Living Behind the Camera by Rebecca Mott

I was abused for too many years, I learnt to survive by never allowing it in. I was obsessed with film and TV, so I made it fiction.
Then I thought none of the pain and humiliation would go into me. It was not me that was being treated like a piece of dirt. It was an actress.
I thought if it was a only a film, then I could make a happy ending.
I thought I had that much control.

Now I want to cry as see me needing that control so much. I see me vanishing piece by piece as the violence increases.
I love that I try to make myself dream. I love that I could still believe in hope.

I had always loved films. Before I was abused, films brought me close to adults that I loved. I felt safe watching musicals with my grandmother. I had chats with my Dad and his brothers about old Westerns. Film was my happiness.
I was the same with TV, it was like a comfort blanket. I would watch with my sister, laughing at children’s telly, hiding behind the sofa at Star Trek.
It was so normal. It was lovely.

And it would be bombed away.

When my stepdad entered my life, he came with a camera. He worked in advertising, and was continually filming still or moving pictures.

I slowly learnt to hate the camera.

He would photograph me when I was relaxed. He would photograph me climbing trees.
Camera angled to show my knickers,
He photographed me eating. Me in the bath. Me sleeping. Me painting.

The camera followed me everywhere. I could not breathe without another photo being taken.
I felt trapped.

Even now, I still hate having my photo taken. I feel I lose control unless I really know the person taking the photo.

I try to imagine the photos my stepdad took were innocent images. I had always liked my real dad taking snapshots of me.
I try hard to imagine my stepdad filmed me coz I was such a jolly child. It must be just fun.

Only I know, my stomach knotted with sickness each time he asked me to stay still. I know as more and more he posed my body. I know as he kept waiting, taking too many shots of me.
I know I was being stolen by the camera.

When I saw him pass around photos of me to other men, who passed him more photos, I was not surprised.
I just went dead inside. Then pretended I had not seen what I saw.

Years later, he phoned saying there was pictures of me on internet.
I choose not to believe that. But inside I feel exhausted thinking maybe pictures of me trying to be a child are being wanked over by men like my stepdad.
I can’t bear to know if the images are there or not.

I was growing to fear film, when he brought in pictures of hard-core porn.

This destroyed my dreams that the camera could ever be safe, as I saw trapped behind the lens images that burnt through my whole body.

I looked and I saw my future in those images.
I looked and saw that hope was a wasted emotion.

When I looked as briefly as I could get away with, I saw pain going straight into my heart. So, I chose to deaden my heart.
What I saw was pure torture, and I was told it was acting. But, I looked hard and knew it was real.
For as looked I saw the fear of knowing there is nothing that can be done to stop it.

Hard-core porn killed my love affair with film. It replaced it with entering world where the camera entered my nightmares. It suffocated me when I shut my eyes.

I learnt to not sleep too much. As I dreamt of the images they changed and my face was on each torture victim. I would wake sweating, as I heard –
Smile for the camera.

I was right to believe that those images were my future. When I reached my teens and twenties, I had become real-life porn for violent men.
I had become nothing but an image they had seen in a photo or a film.

They would pose my body as the images they had seen. I was told not to move, to be silent. This made it not real, it was just part of some film in their head.
As they fucked me, other men would stand round watching like an audience. As each man poured his images of hate into me, I had to vanish.

Desperately, I cling on my memories of films. As I was beaten up, raped and tortured, I would disappear to my imagination. I thought I was Betty Davis alone smoking a cigarette. I became Scarlett O’Hara speaking back to men. I was Joan Crawford smacking a man in his face.

I had to have some dreams, or I would have died.

I had to not know my reality. To know that the men who were destroying me had planned everything they did, that was too much to bear. To know that each time I thought they had done the worst I could imagine to my body, there was always yet another form of torture. That was too much to bear.

And that to them I was not some glamourous actress, but a common whore. I could not bear that.

I choose not to accept that I was prostituted. Even when I got money, free drinks and food. Even when each man that used me had no name, I hardly know what they looked like. Even when I was with many men in one night. Even when I know I could not say no to any sick idea they had. Even when I know I was being passed around by men.

I could not see myself as a prostitute. That was never in any film I had loved. In my film, women have strength and were listened to. No-one would dare to rape the actresses I imagined I was.

But, in the end I could dream no more. It was beaten out of me. In the end, the only way I could survive was emptying my mind of any idea of hope.

I had to be dead to live. As the violence increased, I felt less.

In the end, I lose myself. All I was, was a fuck-object. I was what my stepdad trained me to be. I was part of the photos in hard-core porn.
I had disappeared.

Now, that was many years ago, but the impact is massive.

I have lost my vision imagination. I have stopped seeing films in my head, so I choose to see nothing. I still find it hard to take photos of people, or have my photo taken. I am very cynical about filming.

But on a positive note to end. I have back my love of films and TV. Now, I watch and can escape.

It was stolen from me for many years, but in the end my love for the fun of film and TV stayed in my heart.

Men try to destroy my heart, but they had no idea how to reach it.

by Rebecca Mott

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Learning to Defrost by Rebecca Mott

Introduction

I am writing this piece, because I want to show how I learned to connect my different types of abuses. By making these connections, I was able to live with hope, not just to live by remembering to breathe.

Like many people who have survived multiple types of abuse, I survived by living moment by moment. For much of my life, I would see that there were connections which made me suicidal. I could not face my own reality so I learned to freeze it out.

I have decided to separate out parts of my life. I will always remember that each abuse led to the next piece of abuse.

Meeting my Stepdad

I was seven when I met my stepdad. He unnerved me. I felt a fear which I did understand, for I had not feared an adult before.

It was the way that he looked at me. He would look at my body – up and down, down and up. As he looked I felt he had me.

But I knew how to smile. After all my mum liked him. I would learn how to like him too.

One Night

In this part I write of an event, that my stepdad denies. For most of my life I have blanked this event out, for it was too confusing and painful to recollect. I lived in a family where I was told that I was a liar, or that I was mentally ill. So, when I recall my experiences, I still can find it difficult to believe. All I can say, is when I think of this event I get massive body memories, and a great desire to run away from myself.

There was a night when my stepdad was putting me to bed. After he had turned out the light he came back to tuck me in. I began to feel nervous, for his hands reached under my bedclothes. I remember it was the first time I froze. I remember his fingers going into me. The pain is still there. As he finger-fucked me I tried to imagine that I was not there. No, I had entered a world underwater and I was safe as I joined mermaids. In this world adults were not allowed. In this world I could cry and no-one would know. Only in reality, I lie in the wet he had left me in. I was bleeding. There was yellow stuff, that I know was my piss. I was scared. Scared that my bed was wet. Scared that I was in pain. Scared that I was bad. I knew how to clean the bed for I did not want my mum to be angry with me.

His Stash of Porn

My stepdad was obsessed with hard-core porn. He made me look at his collection. It caused me a great deal of mental damage. I look back and know hard-core porn taught me how not to complain when I was sexually abused. I was taught to be submissive. And always to look as if I was having fun. These lessons did lots of damage to much of my life. My stepdad’s interests included Hustler, images of true-sex murders, images of S/M enactments, images with children or models dressed as children. This is what I can remember, although I find the memories so frightening that I have blanked many of these images from my mind. He enjoyed my fear, because it made him believe that he owned me. I felt like I was inside the images. I could feel their pain and terror. I could feel men’s hatred as they viewed these children’s and women’s suffering. As I was forced to look and look again at these images, I thought I was entering hell.

The thing I feared the most was the look in eyes of the women and children in the images. It was a look that had lost all hope. It was a look that was dead.

As I grew older, I learned to understand and imitate that look.

Chester the Molester

What upsets me the most about hard-core porn is that it is meant to be funny. At an early age I learned women had no sense of humour. The worst thing is when it comes to the cartoons in hard-core porn. They attacked and wanted to offend everything. A child seeing this hatred, can only feel fear. Whilst this is happening to a child, an adult is laughing saying “they are only pictures.” For me the worst was the series of “Chester the Molester” in Hustler. This is a world which celebrates sexual violence committed against children, and the instigators find it funny to mentally abuse children.

For much of my childhood, I had loved reading cartoons and comics. I was brought up on my grandmother’s collection of Charles Adams. I loved English comics. I read Marvel comics, especially Spiderman. Cartoons were a world I loved to disappear into. I thought I understood the rules of the cartoon world.

But seeing “Chester the Molester” destroyed my love of cartoons. I could not understand this world. I just understood that it would become my world. A world where I would be watched as an object wherever or whatever I was doing. I could be sitting on a toilet and a man would staring at me. As I walked to school, abusers would hide in bushes. Always, men would watch in order to wank. In some of the series, there were images which made it clear a man had sexually abused a young girl by putting his penis in her vagina and it was shown as if the girl was either scared or she had enjoyed the man sexually abusing her. The messages I received from these cartoons made me go silent and still. I felt resistance was futile because a molester would wait until I was too tired to protect myself.

When He Thought the Abuse Began

All families make their own myths to destroy the truth. My family’s myth is that my stepdad began to sexually abuse me when I was 12. This supposedly makes it all right. I suppose I was seen as being old enough to say no or to fight back.

But, I know that I was abused before I was 12, for my body revolts with sickness as it remembers. Also when I was 12, I knew how to behave and how to obey him. I can remember feeling completely empty as he abused me. I knew that I should not protest, only be still and quiet. When I was 12 I felt no surprise as he reached into me. The abuse had become a habit with my stepdad. Although he still would finger me or French kiss when he thought no one was watching, it became an enjoyable routine for him. He would have a bath with me each Friday night.

