I Refuse To Let Him Take My VoiceI have been told throughout my life that when something bad happens you have three choices. Let it define you, defeat you, or strengthen you. I guess I never really understood this until I was raped. There, I said it, I was raped. And although my fingers are shaking slightly as I write this, I refuse to be silent anymore, I want people to hear my story. I refuse to give him my voice and although this way be a small way to speak out, I'm doing it anyway.
Before I was raped I was what you'd describe as 'normal' (if such a thing exists), I'd had a couple of boyfriends but they were never anything serious, I did well at school, loved my friends and never ever dreamed that anything like this would happen to me. I'm a middle-class, well-spoken, British girl, who lives in a good town where everyone knows each others business, girls like me don't get raped! I look back on my assumptions of who is and who isn't a rape 'victim' and laugh at my own stupidity. Rape is such a taboo, before it happened to me, rape was where girls walked through dodgy areas on their own in the middle of the night and were pulled into the bushes by some drunk. Of course this does happen, but most people are raped by somebody they know, like me.
So now for the difficult part. The night that changed my life forever. On the 12th of August 2011(364 days from today) my whole life was turned upside down, shaken up a bit and then thrown through a window, everything I knew changed. Thinking back to what I was doing nearly a year ago from today... I still feel raw and it has the power to paralyse and cripple me with fear and self-loathing, but I have to get it out, so no more delays, this is what happened
It was an exciting Friday night during the summer holidays. The last day my friends and I would have together before we would all be in different countries, on different continents with our families. In the next three days I would by lying in the sun on a beach in the Caribbean getting some much needed vitamin D. So we decided to get together, after all we are best friends and wouldn't be seeing each other until September, a million years to all of us.
So I found myself with my five best friends, aged 16, dressed up and ready to go out. We were going to a friend's party, my friend's brother, Jake*, was playing with his band at the party and we knew quite a few people who were going.
We arrived at the party around 9:30, it was just a couple of stops on the train, and then a five minute walk. We know the area well, our school is just round the corner, and we often met up to go shopping or for coffees around here.
The party was just what you'd expect if you put a load of teenagers, in a mainly empty neighbourhood (the house was detached, with only two others house on the street, both occupants of which had gone on holiday), with some loud music and alcohol, a lot of alcohol. I loved it though, the whole thing, getting dressed up, dancing with my friends, having fun and loosing myself in the loud thumping bass which goes right through you. I thrived off the environment.
That night however, it wasn't really the same. After the band played their set, I danced for a bit but couldn't find my usual enthusiasm, eventually I put it down to the headache that was creeping it's way through my head.
I don't drink, never ever. My Mother and I had an agreement, she'd let me go out with my friends and be back at the crack of dawn, as long as I wasn't drinking. I knew the moment she smelt alcohol on my breath, or if I had a hangover the morning after, she'd never let me out again. I hate alcohol though, hate the way people behave when they are drunk, so I never touched the stuff.
Soon the loud music, cramped conditions, and hot sweaty air was making me feel sick and my head was starting to pound. So I made my way upstairs to find some painkillers in the bathroom. I'd already spoken to Janette*, it was her house and her party, and she told me to grab some from the bathroom cabinet. The house was big, at least six or seven bedrooms and four bathrooms and it took me ages to find the damn pills, but I took a couple and waited a while before heading out again.
When I came out the bathroom I literally bumped into Jake, and this ladies and gentlemen is where it all starts to go horribly down hill, but I bet you can tell exactly what's going to happen. I wish with all my heart that I'd listen to the inner voice inside me telling me to just walk away from him, but God knows I didn't. Could of, should of, would of....
I stumbled back a few paces, and noticing it was Jake, relaxing slightly. He was one of my best friend's brother, he was harmless! I still remember the conversation that ended in me willingly going into a bedroom with him.
"Hey, steady there, you alright?" He grinned at me, and it was obvious he'd been drinking, drinking a lot.
"Sorry, yeah I'm fine, just got some tablets for a headache." I went to walk past him and find one of my friends, but he stepped in my way. Thinking that he just wanted to chat, I patiently waited.
"Oh right, you ok then?" He asked me.
"Oh yeah, I'm fine, just a headache. Great set by the way, everyone seemed to love it."
"Thanks. Do you want to lye down or anything, that rooms empty I just saw someone come out of it."
So I went into the room with him, I know what an idiot, I just happily wondered into a bedroom with a rapist. When we were in the room I started to feel a little awkward. Jake is three years older than me, and had a reputation for sleeping around a lot. I naively thought that he'd just leave the room or something, but he came and sat on the bed next to me, taking that as an invitation to kiss me.
I didn't respond at first, I was so shocked I just sat their dumbfounded.
"It makes it more fun if you move as well." He said and he was laughing at me, he grabbed me again and resumed kissing me. I felt really uncomfortable and that it was really weird, so I pushed him off me. He looked at me confused for a second, and then kissed me again, again I pushed him off. Then he became aggressive, it was as though a switch flicked inside him.
He stood up in front of me, grabbing my shoulders and pushing me on to my back so quickly I didn't realise what was happening. Then he was lying on top of me. At this point I knew I was in trouble. I'm quite a small girl and don't have any real strength or fighting skill. I remember wishing I'd carried on with the karate classes my Dad had begged me to do, but I'd refused without debate and he'd eventually given up. He grabbed my thighs and yanked them apart, causing my dress to ride up. He put his hand where I most definitely didn't want to be touched, and ripped apart my knickers. I've never felt more physically intimidated. I knew he was sporty, he swims and plays rugby, but I felt totally helpless at at his mercy.
