No Longer a Victim

This is a post I have wanted to write for a long time.  Since I started blogging a year ago if the truth be told.

Rape.

It isn't a nice word is it?  It conjures up images of violence, threatening behaviour, of a weak woman and a strong man.

Yes I am using stereotypical imagery and for that I don't apologise because, you see, I've experienced rape.  First hand.

Like most survivors (no, I am not a victim and refuse to be one) I knew my attacker.  Although I use the word "knew" loosely.  I didn't really know him.  He was an acquaintance.  Someone I would bump into when on a night out.  Over the course of a couple of months, during which I averaged 3 or 4 nights out a week as a lot of students did, we'd dance together, drink together, go to after parties.  We weren't a couple but it was almost assumed that if we happened to chance upon the same club, we'd be together.

So, naively as I now know, I felt safe around him.  Even more so because I thought I had a good relationship with the security at the club we frequented.

Yes I had a few drinks, and yes sometimes I did wear skirts too short, or tops showing a bit more cleavage but you know what? I was 19!  At that age I had never got drunk to the point of not being aware of myself or my safety.  In fact, I would go so far as to say it was only once I was attacked and went into a blind oblivion when I did start drinking to excess.  I was young and whilst I have no idea what the clubbing culture is like now, (becoming a parent does that to you) back then you could pay £10 to get into a club and drink as much as you wanted.

My problem back then?  Low self-esteem.  My girlfriends had a certain aura of confidence about them.  I didn't.  So of COURSE I basked in the attention I was given.  Whilst my friends were "pulling" guys left, right and centre, I was lucky enough to have one guy who persistently wanted my attention.  He just wanted a couple of dances each night, maybe the odd kiss.

How wrong was I?

One night he asked if we could go and sit on the beach.  How many times have I kicked myself for agreeing?  But I thought I could trust him.  I thought, well, if he wanted to just get into my knickers, he would have tried a long time ago.  And besides, I told my friends (and my younger brother you has looked out for me since we were pre-schoolers)  I was going to get some fresh air with him, I'd wait for them outside as it was only under an hour until closing.

Then the inevitable happened.

All I could think about after was "No one will believe me".  My dress wasn't particularly short (knee-length) or low-cut that night.  I was tipsy but I've been in more drunken states since.  I "knew" him.  Rapists are strangers aren't they?  They are violent.

Not in my case.

I didn't get a single mark on my body.  I didn't get a black eye.  What I did get was my virginity robbed.  Yes, I may well have been a dancing, drinking 19-year-old but I still wanted to wait for someone special.  What I did get was what little self-confidence I had knocked.  I wasn't just robbed of my virginity but of something I held dear, for me at that time, it was a gift I wanted to give to, not necessarily my future husband, but someone I at least cared about.

I remember going to my GP, asking for the morning after pill.  I was already on contraception and had been since I was 14 due to heavy periods but when I tried telling her (yes, a female) that I had been raped, I felt broken by her saying "Well if you are sure you didn't consent..." I blurred the rest of the appointment out and took my prescription to the chemist.

For a while I turned into someone even I didn't recognise.  I guess I thought "Well he has taken that away, what's the point in waiting now? No one will want me." because that is what I believed.  You know, having been brought up as a Christian and all.  I was a youth leader for a church youth group and subsequently asked to leave.  After all, I brought it on myself, didn't I?

Then I met my husband.

The first night I met him, my life changed.  We stayed up talking to each other from 4pm in the afternoon until 8am the following morning.  We just talked and talked and talked.  That night I told him what had happened to me.  He told me about the abuse he had experienced growing up.  And we talked some more.

Our first date only happened after he had stood me up several times but when it did happen, I saw him.  That man, not that he deserves to be called a man.  And my now husband knew.  In his gut he knew from my subconscious reaction that I had seen someone or something I didn't like.  And he asked me "Where is he?" I knew in that moment that if I was to tell him, actually he would most likely get in a lot of trouble.  And besides, he didn't know me then.  It wasn't his fight.  And in that moment, I knew this person had taken enough of me.  He wasn't about to ruin my future.

So I let go.

Later that year there was another occasion we went to, where he was there, in the VIP crowd as we were.  The husband again knew yet didn't know who it was so said he wanted to leave.  And that's when I told him.  When I told my husband that this person had already taken enough from me, let's just move to a different area and stay, enjoy ourselves still.

