Dating After Rape

I cant believe I’m actually writing this piece as it’s something that I never thought I’d do. I’ve been sexually assaulted a numerous times, had someone attempt to rape me and I’ve also been raped. I personally chose not to report any of these incidents as I don’t think the police care and I don’t feel like they would’ve convicted them.

I will briefly share my rape experience. I’d recently started dating a guy; I’d stayed at his house twice and both times he’d stayed in a different room to me. Those previous two times I’d stayed nothing had happened, we hadn’t even kissed. At that time I’d just been given two styling jobs so he said to come round to celebrate. I remember this date very well it was Saturday 28th November 2015; I’d actually had a job that day and my phone had fallen down the toilet but I managed to turn it on and his was the only number I took off it. That should’ve been a warning to me that things were going wrong. He told me when I got there that he’d already started drinking so I had to catch up; he made all of my drinks for me in a different room, I think I had the total of three maybe. I thought it was weird as he had his mattress in the living room rather than on his bed and when I asked he made up some excuse. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Harry Potter fan so we were watching that but he quickly decided to change it to Fifty Shades of Grey. I really wasn’t interested in watching that but he insisted we watch it. It’s at this point where things started to get hazy. The last thing I remember is him suggesting a massage and then I blacked out. I didn’t come round till the morning where he was already up. He came in and said “so did you love last night?” and of course I was like what? And he said “I took your virginity, you don’t remember? Well I’ll have to remind you!” And it was at this point where he did it again. At the time I didn’t think of it as rape as I was dating him but it was. He’d also drugged my drinks as well.

When I finally had the courage to leave, as it was also an abusive relationship, I wondered how I would be able to be intimate with someone again. No one tells you the scarring effect it will have on you. No one prepares you for having to relive the trauma everytime you tell your new partner why you may not want to be intimate or why you want to wait or why you aren’t affectionate. No one prepares you for all the triggers or the places you now refuse to even go to. The mental scars it’s had on me I can’t begin to explain; all my following relationships have suffered as a result. I didn’t really like being touched or cuddled or even kissing that much even with my family I stopped really showing affection.

It’s sad because at the time I didn’t even see it as rape or attempted rape as I was dating both people but just because you are doesn’t mean rape doesn’t exist. I feel like more needs to be done on educating about consent and especially consent in relationships. Why is it that once you sleep with someone once they feel like they are entitled to sex continuously after? Why are people not aware everytime you have sex there needs to be consent? These are all things I didn’t know and didn’t really think about. To the point where I guess it continued to happen in following relationships. This became a problem in relationships. I couldn’t achieve an orgasm during sex and I didn’t enjoy any part of it at all. I would just fake it so it would be over and done with. In fact I would dread even having to be intimate with people I was dating/in a relationship with. To the point where I was having sex just to make the other person happy not because I actually wanted to. It’s hard. They all said they understood but they didn’t…they didn’t get it at all and were constantly putting pressure on me. I really did consider just growing old by myself and never interacting with a guy again. I stopped being myself as well, stopped dressing how I liked. Most people I’ve told haven’t been that supportive in the sense their first question is well why didn’t you stop it? why did’t you report it? why did you continue to date them? All of these questions among others that I haven’t mentioned make the survivor feel like they are in the wrong. I mean look how people react when people do say they were raped by famous people; people automatically act as if the survivor is lying and doing it for attention…so why the fuck would anyone want to report

I wouldn’t say I’m all the way there in getting over my trauma but I’ve come so far. Each year on the anniversary I decide to do something I want to do to take back the power of the date. The first year I got a semi colon tattooed inspired by the SafeBae movement but got it adapted to have birds flying free from it. The second year I think I surrounded myself with family and had a movie day. It’s taken two years but I am now getting help from Solace Women’s Aid with dealing with these issues so maybe one day they won’t imprison me.

My advice to anyone who has been raped or assaulted is you’re not alone; If you can open up to a friend or family member please do. If you’re struggling with coping with the effects it’s had on you go and get some help, even if you don’t want to report it get help. For any future partners you may have I think telling them about your experience would maybe help them understand why you can’t do certain things or why you’re not ready. I wish I’d waited and not dated anyone so soon after and I really would say take your time to find yourself again and make sure you’re okay before trying to trust another partner. Go and get yourself checked out as well. My heart goes out to anyone who has been through this and I’m sending you all the love in the world. #metoo

By Destiny Crawford-Corri

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