• Break the Taboo Malta

Story 12 - 08.03.2019

This story addresses an OBGYN’s claim that women report rape for insurance purposes.





“I would like to share my experience with rape anonymously following that obstetrician's insensitivity. Post them wherever you deem fit.

I lost my virginity to rape. I was seventeen and was supposed to be helping my ‘boyfriend’ with his studies. I had been under the impression his mum would be home. When I got there and found out it was just us, I was too shy to take a stand and leave. Then again, this was someone I should be able to trust, right? Soon enough, the studying turned to caresses and snogging. I was ok with that but nervous his mum would walk in. His desire quickly took over and no matter how much I tried to push him off, he pulled down my pants and forcefully penetrated me. It hurt, a hell of a lot, but I couldn't get out from under him. He was too heavy and strong, and I also felt like I deserved this ‘punishment’ for leading him on. Once the deed was done, he was more concerned that the blood stain was going to give him away than that I couldn't stop the bleeding.

I hated to admit to my first time being so lurid, so for a few months more, I remained his girlfriend. His aggression kept getting worse every time I indicated I didn't feel like sex or that it hurt. He used to verbally abuse me by making fun of me, telling me I am an embarrassment, and threatening to tell my overprotective parents. I suffered from vaginismus for a long time after that. Because I didn't want to get pregnant, I made sure to under eat and over exercise, so I wouldn't ovulate, or so I thought.

A pregnancy test returned positive once – a cousin used to buy them for me and I tested every four weeks. I went out with my bicycle hoping the bumpy ride would help me miscarry, binged on alcohol and swallowed some panadols with it. This was pre-internet information age... I couldn't look up this stuff. I just did what I thought would remove the cells from my body before they became a baby. I believed I could not go to a gynea without my parents since I was underage. Soon enough, horrifying cramps set in and I had what I told my mum was an excessively heavy period. I called a friend who helped by taking me to the Floriana clinic. She gave her details instead of mine, so they thought I was 18.

I never spoke to anyone in terms of rape... was too afraid he'd come after me if a report was made, and I also was afraid of repercussions at home. I believed I'd be told I had been stupid, that I'd led him on, that he'd bad mouth me, even worse – that I'd become a laughing stock... I was 17, reserved, shy, brainwashed that virginity was to be prized. I just wanted to leave it all behind.

After this, I mastered the courage to break up, never actually telling him about the miscarriage (was it abortion?). I did so in a public place, so he wouldn't hurt me physically. He shouted such insults at me that a stranger felt the need to step in and tell him a real man would walk away to retain his dignity and not make a scene. Thank you random guy for that. Thank you for turning to me after and telling me that I had taken the right decision to break up from such a guy. I needed to hear that and needed to know that there are decent guys around. I might have fallen a little bit in love with you for that (never saw you again) and held you up as a standard I needed to hold out for.

Months and months of calls from ex with apologies and tears to forgive him followed, during which I kept my socialising to a minimum to avoid him. Years later, he felt the need to get in touch again and tell me he regrets the way he treated me, that he hoped I'd forgive him on some level, that he had felt too pressured by friends to prove his manhood and lose his virginity. The apology helped a bit. Even without it, I'd still probably not report it. He's an apparently respectable family man now. The entire process of seeking justice seems too biased and it will probably be too traumatic to make it worth its while now. I just hope he's really learnt to treat women better.

I learned how easily one becomes a victim, how fear is toxic, the danger of well-meaning but overprotective parents, how important information and choices are, the importance of close lady friends who will have your back, and more. I try to be constructive about it, but truth is, it damaged my outlook on sexuality for many years and it took much kindness, patience and compassion from later partners to overcome that. I wouldn't show up in any doctor's record as a rape case or abortion. That's what taboo results in dear well-meaning but somewhat ignorant doctor.”

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Break the Taboo Malta is an initiative to end abortion stigma in Malta by sharing real abortion stories and experiences.