I was 14. My boyfriend at the time was a year older than me. Things were fine, pretty funny, we kissed and things and it was alright. My parents were always at work when I got home from school so sometimes id invite him so we could sit in the lounge and watch tv rather than the kitchen where it was boring. He’d always tell me he’s just gotten his penis out and then I’d tell him no and he’d put it away and it was weird but I thought nothing of it. Then one day he didn’t take no for an answer and raped me in my own bed, and then said “don’t worry, lots of girls cry their first time.” I didn’t really understand consent so I didn’t really have emotions about it I just know I felt sad and I couldn’t put my finger on why.

Over the next 4 months this happened a lot, and if I tried to say no he would hit me and not care about leaving marks- which I would explain as play fighting. I kept it all a secret and I was heartbroken when he ended it with me for an even younger girl, the more I then experienced life and learnt that what happened was awful and punishable by law the more scared I got, I self-harmed, I starved myself, I was promiscuous because I just needed to feel wanted for a while. I then attempted suicide. When I was 17 I got with my current boyfriend, he was confused when I flinched when he went to put his arm around me and how why I always needed him to tell me what to do as I couldn’t decide for myself. I told him what happened and he cried. He’s never hurt me, he never even kisses me unless he knows I want it, and he helped me get into therapy. I feel better now. My abuser still lives in the same house, in the same town and I know that one day I will run into him- but on that day I will walk past him happy and smiling with my head held high, and he will be the one who feels dead inside.

L. Chapman