Lucy’s Story: I thought he would fix me

Lucy’s Story: I thought he would fix me

Firstly, im sorry that this happened to you. It happened to me too and i understand your pain.

Its largely assumed and taken as a given that when anyone goes through any form of trauma, you’re ‘allowed’ a few months, maybe a year of being a wreck. Emotionally, psychologically or even physically. You get a year free pass before the empathy and even the sympathy wears off and you need to start to ‘help yourself’ or just get over it.

Its not that people dont care, its that they either dont fully understand the form of pain you’re in or that they have their own lives and their own traumas that make it hard to be a constant support system. And its okay, because everyone has struggles and everyone goes through some form of inexplicably painful event at some point in their lives, So we don’t talk about it and we try to carry on.

Its because of my long and continuing journey to being me again that i feel the need to share my story and experience. So bare with me because this is hard.

I was 14 when i met him. I lost my virginity while partially unconscious in his bed at his 15th birthday party. At the time i was so anxious to get my first time out of the way that i didnt even think about what had really happened until a long time after. My friends were all really jealous that i had done it before them and i was such a particularly insecure girl that i found a form of misguided pride in what i had achieved. Its not until as an adult that i looked back on that night and realised that what had happened to me and the events that took place for almost 4 years after that i have truly come to terms with it.

After i lost my virginity to him we didnt really talk or even see eachother until one night, several months later when he asked if i wanted to meet up. I was now 15 and had engaged in sexual intercourse with someone else since losing my virginity and would now be what is considered ‘sexually active’. We met up that night and he was charming and sweet and kind and funny and i genuinely felt like he was perfect.

Its worth mentioning that from the age of about 9 or 10 i was a deeply depressed and emotionally unstable person. I referred to myself as broken even as a child and can remember crying myself to sleep every night for what felt like years. I was lonely and depressed and desperately trying to fill this emptiness that i had inside me. And then i met him and i felt like everything would be okay.

We were in love. Everything was great. We were children, yes, but when youre 15 you dont see yourself as a child. We were convinced that we were going to be together forever. And then it started to change.

It was small things at first. When we went to a party i wasnt allowed to drink any alcohol as i ‘couldnt handle it’ and any time i was seen with any form of alcoholic drink it descended into a very heated argument about my morals and my commitment to him. The fact that i wasnt doing very well in school meant that i was a failure. I was told i didnt try hard enough with my apearance. I was told that my family didnt treat me well enough so i distanced myself from them. I was told that he didnt like my friends so i distanced myself from them and instead only socialised with his friends. If we ever went on a date or a day out i wasnt trusted to choose the activity because i always got it wrong. He would tell me he was taking me out and then after dictating what we did, would regularly make me pay. Most times he would leave mid way through because i had done something to offend him or that he didnt see as acceptable and i would have to pay and then find a way home.

These small changes, when combined into one paragraph, make it painfully obvious that i was in an unhealthy and controlling relationship. When these things happen slowly over a period of time, and at the same time your self worth and self belief is also being destroyed by someone youre in love with, your blinded. The worst part is that this was just the begining. This is just a list of a few of the things he did that i can remember happening before it got a lot scarier and darker and even more lonely.

While the controlling continued, every single day was an attack on my personality and looks. I was nothing. I would be punised for behaving badly by being made to sleep on the floor. Like a dog. I felt so worthless.

He cheated on me. I was told by a mutual friend and he denied it. I knew he was lying but i was too scared to be without him so i pretended i believed him. Later on in our relationship he admitted it, gloated and told me it was because she was more attractive, better in bed and that i wasnt having sex with him enough. He openly admitted that they regularly met up. It was my fault. And i genuinely felt like it was my fault. I wasnt good enough for him so i tried as hard as i could to be perfect so he would stay with me.

We had been together for a year when he began to regularly rape me. I think this is the part that i still struggle so much with. For most of my life, rape was when someone violently attacked a woman – usually down an alleyway. That is how it is depicted in school and on TV. Now, as an adult and especially as a feminist, i feel almost shamed that i didnt know i was being raped or try to stop it. I was old enough to fully comprehend rape and i was more than capable of knowing that its wrong to make someone have sex if they dont want it, however i was also convinced that he was the only thing i had and the only thing that could make me happy. I was under the forced illusion that i was lucky to have someone like that love me. I had finally got to the point where i didnt know what i wanted or didnt want unless he told me first. So he told me i had to have sex with him. So i did.

Once this had started, so did the beatings. For the small things that would have originally ended with a heated argument and me apologising profusely for whatever i had done wrong, they now ended with a slap round the face or being physically held down and screamed at. On a few occaisions i was punched in the face. The worst physical violence i endured was when he pushed me so hard that i fell over and split my head open on the corner of a radiator. The last thing i remember is seeing the blood and then looking up to see him laughing. I woke up in hospital and aparently, according to the nurse, i had hurt my head by dancing on the bed and then falling. I went along with it because he was sorry.

