Hi I’m K and I’m a sexual assault and emotional abuse survivor. There’s probably going to be a few triggers in this for both you and myself. So if you don’t want to be triggered, you don’t have to read this. I’m going to attempt to write it in chronological order.
It was as my first year of university coming to a close. We were doing printmaking at the time. (I was an illustration student) I was a very lonely student. I ended up having to commute to and from university because things didn’t work out with my accommodation at the beginning of term. A severe case of homesickness, nothing else. As a commuting student it became hard to approach my fellow classmates at times. Parking rates were atrocious. So I thought I’d try online dating, not explicitly for dating only but to make friends outside of university as well. So the first two blokes I met up with were okay. Didn’t particularly agree with some things they said and the way one of them looked at me…
Then along came R (First letter of his first name) R messaged me without checking my profile, so naturally I was intrigued by this sudden interest in myself. I should probably mention that I had very low self-esteem at the time. We met up. Turned out he was also a student at my university. At the time I was quite happy about that. Soon enough though I would come to later regret letting that monster into my life.
During my first encounter with R he managed to get me to admit that I was bullied both throughout primary and secondary school. Looking back on it it does seem very odd, especially for a first date. At the end of the date he asked if I had kissed anyone before. I said yes, and he dismissed it completely. He also asked what my longest relationship was. At the time my longest relationship was for a couple of months. He dismissed it saying that it wasn’t a proper relationship. I think on our second meet up he asked me into his flat saying that he had forgotten his phone. So we went to go get it. I wanted to wait outside, I barely knew him but he insisted that I come inside to wait. Inside his room too. My immediate response was to sit on the floor when asked to take a seat. I didn’t want to sit on his bed, I think that’s rude unless you’re best friends/ in an monogamous relationship. He picked me up and placed me on his bed. He sat next to me, then moved in for a kiss, which turned into an make out session. I even asked what he was doing when he started to push me down onto the bed. This was pretty much my first make out session. At this point he had whipped off my shirt and was on top of me. I had my first panic attack! I’m actually quite thankful for having it. It got him to stop.
Those meetings continued for a few weeks. My university work was suffering big time too. I can’t remember exactly when this was but I remember having a lot of “love” bites on my neck. My word they hurt so much. They were like bad bruises where if you touched them they’d hurt more. My friends at the time told me it wasn’t normal to have someone doing that to me outside of a monogamous relationship. We were still in the dating phase not the in a committed relationship thing. To be honest, I believe I may have been dissociating the whole time I was around R. The day of the assault was the day after my birthday. I was tired, as I’d just had a sleepover with my two amazing best friends. I had to go into the city to get some art stuff for uni and thought “Maybe R would like to accompany me round town” I told him I was tired and didn’t want to do anything. He insisted that I came back to his for a drink/lunch. I had a glass of water. Just to perk me up before the drive back. Now this is where is gets blurry. I don’t believe I was drugged, I think I would’ve tasted it. We were fully clothed, he made out with my face. This is how dissociated I was from my body. He stripped me down to my undies and tights. I don’t remember feeling all that present in the situation until he started to feel up my private area. I said no. He stopped for a bit then continued. I said no again, he stopped for a bit then continued. “But you’re enjoying it” I said No again. He continued… I couldn’t say or do anything to make him stop so I froze and to add insult to injury he called me a dead fish afterwards. This was all whilst I had my undies and tights on. So I wasn’t raped, thankfully. When that happened I knew instantly that something was wrong. He walked me to my car. The police station was about a 3 minutes walk away from his flat. We even walked straight past it to get to my car… He even gave me feedback, like I was a toy that was getting reviewed on amazon.
Now these parts I can’t place exactly in the timeline due to my memory being hazy. He choked me saying “Some girls like this”. I remember feeling so shocked about it `and not being able to say anything. There was also a webcam in the room. At one point I remember him talking with a few friends via the webcam and they were laughing at me. He even confirmed it. I lied to get out of the abusive relationship with him. I told him I believed in sex after marriage. He tried to act all respectful about it.
A couple of days after it was over I was a wreck. I don’t usually get caught up over break ups as much as that. I called him asking what was wrong with me. I was up at 4’o clock in the morning in the utility room hiding and not wanting to be heard by my parents. I remember calling myself an emotional train wreck. Each of R’s responses were abusive, he started calling me crazy. Pretty sure he still does.
But the thing is I wasn’t crazy at all my responses were a normal response to something that was abnormal. I went through and continue to battle my depression and anxiety demons. PTSD triggers are a bitch when I want to get intimate with special people.
Several months after the assault, I entered another abusive relationship unwittingly. My self esteem was non existent at this point so I would try and do anything to get it back up even taking on another relationship. Don’t get me wrong at that point I had a crush on the guy I was seeing. This time it was purely emotional abuse. It lasted 4 months, because I saw him for what he was, an emotional and financial parasite. Even after I told him about what happened with R he continued to pressure me into doing things I didn’t want to do. Prying into things that I wasn’t ready to share. Crowding me on social media. It was constant messaging non-stop and when it wasn’t messaging he would be on face-time for at least 4 hours every single day. I remember hanging up on him once, politely and then not even a minute later he would call again. He even called my up on facetime one day telling me that I wasn’t doing or providing anything for him in the relationship. Erm… excuse me but who’s the one who was the one ferrying your ass around when you could’ve got the bus from the train station to mine as well as driving all the way up to up to yours too. There were a lot of other things I did just to please that person… Wish I hadn’t.
As I entered into my second year of university my bank account was a record low and it kept getting lower. I think that’s when I broke up with him via phone call. I didn’t feel safe breaking up with him in person; he seemed like the type of person that would hit someone if things didn’t go their way.
Now this is where it slowly begins to get positive. I failed my 1st year of university but I re-took it and passed. I continued to stay on my university course despite being paranoid that my assaulter could come out behind any corner in the city where I was based. I remember thinking, “I’m not letting him take my degree away too.“ Earlier this month I found out that I wouldn’t be getting the honors part of my degree because I didn’t get enough marks on my final major project. The thing is, during my final major project I went through a series of intense police interviews to report my assaulter only to find out that he couldn’t be convicted because I had waited too long. 1 and a half years. I wanted to report him the day it happened but couldn’t because he walked me back to my car… So many choices were stolen that day.
Okay, that’s the first time I’ve told anybody that, my word that felt good to get that out there.
I chose not to retake my final major project because my fight is over. Plus I still have an ordinary degree. He didn’t take away my degree, just the HONs. I also decided after a few months of leaving university that I was/am going to go back into college to become a mental health therapist. (Because my therapist was and is a star!) I want to give so much back to those who supported me back when I was pretty much walking corpse. Maybe I should have auditioned to be part of the walking dead zombie cast.
Since coming out of uni I have learnt that:
· I have choices
· I LOVE myself oh so much
· I should treat my mental health as a priority
· I should treat myself as THE priority, friends are pretty close too
· I am a badass for continuing a course where my assaulter was/is still attending
· I have become so much more self aware
· I am a human being worthy of being respected
· I can treat myself
I don’t feel like a normal 21 year old, but maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a normal 21 year old. Maybe just maybe, I’m supposed to be something more and so are you.
There are good sides to everything, even assault. We who survive become stronger.