Being a sexual assault survivor is something that no woman likes to admit. You try to put the past behind you and move forward with your life, and yet regardless of what happens, it’s something that you can’t shake nor escape from.
As a general rule of thumb, many sexual assault survivors don’t like to share or talk about their story and yet, as more and more people have stepped forward and identified themselves as victims, I felt as though it is imperative that I did, too. I’m not generally a ‘jump on the bandwagon’ type of person and I certainly gain nothing from sharing my story. Nothing, perhaps, except helping to cast some light on some of the most villainous and evil in our world. It’s taken me days of deliberation and trying to find the strength to share my story, but after two agonising weeks of contemplating this post, I now feel as though it is time to step into the limelight and share what I’ve been through.
When I was five, I was badly bullied at school. At that time my parents didn’t know that I was disabled, I was just different from all of the other children. I was quiet and shy and kept myself to myself, or stuck with my brother. As he grew older, he would be off with his friends and I would be left on my own.
I remember some of the bullying at school more than I remember other moments. I remember being pushed and I remember having my luchbox taken from me and thrown across the room. I remember the day a teacher made me stand up and sing alone for not joining in on singing hymns and I remember the student who hit me in the back of the head so hard that I developed a nosebleed. What I don’t remember though, is being sexually assaulted.
It wasn’t until many years later when I was helping my mother organise her bedroom that I came across it. Mum had boxes upon boxes of important paperwork in her bedroom cupboard that I had to help her move, and that was fine. As I lifted the carrier bag on top, though, one sentence caught my eyes:
H sexually assaulted!!!!
It took me a while to understand what that meant. I knew what assault was and I knew what rape was, but what the hell was sexual assault? Had I been raped so young? I needed to know.
“Mum,” I asked tentatively, “what is sexual assault?”
“Heh, so you found it huh, sweetheart?” She said softly, Mum rose and placed her hands on my knees, crouching and kneeling in front of me. I watched her.
“Listen, when you were a little girl.. you know you were bullied, right?”. I nodded slowly, of course!
“Well.. one day a group of girls hung you upside down on the play equipment..” she began, “and they scratched and bit your inner thighs and genitals and beat you with sticks when you fell.” She trailed off, “the dinner lady found you, you were bleeding. Don’t you remember the doctor’s appointments?”
“Some of them” I confirmed, “I thought they were for the eczema?”
“Not all of them, no. I’m so sorry, darling. I should have told you but you were too young to understand.”
“Did the school do anything?” I needed to know, I needed to know that those vile bitches were prosecuted, or or excluded, or something, anything!
“The school didn’t believe the dinner lady, so we had you moved” Mum said. “there was no way we were going to leave you there after that”. I was shocked, I can remember moving schools and I can remember the bullying, I just never knew that the bullying had gotten that bad. I still got bullied, but nowhere near as bad. Once I had a support worker in the playground, they sort of leave you alone.
Most of my life experiences after that were more your mainstream bullying. I was bullied throughtout secondary school at a hospital education unit that was supposed to keep me safe and my education was hampered by a school with classes too small and too naughty to make providing higher tier exam papers worth their time or money. As a result, I walked away from secondary school with 5 grades at a pass, and only one at the top maximum mark available to me of a B, in mathematics.
Around the time I took my GCSE’s, my life was turned upside down for the first time in my young years. About 6 weeks before I sat my exams, my grand father passed away after a short battle with lung cancer and my younger brother was arrested on a charge of possessing child pornography. The case was a simple account of two silly young children being busted playing adult games online by the young girl’s parent, but it did lead to a police investigation which led to us losing our computers and phones for six weeks, right at a time when I needed to be swatting like never before.
After completing school in the June, I fell into a sort of a depression. The grief of losing my grandfather and the stress of my brother’s arrest had been a lot for me and I didn’t want to cooperate with anyone. I became needy and clingy for a while and I sucked at making decisions.
“Do you want to come to ASDA?”
“Are you going to stay here while we nip up then?”
“I don’t want to be on my own..”
I was being impossible. Dad needed Mum’s help and I knew that, but I also didn’t have the energy to go to the store, and I also didn’t want to be home alone. That was when his message popped up, it was Lee.
