Shared Stories


By an Anonymous Contributor

Not today, but soon.

Soon my body, mind and spirit will come together again. 

I will be strong and fierce and free. 

I will rise up and be renewed, become new like a Phoenix rising up out of the flames. 

The flames of hurt, abuse, betrayal, unknowing, what-ifs. 

I will become who I am meant to be, beyond my expectations and I will rise, no, I will soar. I am worthy to fly free, like the birds of the sky who find home in the safety of the trees.

Shared Stories

“Part of me didn’t believe you could be raped by a boyfriend.”

By Anya

I do not remember the first time I had sex, at the time I didn’t think much of it, we’d only met a couple of weeks beforehand but by the night I lost my virginity I was already so sure I wanted you. I told myself that time that it was okay, that maybe I didn’t seem drunk.

But looking back now maybe I should have realized then that you had no self control.

The second time it happened, it was the night, it was Brighton Pride, and a day that is supposed to be about love and kindness. A day that we spent surrounded by friends. It was a good day. And an awful night.

In the day, we drank, we laughed, we drank some more. 

In the night. I remember getting a taxi to your house, being so tired and tipsy that I kept tripping up your staircase. I remember going to lie down on your mum’s bed she was away and who can climb a ladder to a loft when you can’t even walk up a staircase.

I remember waking up to you inside of me, trying to push you off, and you holding me down as a response, me saying no repeatedly and being ignored. After it happened I remember pushing you off me and sprinting over to your little brother’s child-size car shaped bed and crying.

I remember you coming over, in tears crying and apologizing, shortly after that I remember hugging you to make you feel better about it like somehow it was my responsibility to make you feel like less of an awful human being. Forgiving you meant that things could go back to the way they were, that waking up with you inside me didn’t have to mean anything, because if you knew it was wrong and you loved me, you couldn’t have meant to do it. 

After that, we didn’t stop having sex, and I can’t say that I never enjoyed sex again with you because that would be a lie. But after that during sex, there were times, too many times, when I would feel scared suddenly, and the worst part of it was that I didn’t know why. It took me months to realize that the reason I felt like that, was because the human body can associate certain feelings with memories, they will linger in your brain even if you pretend those memories didn’t happen. 

We broke up before I could ever talk about how I sometimes felt during sex, mostly because I was still in denial. Part of me didn’t believe you could be raped by a boyfriend, by someone you love, by someone who you still fucked, still wanted to fuck, by someone who could on occasion make you cum. My idea of the rapist was the guy who attacks you on the street. We are told to fear that type of rapist, that it is that man that you need to protect yourself from, to be vigilant toward, that men that hide in the shadows are bad, and they are. But so are the friends we trust to look after us, and the boys we assume love us enough to not harm us, the adults we put our trust into and the family who should never want to harm us. We are told with those boys can be excused, are to be forgiven because they can’t control themselves. But the truth we all know is that this is untrue, they can. 

If I fall asleep at my boyfriend’s house, too drunk to go up a ladder, is it too much to assume that someone who loves me can love me enough not to violate me, to have that level of self-control.

That’s what I think about. 

Do you still think about it like I have to?

And if you do, what do you think about?

Do you like me wonder what your mum would think if she knew what you did to me on her bed? What she would think about the fact I cried myself to sleep on her 4-year-olds mattress?

Shared Stories

“I came out 100 times stronger”

By an Anonymous Contributor

He hit me at the back of my head and stripped off my panties because I didn’t want sex, he humiliated me just because of me wanting some cuddling, he put his hands in my panties in front of my apartment me being totally shocked, he came into my house as my roommate opened the door, me being sick and lying mentally totally devastated in bed because of him he raped me, he got really aggressive being in a boat with me and a friend of mine knowing that I can’t swim!! And now – ten years later – I have realized that he was totally abusive, totally aggressive and probably a narcissistic sick person….

But now I came out 100 times stronger, writing an autobiography and finding a technique helping traumatized women to heal…

Shared Stories

Your Apology Means Nothing

By Brooke

I used to get excited when you’d come visit me at work. The best part of my day was making your coffee.

My ears would perk up when I heard the sound of your loud mustang coming around the corner. Now, all I do is flinch. 

When I imagined us being alone together, I didn’t envision the worst moment of my life. I didn’t envision you’d keep going when I told you I wanted to slow down. I didn’t envision you’d say, “you’ll be fine” when I asked you to stop. I didn’t envision you pinning me down when I fought you off. I didn’t envision my first time to be with my rapist. 

Once you finished, I was too ashamed to confront you about what you’d done…but you knew. When I said my brother would be home soon and that you should leave, you jumped too quickly at the opportunity to run away. 

Did you even leave feeling bad?

I found myself lost, with no answers. 

My brother found me drunk on the floor. 

You sent me down a path of silent self destruction that has taken me years to dig myself out of. But I’m still digging.

I ran away from the community I thought would judge me. 

I ran away from a healthy relationship.

I ran away from facing the fact that I was a victim. 

Seeing you drive by on your way to work was a daily reminder of the things I’d lost. My innocence, my trust, my love for my body, my faith, and the person I used to be. I was merely a shell of the person I was before I met you. 

Then you had the nerve to come visit me at work a year later. I fought back tears when I turned around and saw your face. You ordered a coffee and acted like we were old friends catching up. 

Did you not notice me shaking? 

Did you think the $43 tip you left me was a good enough apology? 

Or was the Facebook message you sent me after you left, apologizing for what you’d done, enough to make up for ruining my life? 

I’m glad you think, “karma got you for that one”. 

How dare you say apologizing to me is your New Years resolution. 

You don’t get to move on from this feeling you’ve washed your hands of guilt because of a vague apology for “the things you did to me” and cash. 

I’ll never be washed of the scars you left. I’ll never feel clean after how dirty you made me feel. I’ll never be free of the triggers that pop up when my boyfriend touches me. 

Your apology means nothing.

Shared Stories

“‘Not guilty’ – isn’t really something I’m willing to settle for.”

By Rosanna

Having the worst experience of my life and a three-year long fight for some semblance of justice condensed into a 243-word article and reduced to two words – ‘not guilty’ – isn’t really something I’m willing to settle for. This article does not get to be the final version of events. I will not settle for being an ‘alleged victim’. This ruling hasn’t changed what happened or got rid of the trauma I have had to and will continue to have to live with.