In the bath he would be slow and gentle, nothing like the images I had seen. He would make me wash his penis, letting it go hard. He would wash me. He would wash all over my skin. And, he would wash inside of me. It would scare me, but I didn’t understand why. He was not meaning to hurt, instead it was accidental. I didn’t understand why it made me feel so sad, I was shaking, but I wanted to freeze.

I Became His Sex Object

My stepdad knew the most damaging way that he could abuse was by gradually building up the violence. He brainwashed me into thinking each time he increased the sexual torture that I endured, I was lucky because it was not as bad as I had imagined. After seeing so many images of hard-core porn, I thought I was going to be murdered by my stepdad. Looking back, I feel great anger at his mental abuse of me. By showing me violent porn, I was taught to accept the unacceptable.

The main effect that my stepdad had on me was that I became dead inside. I felt his presence all the time, whether he was in the house or not. I felt that I belonged to him and had no will of my own. He abused me until I left at 19. By the end, I would lie in his bed dead still. I had found that he did not need to speak to me, for me to know how to obey him. For instance, I would get undressed by him just looking at me. By the end, my stepdad would touch me wherever he wanted. His pleasure was my torture. He would rub all over as slowly as possible. Often he did this in the dark and in silence. He enjoyed doing oral sex on me. He would put his hand into me.

I felt I was dead, that my existence meant nothing. When my stepdad made me come, I was angry for it meant I was alive. Part of his mental and sexual abuse was get me to climax and then to blame me for making him go too far. I felt that I was his whore.

Doing It for Money

My entrance into prostitution overlapped with my stepdad’s sexual abuse of me. For me, it was a logical move, after all I was already having sex and getting gifts. I knew I was nothing more than some holes for men to use. So when I stayed up late and went to clubs, I was attracted to sleaze. I wanted to be the “bad girl” because being good never stopped the pain.

From a young age, round about 7 or 8, I had run away from home and school. When young, I would hang around in areas where prostitutes were common. I felt oddly safe in those areas. This was ridiculous, for they were very dangerous areas. Life was cheap. Looking back, I see how warped my home life was, that I was more relaxed in red-light districts. As a child, I looked up to prostitutes. I still don’t know why, but it was a seed in my head. Maybe I thought being a prostitute would force my mother to take care of me.

From aged 12, I had started drinking. It deadened my pain. It made me not care how I was treated. I drank because than I forgot for a while. It was also a slow way of killing myself. It was within this head-space that I entered into paid sex. I was aged 14 when I first had sex for money. I thought I knew what I was doing but I had no idea.

Eye to Eye with Hate

I went to a club which let in under aged girls for free after midnight. It was exciting for a young teen to be entering an adult world. Only I refused to it see as it was. In my imagination it was glamourous, like entering a James Bond film set. I couldn’t face the truth because it would destroy me.

What I remember is the darkness of the place, and that it was cramped. I remember that it was full of men, mostly middle-aged or older. I remember sitting by the bar, drinking free cocktails. I remember young girls sitting up at the bar. We were silent. I remember we always left with some men. All I see is a haze because when I see I do not want to remember. I know it happened, but it makes me feel so worthless.

I would go to some man’s flat. Usually there was a group of men. Once the door was shut I knew what they wanted. I knew to be naked and how to lie as still as I could. All this I learned from my stepdad. But it went further.

They would speak to me as if I was a piece of shit. Calling me a “dirty whore and bitch”, saying they would give what I deserved. They sometimes tied me up, often to do anal sex. Often as one raped me, the others would stand round the bed watching. Then, they would rape in turn. I had to suck them all off. If I was not quick enough or if I spoke I was battered. This is how I remember, but because the men committed so much sexual cruelty against me I have blanked it out. My brain has created its own safety blanket, not letting in the full horror of their actions. I just know that my body remembers the pain because now I am safe to feel. I feel pain in every cell of my body. I hate who those men were. Men who thought throwing a small amount of money at a girl or woman, entitles them to use her body as a dustbin for their hatred. Such men use prostituted women because they pretend their actions are not violent. Because prostituted women have no feelings and will never say no. Since these men knew I was a child it was a bonus for them. It meant that they could pay me less.

I Had Lost Hope

By the time I was 17, I had given up on hope. I thought my only worth was in sexually servicing men. I could not understand a “normal life” any more. I was doing as much self- harm as I could.

I had first cut myself when I was 9. I loved seeing the blood, for I felt I had some control. I fall in love with the idea of death. I felt Death was a friend. Maybe, it was because I read Edgar Allan Poe, but I thought death would so calm. Looking back, I don’t think I wanted to commit suicide rather I just wanted everything to stop.

By the time I was 17 I was an alcoholic, I ate little and then only trash food. I was trying not to sleep. I was scared to stop, in case I felt something. I thought I was mad but I thought it did not matter since I was just a piece of trash.

Sex Until I Die

I was having sex too much. I had sex, but I had no love or affection. I had decided I was just an object for men to fuck. I had lost who I was. Now, I had hit on a form of self-harm that fitted me. I find it so hard to see that time, for I was so scared and abandoned. I see that time, and all I think is that I was recreating the images I had seen in hard-core porn. For, as I was being raped over and over again by these men, I had learned to act as if I was enjoying it.

I was so dead inside, that after many acts of violence, I would “act normal” afterward. I could not allow myself to think of what had happened, because then I would lose my mind.

I Woke Up

I had become a zombie. Nothing seemed to matter any more. My body and mind was so used to abuse that it could not remember to care.

I was pushing the barriers of pain and degradation. I thought one day I may shock myself into caring. And I did.

I thought myself worthy of the male violence I was put though, because I believed I was scum. Only, somewhere deep inside was a voice speaking to me – “There is more to life than this. Please, stop it now. Or you will die.” I heard this voice and tried to ignore it, but in my twenties it got louder and louder. I know I had to save myself, but I had no idea how.

Gone Too Far

The time near the end of the violence was terrifying. I was beginning to know what was happening to and I was starting to feel outrage. I needed an end, but I felt powerless. I felt vulnerable. In that state, the last few acts of sexual violence left deep scars. I was seeing how my rapes were re-enactments of pornified minds.

One man, who I thought was a friend, raped me for 6 hours. Because I attempted to take some control by not allowing him to penetrate me, he used extreme sexual and mental violence on me. Although I prevented him from putting his penis into my vagina, he put his penis in every other orifice he could find. This included my left ear which affected my hearing, especially when I am stressed. If I did not do what he wanted, he would hit so hard that I lost who I was. At one point, he put a pillow over my eyes, his penis in my mouth and fisted my anus. The pain was so horrific. But I could not move, I could not scream. But, I could die. I stopped breathing.

At the time, I exited my body. I remember that I looked at me being raped, and thought nothing. Only, I felt so peaceful, and the pain had gone.

But, he brought me back to life –

“Don’t die on me, bitch.”

I came back, and the pain went on.

Beginning of an End

The day-to-day violence in my life came to an end when I reached my limit.

I still worked as a part-time prostituted woman. I went towards paid sex, as my way of killing myself. I did not need the money. I was not trapped by a pimp. I just saw myself as a sex object. In my low self-esteem and anger I thought that if men were to have sex with me, I may as well get something out of it. I was so stupid because these thoughts ignored the danger.

My last punter was the most dangerous, for he hated everything about women. I was in my early twenties, he was in his late sixties. He paid more than I could ever have imagined but he treated me so violently and cruelly. I would take the money and try to blank out his hatred.

His habit was for anal sex but not as I had experienced it.

He would force me to face against a wall, and pull down my trousers a little. Just enough to keep my legs together. He would hold my hands above my head. Then without warning, he would force his penis into my anus. The shock was so intense that I felt I was going to get a heart attack. Often I would faint.

Each time I saw him I would drink whisky, in the hope it would deaden the pain he inflicted on me. But each time the fear and pain always sobered me up. I ended up one night with severe injuries.

I went to hospital because I couldn’t stop bleeding and could not sit down. There I was treated badly by a female nurse because she had decided I was a slut and did not deserve decent treatment. So, when she sewed up my anus, she did not give me a painkiller. Although I was supposed to spend the night in hospital, I ran away to my own bed.

Choosing to Live

The next time I woke up, I found that I could not move, only my eyes. I tried to turn on my radio but I could not reach it. I was still in pain, but immobile. At first I was not worried, but as time went by I still could not move. I thought this is how I will die. Not murder or suicide – just a slow death as my body gives up hope.

I had always thought that you could will yourself to die. When I was young I had seen a kitten refuse to live. It had stopped eating, ceased cleaning itself. It had just decided there was no point to its life. So the kitten lay down in the corner of a drawer and died.

As I lay on my bed, I knew I had to make a choice whether I could live. My choices were to stay in my home-town, and continue living with violence. Or, to run away and maybe find that there could be hope. I knew if I stayed I would die soon. I would be “accidentally killed” if a man went too far.

Or I could lose the will to live since my body could not live with so much pain any more – so I would die. I had no choice but to leave. I left, and very slowly I built a new life.

Conclusion

As I write this piece I see with compassion how trapped I was.

When I view my past I see how pornography brainwashed me into believing I deserved all the pain men inflicted on me. At the time it was safer to blame myself than to recognise how men chose to sexually torture me. When I write, I write against those who believe that pornography is harmless. I know the men who raped me brought into and accepted the culture of porn.

