November 2015, three months into the first semester of University with my best friend from home (I'll call her Jane), I earned my way and found myself working in a bar four nights a week. I loved it, the atmosphere and the people. Jane needed money so I got her a job working with me promoting the bar.
Gossiping on the way to work, she told me how she had a guy she liked stop at her flat with a handful of his friends. She mentioned that she found one funny and attractive and his name was *Ryan (not his real name). During the end of the shift that night, I was tapped on the shoulder by a lad, the same age as me, asking for Jane. She quickly came over and introduced me to Ryan and his friend *Chris (not his real name). They were polite and both had a trusting face. Jane and Ryan began talking and flirting between themselves which left myself and Chris in what could have been an awkward conversation. I was surprised, he was interested in what I had to say, he gave me eye contact and smiled as we both spoke. He asked me if I could meet him the next day for a drink and
I had to decline, blurting out that myself and my current boyfriend were having serious issues and if he knew I was even talking to another, I would have a million accusations and arguments. Chris said he was disappointed and that he'd respect what I had said and that I deserved better. Ryan and Chris waited for myself and Jane to finish our shift so Ryan and Jane could continue talking and we could all have a few drinks. Jane seemed excited by Ryan and was desperate to get into the dating scene so I promised her I would be acting 'wing woman' and that they were all allowed back to my flat to join myself and Jane having a few drinks and a movie.
As the bar began closing down we all headed towards the 24hour shop and we bought a small bottle of vodka between us and walked through campus towards my flat. Jane and Ryan walked ahead, hand in hand, giggling and Chris and I followed shortly behind. We talked about my failing relationship and I felt as though I could trust Chris. He told me how Ryan had not stopped talking about Jane since they first met at her flat the night before. He had promised to be Ryan's 'wingman' and we both agreed that they seemed good for each other.
I felt comfortable; I felt safe.
The door to my flat closed and the atmosphere changed. Jane and Ryan seemed the same but Chris became more rigid and couldn't stand still. I went to fetch drinks whilst I left Jane and Ryan in my room. Chris followed me. He asked me again about my boyfriend, his job, his personality, how long we had been together and despite all the arguments- was I happy. I told him I was happy. (At that time I hadn't seen the real side to my boyfriend and was head over heels for him). I suddenly felt a shadow right behind me and turned around. Chris held my face and kissed me hard. Once I'd clicked onto the situation I pushed him back and nervously rushed away. I had almost made it towards the kitchen door when he grabbed my wrist hard and told me I had cheated on my boyfriend and that he was better for me. I laughed and said that it wasn't me that forced the kiss, but I forgave him and it would not happen again.
I needed to calm down. I thought Jane was safe. I stood at the doorway and asked if Jane wanted a cigarette downstairs with me but her and Ryan were cuddled up and she said she was too tired. I grabbed my cigarettes off the bed and went downstairs. I was joined shortly by Chris. He apologised and began talking of Ryan and Jane and how we were both happy they got on so well. Every door in my flat complex was fobbed. As we were talking. I was slowly becoming more and more unsure of Chris and began thinking of different way I could 'accidently' lock him out, long enough to speak to Jane and Ryan to say I was ill and that they needed to go home. Every plan was carefully detailed in my mind and I was sure I. could do something. I looked down. My cigarette had burnt out and I was already linking arms with chris who was almost marching me back to the flat. I panicked and froze out. I didn't talk and I just stood, vacant looking, as Jane explained that she wanted Ryan and Chris to stop over. I managed to blurt out that I needed the toilet and stumbled to my ensuite. Chris followed me in, mumbling to Jane that I was really drunk and that he'd look after me.
The bathroom lock thudded shut and my heart sank. I knew what was going to happen. My mind was screaming out for help as my body was limp and frozen. I told him I was desperate for a wee and that he needed to turn around as I had just come off my period. He laughed and whispered under his breathe that he didn't care. I stood up, holding my knickers so i could pull them up as quickly as possible. That was when I was suddenly met with a pain around my neck, so hard that I couldn't breathe and a pain to the back of my head. I was being strangled up against the wall. His face nestled into my shoulder. He ripped my knickers down and penatrated me. I started saying no over and over again. The feeling was horrendous. It felt unnatural and made me feel sick. I blanked out, feeling defenceless and dirty. I was strong and independent but this one man had took that away from me in a matter of seconds. He put a towel over my mouth and nose to keep me quiet.
The minutes that passed felt like hours. I felt every single movement and I began going light headed due to the towel covering my airways. That was when he stopped. He took my face and kissed me forcibly again and then told me to clean myself up and get a drink from the kitchen.
