The Stigma Around Rape

Before I begin writing my story I just want to first say that I’m not doing so for attention, nor am I doing it for pity. Writing is very therapeutic to me and this incident is something I have never spoken of in detail to anyone, ever. I hope that this can help someone who is going through a similar situation. I know so many girls who have had to deal with the horrible consequences of rape and sexual abuse and it’s really upsetting that stigma is one of them.

So when I was 15, I had a friend aged 18. She would buy me alcohol and help me sneak into bars and clubs, and being with her was really fun and exciting. So of course when she asked me to come clubbing with her and her friends on New Year’s Eve I jumped at the chance. However, when I got to the bar I realised her “friends” were her 31 year old boyfriend and his 40 year old friend. I felt kind of uncomfortable at first but I went along with it anyway. The night ended up being really crazy and I remember them buying me drinks constantly. I was ridiculously drunk but I was enjoying myself. The next thing I remember was the four of us being outside of a church waiting on a taxi to take us to the “after party” at this 40 year old’s house. Unfortunately, drunk, 15 year old me didn’t think about how weird this was at the time.

I don’t remember getting to the house or any after-partying going on at all. All I remember is being sick in the bathroom then my friend wrapping a blanket over me and giving me some water before I fell asleep on the sofa. Next thing I know I’m awake and in this guy’s bed. And he was raping me. I was so confused, still drunk and when I realised what was happening I completely froze because I was so frightened. I didn’t do or say anything and I just lay there pretending I was still asleep until it was over. He got up to go to the bathroom and I ran out of his house still in my dress from the night before, without a jacket or any money, at 6am, in the freezing cold and the dark. I had no idea which part of the city I was in.

I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done had this not happened but a police car just so happened to be passing as I was walking down the street. In tears, I asked them which way I needed to go to get home and they looked at me in disgust, like I was just a typical teenager who had overdone things on New Year’s Eve. They took me home in their car and I didn’t utter a word about what had just happened- I just sat there numbly answering their questions about what I’d been drinking and whether or not I had I taken drugs. When they dropped me off home my mum was furious at me (understandably- she didn’t know what actually happened) and I got banned from leaving the house for 2 weeks. I was heartbroken that I was being punished for this but I didn’t have the guts to tell her.

When my friend woke up and realised I was gone, she texted me to see where I was. “Did he do anything to you?” was the first thing she asked me. Apparently he had been accused of doing something similar to someone else a few months previously. I became so angry at everything and I started to hate myself for not even trying to stop it from happening. I also broke up with my then boyfriend a few weeks later because I didn’t trust anyone anymore.

Then I started to blame myself for what happened. I always thought it was strange that girls blamed themselves for these things, because how could it possibly be their fault? But here I was telling myself I shouldn’t have gone back to his house. I shouldn’t have drunk so much. I shouldn’t have been partying underage. Granted, they weren’t my best ideas but even still, there isn’t a single valid excuse for raping someone. It seriously infuriates me when I hear people trying to justify rape or say that a woman brought it upon herself because of what she was doing/wearing.

It’s been 9 years since it happened and subconsciously I still find it extremely difficult to trust men. Regardless, I’m weirdly kind of glad it happened to me. Every experience happens for a reason and helps me grow as a person. I’ve now been put in a position where I can help others and I have a lot of understanding and compassion towards this very touchy subject. And although it was very degrading for me, I’m thankful that I didn’t have to experience the violence that many others have had to deal with.

Of course, I can now understand that it wasn’t my fault. I was literally a child and there is NEVER any excuse for such behaviour. It doesn’t upset me to think about it anymore but I still find it really hard to talk about so there is obviously still some kind of shame attached. I’m too scared to even post this to social media because I’m scared of what my family and friends will think. And that’s exactly why I wanted to share my story…

Rape and sexual assault is so taboo and I don’t understand why. It is such a painful thing that affects so many people so why should we be afraid of seeking help or support? Why is it that anyone who says they were sexually abused is an attention seeker or a liar? I understand that some people do use the “rape” card as emotional blackmail but the majority really are genuine and are suffering. Support them, don’t just assume.

I’ve been bottling this up for such a long time and it feels really good just to let it all out, even if nobody ever reads this. But if anyone does and has experienced sexual abuse, please don’t be afraid to talk about it. Let’s remove the taboo and help each other heal.

7 thoughts on “The Stigma Around Rape

  1. Chloe, I’m so sorry you had this experience and that you have felt you had to keep it to yourself for so long. As you say, it was not your fault- there is no excuse for what that man did to you.
    I hope it’s been therapeutic to write about it. I really appreciate your courage in sharing your story. You are strong and brave, and I totally agree that although it’s definitely not easy we need to talk about these things and I pray that your words will encourage someone else to speak out and let them know they’re not alone.

    Like

  2. I somehow came arcross this blog and glad i did, ended up on your instagram and here i am, im so sorry to read this your very brave to share it. i read a few other of your stories nice to see you traveling enjoying life. Dont know if you remember me but i hope your well. Long time, Robyn Mc X

    Like

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