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.