The 14th October 2016 is a date that I’m not going to forget any time soon. I reported what happened 10 days after the incident. What this article doesn’t tell you is that I was likely suffering symptoms of PTSD in the week following so was unable to even talk about what had happened, let alone go to the police about it. 

It doesn’t tell you that I first testified via video link in October 2018, alone, from the spare room in my granny’s house without any immediate support to hand. It doesn’t tell you that I felt such a sense of relief after it was finished, that the whole ordeal was over, and I wouldn’t have to go through it again. Or how I felt that in that instance I’d been given space to speak the truth about what had happened and could begin to heal. 

It doesn’t tell you that because of the prosecutor’s incompetence (using a previous complaint against the perpetrator as evidence – something which is not allowed in court) the case was ruled a ‘mistrial’ and a retrial was ordered.

October 2019, and I testified for the second time, over three years after the incident took place. This time with a different jury and a different prosecutor, and yet with the same defence lawyer who had cross-examined me the previous year. Hm.  

This time there was no sense of relief after it had taken place. It was every bit the archetypal rape trial that you watch on crime dramas thinking ‘there’s no way it is that bad in real life’ when actually it is far worse. You are living with the trauma of what happened and are trying to convey that in a short amount of time under intense questioning to a group of strangers who come with their own set of prejudices and biases. Add to this me being able to clearly see the defence lawyer’s assistant laughing and making jokes while I was giving my testimony and it’s safe to say that testifying round 2 was one of the most harrowing, gruelling experiences I have had to go through.

After three years of pushing and fighting, it broke me to find out that the person who did was found ‘not guilty’. 

It broke me to find out that text messages from him saying he was sorry were not even used in the final court case because the officers ‘were unable to extract these from my phone’, despite me being told in 2016 that they had been. 

It broke me when I was asked what I was wearing because that kind of question is exactly why rape culture exists. 

It broke me that after only an hour of deliberating, the jury unanimously reached a not guilty verdict. Not one of them believed me. Not. even. one. 

I am done with carrying this round like it is some shameful secret. I think the only way that this whole ordeal will have been even slightly ‘worth it’ is to share my experience and let others know just what it is like to battle with a court system where it feels like you have been set up to fail from the outset.

The article also doesn’t say anything about the utter devastation caused by rape and how I woke up on 15th October 2016 a completely different person than I had been previously. I was no longer able to teach. I no longer felt safe. I was no longer able to live in a place I was beginning to call home. I’ve since struggled with PTSD, anxiety and depression and have felt shame and guilt. Over three years have passed since it happened, and I still have to remind myself again and again that I may have put myself in an unsafe situation, but I did not deserve to be raped. The only shame lies with those who think it is acceptable to take advantage of another person’s vulnerability.  

The small glimmer of hope I have in all of this is faith that there is a God who sees all, and who hates injustice. There ain’t no hiding place from the father of creation. Holding on tight to that hope that the truth will come out in the end. 

Shared Stories

Please Don’t Say you Love me to Use me

By Grace

You were my first, and it moved way too fast. I remember that morning you rolled over pulled my pants down and tried. My body didn’t respond the way you wanted so you stopped. You never asked. I cried in the shower trying to process what you were thinking. Later you told me what happened in the middle of the night.

You never asked, you also never checked to see if I was awake. I was out cold when you put your hand down my pants and just because I moaned does not mean I was awake. I somehow managed to block the incident out. But as I sat there asking God if I should fight for you after we broke up. It hit me like a freight train. I cried, screamed , didn’t want to leave bed. Worse of all I wanted to be done with life.

You knew I grew up being abused how could you do this to me too. How could you say I love you after that? Part of me believes you do not even realize what happened. Part of me is afraid you actually know. In a way the multiple times I cried when you laid next to me should have be a sign something was wrong. It’s amazing how our brain can shield you from pain.

I hope you never say I love you to another woman until you actually do love her.

Shared Stories

“This was my first experience of drink spiking.”

By Lauren

I was out last night with my mum, only went for a couple of drinks, and wanted to show her a new night club in town, I had work the next day so I only had about 3 drinks in the first pub knowing I had to be awake for work.

We met a friend of my mums and what I thought a friend of mine was, he is almost 30 years older than me. About 6ft big build he is a ex army, I’ve seen him on nights out before… and have kissed due to being drunk. He asked for my number one night which I gave him… not wanting anything sexual with him. I put the kiss down to being drunk and maybe craving some attention. He asked me to go round to his place a number of occasions, I’ve politely declined each time… making excuses.

Anyway he decided to come to the new nightclub I wanted to show my mum. He didn’t try to kiss me at all.. I had one more drink in the night club which he had bought for me, and within half hour of this I felt extremely drunk.. I couldn’t see straight and my legs started to give way on me. I was throwing up constantly.

My mum saw me and new instantly someone had spiked me, at the time I wasn’t aware, I lost all concept of time and was very unsteady on my feet, at the time not realising I had been spiked mum and this 50 year old “friend” carried me home. He had been carrying my bag on him and helped through the door. I laid down on the sofa and he came and sat next to me. This is where I lost my ability to speak and ability to move. I knew what was happening but my body and speech weren’t co operating with my head, he started to try and touch me. He was attempting to put his hands down my trousers and was touching my breasts under my top. I felt so defeated and vulnerable that I couldn’t get out the speech to stop. I had not given any consent to this and didn’t want it to happen I know what his intentions were.

My mum didn’t see most of this as she assumed as well as myself he was just a family friend. I think it may have been him that spiked my drink but could not be sure. My mum helped me to bed. And then this “friend” comes in and lifts the covers asks me why I’m sleeping in my clothes and attempts to undo my Jean’s and tells me to get my pjs on. I attempted to move from the bed to get my pjs for the pure fact I wanted him to stop trying to take my clothes off. My mum came in and told me to get into bed it didn’t matter what I was wearing. I eventually fell asleep. It’s been constantly running round in my head about what would have happened if my mum wasn’t there and what he would have done to me. I feel to blame too because I didn’t have the ability to tell him to stop. Even though I did not give consent. I haven’t been able to tell my mum he was touching me as she would have felt like she failed as a safe-guarder. Even though she may know what was happening but felt just as vulnerable as myself due to his size and build.

This was an awful experience and the thoughts of what could have happend are sickening. 

This was my first experience of drink spiking. Its 24 hours after and I still feel ill.

I was going to report it but by the time I had realised I had been spiked it was the next day and assumed I was to blame.

