It took me eight years to admit to myself that yes, it was rape.
I was 11-years-old, and I just wanted to fit in. It was the first year of junior high and everyone was engaged in what was deemed an important race to grow up. Many of us had picked up smoking, drinking, and casually making out with the opposite sex during games like truth or dare. Nothing that was necessarily precarious, it was just a rite of passage most would say. Perhaps we were a bit young to be engaging in such activities, but I suppose that’s just what comes with growing up in Europe, you tend to delve into your rebellious teenage years fairly early and face the cold hard truths of life at a very young age. It didn’t quite feel like I was eleven years old at the time, I thought I was mature and intelligent enough to do whatever I wanted to and that nothing bad would ever happen that I couldn’t deal with at least. I looked older than my age: long blond hair, bright green eyes, already a fairly decent cleavage, it was easy to pass as older than my age so I did. To this day I still blame myself, after all I willingly put myself in the situations that would ensue.
The way it all began was quite ridiculous, as most of what went on back then was. Our class’s group of “popular” boys started flirting with me, and I wasn’t very popular so I didn’t understand. They joked around, and I guess one day the topic of blowjobs came up. I wish I could remember more vividly, but everything is still so blurry when it comes to those flirty conversations that started it all. How or why exactly, I can’t remember, but I must have volunteered for the act an eleven year old definitely shouldn’t be engaging in, and of course they accepted and set up a date. It was all exchanged in small folded up pieces of paper ripped out of our notebooks, exchanged during class. We were eleven years old. Just a bunch of kids. Eleven years old. I hardly remember meeting up with them, or doing “it”, but I do remember that it happened often, and that the word spread about what was going on. I quickly became the girl all guys would come to for sexual favors. I quickly became the girl all girls hated and whispered about in the ladies bathroom day after day. I quickly became hated by most, and I quickly lost respect for myself as everyone else had. But I had let that happen, I had caused it all, it was my fault and I took responsibility for it.
As time went by, I stopped meeting up with these four guys, but I met others. I met him. I’ll skip over the abusive three week boyfriend that obviously only “dated” me to get what he wanted and leave. I’ll skip over the being beaten up and told what to do by various boys that I let into my life. I’ll move onto him and that one day where a “friend” had us all hang out together, and later locked me in the bathroom with him so that he could get what he wanted from me and leave. I screamed, I slapped him, and tried everything I could, but he was nineteen and far stronger than I was. He took my virginity, screamed at me when he realized that he had and that I was crying. What did he think? I was screaming, telling him I couldn’t, that I hadn’t ever before, that it hurt. I hadn’t cried since the beginning of this whole mess, I hadn’t cried when people had come up to me and called me a slut, when friends turned on me and laughed behind my back, I hadn’t cried at any of the hurtful things that had happened because I knew it was my fault. Yet when this happened, it all came to me, and I cried in that stupid bathroom stall for hours after they had left me.
I don’t even remember his name.
It’s crazy to me. I’ve always had the impression that when something traumatizing happens to you, things like names burn you to the core. They stick, they haunt you forever. Yet I don’t remember, and I barely remember his face either, only the clothes he was wearing that day. For eight years I struggled with fragments of memories, and a lot of denial. Eight years of being afraid of boys. Eight years of endless and incurable self-hatred that still affects every parcel of my life. Every relationship I’ve ever been in has been filled with fear and the incontrovertible notion that I did not deserve the other person, and that I would never be good enough for anyone. Every time a friend asks me how I lost my virginity, I tell the same lie. I was 14 years old, it was with a boyfriend that lasted about a month, it was an okay experience. I had painted the picture so vividly in my mind that it became truth even to myself after a while. And still today I’d tell that same lie, because in what universe could I just say “Oh I lost it when I was rapped at age eleven, it hurt like a bitch yeah…”?
It’s been 8 years and I’m still the same broken person, afraid of everything and everyone, who hates herself more than anything in the world.
I still don’t think I deserve my boyfriend, and it makes me so mad. I’ll lay in bed and become so upset because I can’t have normal relationships with others and I never will. I’ll always let boys treat me like an object, and secretly want them to hurt me. I love my boyfriend to death, and sometimes I’ll just look at him and want him to hurt and abuse me physically. I still believe it’s entirely my own fault. I set myself up as a whore, I got what I deserved.
On most days I still believe it’s all that I will ever deserve, but at least I’ve finally admitted that it happened, that I didn’t consent, that it was rape, and that there’s no point in trying to hide from it anymore. I’ve never said the actual words, but I made the biggest step I ever could by explaining what happened to my boyfriend a couple of months ago.