Lee was somebody that I’d met before and had no qualms about. A typical Bristolian, he was a larger man, kind and genuine. We’d met online, but the first time I met him, I met him with my mother and we had no reason to suspect him of anything. Lee shook Mum’s hand and chatted with both of us, it was exactly the kind of thing that you would expect when you put the face of a decent human being to a memorable name on the screen.
When I met Leeagain at his house, he seemed every bit the gentleman he’d been before. He lived locally, so it didn’t make sense to travel to hang out again. He invited me to sit on his sofa and made me some tea. He sat in a chair opposite from me and we talked and laughed just like friends do. He was older than me and it didn’t worry me one bit, he just seemed like a perfectly kind and genuine human being.
So when he offered to come and keep me company, I didn’t hesitate.
“Mum, Lee’s coming over.” I said informatively.
“Oh great! I know you get on with him. Will you be happier now?”, I nodded.
When I opened the door to Lee, he didn’t seem much different to usual. A bit anxious maybe, but not that much different to the way he had been before. I put that down to first-visit nerves, it’s always a bit strange the first time you visit a new friend’s house, but then he shut Harvey away under the stairs.
“It’s okay, Harvey is friendly, he can come out. He won’t bite you” I said reassuringly.
“I know baby, but I don’t want him in here with us.”
Baby?! What the actual fuck?!
Lee grabbed my wrist and pulled me into the lounge with him. As he released my arm, he pulled my t-shirt and camisole up and over my head, exposing my breasts.
“Fuck, look at those sexy little tits” he purred, “come on, let’s get these off of you” he said, grabbing my jeans and sliding them down. In one deft move, I found myself completely naked in front of a man twenty years older than me, a man twenty years older, that I didn’t want to be naked in front of.
“Let’s sit you on the sofa” Lee said, pushing me back onto the three-seater leather sofa. As he did, he pushed my legs open and pulled me towards him, I froze.
He’s going to rape me. Oh no!
The worst thing about receiving oral sex from someone twenty years older than you is that in some cases, you don’t want to. The best thing about receiving oral sex from someone twenty years older than you is that they are experienced. Even if I didn’t want him to, Lee still holds the record for the most amazing oral sex that I’ve ever received, and that sickens me.
Lee rubbed himself against me and I told him not to. For a moment, I even feared that he would penetrate me, robbing me of my virginity then and there. Having realised that he had bad intentions for me and defininitely not wanting him to go ahead, I resorted to the best lie that I had at my disposal;
“We should stop, I think my parents will be back soon” I offered.
“Aww okay, that’s a shame because I’ve definitely got something for that tight little pussy of yours” he said, rubbing his erection through his jeans. I nearly threw up a little in my mouth.
I managed to grab my clothes up and got myself dressed. For whatever reason, my depression had now taken a back seat and the will to survive had now taken over. I no longer cared for company. Now, I just wanted him out.
“Soon yeah, baby? Come and visit me sometime. I want to lick that pussy again and let you try out my cock. We’ll have a whole afternoon, just you and me, licking and sucking and fucking. I’ll make you cum so much” he giggled.
“Maybe” I smiled, trying to hold down my stomach.
I tried to push Lee out of my mind after that. That was that, I told myself, I knew now not to have him over ever again and I knew that he couldn’t be trusted. He was a sick, sick man and now a borderline rapist, but he didn’t actually rape me, so that was that. I blocked his number and tried to move on with my life.
A few days later and my phone rang, unknown number.
“Haha! You blocked me after I ate your pussy?”
“Lee, I.. I don’t want to do it again. I’m sorry, I should have said”.
“Haha! Oh no baby, sorry isn’t good enough now. Send me a photo of your tasty little pussy or I’m going to tell your mother what you’ve done.”
“Haha, are you fucking trying me? Just send the fucking photo, yeah?”. I laughed and hung up, but the fear lingered on, What if..?
Three days later and my phone buzzed again, This time, a text from another unidentified number:
Spread your legs and take a photo of your pussy or I’ll visit your mother now x
Horrified and afraid, I visited the bathroom, took the dreaded photo and hit send. Within moments, my phone rang again.
“Mmm, that’s better. I’d love that pussy in my face. You’re such a cocktease, you know that?”