Shared Stories

Being in a relationship does not equal consent

By K.A.Y

It took me years to realize I actually was a victim. I always knew what had happened wasn’t right, but a part of me had always blamed myself. Could it even be called rape when we were in a relationship? Doesn’t it mean I wanted it if he was my boyfriend? It took too long for someone to explain to me that none of that meant anything. The moment he had taken advantage of my drunken state, the moment he wrapped his hand around my throat, the moment he bite my neck, the moment he entered me while I did my best to mumble out a “no”, it changed from consent to assault. And god, I wish, I truly wish it had ended there. But no, he continued to stalk me for months. In person, online. I eventually stopped going to school. I couldn’t handle the fact that I had to walk the halls everyday looking at him. Eventually, my family decided it was in my best interest to move, and so now I live six hours away. And yet, I still look over my shoulder everywhere I go. I still am barely able to be intimate with the man I love. But I’m alive, and I share my story with others to advocate that being in a relationship DOES NOT ALWAYS EQUAL CONSENT. My body is my body, relationship or not.

Shared Stories

A letter to my ex boyfriend, who said he couldn’t live with the image of my rape.

By an Anonymous Contributor

My immediate reaction upon waking up in a co-worker’s bed, naked, sore, and confused, was that I had drunkenly cheated on you. I searched for my glasses, unable to make out where I was, got dressed, and left. 

It was the morning after a Christmas party and, once away from my co-worker, I tried to remember what had happened. 

The only memories I had was of being choked and moved about by him. I thought “why was the sex so rough?” 

I’d never had sex like that.

Still, blaming myself for being drunk, and not knowing if I had tried to fight him off or if I had verbally expressed that I did not consent, I saw it as something I had sole responsibility for. I shouldn’t have been so drunk that I didn’t know what was happening.

I called you that day to tell you what had happened, leaving out the details of the choking, and not telling you that I knew I had been sodomised. I wasn’t ready to face what had happened to me, and I wasn’t ready to be labelled a victim. 

I told you that I had gotten drunk to the point of being unable to walk, and that I had woken up naked in bed with a co-worker I hadn’t even spoken to during the Christmas party. I told you that I couldn’t remember putting up a fight. 

You broke up with me, saying that this was something I had to live with. I accepted that. It was my fault for getting drunk, I thought. 

After talking about it to a friend, I realised that I should not be ashamed to label myself a victim. What happened to me was not my fault, I was in no position to consent. 

I called you again, to tell you what had really happened that night. You knew that anal sex was something I never would have consented to. You said that you believed me and that you were sorry. 

You said that you wanted to get back together, but that you couldn’t look at me without the image of me being raped plaguing you. You said the image of me being raped had changed how you saw me.

You told me: “It makes me feel sick to know that some other guy has fucked you”. I protested, it wasn’t my fault that I had been taken advantage of. I hadn’t consented. 

“I know, but you’ve got to understand that this is hard for me.”

I couldn’t believe what you were saying. Hard for you? I lost everything that night because I had drank too much and took a taxi back with a co-worker. 

Hard for you? Imagine having to face your rapist every day because you can’t afford to quit your job. 

Imagine how you would feel if I had told you that I couldn’t love you now that someone else had “fucked” you. 

I hate you for using that word. I was raped, not fucked

Shared Stories

“Today is the day that I take my life back.”

By an Anonymous Contributor

I was 14 my life changed dramatically. A complete stranger molested me he touched me with his filthy hands my innocent body which had never been touched by a man before. After that I developed bulimia and I was always anxious I was afraid of every man and I thought I was going to see his face in every corner. I felt isolated from my friends I did not have interest on going out anymore not even meet new people. I lost my trust in people.

Was 17 and something even worst happened. One boy who had previously hit on me pushed his knee inside my anus inside the classroom in front of everyone. It was a year later that I realized that he assaulted me and according to the definition of fbi he might had even raped me. I was afraid of close spaces and buses I thought everyone was touching me even if it was by accident I hated myself so much that I wanted to die.

Only now almost two years later I have forgiven myself and I have realized that none of these are my fault. All of these are their fault. Today is the day that I take my life back from them and I begin to love myself again.

Shared Stories

I would get nightmares about it and couldn’t concentrate in school.

By an Anonymous Contributor

I was 14 when this happened. It was on a Wednesday after school. My ex-boyfriend (I was friends with him) asked me to come over to his house to hangout. I asked if there was going to be anyone else and he said there were going to be his friends so I agreed to go. He walked me to his room.

When I got there, there was no one but just the two of us. He locked the door. I felt a little uncomfortable but I didn’t think anything was going to happen. Then he suddenly forced me to go on my knees and takes his penis out. I told him NO several times but he didn’t listen to me and shoved it in my mouth. I was choking and started hitting his legs as hard as I can. He soon took it out and slapped me really hard. I quickly stood up and tried to leave but he picked me up and thrown me on his bed. I was petrified. He then forced his fingers in my vagina and touched my breasts. He would slap me or hit me really hard if I tried to escape or scream. I was crying all I wanted to do was to leave. He then turned me over and forced his penis in my butthole I screamed and kicked and did everything I could to get away but nothing worked. Then after he let me go. I ran home crying my eyes out and told no one. I felt suffocated and scared.

I would get nightmares about it and couldn’t concentrate in school. The worst thing was that I had to see him every single day. He also told everyone in my class and all his friends that I sold myself to him and everyone started to call me a slut. I couldn’t do anything and felt helpless but I had 2 friends who didn’t know the truth as I told no one but didn’t believe him either. Till this day I have not told anyone about this but I thought I should share my story.

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“He was my cousin.”

By M.

He was my cousin. I was 5, and he was 16 or 17. We were in his house, with our parents on the floor below. He pulled me into his lap, with his arms around me so I couldn’t move or get away. I didn’t understand what was going on but I knew it was wrong. I told him “I don’t like it,” and he said “We did this all the time when you were little. You used to love it.” But I had no remembrance of that. All I knew was that my mother told me not to let anyone touch me below my hips or on my chest. I told him to stop but he kept touching me and I was terrified. When his brother walked in, I was relieved. I thought he would help. But he didn’t. He just told my cousin to let me go, and walked out. I don’t remember what happened after but I remember he eventually let me go. I remember scrambling out of his arms and running down the stairs to my mom. I didn’t cry or scream or shout. I just said “____ was touching me here,” while pointing to my body. “I told him to stop but he wouldn’t let me go.” And that’s when the memory ended. I blocked it out of my mind for so long but a few years ago, I remembered. I woke up from the nightmare and it all came rushing back. It explained everything. Why my chest tightened and my heart sped up whenever I was alone with an older man. Why I wondered if my friends’ dads were waiting to get me alone to hurt me. I knew my fears were probably just me being paranoid but I found out why. I am so angry and furious but I am also thankful, not to him, never to him. But to myself, for getting past it, and involving myself in movements to prevent sexual violence.

