I was raped by someone I once considered a very close friend; we had very similar academic and recreational interests and had immediately begun to know each other as soon as we arrived as freshers in Cambridge. We had a very complicated two years during which we saw each other very frequently, during lectures and supervisions, as well as in each others’ beds.

As time moved on and we entered our third year we began to steadily move apart; there was a long period of time during which we didn’t see each other because we were both too busy and involved in our own separate lives.He raped me eighteen months after we had last really talked or slept together. We were both quite drunk, him more than I, but I was not too drunk to not remember it all.

There was a group of us out that night and we didn’t head back to college until about 3am. We all ended up in his room casually finishing off food from the obligatory ‘Van of Life’. Eventually everyone began to drift off to bed and I went to the toilet.

When I returned I found him alone, half-dressed and crying into his hands on the bed. My immediate instinct was to just leave and get to bed. This had happened before, too many times. But instead I stayed. It had been a long time and I didn’t have the heart to leave him like that.

So after a while of him mumbling and saying how happy he was to see me happy, I eventually went over to the bed, sat down next to him and put my arm around his back.

We talked for a while. He told me about some of his problems, especially relating to mental illness and counselling. He talked about the suicidal thoughts he’d had since I’d gone. I was bewildered and tried to comfort him.

Then his arm moved, slowly but surely up to my thigh and then under my dress. His next words rang around my head: he said how much he needed me, how much he needed to feel me, how much he thought he loved me. I didn’t move.It wasn’t until I felt his fingers peeling over the top of my tights that I moved. I withdrew my arm. I told him firmly to stop it.

Within seconds he had flipped round on top of me, pushing me down onto the bed. I hit him hard across the face. I kicked my legs and pulled violently on his hair. I felt like I didn’t fight in retaliation half as much as I should have done. I was shocked; I still trusted him. I just froze. He had his entire body weight pushing down on top of me and I could hardly move.

I remember feeling that disgusting and filling sensation. I remember him being quite loud, constantly repeating how much he needed to feel me. I could feel my mind and body slowly turning numb. I didn’t really feel anything until he started talking about my current boyfriend, and then I began to feel angry. But before I had time to completely comprehend what he was saying he cried out my name and collapsed on top of me.

I pushed him off me. I grabbed my tights and ran for the door, feeling his semen running down the inside of my legs. I was uncontrollably shaking and he was just lying on the bed.

I told him I’d rather die than have him touch me again as I yanked open the door.

The next day I got the morning-after pill and ended up being violently ill a few times.

I know that people should feel as though they are able to report any type of sexual abuse or rape but for many different reasons I have chosen not to.

I would be slut-shamed and victim-blamed very, very publically, and my family and close friends would be harassed. My attempts at fighting back were way below the potential of what I could have done. He ignored me when I said no but I didn’t scream or cry.

The rape is historic and hence there is no remaining physical evidence and I would have to prove I withdrew consent, making it my word against his.

Last but not least, no official conviction of the law and judicial system of this country is satisfactory punishment for what he did to me.

*Name has been changed


There are many support services available if you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this articles:

Linkline - 01223 744444

Samaritans - 08457 909090, 4 Emmanuel Road

Black Women's Support Group - 01223 369753

University Counselling Service - 01223 332865

Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre - 01223 245888

London Rape Crisis - 0808 802 9999

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