I took no notice of Jane and Ryan, I knew exactly what they were doing in my own bed and I didn't want Jane knowing I'd potentially cheated on my boyfriend like Chris had told me. I got into the kitchen, thinking I was alone. My body had gone into shut down as well as my mind. I couldn't think about anything properly and my head was spinning. The grab took me to suprise as he again strangled me against the wall as he groped me. I tried to shout but my voice wouldn't work. He threw me onto the sofa and I looked up. His blue eyes had turned black and his jaw was gurning. I remember thinking to myself that he was on Coke. I had friends that did it, their eyes looked the same.
He finished and forced me up with my neck. Telling me how disgusting I was and how my boyfriend would find out and hate me. He told me everyone would find out how I cheated on my boyfriend in the army and how it's an awful thing to do to someone in the forces. I knew right then that I couldn't tell a soul. My boyfriend was a very proud man but was very small minded. I knew Chris was right; he would blame me and not the 'rapist'. I downed a half a glass of vodka and went back to my room. I wanted Jane to figure out something was wrong and kick them out. It was 4am by this point and I had gone so drowsy. She insisted that she was sleeping on the floor on her own and that the lads could have my bed. She kept asking me to join her on the floor but Chris never took his eyes off me and insisted that Ryan stayed with Jane and that me and Chris would be fine In the bed. He whispered in my ear that if I didn't choose him I would have to watch him and Ryan do the same to Jane. I loved my best friend and I knew she would suffer more than me if they layed a finger on her.
I told Jane I'd stay on the bed as her and Ryan were getting on. She fell asleep within minutes.
Ryan scared me the most from then. He began whispering to Chris about the potential 'fuck on the floor' and how they could take turns on Jane. The attention turned to me and I was told if I didn't have it then she would. Ryan got into bed with myself in the middle and chris on the end. He tried pulling my trousers down continuously as I said no. I had it from both sides, I was trapped. They began getting annoyed that I was shuffling about and told me I was frigid and that they would harm Jane instead. I didn't know what to do. I slowly began giving up. Exhausted and assaulted I passed out. I don't know what happened after that until I woke up.
The sound of my shower woke me up. Chris was in my shower and I was laid in bed with no trousers on with Ryan next to me. Jane was still asleep and the sun was coming up. Ryan mumbled for me, whispering my name. I turned to face him and he asked me if I liked Chris. I said he wasn't my type, hoping Ryan would leave me alone but he starting stroking my thigh and pushing me towards him. I pushed back and said no again. He asked me why and the first thing I thought of came out my mouth. ' I like Chris, he likes me. We spoke last night about meeting up.' Ryan laughed, he told me that Chris was only interested in my body, like Ryan was. Ryan told me that if I had sex with him, they would leave me alone for good. I found my voice and said no. I told him that I had lectures and that they had to get out.
Jane sat up and saw Ryan attempting to get on top of me. I looked into her eyes and she did nothing. I pushed him off and kicked both lads out.
Jane left about an hour later. She didn't speak to me for three/four days until we had an argument. I told her everything. How I'd tried to stop it happening to her. Everything. She told me I was a slag and that my boyfriend would find out soon that I slept with the guy she liked and used rape as an excuse. This girl was my best friend for 7 years and she didn't know me at all. I am loyal and would never put someone I love in a situation I could help them avoid.
One year passed and she'd dropped out of uni, engaged and with a baby on the way. I lost everyone and people I used to hang around with stopped talking to me. I later found out that she had told them a completely different account of what happened and they all believed I'd cried rape as a cover.
Out of the blue on 22nd December 2016 she messaged me asking if she could use my name in a police interview if she reported Ryan. She told me that he had tried it with her and her fiancée wanted her to report it. I still blamed myself so I burst out crying, still telling her I'd do anything to make it right.
Unfortunately I then received messages from her partner calling me a liar and that I deserved everything that happened to me if I was telling the truth. At that point, I found it in myself to report it. I had moved on from my boyfriend and had been dating a close friend who knew nothing about the situation. I rang him, mid panic attack and told him everything as he drove to my house. He took me to the police station where I reported the incident and I was more scared of potentially getting in trouble myself as I believed it was my own fault. I later found out that Jane never reported her story and the stories she was telling people were completely different and didn't match up.
They sent officers round to my house when my parents were out and I told them my story. At first I found it so uncomfortable and there were times I was so petrified that I had to tell strangers of my story but it got easier. Every person I told, told me the same things- it was never my fault, I had a shit friend and that I should have reported it as soon as it happened.
Now, three years on, I still have social anxiety, depression and panic episodes but I'm coping. A huge weight lifted the first time I spoke out. My assaulter's still walk free because my story against theirs over a year later would be incrediably difficult in court and mentally I don't need the stress of a court case on my back.
If I said I don't think of it that much anymore I would be lying. All I can do is thank myself for becoming the person that I am and encourage any victim to come forward, no matter what anyone else says. I'm a multiple rape victim but more importantly I am a survivor.