They saw me as an object to be used and used again, until they decided to throw me away. What they did to me was not personal. It could have been any girl or woman they chose to abuse, for they believe that all women and girls are objects for their sexual gratification. For much of my life, I almost drove myself mad by trying to understand why I was so constantly abused. I thought I must have made these men commit acts of sexual torture on me. Now, I can see that I did nothing, but being in the wrong place.

One thing that help built myself a life, was finding feminism. As I began to regain myself I read Andrea Dworkin, and found she gave me a voice. No, she allowed me to scream. As the years became more secure, I learned to grieve for my past. I feel my past killed the child who could trust. But I was transformed by my past. It has made me stronger, for I had to discover how to live. I find that I have empathy with others who have extreme trauma. I feel that I am a fighter, especially in showing the truth of male violence to women and children.

I hope my story can show the harms of a porn culture. Also that it can remind the reader that prostituted women are individuals who deserve safety and compassion.

Finally. I write to thank my past self for living, when death was so welcoming.

by Rebecca Mott

Always Remember by Rebecca Mott

Introduction 

I want to write about the time in my life when memory was hard to find. I was a time when I lived as if violence was normal. At that time, I handled my life by not handling it. I chose to drink, I try not to sleep, I would not eat healthy food. I had chosen to live reaching out for death.

I had chosen not to see or feel my life. I was only just breathing. I thought I was dead. For then, everything would mean nothing.

Now, I am remembering. All I can see is through a haze. I cannot feel for then, only a coldness in my stomach. Nevertheless, from somewhere, that I am remembering the real.

I know as I am sick in the bathroom.

***

I had always thought that being abused by my stepdad was enough. I had known fear, I had known pain, I had known confusion. I did not need to know any more. Only, I did not know that life was just one big sick joke.

I do not remember when I was first abused outside of my home. All I can remember is being at a party. I am standing so still. Listening to – “Whore, you’re a fucking whore.”

I don’t care. After all, it was what I was, what I will always be.

I think that this was my first feeling of fear outside of my home. I think I was 12 or 13, I cannot remember. For by that time, I had become a zombie.

I was at my friend’s birthday. The night before, he had stopped being a friend. Now, here, he is an enemy. This cannot matter, it will not matter.

I had known him since I was a baby. Now, at his home, dead in the countryside, I have forgotten how to see.

When I arrived at his home, I was dazzled by how rich everyone was.

In the guest room, I just feel lost, but I always feel lost.

I see him in the room. I don’t mind, he is my friend after all. He is teasing me. He tells me how stupid I am. He tells me that he likes dirty girls.

I think that I am laughing. Only I cannot remember.

He is touching me, he is pulling at my clothes. Saying – “You know you want me.”

I don’t. I feel his hand in my cunt. He is pushing me onto the bed. I feel the familiar pain return. I don’t want this.

I am kicking him away. He is just laughing – “See, I always knew that you were a whore.”

I wanted to scream at him, but my voice froze in my throat. I could not speak. Instead, I acted the good guest.

Looking back, I was in shock. I had never expected I would get abused outside of my home. I had thought that I was in control of my life. I was beginning to realise that I was never safe.

It was the beginning of giving up.

Afterwards, he treated me like a servant. I was expected not to complain. Once on a walk, he push me into a haystack, lying on top of me. I fought him off. Only, as I fought, I felt that I was losing my will.

By the time the party arrived, I did not care. As I was called a whore, I did not care. After all, I did not matter.

***

As I became a teenager, I lost belief in hope. Instead, I made death my best friend.

I could no longer understand anything. I tried to make sense of my world, but I did not want to live.

I turned to self-destruction.

I had begun to drink in order to die.

As I grew into a teenager, I disappeared into pubs. I drank lager, but I could not taste it.

I would just drink to remind myself what a piece of shit I was. I knew that all I deserved was death and pain.

Now, I look back at my drinking, and I cannot imagine how I stayed alive. I look back at myself, and I don’t want to recognise her. I see a person who lives in order to die. She is not scared, she just accepts pain as being normal. I had decided to lose who I was. I wanted not to feel. Then when things happened to me, it was as if nothing had happened.

In my drinking, my world grows smaller. I wanted to forget everything. Always, pain reminded that I was still alive. I chose to believe that pain was all I deserved.

***

As I grew into being a teenager, I had lost everything that should of matter to me. I had lost my family, I had lost the habit of going to school, I had lost my love for my cats. I had lost the sense that I really existed.

I knew I had to do everything alone. I knew I would have to invent my own rules. I would run away from home, but I always went back. I thought that I should stop eating, only I didn’t like being hungry. I thought that I should not sleep, only my eyes always shut.

So, all I could do was to cut my arms. I saw the beauty as the blood was flowing.

Remember, how quiet my room is. See I am alone. Sitting so still, holding my knife. I do not remember how it got into my hand. It is just there.

I can feel nothing as I draw the knife across my arm. It feels so right. I feel that I can control this.

I know this the only private thing that I have left.

***

I had drifted into a world where nothing could matter. I could feel my self-hate creep into my every cell. I wanted so much to stop feeling. I wanted to be as nothing.

I am 14. I do not go to school. Only to be registered.

One day, I am by the teacher’s cars, I am hiding. Then I see someone. I see her eyes. I see her blazing with hate, then quickly going dead. Yes, I see her, as I know that she sees me. We know that we must be friends.

I see that she does not care about anything. We don’t care as we play “Roots”. I, white, tie around my neck, crawling on my hands and knees, I was Kunta Kinte. Her black, stick in hand, playing whipping me, playing my master. No, we did not care, we could not care. We enjoyed shocking our teachers, pulling us apart as we hit each other. We would just run away, screaming –”Fuck you all.”

Yes, she was my friend as we loudly spoke of hating our parents. My friend as we lay on her bed, drinking. My friend as I shown her my cuts. We would just laugh at death.

Yes, we understood each other.

Now I look back, all I see is that I was desperate for some type of love. I needed to be needed. I always knew that she was dangerous. Only, I still thought that I was in control.

We had begun to run away with each other, running into the night.

We did not care for our homes, but we wanted our homes to care for us.

She said – “I know somewhere that is really bad.”

I thought that I knew what bad was. I knew nothing.

She took me to a club. It was around midnight. I saw a short queue of young girls. They all looked as if they were dead. I decided not to look.

I was excited to be going to an adult club, especially as we got in for free. Inside, we got free drinks. We felt great, we were special.

Looking back, I can see how blind I was. I could not see the reality. I did not see that all the girls were underage. I would not see the older men.

I was 14, and I thought that I understood. I thought that I knew everything.

I enjoyed having my drinks brought for me. I thought that I was sophisticated. Only, no man would speak to me. So I imagined that I was in a movie, imagine I was Joan Crawford. I would drink cocktails, I would say one-liners. I thought that I could belong.

Only, I always said nothing.

All I did was to wait. I waited for the music to stop. Then the men would come to me. Then they would take me away. Always there were no words. I just knew to go with them.

As I went, I could feel ice going through my body.

This is a time that is so hard to remember. I always want to blame myself. I don’t know why I stayed in the club. I do not know why I did not run away. I had the dumbness of cattle going towards their own slaughter.

Always we went back to a private flat. Close the door and no one will care. No one will see.

There is a kitchen, a corridor, a bathroom. I can see, but I cannot see. There is always the bedroom.

I knew what to do. I knew to get undressed. All this was normal. I lay naked on the bed, and I knew to wait.

Waiting, for what I thought that I knew.

Always I can remember the closed door. After that, all I see is flashes. All I feel is a sickness. As I want to remember, all I feel is scared.

I can remember that I had a fury all the time.

I can remember thinking that it would be just sex. I knew that I had to lay still, I knew not to feel, then it would be over.

I knew nothing. As I saw their eyes staring into me, I could feel their silence. I did not want, but had, my arms tied. Only then, the sex happened.

I could feel terror. I wanted to forget what happened to me. Only, I always get flashes inside my sickness. I can remember as one man was on top of me, I could see others standing round watching. I can remember that I was choked. I can remember that the pain was everywhere. It was not just inside my cunt.

Mainly, I can remember their contempt. They would never speak to me. All they did was to push into the right position. I never had time to think. All I could do was remember how to breathe.

Afterwards, I was just thrown out onto the street. I knew I was just a piece of rubbish.

Now, I can see slightly more. I can see how many injuries that I had. I imagined that my bleeding was the curse. I know that I was lying to myself. I was just terrified to think anything else. I decided not to see I was bleeding all over. If you don’t see, it is not there. I would see the cuts and bruises all over my body. This could not matter. It must not matter.

***

I walked through my injuries. I had been thrown out of the flat at three in the morning. All I could was to wait for the sun to rise. I watched people coming home from night shift. I wanted to stay on the streets. It was so calm.

I waited for my friend, she would walk me home. I could not think where she had been.

I just got ready for school.

At that time, I had lost the will to be aware. I wanted to be a ghost. Maybe then, nothing could hurt me. Maybe then, I would stop caring that no one cared.

Sometimes, I would imagine that if my mother saw my injuries, it would force her to care. I would dream that she would stop the world for me. Then she would take me to her heart, saying – “I’m so sorry, so sorry.”

I dreamt that everything was fine. That it had never happened.

Always, I would wake. Hearing my mother say – “What did you do to deserve that?”

Until I was 17, I thought that my mother would care. I hoped against hope, that she would see her wounded daughter and save her.

All she did was to ignore me.

