real life

'At 17, I woke up to a boy on top of me. For 10 years, I didn't recognise it for what it was.'

This post deals with sexual assault and might be triggering for some readers. 

It has taken me more than 10 years to fully understand what happened when I was 17 was rape. In fact, the only people who know what happened that night are me and the people there.

I cannot know if the boy who did this understands what happened was not consensual. I’m not sure the boys who filmed it understands just how wrong that was.

I am 31, married to an incredible man. We have three beautiful children and live an incredible life on the coast. But in 2007, months before my 18th birthday I was raped. This event was not violent, it was with someone I knew, someone I had previously slept with.

Watch: Women and Violence – The hidden numbers. Post continues below.

Video by Mamamia

We were at a house party where I fell and hurt my ankle. I was crying in pain and rather than ringing my parents or an ambulance we decided I should just drink more.

I was incredibly drunk and could still feel the pain in my ankle so started asking for my mum. The boys were scared as they were 18 and I was 17 and they didn’t want to get in trouble, so I was put in a bed. I was told that in the morning I’d realise I wasn’t even hurt and that I was overreacting.

During the night I woke and he was inside me. I remember asking for him to stop but I was far too drunk to fight. I remember him over me, moving back and forth. I remember the sound of the bed hitting the wall. I remember waking up hours later alone. Not really sure if what had happened was real or not.

The next morning when I came out of the room I was slut-shamed while a group watched a video of the incident laughing. The guy who raped me had left before sunrise, maybe that was an admission of guilt, who knows.

Shortly after that night, I moved away from home which put me on the path to meet my best friend and reconnect with my now, husband.

Over the last few years, I have struggled with self-love. Recently I have been digging through my memories to answer why someone with a good family and no real reason to be sad, suffers anxiety and low self-worth.

ADVERTISEMENT

Then this night came back into my memories; this time with the wisdom of a woman to piece it all together.

The year before my rape, one of my best friends woke at a party with a boy we all knew between her legs. What is sad about our two situations is we both blamed ourselves and no adults were told.

I feared my mum would make me report it, I feared judgement and facing the ‘boys will be boys’ club.

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, Mamamia’s podcast with what women are talking about this week. Post continues below.

It was easier to take self-responsibility that I shouldn’t have been as drunk as I was and coaxed myself with a repeating thought that ‘I had slept with him weeks earlier, so maybe he thought it was ok.’

When I think back to why I chose to blame myself and why I never told a soul, the evidence is clear. It only takes a short Google search to find the tidal wave of support Brock Turner (Stanford University Rape Case) has had. I have read everything from “boys will be boys” to “political correctness at its worst”.

What I strongly believe is that in 2007 those views would not have been held in contempt by the mainstream. Those views would not have made headlines. Those views would not have been a part of a global movement. Those views were rarely openly questioned.

As a young woman I had heard it all before, the minimisation of sexual-assault and victim-blaming. My rape wasn’t acknowledged by myself, or anyone there that night because it was not violent. There was no struggle. If we are being raped don’t we fight? Don’t we risk our lives to escape? Don’t we cry in the streets, covered in blood, screaming for help?

I write this for two reasons. The hopeful healing process, and to help the understanding that not all rape is violent. Rape is always shame-inducing. Rape is never ok.

To my younger self, I love you, I’m sorry & I forgive you.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. The feature image used is a stock photo.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

00:00 / ???