Trigger warning: Before reading this post, please be aware that it includes descriptions of rape and emotional abuse.
It’s been 4 years but it still feels like it happened yesterday. The memory has stayed engrained in my head and won’t leave. It’s a part of me now, a part I have never told anyone…well, until now.
It started off a normal day just like any other story does. I got a text from you ‘I’m on my way over’…. ‘I love you’. There, those 3 words. It is quite a dangerous statement. It clouds our judgement and makes us believe that because they said I love you it will make everything better. That’s how I used to see it, I would follow him to the end of the earth….because you loved me.
Once he arrived to my little flat that I shared with 3 other friends who were all out being normal young adults, partying, meeting friends, socialising, I was here, with you. I couldn’t see it then but you controlled every little thing about me. I lost my stamp on the earth, I couldn’t breathe because you had sucked all the oxygen out of me. I was no longer the bubbly vivacious girl that people knew me as. Instead it felt like I was walking around in a shell and inside this shell was depression, anxiety, fear and numbness. I listened to the demeaning words you would say to me. The awful comments about my appearance, my weight, judging the things that I liked. I listened, because you loved me.
You looked at me and hugged me. I thought by hugging you it would try and fit all of those broken pieces back together and you would realise that I was someone you should want to protect. Instead you forcefully grabbed my wrist and pulled me towards my room, shut the door and locked it. You were in the room with me. You looked at me the way a predator would look at its prey. I froze. Not because I wanted to but because I was scared and there was no way out. I finally understand what is meant by fight or flight. You approached me and said those 3 words again, but it wasn’t said with softness or meaning. It was like venom. You said I would do whatever you wanted, because you loved me.
You closed the blinds. The room fell into slight darkness with the light trying to fight its way around the blinds. Little did I know that light was going to stay etched in my mind 4 years later. I think that’s why now I hate having the blinds closed when it’s still light outside. You grabbed me with such a force it was frightening. You kissed me but rather it being a heat of the moment kiss it forced me to recoil. Once again I saw that look in your eyes. I said ‘no’. There, that word. The word that would make anyone stop what they were doing. But it didn’t stop you. You carried on kissing my neck, my lips each one felt like acid burning my skin. I said ‘no’ again. You said you were doing this because you loved me.
I used to really love my room at the flat. I made it bright and colourful to help fill the emptiness that consumed me. I had lots of cushions and throws on the bed to decorate it. The room was where I felt safe. Somewhere I could escape to, leave the world behind and not have to think about assignments, deadlines or how I was going to pass that semester. It looked a childish room, but it was my room, and you destroyed it. You pushed me face down onto the bed. I said ‘no’. You chose to ignore it. I said ‘no’ as you pulled my trouser and underwear down. I said ‘no’ when you held my hands behind my back. I said ‘no’ when you began to undo your trousers. I said ‘no’ but you said it was because loved me.
All I could feel was your weight baring down on me. I felt pain both physically and emotionally. The one time I wished the numbness would come back, but it didn’t. I was helpless, I couldn’t move or speak. I was screaming inside my head but nothing would come out of my mouth. All I could focus on was the light trying to escape out of the blinds. All I wished was that I could be that light and escape the man who had me trapped. I told myself to concentrate on my breathing. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Concentrating on my breathing helped me from crumbling with fear. Is still do it now, in fact I’m doing it as I write this. You held my neck and you held my hands behind my back. Your hands were like a vice. At that point I was no longer afraid of death. It would have been a release from that hell. I could feel a part of me leave my body. Then suddenly, your hands let go and my arms fell to my side. It was over. But I still couldn’t get up. It was as if there was a heavy force keeping me pinned to the bed. You walked over to the door, unlocked it and went to the bathroom. I felt a tear fall down my left cheek. Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. You came back in the room and told me to sort myself out. I left the room. I wanted to blot out what had just happened because you loved me.
I came back into the room. No longer did I see the pretty patterns on the bed, the fairy lights hanging over the wardrobe or the cuddly teddy bears on the floor. Instead all I could see was a room where you had hurt me. It was no longer bright, instead it felt dark and cold. It was no longer safe. You were lying there on the bed as if you had a hard day at work. You patted the side of the bed to get me to sit beside you. I wanted to run. I wanted to get away from you. But that’s the thing in a controlling relationship. You can’t. It’s as if they have chains attached to you that you can’t escape from. I lay on the bed next to you. You looked at me with softer eyes. It was as if there had been a different person in the room before. You whispered those 3 words. I was sucked back in. The control was too strong. I looked at you, and I felt nothing. I knew from that moment that this story would never be told, because you would do everything in your power to stop it, even if this would tear me apart inside. I would let it happen, because you loved me.