I just wanted a place to share my story. I can’t feel anything. [TW: rape)

I just need to vent. I don’t know why, but I find sharing my story makes me feel momentarily better in times where I don’t know what else might help, and it’s become difficult to find anyone close to me that I haven’t told already.

On 21st January this year, I was walking to work at around 7:30am. I went to take a shortcut down by a haulage company to shave a few minutes off the journey, where there was a 25-30-year-old man down this lane. It doesn’t sound like much, but it was very unusual to see anyone walking down there, let alone someone just waiting there. I walked there every day and you recognise a lot of the same faces journeying to work, and I had never seen him and his bright red puffer jacket before.

I should’ve followed my instinct and turned around. I didn’t want him to feel bad for scaring me if he was just an innocent man. He asked me if he could borrow my phone, and I had been cut off and was just listening to music, so I told him this. He asked for directions to the industrial estate, where I was walking, and I obliged. He then asked where I was walking to, and I tried to come up with an excuse to turn around and walk the other way around. He kept asking me to walk with him, so I said that it isn’t his fault but I’m apprehensive to walk around with someone I don’t know and didn’t feel comfortable with the idea.

As I turned around to head back to the main road, I heard him shuffling in his big coat towards me. If I could hear him, it was already too late to run. He put him arm around my neck in like, a chokehold and wrestled me to the floor – this was around 10 metres from a very busy road, but unluckily for me, just far enough away that you would only see if you were looking, if that makes any sense. I fought back as much as I could, I screamed, which alerted a woman across the street walking her dogs who watched the initial assault, and then he bashed my face against the frame of the car he had dragged me too which stunned me enough put me in the back of.

I was now very aware of the fact the more I tried to get away, the more aggressive and violent he would become. I tried to kick him away from shutting the door, but I stopped screaming for help. No one was coming, let’s be honest. Blood was pouring from my face and I felt dehydrated and weak. He won, he shut and locked the door and got in the front. I said if he stops now, there’s no repercussions. No guilt, no police, nothing. I will go about my day and he will go about his. He just laughed and started driving.

After begging him to tell me what he wanted from me, and him replying with ‘what do you think,’ he told me some bullshit story about how his cousin was raped in my area and he was seeking revenge on the person who done it. I wondered how on Earth I could’ve helped in this situation – until he told me that he couldn’t get revenge the way that he wanted to, so he would take from me what they took from her. Since then, with the information that came out in court, it has been confirmed that this was not true – the name he gave, was not a family member, nor was it someone who existed at all, at least in our area. His family also had no knowledge of anyone being assaulted, and plus, with what I know about that family now, they would be brave to do so.

He took my phone, didn’t turn my music off so I could hear my favourite band playing through it for the whole assault, and he drove me towards what seemed like the M1 motorway, which if you’re not from the UK, is basically the main road to connect the South to the North. It is certainly not somewhere you want to be stranded with no phone and no vehicle. He didn’t though, he veered violently back onto the roundabout and took me somewhere local. I cried and begged him not to kill me. I had noticed that he made no effort to hide his identity – no gloves, no mask, driving what I assumed was his car – he started it with a key at least! I was sobbing, but no longer wailing. It seemed so pointless to react, and I wanted to at least keep the violence to a minimum. I figured, if I shut my mouth and done what I was told, the best I could hope for was to be abandoned on the side of the road, rather than know my life will end and the last person I saw, spoke to, smelled, touched, heard, was going to be a rapist.

He stopped his car on the side of the road. It wasn’t secluded at all, but not a single car or person drove or walked past. I could see people walking their dogs in the field next to us as he touched my vagina. He pulled my trousers and my pants down, undone my bra and took my jumper off. I just stayed lifeless and still. He turned me around and I was facing the car window. I whispered a half-hearted plea as I felt his weight behind me, and he penetrated me. Not once, not twice, but three times. Once with his fingers, twice with his penis. He decided the car was not good enough for him to fulfil whatever needs it was. He had already asked where I live, and I had told him a pretty convincing lie, which was excellent news until he told me he was taking me to my flat.

