As I said before, when I boarded the train to take me to my new life I had high hopes that I would be able to re-invent myself and leave my history behind. I didn’t have wild dreams that I would change radically though, no, I just wanted to be average, nothing special – just plain average and above all normal.
One of the good things about starting out at University is that everyone else is in the same situation – everyone feels like a fish out of water and wants to make connections with others so it was fairly easy for me to introduce myself to others as there were so many opportunities to do so. I made friends with a fairly wide group of people quite quickly and got invited to a number of nights out, it felt good to be one of “the gang” and I was pleased that I was integrating with the other students. One of my big hopes was that I would finally have a consensual adult relationship with someone, I know I was still young (19) but I was genuinely beginning to think that spinsterhood awaited me as I had never even had so much as a sneaky snog at the school disco let alone go on a date with anyone. I wasn’t looking for “the one” but I did yearn for a boyfriend so that I could fit in with society’s expectation of me and prove to myself that I was normal and well adjusted despite everything that had happened. In hindsight I was rather naive in thinking that it would be plain sailing as it was anything but.
“D” was my first “proper” boyfriend, he was on the same University course as me and I developed a terribly obvious crush on him from the moment we met, I thought he was charming and charismatic but I didn’t dare say anything about my feelings for fear of rejection and the accompanying humiliation that would ensue. In the end it was D that made the first move, we usually went out for lunch as a group every Friday but on this particular day it was just D and I as the others were busy. We talked for hours, well into the evening and he told me that he would like to go on a date with me but had been afraid to ask in case I wasn’t interested; I was over the moon and naturally said yes. Our first date was dinner at a restaurant in town and D drove me home afterwards, I had my first kiss in his car and it was everything I had hoped it would be. I spent the next day on cloud nine, I was so happy that someone actually found me attractive and wanted to spend time with me.
We had another couple of lunch dates and then D suggested I stay over in his dorm room the next Friday night. Although I felt I was ready to spend the night with D I was still a bit nervous about it, I had told him it would be my first time and he had been surprised to hear that but told me we would take things slowly.
Everything was going fine at first and I was comfortable with the pace but then I had a panic attack when D asked me to give him a blow job, everything went pear shaped very quickly and I had what can only be described as the most humiliating night of my life. Up until that point everything had been perfect – we were snuggling and making out like normal teenagers and then D asked me to go down on him; I knelt down on the floor and he grabbed the back of my head and started to shove my face into his groin which, before I could even take a moment to think about it, sent me into a state of overwhelming panic.
It was like a primal instinct had taken over me and I felt I no longer had control of myself as I roared out, “no!” and shoved him away from me. I was quite surprised by the force I exerted but then of course I was no longer a pudgy nine year old girl, I was a pretty hefty 5ft 7inch tall adult in a blind panic and D was a somewhat rangy man so he stood no chance against me. Thankfully he didn’t hit anything when he toppled over; he was more confused than anything as to how the mood had taken such a sudden turn. I was horrified with myself and burst into tears immediately; I sat on the floor with a sheet wrapped around me and sobbed for ages while D tried to ask me what he had done wrong. Eventually I calmed down sufficiently to be able to speak to him; I explained that I had been the victim of sexual abuse as a child and that when he grabbed my head I had panicked and thought he was going to attack me. He was silent for quite a while and then asked me if I was ok, I said I was fine and that I was really sorry for pushing him but I hadn’t expected to have that reaction, I thought it would be ok. He offered to call a cab to take me back to my lodgings but I declined and said I would walk as it wasn’t that far, I apologized over and over and he said it was ok although I could tell it wasn’t as he was keeping his distance from me; he clearly thought I was wasn’t safe to be around. I gathered my things as quickly as I could and went to the bathroom to sort myself out then said a brief goodbye, apologized yet again and left.
I didn’t see D again for almost a week, I’m pretty sure he was deliberately avoiding me as he would arrive late for lectures and would leave immediately afterwards. I eventually caught up with him in the Student Union bar; I went to speak to him just after he had ordered a drink so I could be sure he wouldn’t make some excuse to leave. I asked him if he had been avoiding me and he denied it, I told him I didn’t blame him if he had and apologized for my behaviour yet again. He apologized for not checking up on me over the weekend, he made a pretty feeble excuse about being busy and I asked him where we should go from here. He said he wanted to remain friends but no more than that as he didn’t think he could deal with my “problem” and that I should go and speak to someone qualified to deal with it. My heart was broken but I wanted to maintain at least some semblance of dignity so I downed my drink, said thank you and walked away just as the tears started to roll down my cheeks, as I left I saw some of my friends coming in, they asked if I was ok I said yes and hurried off home.
Thankfully D didn’t say anything to any of our friends about what had happened and we tried to carry on as before but it was hard work as I could tell D didn’t like being around me anymore unless others were there. It made me feel like I was some dangerous animal and once again I started to retreat into myself and withdraw from the company of others.
I wish I had taken D’s advice and spoken to someone but the truth is I just didn’t know where to turn to for help so I tried to handle it all myself which just didn’t work.