“There are no excuses”

**Trigger Warning: rape**

I was raped before I came to university. I’m a second year now and I’m only just starting to talk about it. I was raped by my boyfriend. At that point we’d been in a relationship for about 2.5 years, and after it happened we carried on dating for another year. In retrospect I don’t know what I saw in him. He never made me feel good enough and spent all his time telling me I wasn’t funny, telling me all my friends were bitches and telling me how he wanted me to dress, act and stand. He never did anything outright abusive but I was afraid of his temper. That night we were at a party and we went upstairs. Before anything happened I told him that I didn’t want to have sex that night and he said that was fine, but after a few minutes of kissing he presumed I’d changed my mind. He didn’t ask, he just pinned me down and did it. I didn’t know what to do because I loved him, I thought he was the best man I knew and I didn’t think he was capable of doing this, so I just froze up and lay there. After a while he stopped, and after that neither of us discussed the incident ever again. I don’t like thinking of myself as a victim but I think I might be one. I didn’t trust easily before this happened but now I’m plain scared. I have to face up to the fact that every time I want to have a sexual experience with somebody there’s a chance that this might happen again. I’m afraid. I’m starting to think that I will just be safer if I avoid intimate relationships altogether, but I know I won’t be happy living like that. I can’t stop thinking that if I tell a potential partner what happened to me they won’t treat me like a person any more: either as a broken, fragile thing that shouldn’t be touched or as ‘damaged goods’. I am afraid, but I know I won’t always be. Everything passes and this will too, it just might take a little while. I know I must learn to deal with what happened to me and this is my way of doing it. If my story upset you or triggered any negative memories, then I’m deeply sorry: that wasn’t my intention. My intention is to use my story as a weapon, or as a shield, or as something which will stop me and people like me from being hurt again. For years after this happened to me I couldn’t even call it rape; now I know exactly what it was and there are no excuses for it. There is absolutely nothing that can excuse what he did to me and now all I want to do is scream that this could never, ever be an acceptable way to treat your partner, your friend, or anyone else that comes into your life. Regardless of gender, sexuality, race, background, class, wealth or any other social distinction you would care to make: no-one deserves to be treated this way. Not me, and not anyone else. It is utterly and totally unacceptable. There are no excuses.


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