Story 24 – 07.07.2019
“When I was 19 I had a summer job in catering. Soon enough, a work colleague started to show interest in me. He was 27. Eventually, he asked me out and we started dating. We did all the normal things that couples who have just started dating do… drinks, dinner, sunsets, BBQs, swimming, long drives… It was fun! After a month or so, he introduced me to his friends, which made me feel special, considering they were all nearly 10 years my senior. He was always respectful of my boundaries, especially considering I had only ever had sex with one other person who was my previous boyfriend of 3 years.
One day he offered to pick me up after a late shift to take me out for a drink, and I agreed. He drove me to an abandoned car park in the middle of nowhere at 2am and forced me to have sex with him. Afterwards he drove me home in silence. The next day he quit his job working with me and I never heard from him again. A few months later I saw him at a bus stop and he WINKED AT ME, which I felt was equally as violating as the assault itself.
I am sharing this story to highlight that cases of rape and sexual assault are never black and white. The majority of rapists are never brought to justice. Most women, as I did, keep these experiences buried deep within them and battle with feelings of guilt, fear and shame for years before even realising what has happened to them, let alone thinking of reaching out. It took me 6 years to realise that what happened to me wasn’t my fault. I was raped by someone who I thought respected me and cared about me.
Luckily, I didn’t fall pregnant and when summer ended I went off to University and am now graduated and in full time employment in London. Despite this, my experience of sexual assault has affected my romantic and sexual relationships and I have battled with an eating disorder and bouts of depression ever since. If I had fallen pregnant I would have most certainly killed myself.
So how for the love of god do people who think abortion should only be for ‘raped women’ expect this to work? Who are you to determine what is classified as rape and what is not? Because my case would have most certainly been classed as consensual sex in a court room, seeing as I was dating him and willingly went into his car. What happened to me happens to young girls in Malta all the time, regardless of age and social class. Should we have our futures destroyed by men who have intimidated us into sex? By a horny teenager who thought that because I was too drunk to speak or move at the party that I was saying yes? By the uncle who has been touching me in secret since I was a child? By my boyfriend whose condom ‘slipped off’ during sex? By the man who told me he’d kill me if I opened my mouth?
Ladies open your eyes! We need so desperately to support our daughters and one another. Maybe you are lucky enough never to have experienced sexual assault, but for those of us who have on any level, shouldn’t we have the option to control what happens to our bodies and our futures in a safe, supportive and professional environment?”