I needed her attention. I thought by accepting violence, she would see me. I thought that if I was murdered, then she would be sorry.

I was accepting that I deserved men’s violence. It was my way of being close to death. I learnt to accept their games in strangling me, taking me to the edge of death. Only, to bring me back to life. I learnt to get use to men raping me one after the other. After all, it was all that I deserved.

I thought that as my mum saw me as a slut that was all I was.

I was not even good at that. Often I only got £5, I was cheap. Mostly, I was not paid. I was too confused to notice. Sometimes, I was not paid, because I was knocked unconscious.

What I did not notice, or choose not to notice, was the presence of my friend. Sometimes I heard her chatting with the men. She was laughing with them. This was too confusing. She was never bruised. I never saw her having sex. Finally, I saw her taking a wad of money.

She saw me, and laughed.

***

I was changing, changing into a person I did not want to know. A person that I grow to hate.

I put my terror deep down into my stomach. I choose to forget that I had a brain. I stopped imaging that I needed love. None of that mattered. I was just a piece of shit. Why else did I live with pain all the time?

I was living by the skin of my teeth. Personally, I have no idea why I am still alive. At that time, I only know that I was alive, because I saw it was morning.

Once when I had taken an overdose, I made myself unconscious for a few days. I was able to touch death. I do not know why I survived, only that somewhere was a fierce will to live.

Somewhere there was a voice saying – “Live, one day you will tell your story.”

***

Abuse destroys memory. That is all I know. When I do remember, it is all messed up. I remember with doubts that any of it can be real, even knowing that it is the truth.

Abuse destroys emotion. That is all I know. All that is left is an empty shell. Crying, hiding in corners. Anger rises as bile from the pit of my stomach, only to get struck in my throat. I put compassion deep into a grave.

I do not want to remember, I do not want to feel my teenage years. It is a broken time.

I had become a person who walked towards danger. It did not matter, for I would be dead soon.

This time did not matter. It must not matter. Now, I look at my past. I want to see beyond the sickness. I want to see with tears. All I can feel is a coldness. I see that I have survived. I want to miss out this time, and go straight to the end. This would be so easy. I could avoid what I do not wish to see.

Only, I must remember, I must allow myself to feel. For that time belongs to me. All I know is that as I remember, I am learning to rest.

I can remember that I was wandering the streets. I can remember that I used to cut my arms. I did not why I kept cutting, only I could not stop. Anyhow, I had forgotten who I was.

***

Now I will try to lay down all the abuse that I can remember. Maybe then, I can gain some stillness.

When I do remember, I always I forget my age. All I can feel is other people’s hate all around me. All I knew was that I deserved their hatred.

I can remember that I thought that I could be friends with men. All I found was rape and battering. I taught myself that I was just an object to be used. I was a slut after all. I chose to stop feeling. I watch as their eyes went into me. I would be still as they touched me all over. I forget that they could be friends.

I just know whatever happened could not be stopped. There was nothing that I could do. It did not matter, for now I was nothing.

I became angry that I was still searching for love. I thought that I would find myself a lover. I imagined that I would be brought flowers. I would be taken to the cinema. I would be special. Someone would like talking to me. I would be seen.<

All I knew was to accept violence. I remember that men would fuck me in alleys behind pubs. As they unzipped my trousers, I lost all emotion. They did not ever look at my eyes. I was just a hole where they would leave their sperm. If they did speak, it was to call me names.

I remember a man screwing me in a graveyard. I remember the coldness of the stone. I know the man did not see me. I imagined that I was sinking into the grave. There I could suffocate. All I heard was – “Was that ok?”

I had separated from my cunt. It was nothing to me.

After all, my cunt was betraying me.

***

I can remember big events, events that can penetrate my brain. What I don’t remember is how I continued to live.

Looking back, I see a person who walks towards death, even as she wanted to live so much.

I heard somewhere – “This is not all there is. Please child, hold on in there.”

***

I am walking. I think I am walking home. I know I am walking somewhere. I walk down a familiar road from the same old pub. I know the route by heart.

I imagine that the streets are safe. From nowhere, I think that I am ok.

I allow myself to glimpse happiness. If I got scared would it make me vulnerable.

I walk pass the Catholic Church. I see a bunch of skinheads sitting on its walls. I see people avoiding them. I think nothing. I see them spitting. This means nothing to me. I walk straight past.

They see me. They know me, know that I am easy.

They decide to surround me. I don’t think. This is nothing. They push and poke at me. I can hear their words, I can see their laughter. I just imagine that I am safe. I hear – “There’s only one thing to do to dykes.”

For some reason, all I thought of was Anita in “West Side Story”. I thought these things don’t happen. Not with all these people walking round.

I could feel a hand reaching into my cunt. I could hear the skinhead girls screaming at me. All I could feel were their eyes staring into me.

I just lay like a dead fish. I just wanted it to be over.

From nowhere a policeman came. He did not seemed worried, only said – “Calm down, boys. Don’t be so silly.”

I saw the policeman laughing with the skinheads. Nothing must matter.

The policeman turns to me.

“You know, it’s not safe to be out so late at night.”

He lets me walk home alone.

***

I decided that I would give up on trust. I lived in a world where I made my own rules. Only as I tried to invent my life, I had no idea where to start.

All I know was that I had to change.

Until I had changed, everything went on as always.

I was being betrayed by wanting to be friends with men. Even there, I was caught up with violence. I lose all hope.

I wanted so much to find friendship with a man. I thought that then I would be normal. Maybe then, I would be able to relax.

I thought I could be close to a man. A man I did not fear. A man who I thought of as a joker.

After I sat in shock, I have forgotten how to speak. I just shut it out.

I just shut my eyes. I could not cry. I just felt my body shaking. I must remember how to stay in control.

All I can think is that he had been a good friend for a few years. He had never touched me before. I remembered that I had always felt safe with him. I had allowed myself to be drunk in front of him. After all, I had never felt fear around him. With him, I could imagine that I could trust men.

Here, now, he is just smashing all that. Here, now, he is over me, inside my flat. Here, now, he places me back down in the sewer.

He would not leave. He stayed destroying me for six hours. Still, somehow, I imagine he is still a mate. I needed so much that idea. It was safe. Only as I saw his eyes staring into me, I knew that friendship was gone. I knew not to fight.

But for some reason, my pride got in the way. I kept telling him to go.

He just hit me, hit me so hard, that I hit the wall across the room.

So, I gave up. After all, I still wanted to live.

All I could feel was his hate creeping into each inch of my room. I know that no escape, only there may be an end.

He told to get undressed. I knew to obey him. I knew to stop thinking.

When he was fucking me, all I could hear was him asking what I was scared of. Then he would do that. Sometimes I could hear him speaking to me in the voice of a child. All the time, he was giving pain that I could not have imagined existed. He bit, scratched and ripped at my vagina. I imagine that he was tearing it out. He placed his penis in every hole he could find, including my left ear. He kept me tied up. All the time, he would not stop speaking. He told he was doing aversion therapy, he would take the place of my stepdad. After all, wasn’t he curing me?

As I lay under him, I just try to remember to keep breathing. I try watching trains going pass my window. I imagined that I was fine.

Only, I had stopped breathing. It felt so nice. It was calm, I felt myself floating away. I just look down, seeing someone, seeing me. Seeing a lump of flesh getting fucked. I can see now how it is. I see his penis in my mouth, pillow over my eyes. I see his fist in my cunt. I see it all, only I don’t believe it. I will not believe it. I think I will just die. That would be so easy.

But no, he is pouring his hot breath into my lungs, saying – “Don’t die on me, bitch.”

Even now, I still hate him. I hate that he betrayed me. I hate that he would not allow me to die. I hate that his biggest wish was that I would remember him. I hate that I cannot forget him. All I know, is that I wish him some of my pain.

I know that I should have told someone somewhere. All I know, was that it was my word against his. I felt silence was safer. After all, he told me that if I told, he would just say that I enjoyed violent sex. After all, wasn’t I screwed up after being with my stepdad?

So, I continued as if nothing had happened.

***

I decided that I was not affected. But I was losing control. I was drinking in order to die. I would only eat junk food, as little as possible. I was throwing myself away.

I try not to close my eyes. If I fall asleep, then I would relax. If I relax, the pain always comes back.

I was living in pubs. When they closed, I would go to men’s houses. There I would let them hate me. Inside their violence, I could forget that I had a brain.

I could not care. Now, for me, being raped was normal. As I got smashed up, I knew that it was all that I deserved.

I would not feel how terrified I was. For wasn’t I strong? Whatever men did to me, I never died. I could not die.

All it was because that I was bad, that was all.

But, for some reason, I could not stop caring. I wanted to die so much. Always, something wild wanted to live. It was always there.

I would hear a child crying – “Please make it stop. I just want it to stop.”

***

When I was seventeen, I was in a place where I worshipped death. I know that hope was a wasted emotion.

As I reached seventeen, I tried suicide. My mother caught me, and she just laughed, saying – “You can’t even do that properly.”

I was walking headlong into danger. I did not care, I could not care. Pain was all I was. Safety was just a dream.

At that time, I thought that I knew everything. I thought that I was in control. I thought I could handle my pain. After all, I knew that I could stop it any time.

God, I knew so little.

One night, I stay behind in the club, waiting to go home with the DJ. I wanted him. He had a reputation of hating women. I knew that he was the sort of man that I deserved.

I thought I know how he would treat me. Oh, I was so naïve.

I can see it now. Now I see a teenager attempting to make sense of her world. She tries so hard.

