It’s called rape.

So I’m about to get pretty deep on your arses. I was raped 5 years ago by a man who I used to consider my friend. I’ve been through every mental process possible throughout my recovery, and I’m still piecing myself back together now.

My first year was a mixture of denial, confusion, anger, crying and a crippling fear of the bastard doing it again. I didn’t go to the police because my very first stage was denial. It didn’t happen, things like that don’t happen to me. He was a friend, friends don’t rape each other. No, we just had sex that was all. I went a few weeks thinking in this way, and then it hit me. It wasn’t just sex, I said no, I screamed no, I tried to get away from him and he did it anyway. I then became angry, I lashed out at everyone, my friends, my family, teachers, anyone. I felt vulnerable, weak, my old self who I knew and loved had been murdered and for that I was furious. I developed a hatred for the word rape, I couldn’t bring myself to say it, and I hated hearing it. It offended me, I remember telling my friends not to use the word around me.

In my second year I went on a bit of a rampage. I put my energies into men, I slept around a bit, trying to prove to myself that not all men were capable of rape. I felt pretty shit about myself doing this. These men didn’t care about me or like me, they just used my body so they could cum. It was sex though, sex that I actually wanted and enjoyed at the time. Sweet relief, that had a pretty shitty after taste. I had come to terms with that fact that my old self had died, and that I had to create myself all over again. I just had no idea how to go about it.

In my third year, I started to pick up. I became strong or so I thought at the time, turns out I actually just slathered some concrete over my problems. I stopped sleeping with men and started dating and then dropping them, making myself feel poweful over the male species. I studied hard, I worked hard on my friendships and started going to the gym and leading an active, healthy lifestyle. I didn’t re-live my trauma as much as I used to, and I didn’t think about its consequences too much anymore. I was just getting on with life.

In my fourth year I was thriving. I looked great, I felt great and I had a full-time job that gave me purpose. I started casually seeing an old friend, the sex was amazing, we cared for each other, I felt in control of my life for once. He knew what had happened to me, and he made me feel strong for it. I moved to London towards the end of this fourth year to start university, and that’s when I took another knock. I got a call from a friend (my rapist had also raped her at a separate occasion) and she told me she had gone to the police. I instantly knew what I had to do, what I should have done a long time ago. I cried, for about 2 hours straight, I screamed and vomited, then I phoned the number she gave me. My life started to revolve around it yet again. I did interviews, I gave my account, I had to say the words that I had despised for all those years ‘I was raped’. I was a victim of a crime that should never have happened. I went to court, I stood up in the witness-box and gave my evidence. My rapid downhill spiral had started. At the end of the court proceedings, the jury couldn’t reach a verdict and so a re-trail was awarded. I was shocked and upset at first, but after it sank in, I gained a fire in my belly for the next case.

The beginning of my fifth year, I was very much so in limbo, waiting for the next trail. I put all my energy and passion into getting him sent down. I hoped and prayed every night that it would go my way, that I could get justice and that I would be able to finally get over what had happened. The trail came around, and as you could imagine anxiety was at an all time high. I had never wanted anything more in my life. I remember so clearly getting that phone call after the trail. This is it I thought, I was nervous but so hopeful. It wasn’t good news, in fact it was the worst news I had ever been told. He was found not guilty on every single count. Even thinking about it now, makes me cry. I grieved. I had lost my battle, and it literally almost killed me. I fell harder and deeper than I ever had before. I broke down and had to leave London and return home. While all of this was going on I had just begun speaking to a guy (my now ex boyfriend) and so I put my energy into him as that was an easier situation for me to deal with. After the ‘honeymoon’ period of the relationship I came back to the reality of my situation and knew I had a lot of work to do on myself. I then began the process of forgiveness. It took me a long time but I have now forgiven my rapist, I haven’t told him I have forgiven him because frankly he doesn’t care. But I can now say, ‘I was raped’ and talk openly and freely about it. Going through court feels separate to what had actually happened. Court was traumatic, hearing the verdict was traumatic and I produced a crippling anxiety disorder because of it. I can live with the fact that my rapist walks free, I just hope he has learnt. What I’m struggling to live with is that I lost the fight and it’s over.