Shared Stories

“Blackmail and threats”

By an Anonymous Contributor 

I was 14 years old. I was dating my first boyfriend, and we were hanging out with the same group of people. No alcohol, no drugs, just a few kids playing basket and listening to music.

I had a fight with my boyfriend and we were missing a ball, so I offered to get one from my flat. This one guy offered to come with me. We were friends, I had known him for over a year.

In the building he asked to see a room in the garage where some people from our group sneak to make out. Showed him. No problem.

We got into the lift and he just took out his penis as started pushing my head down to suck him off. I didn’t want to. I said no. He kept insisting and pushing saying things like “You knew what we were coming here for”, “Don’t be a tease and finish what you started”, and the magic combination “Otherwise I will tell everyone you did it anyway and what a whore you are”.

I was 14 and I already seen what happened to the girls that got the “slut” tag on them, whatever real or not. It was always juicer to believe it was true.

I let him push it inside my mouth like 2 times then the lift ride was over. I was shaken by this. We walked inside my parents flat, took the ball, I took the stairs down and he acted like it never happened.

Funny thing, one day when I was 18-19, I got really drunk and could not stop crying. My friends and boyfriend were scared.

I woke up next morning and just remembered this. I don’t know how or when but at some point my mind blocked it.

I was with my boyfriend for 6 years and he was shocked when I told him this, asking why I never told him before. He even knew some of the people involved.

I just “forgot” all about it at some point, never remembered until that morning.

I felt ashamed and guilty, as I let him do it at the end, and except that morning that I remembered it I never told anyone else about it… it wasn’t until I was 24 that my little cousin was abused that I talked about it again… with her.

After that, I have became more familiar with the fact that he forced me with blackmail and threats into it, and that is also violence, but I still feel ashamed and worried someone will think it was on me. However I try to overcome it and discuss it to help the victim stigma go away.

Shared Stories

“I ask of you to live with what you’ve done, like I’ll try to survive it for many years to come.”

By Berenice 

My abuser managed to send me an email through the only address I hadn’t blocked him from. Shaken by this, I wasn’t sure how to respond. He begged me to answer, asked for forgiveness, told me of his pain and his nightmares. Answering him on my private address seemed too personal, too intimate for a criminal. Posting this here gives me the space to talk without feeling like I’m just addressing my demons directly. I’m also tired of private apologies when publicly he’s seen as a cool guy and I’m the liar. So this is what I wrote in return.

The most difficult thing for me was burying you.

Once I managed to get myself out of my hole of misery, once I was able to go out without wanting to die, once I could manage during the day, the nights and the terrors came.

It’s nice enough they waited that long.

Flashbacks mostly, and I can manage that. I’ve had them every day since early morning on the 2nd of July 2017. They come when I hear a particular breathing, they come when my closest friends surprise me from behind, when someone touches my neck or just when I hear too much noise.

They come when I think I see you in a crowd.

No the worst wasn’t the nightmares, the worst was the dreams. The dreams where you weren’t the abuser. When you were my friend, my soul mate comforting me because something bad had happened to me. The ones with solar hugs solving everything and nothing. The ones where I would wake up happier than I’d been for a long time, only to realise after a second that it wasn’t the case. You can’t imagine how fucked up it is to dream you get along with the man who raped you. To wish it so deeply in your heart. To cry in your shower because you miss your friend, cry out of anger because he decided to take that away from you.

Mourning the loss of you was and still is difficult.

I live with PTSD, I live with depression, I heal and every now and then it’s bad, but I always get back up and I’m fucking proud of what I’ve achieved and the fact that I survived.

Two weeks ago I went to a gig in Brixton and I thought I’d seen you.

I had to leave. I cried so hard because of the time I’m missing, because of the many spaces you’ve taken away from me, because sometimes I’m weak. But this is nothing compared to being in class, surrounded by all those people who don’t know the old B, who don’t know what happened either and I have a panic attack right there and then because the name of an old friend I thought was dead appeared in my email.

You’re a persistent ghost, and I think you will always be with me whether I want it or not.

I live my life running away from any proof you still exist because I can’t bear to understand the truth: the one I once loved so deeply destroyed me with nothing but his will against mine, empty promises, and a shit load of fucking lies. And if I want to respect myself and survive, I can never see him again.

Plato said we’re just all halves of a whole, roaming the Earth in search of our other half, and although in moments of doubts I think ‘That’s it, I’ve found mine and he was so cruel to me I can never stand to see his face’, when I have hope..

When I have hope D, I don’t think of you.

When I think of a happy future, I don’t think of you.

When I think of love, I don’t think of you.

You’re the monster lurking in my darkest hours, you’re the friend I sometimes remember when I’m with others and we’re talking about uni, it’s bittersweet but I always keep it bland.

Even writing to you right now seems so surreal.

You belong to a life I was forced to leave behind, somewhere where I trusted people and most of all myself, somewhere where I didn’t need therapy and a support group to be sure I won’t end my life.

You ask if there is something you could do for me?

The worst is done and I’m not sure where this can go, but I think the best you could do is just wish me good luck. When I feel like I’m drowning, wish me the best.

In my first message to you, I asked you to please get some help, to educate yourself on consent and be sure never to do the same to another woman. I’m not sure you followed that.

Knowing you, you probably went in full denial until you were in too deep and were forced to accept reality. Maybe me pressing charges was that moment, if that’s the case, good, I intended it that way. It was never meant to hurt you like you hurt me and get revenge, that’s not who I am and you know it.

I’m never going to feel sorry for you, whether you’ve been through a lot or not.

This is not a contest but the difference between both of us is that you’re entirely guilty for the pain you’re feeling right now.

You’re also guilty for mine.

I ask of you to live with what you’ve done, like I’ll try to survive it for many years to come.

I ask of you never to do the same to someone else.

I ask of you to leave me be, doing it without you is now the only way.

