Julia

 I was afraid to to start reading, but I felt compelled to. I feel I owe it to these women and men who have lived through this horror. And I know I need to face it, face the reality, and face what happened to me.
I live in fear every day that it might happen again. That someone I trust will turn out to be someone I can’t. That ‘friends’ will judge and turn their backs if I tell them my stories.
I am angry. So angry I can barely breathe sometimes, particularly when I hear of anything to do with rape. I truly fear that one day I will snap and take out a lifetime of supressed rage on someone who may not deserve it.
My mother was raped several times by a family friend when she was 12. She sat by my bed one night and told me, I think as a warning, and so that if anything ever happened to me I would tell her. She told her mother, and her mother did nothing, because if her father found out he’d kill the guy, and then my grandfather would lose his job…So he got away, scot-free, again and again…It has shaped my mother’s life, and mine. I fear men. I have grown an extremely tough exterior and learned martial arts specifically so I can fight back. I have fantasies of beating the ever-loving crap out of men who deserve it.
I started martial arts after …..God, I can’t even write it. I still, 10 years on, don’t want to admit what it was. I was drunk. Went with a friend back to a guys apartment because she was into him. Raoul. That was his name. His friend came too, Willy. I spit on you both. Anyway, she and Raoul went into his room. I sat with Willy, had another glass of wine. I asked if there was somewhere I could crash. The spare room. A bean bag. I thanked him, said goodnight, but he wouldn’t leave. Things are hazy. I remember coming to, as he tore at my hair. I managed to push him away and say I just wanted to sleep. I remember him saying ‘But I haven’t come yet’. I remember my friend coming in and I think I asked if we could leave, and I managed to get up.  Then Raoul came in, and he pushed me to the floor before I knew what was happening, and Willy had grabbed my friend. She managed to get up and run, and while they were distracted I managed to as well.
I’m sorry this is so graphic.
The only time she and I talked about it, the next day, in shocked whispers, she said ‘I just had to go because it was too much like rape’. It has taken me a very long time to admit that that is exactly what it was. Even when I went to get an STD check and sobbed out my story to the nurse, who handed me a pamphlet about sexual assault, I couldn’t admit it. Even now the full realisation shocks me. It’s like if I don’t name it, it didn’t happen. I feel responsible somehow, that it was my fault, and that I can’t call it rape, even though I didn’t want it, and said so. A ‘friend’, who didn’t know the whole story but just knows I was raped, asked if I was somehow ‘complicit’. I walked away from him, until he realised the idiocy of what he said and apologised…..but even the fact he said it makes my blood boil…
I never went to the cops because there would have been no point. They would undoubtedly confirm my own fears and say it was my own stupid fault. And we didn’t even know their last names.
I saw Willy once in passing. I ran. I hid in a public toilet because I thought I would vomit and I couldn’t stop shaking. I stayed in there and cried for an hour.
I wonder how they see it, if they ever gave it another thought. A ‘bit of fun’ that didn’t quite go as planned. If they would be shocked to know that they are rapists.
I told this story to a previous boyfriend. At the time he was outraged and more-or-less sympathetic. Turned out he was a violent, narcissistic, psychopath. In a jealous rage he once told me to ‘fuck off back to those two guys who raped you’. Then he hit me. But by then I was well-trained, and I hit him back until he was on the ground. But the first thought as his fist connected with my mouth was ‘Oh my God, he’s going to kill me’.
In the turmoil that was that relationship, we stayed together, on and off. His manipulation got worse and worse, and I fell further and further into the web. On at least three occasions, I refused sex, and he manipulated me, guilted me, went on and on, until I cried, and then he took sex anyway. And to top it off, after he had got what he wanted, while I lay there and sobbed, he gave me an earful for crying and ‘making him feel like a rapist’.
I am so full of hate, and I hate that. When I was 15, I was taking a night bus to Auckland, and it was full. I fell asleep, and woke up when the guy next to me’s hand was in my crotch. At the time, I simply yelled ‘What the fuck?!” and managed to squeeze into another seat. I know now that I would slam that fucker’s head into the window, stop the bus, and get him kicked the fuck off. This is an example of how my hate and anger has grown with the years, and with experience.
I don’t want to fear men. I don’t want to be angry and hateful. But I don’t know how not to be any more.

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