“Hush, it’s okay. Mmm I’m so hard for you now baby, I’m wanking my hard cock for you. Do you want to see?”
“No, Lee, I can’t..”
“Aww okay, just listen then, mmm I’m going to cum for you, I’m gonna cum looking at your pussy baby, are you ready?”
Hearing your partner orgasm can be extremely erotic, but hearing someone orgasm who you have no desire for is the kind of thing that scars you for life. The nausea returned and I wanted to cry, how the hell am I going to get out of this?
These calls and messages carried on for a while and for a time I even started to believe he loved me. He’d talk about visiting the beach with me and visiting the arcade. he’d talk about buying me ice cream and then going home to make love. He talked about lazy Saturdays and he talked about bringing all of my wildest fantasies to life. When he talked about bondage and I involuntarily gasped, he talked about it a lot more often. If he was going to give me all of this, then maybe, just maybe, I could allow myself to fall in love with him.
But it didn’t last.
Barely three weeks later and Lee mentions a “she”. Who the hell is ‘she’? It turns out, ‘she’ is his girlfriend. the girlfriend who isn’t giving him sex.
Figures, but it was just the ticket I needed.
“Lee, this is wrong” I began, “you have a girlfriend, you don’t need me. I want to have sex someday but I’m looking for a boyfriend, not a fling”. Finally, I had asserted myself, finally, I could be free of all of this mess.
And he actually understood it, and that was the last I heard of him.
For a time.
Still thinking of that sweet little pussy lol x
You have a girlfriend, message her if you’re hungry.
Haha. Wuu2 anyway? Anything exciting?
As I looked up from my phone, I recognised it almost instantly, the white Ford Escort from all of those weeks before. It was Lee’s car.
“Wait there! I’ll be back, just turning around, okay?” he shouted, but I wasn’t waiting.
I ducked into the discount store for safety. I was grateful for the tinted glass because it meant that I was nowhere to be seen. Not to rouse suspicion, I made myself busy with examining the available produce for precisely nothing in particular when my phone vibrated again.
Chicken shit lol x
I laughed, deleted the text and ignored it. I spoke to a member of staff and asked to be escorted via a rear entrance onto the back street. I knew my way home from there, and after navigating my way down a densely brambled narrow alleyway, I finally reached safety. I walked home, patched up my few scrapes, and rested.
For many months, I didn’t hear from Lee again. Maybe, just maybe he had finally got the hint. I managed to move on with my life and I managed to enter a relationship. My past was my past I decided, and even though Matt knew, he didn’t judge me for it. He’d asked me to house sit for him one day to receive a parcel and I agreed, yet as I relaxed on the sofa, my phone vibrated once again.
I want to rape your pussy full of my cum mmm x
I placed my phone down on the sofa and cried. When oh when was this going to end?
In the end, I decided that I had only one option. With my wonderful new boyfriend at my side, we made the decision to visit the police.
Showing them the text and recalling all of the horrors that had been was one of the most bizarre experiences that I have ever been through. I felt numb and recalled events as though I was simply reaffirming facts. For whatever reason, I was completely devoid of emotion until the officer said those two fateful words:
In a heartbeat, I wanted to protect Lee. Things had happened and he had done things to me, he’d even threatened to rape me, but he’d also promised me nice things. Victims of sexual assault and rape don’t always see their perpetrators as inherently bad people, sometimes, that line becomes a lot more blurred. He’d promised me day trips and ice cream I thought, he even wanted to be my boyfriend!
For a long time, I blamed myself for what happened to Lee. I blamed myself for him getting arrested and I was frightened of the court process. I was even encouraged by my own family to drop the case, owing to my interests in BDSM.
“They’ll rip you apart in a cross-examination” Mum said, “they will make you look like a slut. Are you sure you want to do this?”. I wasn’t, but it was the only way I could get him to leave me alone.
I ended up going through victim support and through the court preparation process. I was sent DVDs explaining what it was like to attend court and what to expect. I was even visited by a member of the forensics team to provide evidence against him. If I’d just reported him after the initial attack, she said, they could collect evidence, and he would definitely go to prison.