I thought of a plan, my kitchen was the first room you enter in the flat. Maybe I could just direct him to mine and I could find something to defend myself. I was very aware of the repercussions if I did, though. It could be used against me, or I could kill him and would have to live with that. I didn’t want to deal with it that way. He passed me a receipt to wipe the blood from my mouth with and pushed my head down on his penis while I was driving. I thought about my dog. My massive, loud mouthed, protective Rottweiler, Barney. He’s so soft and unthreatening but does have a mean bark that he likes to exercise a lot, and to the untrained visitor, may make him seem like an aggressive dog. He had given up with the idea of me pleasuring him, so asked me to touch myself. Which I did, unenthusiastically. He instructed me to sound like I’m enjoying myself. I did not make a sound.

I told him about the dog. I said, you can come in, but I will have to put my dog on the balcony. I was still crying, but was strangely calm, and I was trying to convince him that I was fine with everything that happened so he could trust me enough to carry out my plan. It was working. I said to him, why didn’t you just ask me for my number – it didn’t have to go like this. I didn’t mind, I was okay, and I was only crying because my lip hurt from being split where he hit my face. We pulled up at mine and I still had blood pouring down my face. He passed me some old water he found in his car which I pretended to drink; I didn’t trust what might be in it. He held my hand, which immediately prompted more wailing, and told me he was sorry for hurting me. I said, with the straightest face I could, that it doesn’t matter and not to apologise.

A 3-4 minute walk from the car to my door, and then me finding my keys, at what was now around 8:30 in the morning, and not a single person walked past. I opened the door to the communal building. He followed. I walked up the three flights of stairs with my heart in my chest. He followed. I opened the door to my flat. He followed. I told him again, about the dog. ‘I’ll just be two secs’. I did not turn around. I have no idea if he had any weapons or picked up anything in the flat. My dog, the knob he is, sat there silent for the first time in his life. I opened the balcony door, straddled the banister while calling my dogs name, and tried to scale down the icy balconies to the bottom floor. I fell 45ft onto a concrete step in my neighbour’s garden, where she asked her oldest son to look after her toddler in their bedroom, and opened the door to let me crawl in. She heard the crunch of me fall before I had a chance to even knock. She called an ambulance and the response team were there in about 6 minutes.

I was strapped up and had my head in blocks and my back in a restraint. They cut my clothes off me and collected them for evidence. I had fat from my knee now outside my knee and I couldn’t stand up. I couldn’t feel anything except panic. I was blue lighted to a specialist hospital in London. A lot of what happened there is still a blur – they thought I had broken my back or my neck because of the fall. I kept screaming he’s going to kill my dog.

After 48 hours’ worth of X-rays, it wasn’t as bad as they thought. I had a fractured wrist, a fractured elbow, 11 broken ribs, two large lacerations on my knee that would need stitches. My palms were heavily bruised, my face was too swollen to talk or eat so I was fed on a drip. My anus was torn from what he had done. I done everything I was advised by police and sexual health professionals. I followed every bit of advice, answered every question, took every tablet and had every swab.

They found him early the following morning. He was arrested. Once it came to his plea hearing, he pled not guilty – until hearing that there was CCTV footage of him kidnapping me. He changed his plea to guilty, and after a gruelling few months, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He has a child, a girlfriend, a family that loves him and are still supportive of him and stood up in court to defend his character. He had not committed any other sexual offence that the police were made aware of but had a heavy string of robberies and burglaries. He had a chronic cocaine problem and used this as his defence. While listening to his solicitor trying to defend him, I thought of how difficult it has been, and how I should be proud that I saw this through to the end, to watch 20 years of his life be taken from him. To know that child will not have his rapist father around for the foreseeable future and would probably have a better chance in life without him.

I find it difficult to talk about how it makes me feel, as I have been dissociating more and more since the attack, and no longer feel anything. But it has been hard. I no longer have any contact with my dad, who I was living with at the time. I have had to leave that household. I fell in love too quickly, and had my heart broken when he cheated on me during the trial. My role as a manager at work has been hindered massively, and I no longer have the confidence to run a sales office. I feel like I’ve lost my backbone, a lot of what made me me. My personality seems to have got lost. Most of the time I feel like I’m watching my life on TV – like I recognise and respond to what happens around me, but the more severe the incident, the less of a reaction I give. I rarely feel anything, or I do but can never pinpoint what has caused the emotion, which considering I was diagnosed with BPD 4-5 years ago, is surprising – I have always been very aware of my triggers. Every day is hard, but I can’t explain why. I just want to sleep. I feel like I could sleep for years.

I was diagnosed with PTSD yesterday.

I am struggling, but I am getting psychological help.

I’m sorry for the long read, but I wanted to share my story.

There isn’t really a TL;DR

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