The Blame Game (Content Note)
I have wanted to write for a year now, about my experience with violence in a relationship. I feel sick every time I write a few words, so apologies if this is not written eloquently. I tried to keep a diary about my progress a while ago but I found it too painful to keep up with it. But I now feel ready. I want to share this to raise awareness of sexual bullying at school and the future consequences of minimising and denying this experience, and what it can lead on to.
I had thought that all my issues were linked in with a relationship I was in from 16-18. Since September 2013 I have horrifically come to the acceptance that I have been sexually abused since age 10. I wouldn’t even say I was in denial; I had just been so desensitized to being touched that I had no boundaries and was unaware of what sexual assault even is. I was sexually assaulted from boys my own age at school from age 10-14. No big deal though. “Boys will be boys” one teacher said to me. It became so normal that I never complained about it again. Teachers would blink an eye (literally). Almost all of my teachers witnessed my breasts, vagina and arse being touched. Regularly in the corridors a group of boys would take it in turns shoving their hands down my trousers. No big deal, by year 7 this was happening daily.
Boys would throw coppers at me and shout abusive and vulgar things about me and my family, some were racist comments. On one occasion a boy was pulling my underwear and I called him a twat. I got a detention and was eventually put on report for my ‘disruptive behaviour’. Were the boys given any consequences for touching my body? No. I was punished for reacting. I needed to stay silent. . How 12 year old boys knew such things I have no idea. Pornography is to blame, perhaps. But what about them? Why are they not responsible for their actions? I eventually stopped doing dance and gymnastics (two things I loved) as my self-esteem had been eroded away so much.
At the same time, I was bullied by my so called friends. A group of girls, my friends turned on me, and would sometimes ask older boys to do things to me. I was videoed, ‘happy slapped’ and there were hate website made about me. I hated myself and never understood why everybody else hated me so much, still to this day I don’t know. Nobody at home knew. Sometimes my mum would drag me into school. I would eat raw meat, drink bleach and eat washing up powder. Anything to make me sick so I didn’t have to go to school. By age 13 I took an overdose of tablets. After two years it all came out. Local authorities got involved, spoke to the head teacher and parents of the girls (but not the boys). I don’t wish to reveal my name but the first thing the head teacher said to me. (When she found out it was me this had been happening to) “You’re not (name) you’re always getting in to trouble and don’t work”. So because I was ‘feisty’ and opinionated with teachers, not to mention I had undiagnosed ADD, dyslexia and dyscalculia, it was denied. She could not believe this was happening to me. I still feel very angry towards this woman. I didn’t fit in to her description of what a victim of bullying looked like. I had to leave this school, with no consequences for the boys, or girls. Nothing happened to them; I had to move school and city. I became too ill I could not leave the house.
Fast forward to age 16 I was being abused again and again, my views were so fucked up on what love and affection meant as never had I had support for what happened in my past. I equated abuse/possession with love. I self-medicated with alcohol and drugs. Looking back I thought I was just experimenting having some fun, now I am coping with PTSD.
I was raped by my 22 year old boyfriend at age 16 who regularly gave me drugs, I became addicted, to him and drugs. He knew I was vulnerable and what makes me so sick is he calculated it all, this was all premeditated. He would use my depression against me, make out I was going mad, say I was lying etc. I thought I was going mad. On reflection it was him who was making me mad. I was referred to CAMHS. I was a mess. He covered me in bruises in places only he would see. He never harmed my face because he was too clever. When he strangled me the marks from his hands only stayed for a few hours. He never asked me if I wanted sex. Sex was on demand. I still question myself about if it was rape because I never screamed no. it was psychologically less painful to go along with it because it would be less painful. He made punching games a joke, and said I could do it to him, so it was a ‘game’. Except in this game he wasn’t left with bruises, or with his head being put in to a bin, back being bent over the stairs banister. This all became worse when I became pregnant, but thankfully miscarried at 18. He also manipulated me in to having his baby that I knew I was not ready for. Let me fast forward as I don’t want to be boring or triggering anyone who is reading this with more detail. I did try to leave, and every time he’d reel me back in like I was his fish on a rod. The last straw was when he locked me in his flat and threatened to burn boiling water over me. This sociopathic man had everybody fooled and would laugh at my expense whilst I was curled up in a ball crying on his floor not long after miscarrying his child. He would laugh in the most sadistic tone and whisper in my ear “this was always my aim, to break you, now look at you, you’re broken, weak and you’ve finally learnt to never answer me back”.
Eventually the police were involved shortly after this, it was denied due to lack of evidence (as always) but I did get a non-molestation order. I was offered no support or advocate in court. The solicitor labelled me a sexist.
I have since been raped again and was in another abusive relationship in a different country. I am now out of it. I am truly terrified that my boundaries are so fucked up and that abuse is desensitised. What about a future relationship I have where somebody is genuinely good to me but I don’t believe it is true? I am suspicious of every man’s intentions and think they have ulterior motives and I don’t want to continue having this mentality. I’m 20 years old and I cannot cope with the thought of being abused again. I’m currently in very good therapy but it’s a long process.
I want to share my story to professionals on what happened to me at school but I don’t know how this is possible. I have still had no acknowledgment or apology of what happened to me at school. I really want to make something positive out of my experiences and if I could help to prevent this happening to other girls, I would be so happy. If anybody knows how I could go about raising this, I’d appreciate some feedback.
I am no longer silenced.
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I believe you x
Well done for speaking out. Sending you love and strength. Keep your focus on you when you can.
I believe you too x Things WILL get better x
I believe you too. Thank you for writing this. I hope it will get better.
I believe you. Hope you are doing well.
I believe you too.
I wonder if it’s worth you waiting until the road to recovery is well travelled before looking in to supporting others, simply because therapy is arduous and difficult…
When you’re ready, I’d approach agencies who have a voice already – NSPCC / Childline / CEOP etc and see if they would/could work with you.
You are very strong – you are. You’re still here. You’re speaking out.
I believe you and I respect you.
I hope you learn to like yourself before too long.
Oh, I am so sorry all of this has happened to you. I believe you.
Sending love and encouragement to you.
None of what has happened to you is your fault. Bullies, of all ilks, work on destroying your self worth and make you afraid to be you.
I am truly sorry to read about all that you have been through. Therapy can be a long process but if you have managed to find someone that you can work with, who is helping you then stick with it. You deserve a future that is independent of and better then your past. I was abused as a child, what I went through was far less frightening than what you have suffered but I fully understand what it can do to your view of yourself and how it can affect your relationships with others. Trust is very easy to break and extremely hard to mend. Be kind to yourself. You do not have to forgive those who have treated you badly, you owe them nothing. Try to leave them behind and move forward. Trust may always be more difficult for you than it is for other people but this is ok. Time and experience will teach you to ‘read’ other people and you will meet men who can behave decently towards you. If a man complains that you are ‘defensive’ or not letting him get close to you that is HIS problem. You have every reason to be defensive and cautious early in a relationship. I know it’s tough and I know that it may seem impossible at times, but with patience and support you can and will move forward. Don’t let your past beat you.
Another quick word from me, please check out This link http://ninaburrowes.com/index.php/books/the-courage-to-be-me/preface/
Nina Burrowes produces some fantastic, thought provoking and very helpful self help materials. She is also on Twitter.
My heart goes out to you. I believe you. X