GUEST BLOG: My firsthand account on why a loud and clear ‘yes’ is so important.

HOMEPAGE-LOUD-AND-CLEAR

Last year I was raped by a guy I had been seeing. He doesn’t realize that he has raped me. It took me months to come to terms with the words ‘rape’ or ‘sexual assault’. I told myself that I didn’t fight him off enough. I told myself that it only last for a few minutes. I told myself it was just sex that I didn’t want to have. Now I know that I was raped. But he doesn’t. When faced with that heavy word RAPE. He blew up into a temper. “I’M not a rapist! Rapists are scum of the earth. Rapists deserve to rot. Rapists have no ounce of human in them.”

So now he walks the world, not knowing that what he did, was in fact rape. A rapist is in fact human. A rapist doesn’t have to be mentally deranged. A rapist can in fact, be in pain, seeking control. But the harm and destruction that they cause is unimaginable, until it happens to you.

He broke into my room one night, a few days after I ended things. We had just spent a lovely evening with our friends. It was the first time in a long time that I had felt like myself. That night I forgot to lock the door. He came into my room and crashed on the bed. I tried to get him out, but he is twice the size of me. So finally I lay down in my bed beside him, unable to sleep with my eyes open. Why didn’t I leave? THIS THOUGHT HAUNTS ME TO THIS DAY. As I awoke the next morning he was taking off my clothes. Why didn’t I shout and scream or try to run away? THIS THOUGHT HAUNTS ME TO THIS DAY. He pushed me on my front with my head pushed into the mattress. As he inserted his penis into me, I repeatedly said no. Why didn’t I shout and scream? THIS THOUGHT HAUNTS ME TO THIS DAY. For five whole minutes I said no, no, no, no. Instead of focusing on what happened to me. I focused on the word no which I was saying.

After that, I got up. I got on with my day. I didn’t get a shower. I didn’t go to the police. I carried on as normal. Trauma doesn’t work in the way we expect it to. It’s not like a movie. Terrifying at the time and no repercussions later. We don’t react in the way that you would expect to either. For months, I carried on living my life. Living in the same accommodation as him, avoiding him at all cost. Sleeping in the same bed I was raped in. I studied, I listened to music, I spent time with my friends. I couldn’t afford to break down. I was studying abroad, away from my family.

It wasn’t until I knew that there was solid support beneath me that I really started to fall. My mind was riddled by questions, not only of the event, but of every sexual encounter I have ever experienced. The person that I am was lost to everyone and myself. I cut myself off from everyone I loved. I couldn’t let anyone see the person I had become, and with no explanation. Who I was in every sense of being was lost, until one day I decided to build myself up again.

The journey isn’t over yet and still questions and memories haunt me. Sex isn’t easy either. However, I have found a strength and understanding which I didn’t even know was there and it only grows by the day.

Someone not understanding the word consent broke me and completely changed me. And it has broken and changed so many girls and guys. So I just implore you to ask yourself if you know what consent is. And to be honest with yourself with every past and future experience, to question, was that really consent?

Anonymous

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If you have been affected by anything that has been expressed in this personal account from one of our Students, there is support available throughout the province.

Nexus NI offers free counselling to ANYONE who has been raped, sexually assaulted or abused. Contact: 02871260566/ 02890326803 / info@nexusni.org / nexusni.org

The Rowan provides support and services 24/7 to individuals affected by sexual violence. 08003894424 www.therowan.net

24hr Domestic and sexual violence helpline is available on 0808 2000 247 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone, male or female affected my domestic or sexual violence.

Your Welfare Officer, Jess Elder

T: 028 9097 1002

E: Su.vpwelfare@qub.ac.uk

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