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Sherrie

    Trigger warning: sexual abuse, rape, abuse.

    You enter a new relationship, thinking everything will be filled with puppies and rainbows. You smile thinking he’ll treat you like the princess you deserve to be.

    This was what was on my mind when I started seeing this man. It was a journey I did not imagine – one that would change me forever. At the age of 17, I didn’t know anything about abusive behaviour, red flags, and most importantly, sexual consent.

    This man was very charming. He was a smooth talker. He knew how to make himself look good.

    For a few months, we emailed each other. I would go to the local library every second day after school in anticipation for an email from him.  We also texted each other when we could.

    I don’t remember exactly what he said to me, but he had me hooked. He was that smooth.

    He had separated from his long-term partner who he had a baby with. He was feeding me stories about how she was a psychopath. I believed every word. 

    He came to Sydney for a week and stayed with me. Prior to him arriving, I let him know that I was a virgin and I wasn’t ready. He said he respected that. I smiled when he said that.

    All of that changed on his second night in Sydney. 

    It was the first time I had shared a bed with the opposite sex. He hid a condom in my bookshelf, and it was that very moment I realised he was going to take my virginity. 

    We did not talk about sex. We did not talk about what our expectations were. We did not talk about sexual consent. 

    I do not remember everything about that night, but I remember the shock and pain which happened during sex. I remember putting my hands on his pelvis, trying to push him away because the pain was unbearable. He was too strong and I felt so helpless. I gave up and allowed him to further penetrate me until he was satisfied.

    He never once asked if I wanted this. He never checked on me to see if I was okay. 

    His own satisfaction was his ultimate goal.

    I was wearing my Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games t-shirt and I left it on the entire time. I loved that t-shirt, yet after that night I hated it. He had ruined it by creating a memory I did not want it to be associated with.

    The worst thing was my baby sister hearing everything because we shared the same bedroom. She was 10. She didn’t need to be exposed to what was happening a few metres away.

    I woke up the next morning and I was still in pain. I was still in shock; my brain kept replaying the entire night. I was also emotionally and physically exhausted.

    I got out of my bed and went to the bathroom. I had a hot shower to wash him off me. I tried washing my lady bits but I couldn’t because it hurt so much. After getting dressed, I grabbed a bag of frozen peas and wrapped it in a towel. I went back into the bathroom and placed it on my lady bits. The coldness coming from the frozen peas was the comfort I needed. 

    I still did not know how I felt about having my virginity taken away so suddenly.

    He was sitting in the lounge when I walked back to my room. I left him to his own devices whilst I took the sheets off my bed. There was blood on the sheets and I felt disgusted at the sight of it. It was clear evidence of what had happened the night before.

    These sheets were my favourite, only to be forever ruined by this memory I did not want. 

    Walking into the lounge, he smiled at me and said, “You’re shining like a diamond. Last night was amazing”.

    I remember that moment so clearly because it was also when my brain was still replaying the night like a broken record. It was also when I felt so dismayed at the audacity of this man. I smiled the best I could and went on with the day.

    How dare he do this to me.

    The next night, we were sleeping on the sofa bed in the lounge when he asked for sex. I said no. He pleaded. I still said no. He asked why. I knew I had to be straight up with him, so I said I was still sore and I didn’t want to have sex. He wasn’t happy yet he asked for a blowjob. I wasn’t comfortable with the thought of having a penis in my mouth, so I said no. He grumpily went to sleep. I shrugged and went to sleep.

    The rest of the week with him was a blur; however, I had sex with him few more times because I felt obligated to.

    I remember being dismayed one morning when he said, “Hey Sherrie, last night was bloody amazing. Six times?! Wow.”

    I could only remember the three times we had sex the night before — but three extra times? That had me baffled. Until much later on, I realised there was a very high possibility he had raped me throughout the night but I couldn’t prove it. 

    He went back home. I think I was still in a state of shock because so much happened that week and I didn’t have any opportunity to process everything. 

    I saw him again in April during the Australian Deaf Games. Again, that week was a blur. Whenever I did not want sex, he would plead until I gave in. By the end of that week, I was conditioned to give sex whenever he demanded for it.

    He had already cheated on me numerous times prior to the Australian Deaf Games with the mother of his kid and he continued doing that after the Games when he went back home. I remember asking him why and he said he wanted to see his son. A pathetic excuse.

    Something did not feel right. Who would use sex to see their kid? 

    I left home a month shy of turning 18 and moved up to Brisbane. That first night in Brisbane, I was so exhausted because I did not get a wink of sleep on the XPT train. I was staying at his house, and we had sex and I fell asleep straight after. Approximately 2 hours later, I woke up to find him penetrating me anally. He felt so heavy on me and I couldn’t do anything to stop him so I let him continue until he was satisfied. 

    It was the most disgusting I had ever felt. I went straight into the shower and cried. I vowed not to allow him to have anal sex with me ever again.

    It happened again. And again. Every time it happened, I would experience diarrhoea afterwards. Sometimes I would bleed from my arsehole. I hated it so much. I had told him numerous times I did not like it, yet he continued to rape me anally. The last time he raped me anally, I shat on his penis. He was wearing a condom, yet I shat on him. I was angry with him for ignoring me when I told him I did not like it so I chose to shit on him. 

    I don’t regret shitting on him. He deserved it.

    He never once asked if I liked anal sex. It was always about him.

    He used movies to invite me over so he could have sex with me. Every time he asked me to come over for a movie night, I would always think about what movie we would watch and what food we would eat. Not sex. 

    He would use numerous excuses to coax me into having sex with him. Excuses such as:

    • I have blue balls and they need to be emptied.
    • Couples should have sex every second day. It’s the rule.
    • I need sex so I can sleep well.

    It was late August when I realised I needed to stop seeing him. I had turned 18 the month before and I wanted to experience life. I needed to have a life without him. I also knew I deserved to be treated better.

    I carried the trauma into my next relationship, where for the first few months I projected it onto my ex partner. The silver lining was that he was very patient with me and he taught me the behaviour, particularly with sex, I was exhibiting was inappropriate. If it wasn’t for him, I would have kept projecting my trauma onto other people. I am so very grateful for Tim* who showed me boundaries, consent and respectful sex behaviour for the two years we were together.

    However, I carried this trauma with me for so long. I did not process it until five years ago when I saw a presentation on dating abuse at the deaf mental health conference in Melbourne. It was that very moment I realised I needed to finally process the trauma and start my healing journey.

    I am now at this stage in my healing journey where I feel comfortable with sharing my experience with you. Thank you for taking your time to read this and for supporting me during my healing journey thus far.
    I look forward to sharing more with you x

    Tim* is a pseudonym (fake name) as I don’t want to disclose his real name to protect his privacy.

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