In early 2017 I had my own flat but slept more often than not in my boyfriend’s studio apartment. I was being made to watch 13 Reasons Why. It’s a very graphic, amazing and serious. It was also a trigger for me that I reacted to with drink because I learnt fairly early on alcohol helps all my problems. Watching this series pushed rape uncomfortably close to the front of my mind. My partner hadn’t realised why the series was making me uneasy, he had no reason to. He just thought I was over empathetic with the story and actors portrayal of it. I wanted to watch the series, but I knew I shouldn’t as I wasn’t strong enough too. I tried making excuses to get out of watching it but because we both liked it we stuck it out.
We were invited to an 18th birthday party one Saturday evening, I was 23. I put a ton of effort into choosing a nice dress, doing my hair and my makeup and just looking as nice as I could. I hadn’t been to anything like this in France, it’s needless to say I was stressing out. It was my first chance to meet most of his friends from when he lived with his parents and I wanted to make a good impression. I hadn’t been to a party like this since I was 16 or maybe 17 at a push. To say the least, I wasn’t in my comfort zone, especially because of after what had happened I stopped spending much time with young people. I would rather be around the middle-aged crowd. There was fruit punch though, laced with a hefty amount of rum that I couldn’t taste. Someone had purple dye in their hair and was making a joke that their hair had been raped because voilé (raped) and violet (purple) sound the same. I wasn’t comfortable at all at this point, so I kept chugging down punch. I ended up very drunk very quickly because the first three glasses I thought it was non-alcoholic and I was still waiting for them to bring out the booze. There was a swimming pool outside that was uncovered and everyone made the same comment about someone falling into it before the end of the night. It was funny, probably because I was tipsy. The night went on, the birthday girl opened her presents. We all ate pizza, it was nice. I guess it must have been too nice or I was just too anxious because I don’t remember what happened. What I have been told is that I had my boyfriend in a hug around his waist and I wouldn’t let go. A group of us were discussing, I started crying and saying I didn’t deserve him because I was just a whore. Thank you, Myra, for giving me that idea, thank you, Ahmed, for ruining my life. I went and told that small circle of friends what had happened and another girl had had a similar experience, I do remember her giving me a big hug. They tried calming me down and telling me it was okay, that it wasn’t my fault. Then they went inside and sat down. I was curled up on some chairs with my head in the boyfriend’s lap asleep. It must have been pretty awkward and I do regret it. The boyfriend did defend me when I was out saying I’d had some hard stuff to go through and I wasn’t coping well. Most people are somehow understanding. Looking back now I can see why I had been triggered. Watching an episode of 13 Reasons Why before leaving, then compound that with the hair joke. It’s not surprising that I was on edge. The following morning I was miserable when I was told by the boyfriend what I had done. I kept saying I was sorry but he said it was fine. I was incredibly ashamed that he knew my secret. I thought he would leave me because of it, but I had resigned myself to the fact I didn’t deserve him.
He’s been very good about the whole thing overall. He’s very patient and makes a lot of effort, he knows why I can’t have things within certain places of my field of vision. He has finally accepted if I am tensing up when I am touched it’s time to let go and give me space. He puts up with the alcoholism, the crying fits that everything is wrong. The drama that I seem to attract and the fact his Step-Mother disowned him because of me.