My life has never been the same since the 16th July 1993, when I was raped.What I didn’t know at the time was that this day would mark the end of one life, a life of carefree happiness and innocence. It would mark the start of my new life, a life filled with brutal pain, misery and cynicism.
16th July 1993. 10pm. I had driven to a music rehearsal that finished at 10pm. I had a loose arrangement with my friend Elli, that I may join her and some others in a pub, after rehearsal. I drove into the town centre but I couldn’t find anywhere to park on the roadside. I decided to drive to a nearby car park, which was close to both Elli’s house and the pub. Looking back, the car park was virtually empty and quite isolated. An alleyway led from the car park to the street. I walked towards the pub. It was a popular venue, and as I approached I saw that there was a queue of people outside the pub. I also saw a guy who (when I met him the night before) had told me his name was 'Ian'.
To understand how I knew this guy we have to go back to the previous night. I worked in a pub and had been working the night before. This guy came in, who I had never seen before. He sat at the bar, joined in the friendly banter and bought a few drinks. He said that his name was Ian, but didn’t really say much else about himself. He was tall, about 6ft and a big bloke. Not fat but muscular. He had quite a broad accent. He started flirting with me. He was asking me to go out with him and show him a good time, as he said he was only visiting the area and didn’t know where to go. I wasn’t interested. I can’t remember exactly what was said, but he gave me the creeps. Ian kept asking me for a date, but I insisted that I wasn’t interested. At the time I really didn’t think too much about it. It kind of goes with the territory, of being a barmaid.
Anyway, back to that night.
I didn’t want to stand in a queue on my own to get in to the pub. As soon as I spotted Ian towards the back of the queue, I knew I wasn’t going to join the line. I didn’t want him hassling me for a date again. I decided just to go home, I could see my friends the next night. I turned back towards the car park and to my knowledge had not been seen by Ian. I was wrong.
I got back to the car park. The first time I knew someone was there, was when he grabbed me from behind. His right hand covered my nose and mouth. His left arm was wrapped around my waist from behind, trapping my arms by my sides. I started to struggle, dropping my bag. “You like to play hard to get” said the mans voice, a voice I recognised from the night before, Ian's voice. I panicked and struggled, but I couldn’t move. He was bigger than me and really strong. I tried to scream but I could hardly breathe, let alone talk. His hand was over my nose and mouth. I looked around; there was no one else in the car park. There were trees and bushes all around. We were nowhere near the road, nowhere near people. Even if I could make a sound, I doubted if anyone could hear me. He dragged me away from the light, towards the bushes and pushed me down. I was face down on the grass and earth. Before I could move or scream he was on top of me, pushing my face into the ground.
He quickly turned me over. And covered my mouth again with his hand. He straddled me, kneeling, resting his weight on my chest and stomach, and pinning my arms by my side. With his free hand he produced a knife form his pocket. He released the blade and stuck it in my face to make sure I had seen it. I was still struggling, but with little effect. I struggled to get him off me and to get away from him but he was heavy and strong.
He grabbed me by my hair and turned my head to one side. I was firmly pinned beneath him, I couldn’t move. Before I could make a sound he put the knife at my throat. He whispered something like “I’m going to fuck you bitch. Don’t fight me or I’ll kill you. Lie back and enjoy it. I’m sure you’re no innocent angel. You’re a slut, a bitch. You like it rough. Tonight you’re going to be fucked like you’ve never been fucked before”
I begged him not to hurt me, he moved the knife closer to my neck and I felt a pain. I was sure he’d cut me. I could feel blood trickling down my neck. “If you speak, I’ll kill you,” he said. I froze, I couldn’t even make a sound, I was convinced that I wouldn’t live. I was helpless. He was going to do whatever he wanted. He still had the knife at my throat and I could still feel that I was bleeding.
He rose off my chest a little and told me to put my hands behind my back, which I did. He sat heavily on my chest again. My hands were pinned again, this time under my body, under his body. He leaned his head in towards mine, “if you fight, I’ll kill you. That’s a promise, bitch.” I could smell alcohol and cigarettes on his breath. I could also smell some sickly smelling aftershave. I could hardly breathe, I didn’t think I would survive.
“If you move, I’ll kill you. If you scream, I’ll kill you”
“Kiss me, you bitch.”
I was so frightened at this point that I let him kiss me. My arms were still pinned beneath me. His right hand held the knife at my throat. I couldn’t move. With his free hand he pulled down the zip on his trousers and played with himself. I let him kiss me. I let him push his tongue in my mouth. I didn’t want to die.
He still had the knife at the side of my neck. With his other hand he pulled up my skirt and pulled at my pants. I was exposed.
He jammed some of his fingers inside me. He carried on kissing me. He was licking and kissing my face and neck. I was petrified at this point; I tried to think of other things, ways to escape. He then withdrew his hand and shoved his erect penis in me, the knife still at my throat. I felt agonising pains as he pushed himself further inside me. I begged him to stop. “Shut up, bitch or I’ll kill you,” he said. He kept trying to kiss me and he was feeling my breasts through my top. I was crying, he kept telling me the same things over and over, again and again, “If you fight, I’ll kill you. If you move, I’ll kill you. If you scream, I’ll kill you”
I didn’t want to die. I tried to convince myself that if I did as he said, that I would live. I felt detached to a certain extent. Like I wasn’t really there, but I knew this was happening because I could feel the pain as he pushed himself deep inside me. “Tell me how much you’re loving this, bitch. Tell me you like it. Bitch, tell me!” But I wouldn’t say it.
I begged and pleaded with him to stop. I begged him not to hurt me anymore.
“You love it, bitch”
I was still crying and shaking uncontrollably. I was terrified, I could hardly breathe. At some point I realised that there was nothing I could do. I closed my eyes and waited for it to be over. I waited to die. For the first time ever I prayed to God, to let me live.
He stuck his tongue in my mouth as he shoved himself inside me, harder and faster. The knife was still at my throat, his other hand roughly squeezing and rubbing my breast. After what seemed like an eternity, he ejaculated with a groan. He rested heavily on me, his penis still inside me. He was whispering, murmuring, “You’re an angel, my angel.” He said it over and over as his breathing returned to normal. He withdrew his penis and zipped up his trousers. He moved further up and sat straddling me. Then he laughed, and stroked my cheek, “You really are a beautiful angel.” He laughed again, “Or at least you were. You’re all used up and dirty now. You’ll never be beautiful again. No one will ever want dirty goods, no one will ever want you.”
He was angry again. He then stared into my eyes, face to face, about three inches away. He said that if I told anyone about what had happened, he knew where to find me. He said he’d find me and fuck me again; only next time he would kill me afterwards. I was so terrified that I promised him I wouldn’t say anything, as long as he just left me alone.
It was then that we heard voices. He looked startled and covered my mouth with his hand, and tightened his grip on the knife. He whispered in my ear, “I know where to find you bitch. Not a word to a single soul, ever. Understand?” I tried to nod but could hardly move my head.
“You can get up now, bitch. The fun is over.” He stood up, folded the knife and calmly walked away.
I never saw him again, except in my nightmares.
I tried to get up off the ground but my whole body was shaking and I felt really weak. It was then that I realised the voices had faded into the distance. I was alone.
Throughout the whole incident, I thought he was going to kill me. I had visions of my body, lying dead, with my throat cut. And yet, despite being hurt, exposed and humiliated I felt somewhat grateful that I was still alive. This is something I have tried to remind myself hundreds of times since. However, I have not been able to feel the same relief for being alive as I did on that night. I frequently wish I had died that night.
I don’t know how long it took me to stop shaking enough to get off the ground, but somehow, at some point I managed it. I remember being frightened that he would come back. I found my bag with the car keys inside. I drove the short distance home, to an empty house. I went upstairs to the bathroom and examined my face and body, trying to determine how badly I’d been hurt. My mascara was smudged down my face. I had some bruising on my neck and some cuts from the knife. The cuts weren’t very deep and had stopped bleeding. My scalp was sore from when he’d pulled my hair. My arms and legs had some grazes from the ground. I removed my clothes, which were dirty with grass stains. I felt sick and spent some time throwing up and retching. I put on my dressing gown and sat on the bathroom floor. I was concentrating on my breathing, trying to slow it down. Trying to calm down so I could think. I was sitting on the floor, trying to decide what to do. I thought about calling the Police, but I was afraid. I couldn’t imagine telling anyone what had happened to me. I felt so ashamed and humiliated. It was my fault. I shouldn’t have parked my car where I did. I shouldn’t have been out on my own at night. I should have gone in the pub, and then I wouldn’t have been on my own. I felt embarrassed, stupid and guilty. But most of all I felt terrified that if I told anyone, he would come and find me. I didn’t know anything about him. It would be his word against mine. I was afraid, young and naïve. I kept reminding myself that I was lucky to be alive. By about three or four in the morning, I had made my decision. I was going to pretend that the rape had never happened. A decision that now, with hindsight, I regret. A decision that has made my life since, one of pretence. At the time I kept telling myself to be grateful to be alive.
So, I took a shower, a very long shower. I tried so hard to scrub myself clean, until the water ran cold. Sometimes, still, I try to scrub away the filth. Always failing and still feeling nasty and soiled, like he had said, I’d never be beautiful again.
After the water ran cold I went downstairs and switched the boiler back on. I found a bottle of vodka and some coke in the cupboard. I waited for the water to heat up, while I drank. I re-examined my wounds; my whole body hurt. My body ached all over and I had a pounding headache. As I showered again the pain between my legs and inside seemed to become more apparent. I turned the water as hot as I could stand but no amount of water or heat could wash away my feelings of shame, humiliation and degradation. After the hot water ran out again I made another drink. As the vodka rushed through me and relaxed me a little, I told myself over and over, “forget it, just be grateful to be alive.”
This account is the best I can remember. I am amazed at how much I do remember after spending so much time and effort trying to forget. I feel as if all I did was lie there and let it happen. Maybe I didn’t fight hard enough. I froze. I should have screamed. For that I will never forgive myself.
Thank you for reading my story. I lived in denial for years, I never told a soul. More recently, I have spoken out a little, and I’ve had mixed responses. But unfortunately it’s part of who I am and I’m trying to face it, and sharing my story is part of that. I now live constantly with PTSD – flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia and depression. In fact the list of how my life has changed is endless, and none of it is good. I can only hope