I was 13 when I got my first boyfriend and he was a year older than me. He was obviously one of those guys that had watched a lot of porn and at the time I didn't know anything about sex. I went to a semi-religious school and my parents were very over-protective.
He wanted me to do a lot of things with him, and in hindsight I really had no idea of what was going on. I wouldn't say there was no consent as such, but it probably laid the groundwork for a lot of messed up relationships that happened later.
My parents would say, “You're not allowed to see this boy” and lay the rules down hard instead of saying, "Please stay safe,” and talk to me about what safe was. I didn't feel like I could talk to them about that kind of thing either, so I didn't fully understand what was happening, I thought all relationships were like ours.
My first relationship gave me a weird perspective on relationships because it was so overly sex-focused and I didn't know that wasn't necessarily normal. I didn't know that you could say no to people if you didn't want to do something sexually.
Looking back I realise I was just a child and I can remember when I was 13 and we went to the mall and I was wearing short shorts and I was not an old looking 13 year old and these guys asked if I wanted to go to the beach in their car and I didn't really grasp how wrong that was. People have treated me in an over sexualised manner since I was so young.
I learned that was the main value you could have as a girl, to be attractive to the opposite sex. As a 13 year old I was constantly concerned about what men thought of me. It was nice to feel like other people wanted you, and as a consequence of that I never really learned how to say no. I didn't know it was ok to say no.
I went into therapy when I was 14. I am not sure what triggered the mental health problems. My parents didn't help because they were super over-protective and didn't know how to deal with emotions and I guess I felt like I couldn't talk to them about things because they would get angry easily if I tried to speak to them about it.
I told my mum a year or so after the rape and she said,"This is what happens when you lead boys on," and I thought that was pretty rough. It was a pretty shitty thing to hear from your mum. I don't think I'll ever get over that. I told my therapist and she was sympathetic and encouraged me to tell my parents, but when I did and mum acted like it was my fault, and said not to tell my dad about it. I felt quite shitty.
I was never really sure if it was rape exactly, and I thought maybe I was at fault. It's an internalised rape culture I guess. I don't know what I should have done exactly to stop it, he was an asshole who wouldn't take no for an answer, even if I did say no.
This guy had a relationship with me for a couple of months when I was 15, then afterwards we stayed friends. In the years to come he was emotionally manipulative, and would tell me my boyfriend was gay and didn't want to have sex with me. He would say things like, "Oh, you could be really hot if only you had big boobs".
Then my boyfriend went away for a while, and during that time this so-called friend of mine came over to my house and he forced himself on me. There was so much emotional manipulation leading up to that point that I felt powerless and I didn't feel like I could say no. He would go on about how my boyfriend didn't like me, until I felt really bad about myself.
I don't know how much the he planned exactly, but he definitely did it on purpose. We were relatively good friends and I would tell him my insecurities, so he knew what I was worried about and would say things that he knew would make it worse. I think he did plan everything. I have a lot of insecurities that he preyed on. I think he knew what he was doing.
Afterwards, he told my friends that I had cheated on my boyfriend with him, and sent them a photo so they believed him. My friends said if it was rape, why didn't I fight back, but I felt that I was emotionally powerless. I couldn't say no to this guy. It was really awful. My friends gave me the impression that they would believe me if I went to the police about it. Eventually I did and they said it was a 'he said she said' situation and there was nothing they could do. That was also really shitty. They said there wasn't much concrete evidence.
I felt like it was my fault, and I didn't deserve anything better than what had happened to me. I sat around at my parents house for about six months.I got another boyfriend when I was 18 and we moved out together because I found it hard living with my parents. I had a lot of problems with depression and anxiety and they didn't really understand it, they weren't very tolerant of it, and so it was difficult to be around them, I basically left ASAP.
I always had trust issues but they got a lot worse after that. My problems with self-esteem got way worse too, because I felt like I was worthless and I felt like I couldn't trust anyone. Especially because my friends didn't believe me and that was really painful.
I was having a hard time at school because it was an all girls school for rich girls. I didn't fit in. They were wearing couture tracksuits and I was a weird, emo teenager. I wanted to leave as soon as I could anyway but the sexual assault made my grades worse. In the end I didn't get university entrance. I was feeling estranged from my friends and I didn't feel like I could go back to school and face them.
The guy who attacked me would continue to emotionally blackmail me about what happened until I blocked him and told him not to talk to me anymore. That prompted him to tell my friends that we had sex but not the real story.
In the past few years he messages me on and off and says,"You don't think I raped you do you?" I told him I didn't consent to it and he would always say,”Yeah, but it wasn't rape though.”
I don't know why you would think it was ok to treat a person like that. It's so damaging when you are young. I feel like if someone would try to manipulate me like that now, I would think they were very desperate. I can't imagine lacking in empathy that much that you would deliberately make people feel bad about themselves so you can get it off with them.
If I could see him now, I would probably give him a massive beat down and punch him in his stupid face. I think that he probably feels uncomfortable that I didn't take it back and placate him by saying that it was fine. He probably didn't think through the consequences of his actions. He was too busy thinking about himself. I still hate that guy. I don't think I'll ever let it go. I have no idea where he is now.
I still have really long running trust issues with romantic partners and I find it really difficult to believe them when they say things and I'm really sensitive to people who are emotionally manipulating me in any kind of way. It makes me very angry. Trust is a big thing because it happened with someone I thought was my friend. I have a hard time trusting my friends now.
I think there's a lot of things that need to happen with rape culture. Gender roles need to break down. Toxic masculinity plays into it and all these concepts of what it is to be a dude are harmful and damaging. They feel like they have to be sexually charged all the time and all that sort of thing. They say it's in a man's nature to be predatory and it's an overwhelming urge. It's not true. You don't always have to decide that you are going get sex no matter what it takes.
Men need to be more respectful to boundaries. Women feel like we are not allowed to say no. It's perceived that you are not feminine if you don't make people happy, even if you don't want to do it. No means no, but it also goes a lot deeper than that. I don't want to be emotionally manipulated anymore, and I want people to recognise when they are being manipulated.
It's been so long with me thinking it's my own fault, and now I realise it wasn't my fault. It's bullshit, what happened to me, and it sucks that I still have to deal with the consequences, but I don't care about people knowing anymore.