In the end, Lee got away with what he did for the two most damning reasons of all. First of all, he denied knowing me, he denied knowing anyone by my name and he denied ever threatening to rape anyone, or having an interest in younger woman. Because I’d text him back and told him to leave me alone, the police also so it that I’d encouraged him. In the end, Lee was let off with a caution for misuse of communications.
Perhaps the most satisfying part, in a way, is what I read the last time I looked him up on the dated social app, Bebo:
“I have a tumour in my brain and a blot clot in my leg, it’s just a matter of which one kills me first.”
I’ve never wished death upon anyone so badly. It was horrible to do, but for what he’d put me through, he deserved it, but it gets even better.
After his arrest, Lee’s girlfriend contacted me. She was horrified and wanted to talk to me about what he’d done. Far from being angry with me for ruining her relationship, she wanted to offer her sympathies. He had cheated on her several times and he had abused her, too. He was a vile and abusive drunk, she told me, and after his arrest she told him that he can go it alone. I saw Lee only once more after that, on a bus, I hid my face until he’d sat down and he sat a distance in front of me anyway. I got off and changed buses at the next stop, keeping my hood up so that he couldn’t see it was me.
After Lee, it took me a while to regain my confidence to visit the stores again, and for a while I wouldn’t go alone. I was too afraid of who I might bump into, or what might happen, so I needed someone with me, usually Matt, but sometimes my mother or brother. Eventually, having started to feel safer, I felt safe enough to make brief shopping trips on my own.
“Excuse me, miss” said a male voice in broken English, I looked up. “I have seen you before.”
“You have?” I asked, rather astonished, I was barely a celebrity around town. “Where?”
“Back in here” said the young black man, pointing to the The Co-operative store behind him. He’d just seen me shop for groceries and decided to pursue me, because that’s not creepy, at all.
“Oh, I see. Well, that’s nice, thankyou” I said, offering the gentleman a friendly smile.
“I take your shopping?” he asked, reaching for the bag in my hand. In it was a floral glass vase I’d bought for my grandmother’s birthday.
“It’s okay, thankyou, I have it” I replied.
“You going where?”
“Home, to my house.”
“This way?” he asked, pointing down over the hill. I shrugged, if I must walk and talk with him, I can cut back through the park. It added to my journey time but it wasn’t a big deal.
“Okay, yes, for a while” I agreed reluctantly.
“I take shopping for you” he said, snatching the bag from my hand. I let him carry it for a while, if it mattered so much to him, I w could be negotiable like that.
“I need the bag back now please, I have to go this way” I said gesturing towards the park. He ignored me and walked across the road, further down the street and around the back of his home, I froze.
“I am not going to come any further. Can I have my bag back now, please?”
“You do not want coffee?”
Ha, yes. I know what coffee means, Buster. Game over.
“No, no coffee, thankyou. I have to go home.”
“Okay, kiss first and I give you back shopping”.
I regarded him for a moment. I didn’t want to kiss him, but I’d carefully selected the vase for my grandmother and I really wanted the vase back. It wasn’t him and it wasn’t that he was black, we’d just met, I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me. He’d just followed me around the store and now he wanted me to kiss him. This had all of the makings of a milk-carton story.
“Okay, fine. Just a kiss” I agreed. Anything to get my shopping back and get away from his home.
“I walk with you. Where do you go?”
No wait! You give me my shopping back and you stay here. I go. not you!
“This way” I said reluctantly, picking the steepest hill back to mine that I could find. The company had been enough but now he was frustrating me. If the lactic acid was enough, he might decide against following me home. Credit where it was due, he marched that hill like a trooper.
“Where do you go now?” he asked, a wry smile spread across my face as an idea struck me.
“Down this hill” I said, pointing at the milder-but-longer hill in front of me.
“This one?” he asked, indicating at the hill. I nodded. I can still march him back up the steps afterwards, if he is really determined.
“Okay, you can go home. I will go home too.”
“But first, more kiss please.”
Not so perfect..
I reluctantly kissed him again, vowing to myself not to do anything until I had washed with soap and water. It wasn’t him, he just wasn’t for me and now I’d had to kiss him, twice, all for the sakes of a birthday present. I felt soiled and dirty, and the present didn’t feel much better, either.
