The first time he raped me, I was just sixteen years old.


We were six months into what would become a three-year relationship, and I thought I was in love. My story is much the same as many others: afterwards, he begged for forgiveness and told me he’d never do it again. He blamed his actions on his ADHD, on the fact he hadn’t taken his medication that day, on his father and stepfather, both of whom were abusive. And even though I was the one who’d been attacked, I ended up comforting him.


I didn’t realise then that something in me had changed irrevocably in that moment. That, just as the brutality he’d suffered had shaped him, what Tom* had done to me would shape me too. It would seep into my future relationship and thunder through my day-to-day life, seizing me at seemingly mundane moments.


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