Your hand brushes me gently on my left side of my hip as you brush past me to get to the serving hatch. I’m startled and look up but you don’t look at me, you just carry on with your job. I gulp and carry on with mine, prepping the salad, microwaves and Panini’s for the tea time rush. Food in the hatch you send it down, I don’t look up at you, worried about what I’ll see. You brush past me, no hand on my hip, I must have imagined it; it must have been a mistake. You shout some order at me and I make it up, time flies by. You don’t come past again, asking me to load up the serving hatch. It’s when the rush is over, I have cleaned, you have cleaned, and you come over. You ask me to start the dishes, but I see it in your eyes. You’re interested. I knew from the minute I met you, you were interested. I am also interested. You weren’t what I was expecting at all. I was expecting someone older, someone not as good looking as you. You were not expecting me, I could tell. Since then we’ve been playing a dangerous game of small touches, stolen glances and closeness too electric for work.
A bunch of us are going out after work, am I in? Are you going? I guess then, I feel safer if you’re going. Our mutual interest makes me feel safer, like I’m off limits to others and we can look after each other. It’s scary; I’ve not really been out much before. I’m a rather sheltered eighteen years old. When we’re out I stay with my older girlfriend, she treats me like a sister and is protective, but I always keep an eye on you. You keep an eye on me.
The whole group of us drink some, dance some, talk some and stand at the bar. We play Queens Head and someone lands it in mine, you step in and drink it, I’m thankful, my main concern where the dirty penny has been, not so much the downing of the drink. It’s a talking point and soon your hand is on my hip. You tell me you’re leaving, you’re bored, but I don’t want you to go. You suggest we share a taxi home. We get into a black cab together, I haven’t told my friend. It feels naughty and strange to be drunk with the guy I like, out and alone in a taxi with no-one knowing. It’s not something I’ve done before. You tell him your address and sit back. You wait until we’re closer to yours and ask if I want to come in for a coffee before I go home. I say yes, I just want to spend more time with you, get to know you. Inside you ask me to wait until you check your roommates aren’t around. You sneak me in and I feel silly but I shrug it off. Upstairs in your room I’m unimpressed as my first reaction but I push it away and insist boys will be boys about your duvet without a cover. Your stuff is barely unpacked in bin bags but I ignore it. I’m in a boy’s room, it’s exciting and new and something I’ve never done before. My sister friend texts me and I tell her I’m sharing a taxi home with you. She’s happy with this and doesn’t text back. You have an attic room and show me you skyline, it’s beautiful, twinkling lights of the city at night. I think how romantic it is. We kiss a little and I have to go. I leave in a taxi.
I hear it’s your birthday, confidential information; you don’t like people to know. I offer to take you out, despite me being at work, you pick the restaurant. I bring you a small cake. I leave on the tram and go to work.
You tell me how amazing the cake is the next day. I’m happy I made you happy. You suggest a date to me. We can go out for drinks 12th December 2013. It’ll be a Thursday but I’ll blow off college, it’s ok.
I wear something really nice for my drinks date with you, I think we’ll probably go into town, get some nice cocktails. I arrive at yours and we go out, the pub down the road. I feel out of place, I feel over dressed. It’s all old men and the street it’s on isn’t nice. It’s ok, I’m with you. You have been so kind to me at work recently, you must really like me. I hear you ask for two pints, blackcurrant in mine since I don’t actually like them. I hear you ask for vodka shots in them. We sit outside which is nice and two or three, or maybe four, I’m not sure; we’re going back to yours. I don’t remember much after my first one. I don’t know if it was the extra vodka, did you slip something to me? I remember being super quiet so your roommate wouldn’t hear. I remember becoming naked, I’m not sure how. I remember feeling cold, the window was open? I remember the telly being on. I remember me saying.
“Wait, I’m not sure.” As you mentioned you were just getting a condom. I remember you telling me it’ll only take ten minutes. I don’t know how but I was on my back and you were in me and it hurt. It didn’t just hurt physically but it hurt me emotionally, physiologically. I remember holding back the tears, I remember each thrust made me want to scream but I couldn’t. I remember afterwards insisting my mum would worry if I was home late. You gave me a tenner and called me a taxi. I don’t remember the ride home much. I remember it cost a twenty. I remember getting in and running past my amazing Mum, my Mum who wanted to check I was ok, my Mum who I should have told everything to at the time, but I didn’t. I remember pulling on my pyjamas, wanting to get all parts of you off me. I remember climbing under the covers and facing the wall with my eyes squeezed shut. I remember my Mum asking if I was ok and me telling her I was. I had college tomorrow; I needed to get some sleep. I got no sleep that night.
I remember debating ringing in sick to work; I was too scared about what my mum would say, what work would say, what you would do. I remember avoiding you, working round the corner on the dishes. You came to find me after the teatime rush. Your touch made me jump and tears sprung in my eyes. You wanted to know why I hadn’t come to find you. I told you I didn’t want it, I wasn’t ready. You told me it was just sex, it didn’t matter, stop making a big thing of it. I remember thinking that you must be right, you’d done it before, you knew. I remember thinking how stupid I was to think that sex would be magical like it is in the novels. You told me I was stupid for thinking it was anything but sex.
I wanted to tell my Mum, my best friend and my idol but I was scared she would be so ashamed. I didn’t want to be a girl you just slept with, so I told myself it was ok what you’d done. I told myself I was the idiot for having expected more from sex. You convinced me enough that it was just sex, how you treat me was normal, I deceived myself. For nearly six months I let you continually use my body. I let you distance me from family and friends; I drowned my emotions in drink with you. I switched off from my body when we went to bed.
It wasn’t till 6 months later, after splitting up with you, two years after that when I met someone else. 3 years after being with them and feeling loved, safe and happy that I could finally admit what had happened to me. I could finally admit what you’d done. I had been raped and you had raped me.
– Josephine Buckley