I see her whenever I see “street-wise” kids out looking defiant. I can see their fear. I can feel their emptiness. As I see them now, now I can cry.

Then, I could not allow myself to think. I could not feel. All I knew to do was to keep moving.

I allowed him to take me to his flat. He never looked at me. After all, I was a whore. So far, so normal.

In his room, I was fascinated by all his posters. Pictures of women crawling to the camera on their hands and knees. Some were dragged along with chains, some in cages. I thought that I understood.

When he fucked me, it was so hard, so quick. I could hear somewhere that I was screaming. Only, I never made any noise. I could never show that much fear.

But he was hitting me, telling to stop screaming. He threw out of his flat. I had no time to think if I was in pain.

Only, I found that I could not stop bleeding. I just ignored it.

The bleeding went on for days. The pain would not fade. I could hardly walk. I fainted going down the stairs.

As I rose from the fainting, I heard my mum saying that I was faking my illness. I said nothing. Only, let the hate grow.

Somehow, I knew that I was pregnant. Even after taking a test that was negative, I knew. I could feel the being slowly spreading poison into my veins. As the second test came out positive, I thought, there, I don’t always lie.

I do not know how I knew, maybe I thought it was just my luck. All I knew was that there was no way that I could have a baby.

How could I bring a baby into my world? A world where my mother hates me. A world where the baby has no father. How could I tell the baby that its father is a rapist? A world where the baby’s mother will be dead soon.

No, I could not have a baby.

But, I so wanted something that I was mine. I wanted a baby as my private prize.

So I did the right thing. I had an abortion.

No one asked me how I felt about it. So, I carried on as if nothing had happened.

Years later, I cried for my loss. I have always known I was right to have the abortion. Only, then, I thought I would be a mother later.

***

I knew that to escape my world, I had to reach the bottom. Only by touching hell, could I find that I wanted more. Maybe then, I could find myself.

I went back into the world where I was paid for sex. I knew this world. I thought that I knew myself, I was just an object for sex. I thought I could forget the pain, if I was counting the money.

At the time, having money meant that I was someone. Only, I could never keep hold of the money. I would throw it away, for it was burning into my heart. I was paid a lot, but I would waste it, I never saved. I enjoyed throwing it into the river.

I was drawn to men who debased me. They fitted my image of myself.

I found a punter who enjoyed hurting me. It was a slow suicide. I know he would not run out of ideas of how to hurt me. I did not care, I just took his money. After all, he did pay well over the top. I decided I would be his property.

Every time, he fucked me, I felt like I was dying. But, always I would go back to him. I was addicted.

He would anally abuse me. He would always force it up me. I would never get any warning. Always, he pushed me against a wall, legs together. Often I would faint, I could feel my heart trying to stop. It was ok, I didn’t die.

I stopped the pain by drowning in whisky.

It was my way of committing suicide. As I stood taking the pain, I knew I finally had become nothing. I would go in and out of being conscious, nothing mattered any more. I let him humiliate me. It did not matter. I grew used to him telling me to be quiet, when all I wanted to do was to scream and scream. It did not matter. All this just meant nothing.

Only, my body was always shocked by the pain.

As this went on, I could not just go on. I tried act normal, to act as if nothing was happening.

Once after being with him, I went to a party. I walked across town, ignoring the pain. I ignored the blood in my knickers. I walked, imagining that I could forget. When I got to the party, I danced as if there was no tomorrow.

Only, I sat down. The pain shoot up me, going straight to my heart. I fainted. I had lost control.

There was a panic, when others saw the blood on my chair. I could not understand the fuss, after all, it was not important. Before I could speak, I found that I had been taken to hospital.

I had always been scared of hospitals. I thought I would be locked away for good in there. I was scared that if I was ill I would be vulnerable. I was scared of being scared.

Once there, I was treated as I thought I deserved. The nurse took one look at me, and dismissed me. When she saw my injuries were anal, she said I wasting her time. After all, no one gets torn there unless they want it. I felt as if she saw me for who I was. I did not care that she did not use a painkiller, as she sewed into my bum. She looked into my bag, seeing a wad of cash. Yes, she saw me.

I just wanted to be invisible.

For the first time, the pain was penetrating my deadness. I still made no fuss. Only, inside, my screaming was getting louder and louder. I wanted to cry. Only, I couldn’t.

When I got home, I just lay on my bed.

The next morning, I could not move.

***

I was paralysed. My body had given up on me. All I could move was my eyes. At first, it meant nothing to me, only it went on for days.

Now I know that my body had had enough, so it closed down. It would stop me from destroying myself. My body had had enough of pain in every cell. Enough of eating junk food. Enough of drowning in alcohol. Enough of knocking back pills in order to stay awake. Enough of the cuts across my arms.

Now, enough was enough.

All I could do was think. As I stared at the ceiling, I was alone.

I knew I could quietly slip into death. That would not matter. It would be nothing.

Only –“Live, damned you, live.”

I decided to live, if only to prove that I could.

Conclusion

This piece of writing was the hardest thing I have done. This is because, this goes back to a time that seemed to have no end.

Only, there was an end.

Now, I looked back with awe and wonder that I came out of that time alive. Now, I look back, and I am deeply proud of the person I was then. I see I was always a fighter. I was never destroyed completely.

They could rape my body, but they could never reach me.

I cannot say that I was a good person then. I don’t care. I survived.

by Rebecca Mott

Lie Dead by Rebecca Mott

Introduction

I feel that I have come to a stage in my life where I am able to write. This is hard, because I can only remember in bits. Much of my life is full of gaps. Rape can be blanked out, in order to lead a “normal” life. Sometimes I remember events, without any feelings. Sometimes I remember feelings without understanding where they come from. This piece of writing is an exploration of my life between six and twenty-seven. I will write as clear as I can, but there will be gaps and silences.

***

I am drunk at a party. Round me, people are chatting about sex. I am calm, being sarcastic. I am laughing. A voice says, “that hole so small – just like a six-year-old.”

I freeze. Whatever you do, don’t show that you are scared. I try laughing, but my throat jams. Suddenly it appears that everyone is talking about child-sex. From nowhere I am shouting, “shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Around me the child freezes. She doesn’t cry or speak. She just acts dead. Act dead and nothing matters.

I go to bed, but can’t sleep. Flashbacks of a six-year-old go round and round. I am crying. This isn’t true. It isn’t me, it’s just my imagination.

For two weeks, she keeps coming back. Always the same feelings. Same events. She says – look at me. I won’t go away. I am you. You are me. Look.

See the dark. See you/me lying in the bed, we are safe. We are sleeping. Everything is quiet. We are safe. Remember being safe – so long ago.

You/me hear the door open. It is our stepdad. We are not scared. We say goodnight. We want to like him. He loves our mum, we must love him. Goodnight. He’s just being friendly.

My real dad doesn’t pull down my blankets. He doesn’t rub his hands on my chest. He doesn’t breathe like my stepdad. It is so strange. He rubs over my nightie. I feel sick. I don’t look at him. I hear him smiling, “I love you so much.”

I think his hand is touching my skin. Nothing is happening.

“I won’t hurt you – just lie still.”

The hand moves to my bum. I stop hearing. Only a weird breathing. He is over me, blocking out the hall light. His hand is inside. It does hurt. I think I’m crying.

Suddenly, he is not in the room. It is silent again. Maybe, I wasn’t awake. I was dreaming.

But, the bed is wet. I am crying, then. My mum will kill me, coz I wet the bed.

I drag the sheets off the bed, crumble them up. I kick at them, and hide them under the bed.

The flashback comes over and over. I know it is true. For each time, I would have an outrageous pain in my vagina. I was raped when I was six. I have no proof, only nightmares. And a pain that comes every time that I write, talk or just think about my six- year-old.

I do believe her. Why would I make up such horror, with such detail? When I see her, I rediscover the anger that hid out of fear.

I see how small she was. How she didn’t know danger. How she wanted to love her stepdad. How she wanted him to love her.

For the first time, I don’t feel guilty. There was no reason for him to violate her. She did nothing. For the first time, I feel pure hate. For the first time, I don’t care what his reasons were. For the first time, he is unimportant.

I look at my six-year-old and allow myself to feel compassion. I want to hold her, tell her that she is safe. I want to say it will get better.

But I can’t lie to her. We both know it will get worse. All I can do is cry. I had stopped crying when I was six. I didn’t cry, because it made no difference. Now, all I cry is small tears. Thinking maybe we can learn to love each other.

***

I made this event invisible. I lived a normal family life. I went to school. I fought with my sister. I watch children’s TV, followed my football team. I was normal. I would be happy.

But always following me was another girl. She was never happy. She didn’t care about anything. She felt nothing. She just dreamed of dying.

Sometimes she would freeze. She was scared of breathing. Her stepdad could hear her every breath.

Until I was twelve, I could imagine that I fitted in. Even though nothing made sense, I pretended that I understood.

I disappeared into life outside of my home – into school and playing out on the streets. I never admitted to myself that I didn’t want to go home. No. I was happy. I had friends. I had many presents. I was fed. I was loved. I was happy. There was no reason not to be.

But, always she came. She was scared. She made plans to die. She would trash everything.

When I wanted to play, she was clumsy. She didn’t talk to my stepdad. She was angry. She was never nice. She was ruining my life.

She should be happy. She should give me a break.

Looking back, I know nothing was normal. I know that I lived in fear. It was not a normal family.