Shared Stories

Sexual Assault: ‘Forgiveness’

By an Anonymous Contributor

02.08.19. Forgiveness

Right away I wanted to forgive you. To accept that bad things happen, embrace my inner strength and generosity, decide that it was fine. I would come out more kind, more warm, put it behind me as a test of character I was able to learn from. But that isn’t what happened. I am cold, I am anxious, I am self-conscious, I am stuck. And sometimes more than anything else, I am mad. Nowadays every time something small happens, I am brought back to an ever-growing list of bad experiences and I am propelled into a fury I didn’t even know I had the capacity to feel. I’ve wanted to hurt you, emotionally and physically. I’ve daydreamed about seeing you scared. Feeling the fear that I felt. I wanted to become strong, a good fighter, I wanted a redo where I win. I want your friends to know what you are. Your family to know what you are. And thinking about this anger makes me insane, and I don’t know what to do with it, because until now I have rarely been angry. I want it to go away. More than anything else, I want you to say sorry, and I want to forgive you.

But you won’t do that, and it’s hard. How can I forgive someone without remorse? You seem almost inhuman to me. I looked you in the eyes, begged you, told you how scared I was, asked for your compassion from one human to another. And you didn’t give it to me. Do you think of that night often, like me? Do you remember it in your saddest moments? The anguish you caused, the hurt you made another person feel? Do you wonder if I’m okay now? If it was reversed, that night would haunt me all the time. Or did you stay remorseless, unmoved, entitled? The scariest thought – have you done it again?

Now seven months have passed, and I want desperately to finally move on. To be able to talk with people about my experience entirely in the past tense, when it isn’t something I still struggle with. I don’t know how exactly, and I don’t know if it will ever be completely behind me, but I want to feel at peace. I think I am ready to forgive you. This doesn’t mean what you did is okay, or that you deserve to be free from guilt. But it means that genuinely, with all my heart, I hope you can learn. I hope that this doesn’t haunt you, but that it changed you, has made you grow. I hope you can become better. I am rooting for you.

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Sexual Assault: I am 19 and I am a victim of two cases of sexual assault

By an Anonymous Contributor

I have been sexually assaulted twice within my lifetime. I am 19.

The first time I was sexually assaulted was a little over two years ago. July 2016. I was about to start my senior year of high school. I was talking to a boy from another school and I was thoroughly convinced he was “all that.” He was so sweet to me, he would tell me I’m beautiful and he would laugh at my jokes. Looking back, it is so silly to think that this is what started this down-hill slope. We had decided to hangout that day, we were going to watch a movie at his house before we both had to work. I went over there. I remember shaving my legs just in case his leg touched mine. How innocent is that?

I had no idea what was going to happen. Mind you this is my first time ever being touched by a boy. I thought “oh we might kiss a little.” but no. He laid me down and put his hands down my pants. I tried to stop his hand with mine but that failed. I remember being confused as to what was going on. He then took my hand and placed it in his pants. I tried to remove it but then he placed it back. I remember the words “oh shit” flashing in my head in bright yellow lights. I remember thinking “I guess this is what’s supposed to happen?”

This whole situation bothered me for over a year. It bothered me because I was so altered by it, but I was not sure what to label it. At the time I did not believe I could label this as sexual assault because I never verbalized the word “no” and at that moment, I never said “I don’t want this.” After discussing it with my close friends I became to understand, “Yes is not the absence of no.” This has stayed with me every day since.

The second time this happened was less than 2 months ago. It was the middle of this past December (2018). There was this friend I had. We would hang out sometimes and every once in a while, it would be a little more than that. At this time, I was done with that. I was not comfortable with it. He was not someone I wanted to have sex with. I made this very clear. He invited me to come over at a late hour, but I wasn’t tired, so I went. We were on his tiny couch watching That 70’s Show on Netflix.

He kept asking me if I wanted to go to the bedroom and I said “no.” At some point he decided to pull me off the couch and into the room. We laid there for a couple of minutes. I thought “this is weird because we are just laying here and there isn’t any tv on or anything.” At some point he stopped talking. He climbed on top of me and started kissing me.

I stopped and said “What are you doing? I am not hooking up with you.” and he stopped and rolled over. Five minutes later he did the same thing and I repeated myself and he rolled off of me again. The next time he did not roll off as I repeatedly asked him to stop. Instead he proceeded to put his hands down my pants. I had to physically push him off of me and tell him to stop. He laid there for another couple of minutes before he was on top of me again.

At this point I could not say anything. I was scared. I could not talk. The words “you need to get out of here” repeating in my head in my own voice. The thing is…I was scared to leave. I was scared if I tried, he wouldn’t let me. I was scared that my friend was going to rape me. So, I didn’t move. I had my hands grasping each other so that when he would try (which he did try) to pull my hand into his pants my hand wouldn’t move. He then pulled my pants down and started rubbing his penis on my stomach and thighs. When I did not respond as he wanted me to he said “you can leave if you want.” I got up and left.

I think about these events every day. I know that there are things I could have done to prevent them. I know I shouldn’t have gone to their houses or I should have used my voice to say “no” rather than be scared. I also know that this was not my fault. I am 19 and I am a victim of two cases of sexual assault. There were parts of me taken on those two days. That is something I have to live with every day. While there are things I could have done to prevent these instances that does not put me at fault. I am not to blame I am the victim. #NotGuilty

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To my Rapist: I never had my turn in court

By an Anonymous Contributor

Maybe this will be therapeutic. I never had my turn in court. Names have been changed.

To my rapist…

I’ve been having this recurring dream. I’m in a house where everything is made of glass, my Mum is there when a girl appears. She’s trying to get to me, to hurt me. She keeps picking up things to use against me but my Mum just calmly takes them off her and there’s no place to hide. Then you turn up. Handsome and smiling. Telling me you love me and you’re going to marry me, and you lead me right to the girl. My Mum can’t stop it and the girl stabs me in the side while you tell me it’s all okay. And then I realise she’s an angel and I wake up.

Dream you is the first version of you I remember. The version I saw on Tinder. Swiped right on. The version that messaged me and told me how beautiful I was and called me to talk to me for hours. The version I picked up for coffee that night. We made one mocha last 5 hours. You made me feel excited about what was to come. I was cautious and guarded and you told me I had no reason to be. Let my guard down. So I kissed you and you told me how you believed in love at first sight and that we were going to be good. You told me everything I wanted to hear. How I lifted you up and made you better. Before me it was dark.

