My housemate sexually abused me and I believed a dangerous lie: that he was my boyfriend
I graduated from uni not too long ago, but I’m still processing the trauma from my abusive housemates during my third year. I’m still learning the reality of it.
To try to summarise a complex situation, I was very innocent and extremely vulnerable at the time – just about surviving through uni. I ended up being sexually exploited by my male housemate/’friend’. He repeatedly sexually harassed/abused me, including rape. I never consented from the start, and could not consent because of being so vulnerable (emotionally and cognitively), due to recent and previous severe trauma.
He groomed, entrapped, manipulated, conditioned and exploited me. He made me feel so worthless. I became brainwashed very quickly (stolkholm syndrome) and trauma bonded with him under the constant emotional, sexual and sometimes serious physical abuse. It was so confusing, because he literally undermined my sanity and bent my reality to maintain power and control over me.
I believed a dangerous lie: that he was my boyfriend. I know it sounds strange, but it’s true – I looked up to him at the time, whilst taking on his shame and blame. It was such a twisted situation. I felt hopeless, helpless, powerless, ashamed and scared. I screamed many times because it was torturing abuse, yet I was drowning silently. I was in denial that it was abuse and instead believed the lie I was ‘crazy’.
Anyway, he was best friends with my female housemate/’friend’. They ganged up on me, whilst my resistance to the abuse was futile. It usually made the abuse worse and I was so desensitised, I didn’t realise it was ‘abuse’. She was extremely emotionally abusive and also physically assaulted me once. They tried to protect each other, and showed no respect for my life as they put my life in serious jeopardy. I may have reacted in some ways I’m not proud of, but I tried to survive in that environment.
The whole situation was extremely traumatising and became life threatening to me. My outside ‘friends’ were not real – as they victim blamed and shamed me, siding with my abusers. My abusers were popular and wanting to study medicine. They maintained power and control, whilst everyone trampled on my life as I was invalidated, devalued, discredited. I was pretty much shunned and ostracized, as my innocence, naivety and vulnerability were exploited.
I’m better than when I first escaped that house and situation. I’m physically away from all of them, but I sometimes struggle to deal with the pain and trauma of being silenced and dehumanised like this. There’s not much I can do about it, because everything has been turned against me so far.
They have no authority to tell me what my truth should or shouldn’t be. They can victim blame and shame me, silence me, dehumanise, devalue me, discredit me – anything to avoid the shame and blame that they know deep down is theirs. But I OWN my truth.