could I be fine and then black out? No one would believe me. I was a party girl back then. I probably asked for it in their eyes
It’s been 10 years since I met Dennis, 9 years since the bikers and 7 years since Ivan.
I’ve suffered other sexual abuses since then, from men who think a woman’s body is an object and a toy. Men with no human regard who paw women like an animal with it’s prey.
These ones didn’t rape me but they didn’t respect me.
You’re the first person to know these details, dear reader. No one else does because I’ve locked it away and never brought it out since. Shame, humiliation and guilt have kept me silent.
My now quiet life, stable relationship of 3 years and ambition keep me silent.
But my strength has kept me going thus far.
I can’t imagine sharing with my family but perhaps I’ll speak out to someone else. This is my story. This is my survival.
— Natasha, age 27