My nickname became Mrs Smith. You sent me messages that were almost poetic and made me feel like I was floating. You were my good karma finally coming back to me. We couldn’t wait to be together. And when we finally got into that hotel room it was like two waves colliding into each other. Intertwined. All over each other. Laughing, loving… You held me close and told me you loved me and that you knew I felt the same way towards you. I don’t know what I felt, but I liked it in your arms. And then we went out and danced and laughed and you called me yours.

Then later back in the room I was feeling on cloud nine. We were wrapped up in each other when I giggled “no babe”.

Then the giggling stopped. I begged you to stop. Over and over. I kept saying your name to get you to see me. You looked right through me. You kept telling me you loved me and were going to marry me. It hurt. I cried. Your hand at my throat. It wasn’t until I threatened to scream that you stopped.

Then it was your turn to cry. And I felt bad for you. You’d got carried away. You made me say what you had done. “Tell me what I did to you!” You told me you were twisted and had never intended to rape me and you were sorry. Then you left. And I panicked. I needed you to come back. If you did you could be the guy who I thought you were and who had just gotten carried away and we could make this better. If not…you were something else. You came back. And I made it better.

The next morning there was a shift. You were distant. Hungover. Until it came time for us to say goodbye. Maybe you could sense my anxiety rising because in the car park you grabbed me and hugged me and told me how you loved me and kissed me. The kiss that would save you.

You were in my head all day. Underneath the numbness, I ached. I text you to tell you you needed to have some thinking time. You weren’t happy. Then I asked you why you did that to me. I couldn’t bring myself to type the word “rape”. Then it crystallised for me when my phone pinged. “I saw your fear and I liked it”. Would you do this to me again? “I can’t predict the future.”

Sat in a supermarket car park, I crumbled. Reading over the texts. I rang my best friend crying. I never call. She picked up straight away and in a voice that cracked asked me what would I do if it were her or one of my sisters?

So I walked inside and fell down crying in front of my Step mum and dad. And I cried. In front of the police officer in my front room, in the arms of my teenage sisters – they didn’t know that I did it for them. You text. “I’m sorry”.

I was stripped naked in front of a doctor, a police officer and a camera on record when you sent your last message – “you called the police?” I didn’t reply. It was too late. My dad pacing silently outside the door. He still hasn’t said anything about it. My Mum on the motorway, crying, 5 hours away from walking through my door.

Armed with a letter from the police, the nurse at A&E read it. She got tears in her eyes and stroked my hair and told me I was beautiful. I didn’t feel it. I felt stupid and naive. She had me wait in a side room away from everyone else to protect me. I fell asleep with my step mum watching over me in between pills and injections. The lovely little nurse coming in with a sandwich and orange juice at 3am. “This one is going to be sore. I’m sorry”. And I cried again.

Waking up at home my Mum and sister had made the drive to see me. She didn’t know what to do. So she tidied up around me and took me for coffee and to buy me a dressing gown. It’s really soft. It makes me feel safer. She held my hand at the GUM when they talked to me about PrEP. You were low risk they said, but how much did I trust you? It could make me very sick. For the next month every time I threw up it was a reminder of you.

You on the other hand seemed to move on fast. You met a girl within a month and less than two weeks later she was calling herself Mrs Smith too. She has a bible verse posted on her Instagram. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” That makes me sad.

The vision I have of you twists into something else. The poetic texts turned out to be quotes from Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. The way you huddled me in the corner of the bar and had your hand on my throat as you kissed me wasn’t you being charming, it was you being possessive. You insulted the two women who were nice to us and used it to compliment me. “They’re nothing in comparison to you. You’re gorgeous, they’re ugly”. You took my bank card out of my back pocket without me realising it and laughed when I panicked about it. You didn’t give it me back until after I cancelled the card. “Look after your stuff better. People can take advantage.”

Only 5% get charged. It’s what you say vs what I say but not everyone has messages like I have on my phone. I read them when I doubt myself. When I have to sit in an office and have a recorded interview. When I have to give my phone to the police to copy. I’m not allowed to delete them. I’m not allowed to go to therapy yet. It’ll be okay. I have the messages.

But you have that kiss on CCTV. In the car park of the hotel from the morning after. And I don’t have internal injuries. The sergeant tells me that he knows what happened. That you complimented me at every turn and manipulated me and the messages are “alarming” and “compelling evidence”. It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. But a jury might not believe me. And that’s it. No further action.

Now I have a different vision of you. When I think of you now I think of the child you were. You told me how you hated your mum for keeping your dad from contacting you after he left. You told me stories about how you used to sit in the tattoo shop while she had some more ink and you always wanted to have that bulldog tattoo, holding up his fists ready to fight. You must have felt quite angry. Causing trouble and bouncing between schools. You hate your baby’s Mum. You called her “it”. I found out her name later. She looks like me. I hope you didn’t hurt her too.

If I could go to the little boy version of you sat in the tattoo shop wondering where Dad was I’d give him a hug and tell him he’s worth loving. That he can be so much more than he thinks he can be. But it’s too late now and I can’t fix what has happened. You’re a tornado tearing up lives as you pass through. You’re a loaded gun and your bullet grazed me. But it’s just a wound. And it will heal. I think time will reveal that in the end you’re not the only one who got off lightly

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An Open Letter to My Rapist

By an Anonymous Contributor 

An open letter to my rapist:

I have tried to write this letter so many times I have lost count. Every time I start to write this I am so overcome with my emotions that I cannot continue. But, today, January 4th, 2019, is the day you will no longer have that power over me. This day has no significance aside from being the day where I belong to myself again. I am in control again. I am strong again…

On August 27th, I met you while my head was out a car window, vomiting profusely. My hair was covered in vomit and my makeup was smeared across the entirety of my face after I had gotten kicked out of a bar for not being able to stand up. To most, I looked like a typical college freshman who didn’t know how much alcohol she could handle. But to you, I was simply easy prey. You thanked my friend for handing me over to you, as if I was a prize you had won, and walked me up six flights of stairs to your room. You then proceeded to have sex with me as I threw up in your bed. There is a blurry area when it comes to consent and alcohol consumption, but there was no blurry area that night. How could I possibly have consented when I could not even recall what happened the following day. I may not have known what your face looked like, but I knew your heart. You had enough nerve to have sex with a drunk, sick girl while she threw up in your bed. From that, I knew everything I needed to know about your morals.

What kills me the most is how long I have spent blaming myself for your actions. If I hadn’t drank so much or if I had dressed more conservatively maybe I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this. But, it did happen. I was raped. But the truth is, if you hadn’t raped me I know in my heart it would have been someone else. This wasn’t a mistake or a coincidence, you knew what you were doing was wrong and you put your pleasure above my entire life and future anyway. I promise you, you will not break me. You will only make me stronger. I refuse to continue to live with guilt and shame while you life free of worry. I wish your life was affected like mine was. I couldn’t protect myself from you and that absolutely kills me but I am done reliving that night. Although I will live with the impacts of your actions for the rest of my life, I will use them to help others. I will use them to help other girls whose lives are forever scarred by monsters like you. You have made my mission very clear.

I wish you understood the pain you have caused me but there is no possible way for you to know. There is no way for you to know what it is like to listen to your father crying when you call him and tell him you were raped. There is no way for you to know what it is like learning about rape in a class and having 20 of your peers watch you cry. There is no way for you to know what it is like to skip lunch simply because you are afraid to see your rapist in the dining hall. There is no way for you to know what it is like staring at the ceiling each night for hours on end because you know if you close your eyes you will see your rapist’s face.

There are a few things I hope everyone and anyone who reads this takes away from this: 1. It can happen to anyone. In high school, I always had pepper spray on me and was willing to voice my opinion about anything I felt strongly about. I liked to think this is why I appeared strong willed and why very few people ever messed with me. But, if I’m being honest, that would be because my dad is a police officer. It seems like since I could walk my dad has been teaching me how to protect myself but even that was not enough. In high school I rarely drank and when I did it seemed I was always the one caring for my sick friends. I never thought this would happen to me because of how aware I am of myself and my surroundings, but it did. I let my guard down. When you see a girl who is too drunk, make sure she gets home safely. When you see a girl is uncomfortable from a boy’s actions, intervene. When you know something isn’t right, report it. Although it is overwhelming and terrifying, remember it could happen to someone else next. And that “someone else” is someone’s daughter or sister or best friend, just like you.

2. It is not your fault. I have spent countless hours feeling sorry for myself and then immediately feeling anger and guilt for pitying myself. Give yourself time to grieve but do not let it consume you. You are allowed to get drunk. You are allowed to wear what you want. If you blame yourself for simply living your life, your rapist is winning. None of this is your fault. Remember that. Try not to feel guilty for your friends and family. I know it’s hard but they are only hurting so much because they care about you so much.

3. It will get easier. I have turned to a lot of quotes that resonated with me to help me but my favorite is a Maya Angelou quote. She writes, “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” In a few years I hope I am stronger from what I have experienced, but for now, I’m working on it and that is okay too. You can’t heal overnight, I’m reminded of that quite often. But what gets me through is knowing that down the road, maybe, just maybe, I will be able to help girls that have also been raped because of what I have gone through.

In a few years, I hope you see my name in a newspaper or on tv and are reminded of the selfish actions you took on August 27th. And in a few years, I hope I no longer see your face or remember your name. I will succeed because of you. I will succeed not because I need to prove you wrong but because I know, I can beat this. I will succeed for me. I am strong. This will not break me, I will not let it. I am no longer your victim. You no longer own me.

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Did you know? How scared I was

By an Anonymous Contributor

Did you know? How much I liked you? I mean, you must have. How could you have missed the childish grin on my face when you told the others that we were going to stay alone. I was so excited, I had no idea what you had planned. I’m still embarrassed to admit that I actually thought you liked me too. You kept calling me your ‘baby’, funny how you referred to me as a child when you were about to steal my youth away from me.

Did you know? I had never drunk like that before. I guess that didn’t matter to you though, for you kept pouring it down my throat and laughing at my innocence. One should have been enough, two at a push. But you forced them on me as if I’d been in the Sahara Desert for weeks and I was in desperate need for liquid. You waited until I was unable to hold myself steady, and then like some twisted hero you carried me in your arms while the world around me slowly began to fall apart.

Did you know? That I was barely 16, I had never been touched before. The furthest I’d gone was a clumsy kiss with an inexperienced boy and I was terrified. But you were older, you knew exactly what to do, you made that very clear. You lay me down, barely conscious, and removed my clothing with such ease I didn’t even realise it had happened. But then I felt the pain, fuck it hurt. And then I don’t remember anything apart from darkness. It was so dark.

Did you know? How scared I was, waking up and you weren’t there. Hearing some girl that I’d only just met crying at the sight of me. Feeling so heavy as if my head was buried under layers of stone. Unable to lift myself but conscious that I was surrounded in blood and vomit. Vaguely aware it was mine.

Did you know? I had to lie to my own parents. I could not face telling them what had happened, fear of how they would react, how my dad would come and find you. Funny how I protected you, even after you stole everything from me. A large part of me was so deeply ashamed of what I had done – as if it were my fault – that I did not tell anyone the depth in which you hurt me for years.

Did you know? How badly I scarred? For months after it happened I would sit on the toilet having to bite my hand just to stop the scream from escaping my lungs. It felt like a fire was blazing between my legs every single time.

Did you know? The shame I felt, sitting in a nurse’s room with my legs separated whilst strangers were deep inside me. Closing my eyes, trying desperately to hold back the tears, whilst they examined me in such detail I was sure they had memorized my insides.

Do you know? I still can’t fully appreciate the touch of another man. It is hard for me to tell my body that it’s okay, that I am allowed to enjoy the feeling, it still feels wrong. It’s been 8 years.

I wonder if you’ll ever know.

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“He was found Not-Guilty, and since then, (almost a year since the trial) I’ve been able to start again with my life.”

By an Anonymous Contributor 

It was a warm, summers evening, a Saturday when me and two of my friends had planned a night out in our local town, one of my friends was staying over with me, I was living at my parents house at the time, me and my friend who was staying over got ready whilst having a few glasses of wine, and then walked into town to meet our other friend at our favourite bar, we were tipsy from the wine, and looking forward to a girly night out. We met up with our friend in the bar and decided to have some Portuguese Sangria, we sat outside in the warm and sunny summers evening drinking the sangria, chatting, laughing and taking selfies, we were all single, feeling free, confident, and having fun together.

After a while we decided to go to another bar, which was very quiet, so decided to return to the first bar, when we entered the bar, we were greeted by a chap that we knew, and would see out regularly at weekends, he greeted us and asked us what we were drinking, we said we like Prosecco, and so he proceeded to order a bottle from the bar which was brought over to us and put in one of those wine holder stands with ice in, I thought that was a bit Flash, but felt treated and ‘special’, we all chatted, and had a laugh together, we chatted to people we knew, and had a fun evening, at one point I said to one of my friends I was going to the ladies, she came with me, in there she told me that this chap had been rubbing ‘himself’ against her and whispering things he’d like to do to her in her ear, she pushed him away and laughed it off.

I felt disgusted hearing this, and said let’s keep away from him! So we distanced ourselves when we returned to the bar. A bit later when us ladies decided we were going to go home, we said our goodbyes to friends and the chap heard us, he said, “I’ll walk you home.”

I replied sternly, “there’s no need, there’s three of us!”

But he followed us out of the bar! I just thought, ah he’ll probably just chat to us whilst we walk and then go off home, but he didn’t, he caught up with one of my friends who we were walking to her house first, he was asking her if she had any drink at hers, and if he could come in for a drink, she replied: “nope, I’m tired and I’m going straight to bed!”

He was pestering her, but she wasn’t having any of it, we said our goodbyes to her and she went into her house, me and my friend who was staying over continued to walk home, and this chap was tagging along with us, I didn’t feel threatened or anything as I was with my friend, and just assumed he would leave us to walk to his house, but he didn’t, he asked me if I had any drink in the house, and I said there won’t be much, if any, I could tell he wanted more alcohol, even though he’d told us he’d been out at the races all day drinking! I thought, ok well he’ll come in for one drink and then go, all three of us went into the house (my parents we’re away that weekend – which at some point I’d mentioned in passing) I found some JD & coke and asked the chap and my friend if they’d like one, I poured us all a drink and we sat down in the living room, I took a sip and just thought, I’d had enough and just wanted my bed.

We all chatted, my friend went outside for a cigarette and at some point came back in and said she was heading off to bed, I stood up as I wanted to go to bed too, as I was tired and I knew I had a long journey the following day, he stood up and just grinned at me, but he didn’t look as if he was going to leave, so as I was desperate to go to bed, I said, “look, you’re welcome to have the sofa, I’ll get you a blanket.”

He just grinned, I ran upstairs and got a throw and a pillow out of the airing cupboard, I brought them downstairs and put them on the arm of the sofa near where he’d been sitting, he lunged towards me and tried to kiss me! I pushed him away and said “Whatcha doing!?” He just grinned at me, I said “I’m going to bed now, night!” And closed the living room door behind me and went upstairs, I got my pjs on, my friend was upstairs getting into her (spare room) bed too, I cleaned my teeth etc, went into my parents bedroom (as that’s where I was staying) closed the door, and got into bed and fell asleep immediately. It wasn’t until the very early hours that I woke, I was lying on my side, facing the curtains, it wasn’t dark but wasn’t light either, and I quickly came to the realisation that ‘he’ was behind me, inside me, thrusting in and out, and I’d been asleep! I shouted out “I don’t want to have sex!” He withdrew himself, OMG what was happening, why was this happening, to me? My mind was racing, I was in shock, I felt frozen, I couldn’t move, I didn’t know what to do, was it a dream? A nightmare? Did I ask for this?

I don’t remember him getting into bed with me, I don’t want this, I couldn’t scream, I did t know what he might do to me, so I stayed in the same foetal position, hoping he wouldn’t hurt me, I remember at some point he whispered in my ear “I wanna fuck you!” and “You’re naughty!” I was in shock, I didn’t want this man near me, I didn’t want to have sex! He made me touch his penis, he held my hand on it, and moved it up and down, it felt hard and hot, I felt disgusted, I didn’t want to touch him!

I took my hand away, and told him, “you better go to the bathroom and sort yourself out.” I didn’t want him to ejaculate anywhere near me, he went to the bathroom, I lay there thinking what the hell has just happened, I pulled up my pj bottoms as they’d been pulled down below my bottom, I thought, ok act normal, he won’t hurt me then, I sat up in bed, he came back and got into bed, we made chit chat about the night out, a few minutes later, my friend opened the door of the bedroom and looked at us both in shock, she then said “Oh, er morning, are you ok?” I said “Yes” and then she asked if we wanted a cuppa, we said “yes please” she went downstairs and we both got out of bed and he put his clothes on, and we went downstairs, the atmosphere was weird, I didn’t speak, I was in shock, he said he’d have to go and catch a train, so we said bye and he was gone.

My friend asked me if we’d had sex, and I said “No”, and to be honest I didn’t know what had happened or why. It wasn’t until a week later that I was thinking about that night and realised I’d been raped, I googled it, I was looking up things like unwanted sexual experiences, this expression doesn’t exist, everything pointed to rape which I didn’t want it to be. I tried to forget about it, I tried to deny it had ever happened, I felt ashamed, I felt dirty, I felt Guilty!

I got on with my life, I got a new job, I went on dates, I continued to go out, and act ‘normal’ until I met my future Husband, I knew he was right for me, we had such a laugh together, he looked after me, he valued me like no ther man ever has, it was when we’d been seeing each other for six months, (over a year after the event) I felt ‘ready’ to tell him what happened that night, he was obviously shocked and saddened, after discussing it at length with this two friends and my new chap, I eventually decided to report it to the Police, I knew it was the right thing to do, even though I was very scared, the Police were amazing, and the Counsellor at Rape Crisis, it was then that I started to suffer, I couldn’t go to work, I was getting flashbacks, I became paranoid and anxious, I wouldn’t/couldn’t leave the house, I thought ‘he’ was going to come into the house and kill me, it was horrendous, I kept this all from my parents, and to this day, they don’t know anything about it.

Finally my case went to Crown Court, two years after reporting it to the Police which was horrendous, I was on antidepressants, and had CBT therapy through the NHS to help my PTSD which was pretty bad, the trial lasted a week, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, stand up in court and answer detailed questions about that night and what happened, but it wasn’t fair, he paid for a Defence Barrister who grilled me, she tried to twist my account, it was terrible, I didn’t cry, but I wanted to vanish into a hole in the ground. He was found Not-Guilty, and since then, (almost a year since the trial) I’ve been able to start again with my life, to gradually become more confident and go out, me and my chap had a failed IVF cycle which was a blow, we also got married – and had the best day of our lives. We’ve been through the mill and come out the other side, I feel different since that night, a part of me died, but I’ve grown stronger, and more determined than ever before, to do what I want to do, I’m a fighter, I’m a Survivor, and I will not let this ruin me.