In 2015 I got sexually assaulted. He was my friend, I looked up to him and I loved him. He was older than me, I was 15.

We were out, and he assumed I had wanted him. I didn’t, I liked someone else, I was embarrassed, I didn’t want people to see me. I didn’t want him touching me. When it happened I cried, I was scared and I was confused.

Could have I prevented it? Did I agree to it?

No I couldn’t have and no I didn’t. I said no, I pushed him off of me. But he wouldn’t stop. I was scared he would never stop, but eventually he did. He didn’t hit me but he hurt me, physically and mentally. I was 15. I was too young to realise some boys don’t listen to you and that it wasn’t my fault. He was my mate, I trusted him with my life. I used to go to him with advice and he knew everything about me. It didn’t matter what the reason was, I was 15 and I said no.

At the time I was naïve and fragile and young. I didn’t think that people could deceive you and once you’ve spent a long time with someone that you must know the person inside and out. But that isn’t true, people spend years lying and hiding things from their partners, parents, children. I was also scared that no one would believe me, and so for 10 months I kept it to myself, just telling 2 people. I didn’t want to have to see my parent’s faces when I told them, I didn’t want things to change. I thought that I could move on without any of my family knowing.

I used to believe that the worst part of abuse, whether it’s physical, mental or sexual, is when it’s happening. But for me, it became a living nightmare once it had happened. It changed my life, it ruled my life. I’d have constant flashbacks, and hallucinations, I used to and still do see him and he talks to me. It’s usually at night and he sits on my bed. He tells me I’m disgusting, and that no one will believe me, that I deserved it. I was too scared to sleep at one point, I didn’t eat much and the thought of having feelings for males scared me. I didn’t want to trust another guy again. I couldn’t afford to. I became depressed and my feelings for school and homework changed, I was clever and loved school. But things were different and I was too anxious to do exams, and then when I started at college I was too nervous to go in. It was too big, and I thought everyone would realise what had happened and judge me. I was embarrassed. The work was too much and I couldn’t handle the exams, I still can’t.

When I turned 17 I started learning to drive, however I can’t be in a car alone with a guy, especially if they are older and so my driving instructor had to be female. Certain places I go still scare me as I feel like I’m going to be attacked again. I have moved on so much since that day however it is always’ at the back of my mind and it still and I feel will always effect my life however we can’t let them win. It isn’t fair, I can’t ruin my life.

I was 15, a child. I am no longer that child and so I am ready to live my life. I am ready to be happy and find someone. And succeed in the career I am passionate about, I want to help others. For them to know they aren’t alone, that lots of us going through horrible times however we will all get through this together, sharing ideas and our experiences to help girls speak out.

I have realised that being a victim of abuse doesn’t make you who you are, it is a part of you. But who you are, is your personality, your achievements, your family, your attitude and how you have been so strong to overcome something and learn from it.