But sexual assault from friends and strangers is one thing. When it comes from the people we believe we can trust, it can be even worse. When it’s from your future-boyfriend’s father, it’s even worse still.
It was New Year’s Eve 2006, I’d opted for a knee-length wine red velvet dress, simple, classy make-up and drop earrings. I’d dressed to impress, and there was only one man I had in my sights. We’d had sights on one another, and this time around, I wanted to make sure he wouldn’t forget about me in a hurry.
Wolfie and I had been making eyes at one another all evening. He’d cast his eyes over me, and I’d meet his gaze. The tension was always there, and I knew that Wolfie was all too keen to get his hands on me if we had barely a moment together, but that was all meant for Wolfie, not for his father.
Unfortunately, the night drew to a close without more than a kiss and my own father had arrived to collect me. As I slipped my jacket on, Matt’s father cornered me at the top of the stairs.
“Let me help you with that, darling” he said, helping me get my jacket on.
“It’s okay, thankyou Andy. I will see you soon?”
“You shall indeed. You take care, darling” Andy said, kissing me on the lips.
By now, I was used to him kissing me on the lips, but this time he did again, and again.
“Okay, Andy, I really need to go. Dad’s here”
“I know sweetheart” he said, kissing me again.
“Andy, I need to go please!” I said, half assertive and half afraid, I grabbed the handrail and made my way down the stairs as fast as I possibly could. Dear God, what just happened?!
After that, I refused to visit Matt at his home again. Anytime he wanted to see me, I insisted that he visited me.
“Is something wrong? Why aren’t you coming up anymore?” Matt asked.
“Oh Matt, I don’t know how to tell you” I said between my sobs. “You know when I came up for New Year’s Eve?”
“Your Dad tried to kiss me, like repeatedly, on the lips.”
“Right, okay, leave this with me”, and with that, he hung up.
Ten minutes must have passed before my phone rang again. I sat shaking and confused, afraid, afraid for what he was doing and afraid for what it meant for us. He sounded angry, was he about to beat his Dad? Would he believe him and that be the end of us instead? Was he on his way here with his Dad? I had no idea.
“Hi.. look, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry” Matt began.
“He has a history of doing stuff like this and I’ve lost other girl friends before, I can’t afford to lose you, too. You keep me sane. ” I smiled as the tears prickled and closed my eyes as they fell.
“You won’t” I whispered.
Inappropriate behaviour is something that I’ve now long come to accept from my father-in-law, but it doesn’t make it acceptable. I’ve learned to turn away from the kisses and keep some space between him and I. I may not be comfortable still with some of the behaviours that he shows, but in all of this, I know now that my husband has my back. I’m not afraid anymore, and my husband has vowed to castrate Lee with a pair of building bricks if he ever chances upon him for what he did to me.
Perhaps the biggest and best thing is that I now take some solace in knowing that it’s quite probable that Lee isn’t even alive anymore. Caught between an inoperable brain tumour and a blod clot, it’s quite likely that one of them has taken him. I do feel bad for knowing that he was terminally ill, but that doesn’t make it excusable for him doing what he did. If he was that desperate, he should have found himself a young woman who was willing.
If I have one thing to say as a sexual assault survivor, it’s this: Please, please do not diminish what sexual assault survivors have been through. A kiss may be just a kiss, but it is still a kiss that they didn’t want. Any form of assault is an attack on the person which can leave physical and mental scars, scars which can lead to a monumental level of distrust towards other people for a long time to come. Don’t dismiss what you have been told, listen, accept and keep an open mind. You could just be the person who empowers another to end a horrific ordeal.
And if you are the parent of child who has been sexually assaulted, please never keep it from them. Keep communication open and allow them to understand what happened to them, as they age and in a way that is appropriate to them. Your child may not understand what has happened to them at the time, but they are still old enough to feel pain, fear and sadness, and they will look to you to support them through it all.
I hope this post has in some way helped you to feel less alone and I hope that together we can begin to expose the truth about sexual assault. It doesn’t matter how big or small the action is or who the assault was carried out by. Regardless of who they are and what they do, if it’s not welcome, it’s still classed as an assault and you still have every right to have them prosecuted in a court of law.
Until next time.
Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful,