Tonight, a friend of mine contacted me privately. She wanted to tell me her story of rape. She, like me, is middle-aged. She, like me, has made a life for herself with a good man. But we all carry our secrets, we middle-aged women. And the shame of it is that, although this happened over 35 years ago, this could still happen today, and does. Because this is the culture of our country. Our national shame. The blot on our copybook. Young women have always been made to feel it was their fault. They asked for it.
But we didn’t. We never asked for it. We believed we were silly for getting into certain situations, and it’s only as we age, and reflect, and have love for the young women we were, that we know how very wrong we were to blame ourselves. This is her story, as told to me. I wept when she was sharing this, as I recognised a version of my own story.
Ok. This is hard. But here’s a tale about what rape is. I don’t go public with it. Ever. But I’m happy for you to retell to let others know. I was 16. I got my first real boyfriend. We went out one night. I drank, not too much but illegally. My parents didn’t know. I got drunk .. all drunk. We got in the car and went. When we got there were a group — three of the coolest guys from school. Me and bf went walking.
We started making out — sort of, but not all the way. My jeans were off. So were his. Then voices. “Go on mate. then we’ll have our turn”.. all drunk. Nah she’s all mine he said. And he had sex with me. My first time. They watched. Hooted. Jeered and yelled. I was too drunk to leave. But I remember. Every fucking detail. Then a another car arrived. They left, taking my jeans with them. We left too. Driving home, no pants. Sneaking in the house so Mum and Dad didn’t see me. Covering it up. Because I shouldn’t have gone out and done that and got drunk. All my fault! Sick eh. The whole scene. But it wasn’t really rape, was it? He was “saving” me. And you know I saw him a couple of years ago I was behind him in a supermarket in a strange town. He turned around: looked me in the eyes, dropped his beer and ran. The fear in his eyes made me realise after decades that it it was not my fucking fault. That if my parents had been in the slightest aware or engaged, they would have loved me, not blamed. (I told no-one until I was 30!) I don’t know what you could do with this. But I know that somewhere, someone needs to know that. He is scared that one day I will come after him. But what a cross to bear. I hope he making amends in his own way.