Looking back, I see a child left on London streets at all hours. I was fed, but I stole food, after missing meals. I got presents, after my stepdad had been in my bed.

Nothing was normal. Nothing was safe. I just wanted to fit in.

Pictures come back. Pictures of an unhappy child.

Picture this. A nine-year-old sitting by a window, staring down. She is measuring how she could fall head first, seeing if she would die. She is calm. She doesn’t want to live with him forever. She knows he will never leave her alone. It will never stop hurting. She doesn’t fall. It would be just her luck to injure herself, and not to die.

Picture this. A seven-year-old with meningitis. She has a fever.

“I hate him. I want him dead.”

This is not true, of course. She lies in hospital, she is safe. When her mum visits, she is shaking, she stops speaking. Only to the nurse – “I don’t want to go home.”

This is the fever talking.

Picture this. A nine-year-old standing outside her stepdad’s office in Soho. Her mum is inside. She is alone.

“I won’t be long,” her mum says.

She doesn’t speak. Just stares out with hate. She hates all adults. Inside, she whispers, “Bastards, bastards, bastards.”

But she knows she is safe. No one will hurt her.

I could not stay happy. I lost my temper easily. I had fights with friends, I wanted to hurt them bad. I hurt my dad’s son. I wanted to kill him. I hated him because he was happy. When he smiled, I wanted him to cry. I tried to make my dad hate by hitting his son.

I was becoming ill. I blame myself. My mum sent me to therapy. For I was violent for no reason.

In therapy, my stepdad was never mentioned. My mum spoke for me. She said I had brain damage, which made me aggressive. That I made no effort to like her new husband. It was because I was dyslexic.

I had my brain scanned. Questions asked –

Do you love your dad? – Yes. Do you love your mum? – Yes. What do you think of your stepdad? – I hate him.

It was replayed. She is jealous of your new marriage. She says she is scared of her stepdad. She has a strong imagination.

I remember that I said that he hurt me. No one listened. They looked into my head. They did not see my bum was burning.

Yes, your child is ill. Give her time, she will adjust.

***

The years between six and twelve were my desert years. I cannot see that child as me. I cannot see how she stayed alive. She was a scavenger. She loved being on the streets. She wandered round King’s Cross and Soho. She cannot see anything. All she knew was that she was not at home.

I take two buses from school. I change at King’s Cross. I enjoy walking here. When cars slow down, I stare out.

“Bastard.”

Women yell.

“Get out of here, kid.”

I am no kid. I am strong. I can kill. I am safe. I am just going through King’s Cross, home to Barnsbury. I am not lost. I walk in a straight line. Nothing gets in my way. I bomb everything out my way.

Looking back, I see a damaged child walking the streets. She was so unsafe, she had lost awareness. She would cross roads, never looking out for cars. Once, she was knocked down. She didn’t care, coz nothing mattered. She thought she was street-wise. But she was never safe.

Always she was avoiding going home. She couldn’t remember why she didn’t go home. For on the streets, she was blank. That was good.

In Soho, I stand outside my stepdad’s office. I am still. I make wisecracks to men in cars. I know what they want. I pretend that I don’t care. I don’t want their pity. They don’t see my face – only my bum. I don’t care, they won’t touch me. I don’t see why their eyes remind me of my stepdad.

Once a car stopped.

“Do you want to make some money?”

I know what he means.

“You’re get a room. Food. Why not?”

I was tempted. I wanted to be away from home. I will do sex, and get paid. It wouldn’t matter. No – “I love you.”

As they hurt me. I am tempted. But, I say, “fuck off – pervert.”

Sometimes on the news, I see murders of streetwise kids. I yell at the TV.

“They didn’t know anything.”

I thought I knew everything. Thought I was protected from all danger. I thought that if I acted hard, I would be safe. I was so wrong.

Looking back, I see I was just lucky. I was felt up on buses. But, I wasn’t raped, wasn’t murdered, I wasn’t hurt. I just all feelings. But I was safe.

***

I was getting more and more separate from my family. They were not my family. I ignored the silence of my mum. I forgot my sister and brother. I had no family. Maybe I was an alien that had landed in this house. Or my mum was given the wrong baby.

I never thought why I felt this. I just did.

I didn’t think of how every time my stepdad looked at me, I felt sick. Maybe I was getting sick. Maybe I had brain damage.

I spent more and more time on my own. I pretended that I had friends, or I would run away to America. I didn’t want reality. I would be dead soon. Or someone would realise that I didn’t belong with this family, and return me to my real family.

Sometimes in bed, I realised that everything was wrong. I knew I was being hurt.

Picture this. Mum reading me bedtime stories.

“I don’t like them.”

Pages turn. Stories of rapes, children dying. I don’t understand the words. Manson – de Sade – Moors Murders. The light goes off. Leaving images of cut up bodies round and round my head. Until I’m blind.

Picture this. People round for dinner talking of sex. What’s wrong with sex with children? We should be free. I am pinned to my chair. I am waiting -waiting. Only, no one does anything.

Picture this. At nine, I begin to cut myself. I start to miss meals. I hid in a cupboard, eating nuts. But, nothing was wrong. Only I was out of control.

Looking back, I see I was a feral child. I stole from my mother, so I could save in order to run away.

I didn’t eat during meals. I had arguments so I would be sent to my room. There I didn’t have to look at my stepdad. I did not have to put up with him playing footsie. Whilst he appeared to be a normal caring father.

I learnt to be on my own. I learnt to survive without parents.

I was just a child, I had no power. My stepdad and mum showed me that I had no control. They took me away from London – away from my sister, my real dad, school and my friends. I was taken to the depths of Norfolk.

Once in Norfolk, I lost hope.

***

Norfolk was always my stepdad’s territory. He had bought the cottage, he had planted the plants. It was the middle of nowhere. There was no cinema, no youth club and no police station. No roads lead to London – only to another bloody field.

Constantly, I tried to walk to London, I wanted to get home. I would just keep walking. In my dreams, the country roads go on and on. Everything always looks the same. Same fields, same grey buildings – but no buses, no trains – no escape.

I could hitchhike – but there were no cars. I would just walk.

When I think of Norfolk, I feel terror. I don’t remember my stepdad being sexual with me there. But, there was a constant drip of mental abuse.

I was always cold in Norfolk. I always thought of death. I would cut myself with mouldy sticks. I would dig holes to bury myself in. I would cover myself with leaves and dirt. Only then he would not find me. I would be safe.

Looking out of my bedroom window, I can see a graveyard. I have been told tales of how half the village died during the Black Plague.

He is in my room. I lie frozen in my bed, pulling the blankets up to my chin. He can’t see my body. But, I know that he see every part of me.

He talks in a dull monotone.

“You know, children disappear all the time. Some run away – and no one finds them. Children just vanish. See, it would be so easy to kill a child. No one would miss them. Children die, just like that, see.”

He laughs.

“Of course, I’m just joking.”

When I think of Norfolk, I just see places where I could be made to disappear. I could have been buried in a field, or in the graveyard. I could have been thrown away in a hedge, where no one would pass by. I would just disappear. It would be sad. But then, I was always running away. I was always disturbed. I was always trouble. See, I was mentally ill.

In Norfolk, I learnt about terror. There I discovered that I was not strong. In Norfolk, I learnt to be invisible. There I felt my stepdad was in every part of me. I was just his toy. Now, I realise that he decided not to kill me. He wanted me always there. So he could pick me up, or leave me alone.

In Norfolk, I lost all hope. I just kept myself alive, I didn’t know what else to do.

Norfolk is full of gaps. I cannot remember any physical abuse. I just know I was in constant fear.

When I was eleven, I was there for two school terms. From aged seven to seventeen, I was there most weekends and some holidays. Norfolk is a huge muddle. In my nightmares, I am always cold, always wanting to die. In my nightmares, I never know what my age is. Sometimes, I see Norfolk on the TV, and I begin to shake. Often I just go blank. I don’t, I can’t see Norfolk.

Picture this. A child smashing a dead a rabbit with a cricket bat. She doesn’t cry, only screams, “Die – bastard – die.”

She knows that she is mad.

Picture this. She is lying on a bed – frozen, listening for every footstep. She can tell whose is whose. Relaxing, she hears her brother or sister. Frozen, she hears her stepdad. He stops by her bedroom window, stares down into her bed. She pretends to be dead, as then nothing will matter. But all she can feel is his eyes staring down into her. Always, her breathing betrays her.

Picture this. A child staring blankly at magazines. They are showing bodies lying dead, with objects struck into them. They must be dead – coz no one could bear that much pain. She can see dead children. She doesn’t think – only she knows – that they are her.

In Norfolk, my mind was twisted by images of torture. I thought that my stepdad was going to kill me. He was just waiting for the right moment.

Looking back, I can see how evil he was. He showed me that death was the result of sex. So, when he did sexually abuse me, he could do what he liked, as I felt nothing. It meant nothing, for I was already dead.

***

When I was twelve, I moved to Cambridge. Once again, I was with a family. Only this time, I was a zombie. I lived with my family until I was nineteen, but I had no existence. Nothing affected me. I tried to appear ordinary. All I could do was to just keep breathing. I was really dead. For when dead, no pain reached me. No violent words reached me. I would not be lonely. I did not need to hide away. I would be normal. I would be happy.

I would not go mad.

But always, she was hurting, crying, screaming inside. She just wanted to die.