Similar incidents happened over the course of our first couple of years as a couple and I know D found it hard.  He wanted to protect me from hurt but for me, it was about proving myself, moving on.

And it is my experience that makes me so cross about the articles I see in the media recently.  Maybe they have always been there but instead of telling women they shouldn't drink too much, shouldn't walk home alone, should always leave money for a registered taxi home (all advice I agree with by the way) why don't we concentrate on telling boys and men that they can't always get their own way?  They can't just rape women?  Yes, women do have a responsibility for their own safety, I thought I was safe.  But why is the focus on them all the time?  After all, most survivors (or victims) know their attackers.

 

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40 thoughts on “No Longer a Victim

  1. Kylie Hodges (@kykaree)

    Rape is never the survivors fault.

    Never.

    I am so shocked that we even need these posts it’s the 21st century.

    And I am sorry as a former card carrying Evangelical Christian myself I think the church is not hard enough in its stance on rape or other issues involving women.

    Thank you for writing this post.
    Kylie Hodges (@kykaree) recently posted..Flowers Bring Happiness – Ten Things my Grandmother Taught MeMy Profile

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    1. MummyGlitzer

      Somehow we need to move away from the victim blame culture, from automatically assuming a woman is making false allegations (which make me just as angry). I’m not sure how to but we need to.

      Reply
  2. What a brave post. I am glad you have been able to move on. We as a society really need to approach rape differently. No matter what you wear, how much you drink etc it’s NOT the victims fault. Xxxxxx

    Reply
  3. Christine Kelly

    I’m so sorry this happened to you – I had no idea. Thank you for sharing your experience and I hope it was a step forward in the healing process. You’re a very brave lady.

    Reply
    1. MummyGlitzer

      It is something I generally shout about, sadly we are still made to largely think we brought it on ourselves.

      Reply
  4. It is true, the blame culture is still to heavily focused on the female. Its unfortunate that you have to even write this post, but its amazing that you did. I hope this helps at least one girl realise that they have done nothing wrong xx
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  5. I’m sorry that this happened to you. Well done for writing about it, I can imagine it was a hard thing to do and expect your finger paused over that ‘publish’ button. It’s hard to write and read about but I wish more people did, because what happened to you happens so often more dialogue and openness about it can only be a positive thing. The strain of rape-culture, victim blaming and shame should have been extinguished long ago. x

    Reply
  6. It’s hard to know what to say apart from well done for writing this post because I imagine it was quite hard to write.

    Women are always portrayed as at fault. It is a man’s world and I can’t ever see it changing. Young women should be allowed to go out and get drunk if they want to, and walk down the street and feel safe. It’s disgusting how men don’t seem to be being taught how wrong it is to look at a women as a sex object and not a human being. Disgusting.

    CJ x
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  7. So sorry this happened to you. It made me cry reading this. Can’t believe the GP was so unsympathetic. Pleased you found your husband and the strength to carry on and move on. X
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  8. Anne

    As a Christian, can I please apologise for your church not offering you support, caring and understanding. Where were they for you? Of course you did not bring this on yourself. If your skirt had been shorter, you still would not have brought this on yourself. The rapist is entirely responsible.

    Rape is the taking of what has not been given. It is violent theft and a brutal assualt on a human being in the most intimate way. Your church should have loved and cared for you, not treated you as someone less than you were before. I will pray for that church, that they learn some compassion.

    Blessings and love
    Anne

    Reply
    1. MummyGlitzer

      Thank you! Yes we do believe that, we’ve both helped each other to get over a lot of things.

      Reply
  9. Thank you for being brave and writing your tale; so eloquently I may add. I hope it’s cathartic for you. Two things you say bring hope. You met your husband and you let it go. No doubt your husband is still up on a peddlestall just as mine is for being the knight that rescued me too. Welldone for sharing such a massive thing. Thanks again. Emma x

    Reply
  10. Change a few details and the same happened to me, aged 17. With someone I trusted. I was more drunk, I had been passed out. I wasn’t anywhere close to being able to consent. I had the shame of him telling a few people we’d slept together, when really he’d taken advantage of a comatose virgin. For some reason I didn’t speak up – I just felt so ashamed. I still do. Ashamed, yet angry.

    Thanks for writing this. I still struggle every now and then and it’s close to 20 years later. I too want to be able to not feel like a victim. I’m only just getting to the point where that feels like it might be possible.