He started kissing my neck and pushed my dress down, past my bra, so he could feel my breasts. He was anything but gentle, and waves of nausea were crashing through me, and tears were running down my face. I pushed him with all my strength to try and get him off me, but I don't even think he noticed my efforts.
After a while of being roughly groped, I finally found my voice. I still don't know what happened, it was as if I'd forgotten how to speak. "Jake what are you doing, this has gone to far, get off me now!" I all but screamed at him. He'd looked down at me with a smile and kissed me full on the lips, I tried to move my head away, wriggling from side to side, but he held the sides of my head still so I had no where to move. I beat my fists down on his back as hard as I could in a desperate attempt to make him stop. "Don't make me angry." He whispered in my ear, and it had the exact same effect on me, as if he'd held a knife to my throat. I still hear that voice in my dreams, sinister and dark, warped in evil.
But I still wanted to fight back, I just realised that I had to pick my moment carefully. Suddenly he got off me and stood up, shocked I slowly sat up. Only to see him, to my horror, start to take off his belt so he could remove his jeans. Go, go, go! I thought, and quick as I could I leaped from the bed and threw myself past him towards the door and to safety.
I so nearly made it, I was within a few inches of the door handle, when I felt a crash against my back. I heard it before I felt it, and suddenly I was jolted with pain, spearing all the way through me. In that second I hesitated, and before I knew, he grabbed my hair in one hand and yanked me back towards him.
"Stupid b*tch," He screamed in my face. Before pulling my hair towards him, forcing me to bend my neck. "Stop playing hard to get I know you f*cking want this." I shook my head, and opened my mouth to beg him to let me go, but he smacked me hard. Before lifting me clear off the ground and throwing me on to the bed. I scrambled up quickly and rolled off the bed disorientated by the slap, and I was seeing stars from when he'd hit with his belt across my back.
I tried crawling towards the door, only to be kicked, in total 17 times in the stomach. By this point all the fight had left me and I was a sobbing mess. He grabbed his belt and tied it tightly around my forearms, binding my arms together. He then picked me up, threw me on the bed again and unzipped his jeans. That one tiny sound went through me and sounded in my head. Even now I cringe when I hear a zip.
He got back on top of me, pulling my thighs apart again and forcing me on to my back. He had my completely trapped, my arms were slowly going numb and tingling from the loss of circulation and my legs were being pinned in place by his hips. My final hope was to scream blue murder. I opened my mouth and screamed as loud as I could, but I knew it was hopeless. Even though it was quieter in the room, I could still clearly hear the music blasting outside, I can even remember the songs that played, the backing track to my rape. Nobody could hear me, and I knew straight away, but I didn't want to give up, I didn't want him to just be able to have me.
He smirked down at me. "Do you think anyone can hear you? People will think we're just f*cking anyway. Why don't you just try and f*cking enjoy you stupid b*tch?" He taunted me by placing his thing at my opening, and sliding in a tiny amount, I wanted him to get it over with already! It was clear he'd won, but I was still screaming. "Now you've p*ssed me off b*tch!" He screamed inches away from my face. He grabbed some random junk that was on the filthy bed and stuffed it in my mouth. To my horror it was random bits of food, cake and a sausage roll, that someone must have taken out of the fridge and left up here. I gagged heavily, which made him laugh. Then he grabbed my ripped apart knickers and stuffed them in my mouth to.
At this point, I believe I blacked out for a few minutes, or my memory has erased the pain, because I don't remember when it first started. I just remember his harsh thrusting, and my mouth full of food and staring up at the ceiling, they had 52 little glow star things on the ceiling.
When it was over he rolled off me proceeded to tell me about how "tight I was" and how I was "the best shag" of his life. I didn't stop crying as he got dressed and left the room, for some reason he didn't think any thing was wrong, or that he would ever be held accountable for what had just happened. I spat all the food out of my mouth and proceeded to be violently sick everywhere. It was at this moment that one of my friends came into the room, I'd been missing for over an hour and a half and as soon as she saw me vomiting everywhere, she thought I'd been drinking. As she came closer, she realised the real state I was in and started crying with me.
Soon my other friend came and found us, she was so angry. "Who did this to you?!" She yelled, how could I tell her it was her own brother? So I cried harder into my friends shoulder
and I don't think I've ever been in as much pain physically or mentally as I was then.
Another friend who hadn't been drinking, lived around the corner, he ran and got his car and drove us to the hospital, where I went through the humiliating ordeal of having a 'rape kit' put together and being questioned by the police. They took samples of ***** from me and took pictures for a record of my injuries, the worst one being my stomach which looked like someone had been experimenting with blue, purple and green tie-die. My parents were called and we both burst into tears at the sight of each other especially Mummy. It was a very, very long night.
That was a year ago, and so many people know what happened to me. Some people think that I bought it on myself, whatever. So I liked to dress up and go to parties, that is never an excuse. Although I'm all healed physically, I still have some huge wounds mentally, which I'm desperately working through with my counsellor, I'm determined not to let it beat me. My relationship with food has never been the same though, that's the one huge scar which I will have to bear. I hate eating, sometimes just having food in my mouth makes me physically sick. Even though I want to eat the food, it's as though my mind won't let me.
I'm still waiting to see if the Crown Court is going to prosecute and I'll hear any day. I want my day in court, to make him pay for what he did to me. Jake pleaded not guilty to the charges, which means there will be a full-blown trial at some point (fingers crossed). His family are 100% behind him, especially his parents.
So there's my story! One thing I will say though is that I hate being called a 'victim', I hate it with a passion! I don't want to be a victim, I want to be survivor. Some days are harder than others, sometimes I just want to crawl into bed and stay under the blankets and never come out, but if I give into those urges, then he has won and I'll be damned before that ever happens again.
*all name references have been changed