She could not stop seeing. Seeing her mother’s blankness as she enters a room. Seeing the wetness on her bed – sometimes yellow, sometimes red. The wet was too real, she had to tidy it away. And, seeing his eyes piercing into her. Whether he was near her or not, she felt his eyes going up and down her body – stopping at her bum.

She could not stop feeling. Feeling pain in her bed, as he leaves the room. Feeling headaches, until she thought she had a brain tumour. She felt too much too often.

She could not stop tasting. Tasting sick as she remembered his penis in her mouth, jamming semen down her throat. Tasting the dryness of that throat, even after drinking water and orange juice. The dryness only stopped when drinking alcohol.

She could not stop smelling. Smelling piss in her knickers, when he played footsie, smiling as he was eating. Smelling sweat, when the room was cold.

And she couldn’t stop hearing. Hearing his footsteps in her room. How they stopped. Hearing him looking round – not going to her, just waiting, Waiting, Hearing –

“I won’t ever hurt you. I love you.”

“It only hurts if you move.”

No, she couldn’t be dead, not with all her senses exploding. Why couldn’t she just be a robot?

***

When I was in Cambridge, my stepdad gradually became more and more sexual towards me. He did it cleverly, he would be “gentle”, while he increased the abuse. This made me confused, as I had so much violent images of porn. I just felt that everything was unreal. I think that is why I don’t remember much, because I felt like it was not happening. After all, it was just affection.

But it was not real, when he rubbed my legs during dinner. It was an accident, when his hand went into my knickers, as his fingers made circles in my cunt. It was not happening.

It was not real, when he kissed me, his tongue suffocating me. He was smiling, especially as he kissed me in front of other people.

It was not real, that I always felt naked in front of my stepdad. I felt that my clothes just showed him where to touch me. I always felt that I was his toy. This was not real. It cannot be real.

Between the ages of twelve and fourteen, I cannot remember much of home. I think I was still in shock after Norfolk. I was constantly thinking something terrible was going to happen to me. I knew I would disappear soon. In those years, I tried to be good, so there would be no reason to murder me.

But, I didn’t understand the rules of being good. Nothing I did pleased my mum and stepdad. I was always wrong. I knew it was my fault that I was hurting. It was my fault because I didn’t say no.

“If you don’t say no, you must really want it.”

In those years, I would lie in my bedroom. I would line up my toy soldiers with their guns pointing at the door. They would protect me. They would kill him.

But always, he would kick them away.

“You’re such a funny girl. Playing with boys’ toys.”

Their grenades did nothing, as he reached for my tits, rubbing his hand over my cunt. They did nothing- only watched.

After he went, I bit their heads off, melted them with matches, threw them out the window. They were useless, useless, useless.

At twelve, my stepdad started to have baths with me. It became a routine. Each Friday, at about six, we would have a bath. I would become a robot. It was the beginning of the end, and I was accepting it. It was all that I deserved.

On Fridays, I was always sick. I was sick from Wednesdays, as I waited for Friday. Many Fridays, I would run away. I would stay out all night. I would wander round the streets. I could not see or hear. Friday did not exist.

I learnt to avoid home, to avoid school. I would spend more and more time on my own. I would go to clubs, looking for danger. I chose to be with violent men. Maybe they would kill me. I no longer cared about my safety. For I did not matter.

If I was at home on Fridays, I would perform the ritual. After watching children’s TV, he would run the bath. I would get undressed as he watched. I would sit in the bath – waiting. He would get in. He would wash me inside. His fingers cleaning out my cunt. His eyes would look at the wall. He would put his penis in my hand.

“Wash it.”

I would rub it feebly, not allowing myself to think, just rubbing. It would harden. I would refuse to listen to his juddering breathing. No, this is not happening. It means nothing.

Suddenly, he would get out the bath. He would go to the toilet.

After the bath, life went on as normal. We had our family supper. We would be a happy family.

I sat, eating flesh. I couldn’t speak, only eat. I would sit up straight, not moving. I tried to look normal. I would be happy. There was no past, only this moment, with my family.

As I eat, the food becomes impossible to swallow. In each mouthful, I taste his sperm. As I eat, I breathe through my ears, else I will choke.

As I eat, I can feel ice growing from my feet. I try to move to place food into my mouth. I must look normal. I will not show that anything is wrong.

***

Life was becoming hellish. I find this time of my life difficult to see. I had turned myself into a machine, and because of that I find hard to remember my emotions. All I know is that as I write of that time, I feel sicker and sicker. I can feel some outrage about that time, but most of it is in hindsight. Back then, I had shut away my feelings.

At that time, I could not show my fear, pain, anger and confusion, I just had to stay alive. If I had felt the feelings, I would have given up, I may have died. I put away into a box the violence that was done to me. Now, the feelings are coming back to me. Now, I can face my teenager, and try to show her that I love her. I can listen and believe her story.

I spent less and less time at home, especially at the weekends. As Friday came, I would stay out. I stay out with friends who didn’t want to go home. We never asked each other why we stayed out.

I would go out later and later. I would get drunk. I would act hard. Outside, I always felt safe. I knew that whatever happened to me, it was my fault.

When I was fourteen, I started to go to clubs. I went looking for danger.

The owners of the clubs never worried about my age, as long as I had money.

Young flesh brought more customers.

Those clubs had bad reputations. I went looking for violent men. They would not say, “I love you.”

They did not speak to me. They would just hit me – they may even kill me.

So as they pushed me into the bed, screwing me. I thought, kill me, please, kill me. Give me what I want.

I went to those men for some escape. I went because I was bad. I deserved pain. I was a whore.

I could not allow myself to see what was happening to me. As I lay in men’s beds, as they hit, poked and squeezed me. I would be a corpse.

***

I still went to school. I could not take anything in. At school, I was teased for four years. School became the same as home. I had no rest. This was because I had become a bad person. Why else would everyone hate me so much?

When I went to secondary school, I was tired of life. I didn’t want to be nice any more. I wanted to be invisible.

When I was in a class, I felt too visible. They all hated me. I was hated because I was from London, I was a snob. I was hated because I was dyslexic, I was stupid. I was hated because I stammered. I was hated because I liked English and History. I could not be invisible. When not in the class, I was waited for.

Girls waited for me in corridors. They hid behind coats. They would pinch and push me.

“Your mum’s a slut.”

“You’re mental.”

Words went over and over me. Words copying my home life. I knew I was mental, it was why these awful things were happening to me. I tried to find a safe place. The only place was my bedroom, for a short time.

I would sit in my bedroom, cutting my arm. This was private. I watched the blood, knowing no one could hurt me as much as I hurt myself.

In the years until I was seventeen, life seemed pointless. I acted the delinquent, but I did not understand the role.

For me, being bad was to be with violent men. Not caring if I lived or died. They would rape me without speaking. They would not look at my face. Sometimes, the pain went through my freezing. I would think – I deserve this. I am bad.

Being bad meant not going to school. I would get registered and walk out. I would wander round the streets, not knowing where I was. I just walked until I was tired. I would go to pubs. There I did not taste the drink. I was just waiting for men to pick me up. For I was bad.

Sometimes, I found myself standing on railway bridges. Waiting for a train to cut me in half.

Sometimes, I would sit in alleyways, cutting at my wrists. Sometimes, I got drunk and would overdose. After I would walk, so I would not faint. I could not die. I was too bad to die.

I could not do my homework, for he would lean over me. Reaching down, he would grab my tits. Saying, “I don’t why you bother. You’re stupid.”

Sometimes, he would rip up my books and homework. If he didn’t, I would tear it up. It was pointless working.

When I went to school, I was asked for my homework. I would run out of school. I could not say why I had no homework. So I appeared stupid and bad. I could not show my panic when homework was mentioned.

Once a teacher caught me. “How come, when you are at school, you’re clever. Whilst your homework so awful.”

If I told you – would you listen? How when I do my homework, I am sick in every cell. So I rip it up. I do not want a future. How I hate being clever, for it does not stop the hurting. Anyhow, I am not clever enough to kill myself.

I learnt to hide everything. I hide all emotions. I tried to be cold. I did not want anyone to know me. Always, my stepdad’s voice went, “I know you better than you know yourself.”

I needed something that just belonged to me. I chose cutting. I would watch the blood. This is mine.

I would hear his footsteps on the stairs. I hid under the bed. I would hide in the attic. I shut off the lights. I would not move. I was scared. Only I was dead.

Always. Always, he would find me, he would laugh.

“You’re crap at hiding.”

***

My stepdad still worked in London as an advertiser. He only came home at weekends. But his presence infected my every day. I felt that I was never out of his mind. I felt I had to be careful all the time, or he would punish me. I felt that if I acted hard, he would be disgusted by me. I just wanted him to leave me alone, but I did not know how to stop him.

Looking back, I see how desperate I was. I could not understand the rules. I did not see how the rules were always changed. One thing stayed the same – whatever I did, it did not stop him. Always he abused me. This was because I was bad, I was his little whore. I was abused for being good, when I was his little princess.

My stepdad grew tired of just having baths. He would take me on walks, where he molested me in a light-hearted way. It meant nothing. He could do what he liked. I belonged to him.

He became tired of just seeing me in Cambridge. He wanted me in London. When I was seventeen, I began to go.

I would go by train. As the train moved, I became a corpse.

Between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one, I would go to London. There he would always abuse me. But always, I went with hope. He would lie to me, saying he would help me to get on with my mum. I always thought that he would not abuse me. I thought we would talk, I thought we would be normal. Always, I would come back knowing that I was stupid. But always I thought he would change.