    Reply
    1. MummyGlitzer

      You have no reason to feel ashamed and I hope that one day you can realise that. I’m so sorry you went through such a thing and are still suffering such a long time later. Xx

      Reply
  11. Thank you. And I’m sorry that you experienced likewise, but equally think that you are being so positive in overcoming. It is inspiring to someone like me xx

    Reply
  12. Anon

    thankyou for this incredibly well written and sadly very needed post.

    Rape is never the survivors fault in the same way being hit by a drunk driver is your fault. I was stone cold sober and dressed as a tomboy on the two occasions I was attacked. Does this make me any more deserving of sympathy than the girl whos attacked after a night out? Does it hell.

    The culture of victim blaming in the UK appears to be getting worse as exemplified by Joanna Lumleys recent comments. Theres being risk aware and theres telling women to stay in at night and wear burkas.

    Men, dont rape. Its quite simple.

    I wish you all the best x

    Reply
  13. Melanie

    You brave woman for writing this. I too went through something extremely similar and want to use my story to help others but I’m a chicken.

    I just know you will help many with this post. And as a Christian am I allowed to say I’m sorry on behalf of your church and I want to pray for you?

    Hugs.

    Reply
    1. MummyGlitzer

      You can only do what you’re comfortable with can’t you? I mean if you aren’t comfortable sharing your story yet, or indeed ever, it’s going to be of no help to you.

      Xx

      Reply
  14. What a courageous post. I have been the victim of sexual assault and know how hard it can be to stand up and tell your story. You are absolutely correct – why is the focus always on the victims and not on the perpetrators? Why are people like Joanna Lumley reinforcing these connotations that women are seemingly ‘asking for it’ by just being themselves. I find it sad that our society today doesn’t look at why people commit these horrible crimes instead looks to find ways of apportioning blame on the innocent people that have to endure these horrific experiences.

    Reply
  15. I think it’s totally disgusting.some people’s attitude towards rape, who in there right mind can justify this by what the girl is wearing, no means no!!!!!
    You are incredibly brave!

    Reply
  16. Mel

    You are very brave writing this post. I can’t believe the Dr’s response!
    Thank you for posting this, women are still treated as second class citizens by some.The media perpetuates this myth that rapists are this evil scary creatures that come out of the dark and unknown to the victim, they are often known to the person, the same as murderers are often know to their victim too. http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-offenders.
    I hope you can receive some sort of closure for your own sake.

    Reply
  17. I admire you for writing this post, must have taken some guts, and your right there should be no blame pointing your way. I hope this helps other people accept they are not to blame, or maybe to go and report a case which they did not want to because it was somebody they knew.
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  19. I can hugely sympathise. I was taped more times than I can count by a partner. I was physically and mentally abused. I too have blogged of what happened. I still see my attacker and pity him. I am not scared anymore and that is own to my husband. My heart goes to you. Rape is rape x
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  20. I’m so sorry to hear you had to go through that. I hope that writing it has helped heal the scars. I think you are so very brave for writing such an honest and deep post. I hope this helps other women who have been through it. It doesn’t matter what length your skirt is, no woman ever deserves to be raped. Big hugs to you and well done for writing this. xxx
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  21. We are delighted to let you know that this post has been nominated in the ‘Most Powerful’ post category of the SWAN UK Blog Post Awards (aka The ‘SWANS’)

    Be sure to pop over to the SWAN UK website to grab some badges for these categories to encourage your other readers to also vote for you – make sure you let them know which specific posts have been nominated!

    If you tweet the SWAN UK twitter account using the #SWANS hashtag with the URL of your blog posts and the category you have been nominated for we will retweet it for you and hopefully get you some new readers.

    Good luck!

    http://www.undiagnosed.org.uk

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  22. So glad this has been shared again, as I missed it the first time. You are very brave, and also very strong and positive. You are by far the better person, and you’re so right that it should never be seen and talked about as if the ‘victim’ has done something wrong. It’s the low-life attacker, violent or calm, who is wrong, always. x

    Reply
  23. What a well written, brave and honest post. So sorry to hear that this happened to you. Similar happened to my sister when she was only 12, someone she knew took away her innocence, she blamed herself, told no-one and went off the rails for a few years. She is still not able to talk about it, well done you for telling your story.
    Natalie recently posted..Happy New Year!My Profile

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