I was only physically forced into having sex with him once. I still cant quite find it in myself to talk about that part and it took a very long time for me to even be able to say it out loud. But he did it. And i got pregnant.

This was not part of the plan. He was destined for university and a career. This was something he couldnt control. Well, this was something i thought he couldnt control. Having been someone that didnt ever really feel loved or worthy of love i was suddenly faced with the prospect of becoming a mother. I was 16. I told him that i was pregnant and im not sure what i expected but it was probably not what happened next. I was told to either have an abortion or i would be pushed down the stairs and dealt with. These werent the words of a scared 17 year old boy who didnt know what to do, these were the words of someone who knew exactly how to handle a situation that had gone past being controlled. To this day i still hate myself for what i did. I know i did nothing wrong and i aborted a child (that was the product of rape) out of fear for my and its safety. I still cant help hating myself, especially because now i am faced with the prospect that i may never have children.

Shortly after having the termination i got a blood infection in one of my ovaries. It filled with cysts and caused irrepairable damage that has left me with only 1 working ovary. Im not infertile but im half as likely to ever hold my baby in my arms. Im half as likely to ever be a mother. And it hurts so much because it is all because of what i did.

The rape and the violence started up again about a month later. I would spend about 4 or 5 nights a week at his house because of the strained relationship i had with my family. Even though i had my own home i could go to and feel safe, i didnt. I felt trapped between a home i felt unloved and lonely and a home where i would be beaten and forced to have sex.

It wasnt constant abuse. We would have some really good times. It was such a yo-yo type relationship where i eventually didnt know which version of him i was going to get or at what point he would turn or if he would turn at all. It was exhausting.

One day, He suffered a family tragedy. He was broken. This big masculine terrifying person was suddenly so small and vulnerable. He needed me. I was there for him and i wanted to help make it better. I was there for months, everything he needed or wanted i was there. One day he turned to me and said ‘youre all i have left now. You are never allowed to leave me’. I dont know why it happened at that moment but suddenly the penny dropped. I wasnt with him through choice. I wasnt with him because i loved him. I was with him because he demanded it. I was with him because i was his possession.

So i left him. I broke up with him and i didnt look back. He was vulnerable and had suffered a great loss and maybe it was insensitve to do so but i did.

He was fine. He quickly got into another relationship with the girl he was cheating on me with. For months they mocked me over how weak and insignificant i was to them. Then a year later she texted me apologising for what she had said and done and sent me pictures of the black eye he gave her.

As i previously mentioned, its not until i was an adult and i looked back on my experience that i realised i wasnt just heartbroken, i was BROKEN. Every part of my heart and soul had been picked apart and violated and it took me a long time to comprehend the damage. And im still healing but its okay. Its okay to not be okay.

Years have passed since this happened to me. Im now engaged with a good job and a great network of friends. People assume that its been so long since what happened that i must be fine now. My life looks perfect so i must be fine.

I have PTSD which is triggered by sex or having my arm or leg movement restricted. I can barely bring myself to make love to my finance because when i do i have to fight off flashbacks of being raped. I have an anxiety disorder where i constantly worry about everything and have a feeling of dread with me all the time. I have OCD. I have a panic disorder and have panic attacks regularly. I sometimes become convinced im being chased or followed. This is all the lifelong consequence i carry from being abused. Im a strong woman, i refuse to be mistreated by anyone again in my life, but im still recovering.

I dont like the label ‘survivor of domestic abuse’. I dont think that just because i didnt die that i survived at all. Parts of me that once were great are now gone. The person that i was no longer exists. The person i could of been will never exist. They say that you wouldnt be who you are today without the things that happen to you, good or bad. The saddest part of that is that i agree, i just know im not the person i was supposed to be anymore.

I cant stress enough how easy it is to find yourself in an abusive relationship, especially as a young girl who may not see the beauty and individual brilliance in themselves.

It took me a long time to realise that i was in an abusive relstionship and then make the scary decision to walk away and say no, this isnt right. I refuse to be damaged forever and so should you. It shouldnt be shameful or embarrassing to tell your story. I dont know statistics, i dont have facts and figures, but i know that too many women have and still will die because of domestic abuse.

If we stand together, tell our stories, face our fears and stop this issue from being so taboo, maybe we could save some lives. Maybe we can save someone from lifelong mental illness. Maybe we can save someone from aborting a child from fear for their own life. Maybe we can save someone from rape. Maybe we can save someone from hating themselves. Maybe we can help rebuild someone that lives each day feeling broken.

Tags:CollegeSupporting each otherI did not report it, I’ve never told anyoneI knew my rapist, We were in a relationship, I blamed myselfFears, Shame, Guilt, Stigma, CultureI remember what happenedHe felt entitled, He was violentI was a virgin, I became pregnantI still can’t sleep, Nightmares, Flashbacks, I’m afraid to be alone, I’m in therapy

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

Related