I only wish I had a happy ending to my story but my boyfriend raped me and the system let me down. I am a mother to two children who have kept me going and I wanted to share my story in the hope of inspiring just one woman to know they are not alone.
I was 17 when I met my ex-partner in a psychiatric hospital. I had self-harmed since the age of 14 and my mental health was awful. I was very self-destructive. My mum had an affair when I was 14. I found out but she told me if I told anyone that my dad would make us all homeless.
He did find out and my sister and two older brothers stayed with my dad, I went with my mum, kind of out of duty that one of us should be with her. It was an awful time.
I felt left out and this mixed with teenage hormones, along with my mum’s partner sexually abusing me when I was 15 sent me spiraling out of control. I moved back in with my dad shortly before my 16th birthday. I was all over the place I took an apprenticeship in childcare but I couldn’t hold it down, I was so torn up inside.
I was having a really rough time
I had a boyfriend who would use drugs and then have sex with me. I was admitted in and out of the psychiatric hospital over the year and that’s where the story of my life begins with him. We started a relationship in hospital which was forbidden (now I can see why they forbid it, it isn’t a great idea starting a relationship when you are in a weak and vulnerable place).
My dad wouldn’t have me back as he didn’t want my sister copying my self- harming, I moved out of my dads to my partners mothers house. We were moved into temporary housing after 4 months or so then got out flat. On reflection I can see the controlling ways started from day one, I just couldn’t see it as I was clouded by my emotions and the fact that somebody was showing me love and affection.
He didn’t like me going out without him or seeing family and my friends were always his friends too as he didn’t make any of his own. We were together 6 years before I fell pregnant. At this time I was usually always the stronger one, he had a few admissions and was quite unstable with his mental health, yes I did self-harm but it was an addiction and I managed the house the bills the cooking while he did what he wanted most of the time.
After I had my daughter he got jealous as the attention was moved from him. I started going to baby groups and my confidence boosted. I was always taking her out and about to meet friends and go to groups. I did everything with her 99% of the time and I have absolutely no regret as our bond is so strong.
He would get angry
When she was a year old I fell pregnant with my son and he walked out on me furious about it and didn’t come back for a few days. He would get angry at me and I remember one time he slapped me around the face and it broke my heart. I told his mum who just said that it was one of those things that we were a good couple and not let it get to me.
Her own track record of violent partners is quite long and my ex partner’s dad is in prison and has been since mid-60s for rape and murder. This came to light at one point but it was covered over well. Her second partner who she has three kids with was an alcoholic and aggressive and the kids were all put on the at risk register and social services were involved.
Anyway, he did come back and I had my son when my daughter was 21 months old. There was a time when he was good but his way of helping was taking my daughter out so I could rest (when I ended up doing housework, so even then it was a controlled atmosphere).
We got offered a house out of the area and he said we must take it. I was really upset as I had got a lot of friends there and all the groups that we went too. But we moved. He got a job the same time we moved here and that’s where the abuse started. He would come home and expect me to be full of energy when I had the two young children to look after and trying to find my feet in a whole new area with nobody I knew.
I was crying a lot as I felt like I’d been taken from all my friends, but he was happy so it was all that mattered to him. I made friends and things were ok with the area after a little while when I found my feet.
My boyfriend raped me and I snapped
At first it was name calling , and trying it on getting rough and getting angry at me but then it got a whole million times worse and he would hold me down and then my loving boyfriend raped me . There are some nights that will stay with me for the rest of my life and I am coming up to the anniversary of the time I found my voice and reported him to the police.
I was bathing the kids and he was downstairs so I asked for a nappy and he come out with a sexual remark in front of the children where he hadn’t before. That was the stone that broke the camel’s back so to speak. We argued he ran off. I ran to a friend’s house and another friend of mine was watching the kids and then he found me, attacking me. My boyfriend assaulted me in the woods behind where I live that night.
After it was over I managed to escape and I ran to another friends and I knew it couldn’t go on and I broke down. I was handed a phone and my friend told me had to make the choice as they could not do it for me, I dialled 999 and reported that my boyfriend raped me, not once but several times. From there I was interviewed till early hours of the morning.
He was charged with rape and remanded
I did 2 lengthy video interviews, I had my house photographed by the forensic team and I had to show police where things had happened in the woods. I had two young children to see to as well and the total emotion and lack of sleep and stress was so high, but I got through each day. I did it for them. They needed their mummy and I was there. I kept a stable life for them, they saw me cry and saw police come and go and knew daddy wasn’t here anymore but I did my damn best despite the horrific situation.
He applied for bail at first, it was given and I called my dad at 4am and he came and picked me up. I had a suitcase packed and ready to go in case of this outcome. The police were outstanding and managed within 3 days to get enough evidence to remand him. He tried for bail 3 further times, it was refused every time. He had the cheek to write to me from prison, addressing letters to my kids and writing in them his love for me and how he wanted to be with his happy family again and asking things like have we baked cakes and really he didn’t see what he had done wrong.
This February a day after what would have been the 10th anniversary of meeting him, I faced him in crown court. I did it via video link for the first couple of days but one night I came home and felt so empowered and full of courage and strength I requested to go into the court with a screen.
I went in there and I looked into the eyes of the jury and the judge and the barristers and gave everything I could. My boyfriend raped me but I was no victim, I was a survivor who was going to ensure he was punished for his crimes against me.
After my evidence was finished I collapsed in the witness-box in a heap of tears and felt totally devastated. I never ever thought in my life I would have gone through such an ordeal and survived. After the trial was over I got the call. He was found not guilty of 9 rape charges
My boyfriend raped me and got away with it
The justice system is totally shocking and the jury had to be 99.5 % sure he was guilty or they couldn’t say he was. I melted for a couple of days but again I rose up and I continued to be a good mother. I was not going to let him control my life anymore. After a week or so I got an injunction out and other orders preventing him from taking the children.
At present I am undergoing counselling from family matters which I am halfway through and my emotions are all coming out and I am on medication. I have anxiety, panic attacks, flash backs and insomnia. But I am alive, and that is a wonderful thing I have my two children who I have undying love for and who just make me keep going when the days are rough.
My counsellor has asked whether I would be willing to help them as they work training police to deal with rape victims and I am glad that out of such an awful heart-breaking time something positive will come. If I can help one person then it won’t be in vain , it will empower me and I want to empower and support others who have been through or going through a situation like my own.
I am back in court in September and it won’t be easy sitting in the same room as him but it has to be done and I will do it. The future will be hard when my kids are older and at an appropriate age to hear some of the reasons behind me being a single mum. I hope that they understand it wasn’t my fault that my boyfriend raped me, their own father was to blame and are proud of me for managing to walk away and of all I have done to bring them up in a safe environment.
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