I would get off the underground to Soho. In a dream, I would walk to his office. I was his captive. I would drink coffee and read magazines. I would wait. He would watch me. He would say how proud he was of his stepdaughter, joking, “Isn’t she sexy. I could sleep with her myself.”

I was silent. The others would laugh. He was their boss.

We would go. We would talk about school and family. It would be all right this time. This time, we would just chat. I was given comics and presents. I would watch TV. We would go to an Italian restaurant. He would joke.

“Do you like my young mistress?”

The waiters laughed. He would pour me more wine. I got more and more drunk. He had stopped drinking. He would place his hand on my leg. It was always the same. Always the same.

Back at his flat, I would go dead. I would get into the bath. He would wash me. I would go to his bed, naked. I would watch TV, as he had a bath.

He would get into the bed. With my back turned to him, I would watch TV. I would lie still. His hand went slowly over my skin. The TV keeps disappearing. I do not say that I am going blind. I do not say that I am scared, when his hand reaches into me. He keeps calling out other women’s names. Never my name. As he finger-fucks me, he is thinking of others. I am nothing to him.

He would turn me onto my back, and do oral sex. His beard would scrape me. I would say nothing. I do not get angry. I do not cry. I do not feel. I am a robot.

He does not let me touch him. He does not let me move. He just makes me come.

“See, that’s what you wanted, isn’t it.”

He would push me off the bed.

“Look what you made me do. Whore.”

Looking back, I can see how he brainwashed me. I know that I would do anything that he told me to do. I couldn’t think of the danger and pain. I had lost my self-respect. I had learnt self-hatred.

As I went to London, I went blind into danger. I just went over and over. Sometimes, I thought that I wanted it. Why else would I be going? But, always, there was another part of me that was crying.

Even as a robot, I could feel grief. I tried not to think. Tried not to remember. Tried not to see or hear the bad. I tried not to breathe.

I was becoming more and more split. For I had no life outside my stepdad, he was my existence.

At nineteen, I left home, but I still went to him if he asked. He was in my head. When he wasn’t there, I didn’t exist.

I would go with violent men. I would get drunk. I knew that I existed if I was hurting. I gave my body no rest. I would try not to sleep. I would only eat trash food, I would try not to eat. I would walk and walk. I just knew I could not stop. For if I was still, I would die.

***

I was becoming more and more alienated. But, somewhere inside I had a strong life-force. I knew there must be more than pain, humiliation and thinking of suicide. I knew what was happening was wrong. I just didn’t know how to stop it.

I went into voluntary work. At work, I felt good. There, people liked me. There, I was not used. There, I found I was good at listening. There, I could be an advocate for others. I could enjoy being in at atmosphere of crisis, for I was in a place where people were doing something about it.

I was working at Women’s Aid. I found the work enjoyable, but I didn’t know why. It came naturally to me. I was scared for I felt so at home there.

Whilst working at Women’s Aid, I learnt how to stop my stepdad. This was slow. It came though a drip effect, when listening to other women’s stories. Their words reminded me of his words. Over and over I heard his lies.

“I will always own you.”

“I only do this coz I love you.”

“It’s coz you’re mad. You deserve it.”

Slowly, I saw that my stepdad was a criminal.

Slowly, I stopped blaming myself. I was beginning to break down. I was seeing how he would always plan before abusing me. How he was always calm.

I can remember his control. How he would rub me slowly. How he would watch my eyes. He was always calm. Once, he had lain on top of me. I had thought he was going out of control. I thought that he would penetrate me.

I thought – rape me, you bastard. Then I’ve got you. Then I can call the police. Rape me, and I’ll kill you.

He was on top of me. His penis was rubbing my clitoris and cervix. Then he just stopped. He was calm. He pushed me away.

“Look, bitch, you made me lose control.”

When I worked at Women’s Aid, I was leading a double life. At work, I was good. Outside work, I lived in madness. I spent my time with men that treated me like dirt.

I know that I wanted it to stop. But all I could do was to keep going round and round in pain. I was just a machine for men to poke.

I did not have the strength to leave my stepdad. But, the more I saw him, the more I hated him.

He wanted me to go London, I said – no. He just laughed. This time, he had pushed me over the limit.

I wrote to him.

“You are a criminal. I will not go to London, just to be your sex toy. If you touch me again, I will call the police. I have had enough. So you had better leave me alone.”

I thought that the letter would work. It just backfired, as he read it to my mum. He told her that he abused me, occasionally. This was only since I had been seventeen. He said that he could not help himself, it was because he was depressed. He said that he had nearly penetrated me. At the time, he had been drunk. Only, my stepdad very rarely drunk. He said that I had forced myself onto him.

My mum phoned.

“Slut. Are you trying to wreck my marriage?”

“Can’t you see that he is ill? Don’t you care?”

My mum did not talk to me for three years.

Although this was devastating, I felt that I was free from my stepdad. I would not see him. I would not let him near me. I just stared at him with hate.

He was getting scared of me. He saw that he could not use me any more. His toy had become out of control, it had become unpredictable. I could see that he was scared. He could not tell whether I might be violent to him. He could not understand what was happening.

I loved to see him scared. This was nothing compared to what he had put me through.

One Christmas, he thought that I was still his toy. All day he tried to get me alone. I avoided him. I did not talk to him. I could not see my mum’s anger.

I was doing the washing up. I was alone. I was afraid, I was alone in his house. I could not be strong. Again, I found that I was listening to every noise in the house. I was listening for his footsteps.

I can hear him coming up behind me. I can hear his breathing. I am beginning to freeze. I am furious. I just keep washing up.

His breath is on my neck.

“I have missed you so much.”

His hand is going down my shirt. He is grabbing at my tits. He places his leg between my legs.

Suddenly, I feel a cold anger. There no way I would let him inside me again. He is nothing now. I reach into the water, and find a carving knife. I turn around and hold it to his throat.

“Just leave me alone,” I say calmly.

I see him shaking. He is wide-eyed with fear. He has frozen. I just laugh at him.

My sister comes in, and can see his fear.

“Everything all right?”

I say, “yes, everything is fine.”

***

When I left, I was in a zombie-state. For six years, I continued to be abused by men. But, I had left my stepdad. There were slow changes happening in me. I could see that the violence was not normal. I wanted to escape. But, I was in a trap.

I thought that maybe I had chosen to be a victim. Maybe pain was all that I deserved. The more I tried to get away, the worse the violence got.

I do not know how I stayed alive in Cambridge. I would spend my time, getting drunk, trying not to eat, trying not to sleep. I would throw myself into voluntary work. I would not break down. Instead, I surrounded myself with violence.

I grew to expect nothing, only hate. I did not care what was done to me, so long as I did not have to think.

But sometimes, the violence was so bad. It scared even me.

Picture this. Me going to pubs. Going to meet an old man. I am drinking spirits. I know that I will go home with him. I know that whisky does not stop the pain. He will push me against the wall. Slams my face up into the wall. He puts my legs together. As he forces his penis up my anus. I just keep fainting.

Picture this. I am drunk at a friend’s party. I know that I am angry, but I blank it out with drink. I get more and more silly. A man invites me back to his house. He is my friend. There I drink some more. I smoke some grass. He is my friend, I can trust him. I say that I want to go home. He wants to walk me home. I can be safe with him.

We get home at three. I want him to go. Only then, his eyes change. He is not my friend. He just stares at me coldly. He shuts the bedroom door saying, “You know why I’m here.”

At first, I think that he is joking. I tell him to go. Then, he hits me in my stomach. I am flying across the room, hitting my head on the wall. He says.

“Get undressed. Get on the bed.”

I say no, he just hits me. I get undressed, trying not to cry. I get onto the bed. He gets on top of me. He is asking me what I don’t like, and then he does it. If I don’t speak, he talks to me as if I am a child. He is talking of how my stepdad was gentle to me, so he will be violent. See it as alternative therapy. He will give me someone else to think about.

He is tying me up. He scratches and bites inside my vagina. He puts his penis into my mouth, anus and an ear. I will not let him penetrate me. From somewhere, I have the strength to stop him from doing that. This makes him furious. But there is no way he can do that. He will not make me pregnant. So he rubs his sperm all over my body.

At one point, he puts a pillow over my head, puts his penis in my mouth, puts his fist up my anus. The pain was horrific. I was not breathing. I was dead. Only then, the pain went. I could be happy. Everything would be over. But, but he brought me back to life.

“Don’t die on me, bitch. I want to remember everything that I do to you.”

Somehow, I got the strength to get off the bed. I got dressed. I told him to leave. He just laughed. I said I would get the police. He just laughed, saying why you have taken drugs, why you are drunk. I said I would call his girlfriend. He just laughed – explain what he was doing in my room. I know that nothing would scare him. So I left.

After I was gone for two hours, I went home. He was still there. This time I did not struggle. I was blank. I no longer cared. For I was nothing.

When it was eight, my alarm went off, and he left.

Gradually, the violence was getting too much. Slowly, I was beginning to care about myself. I knew that I did not deserve all this violence. I needed a way out. I needed to fight the brainwashing. I knew I was not a slut. I knew I was not a piece of shit.

I knew that if I was going to live, I had to leave Cambridge.

I was slowly dying in Cambridge. My body had given up. I had worse and worse headaches and stomach pains. I was so weak. Worse of all, I was becoming blank, I couldn’t feel the pain.

Once, after being anally raped, I went straight to a party. I just ignored the pain. I just walked from one end of Cambridge to the other. I ignored that my bum was hurting. The pain went down my left side, into my legs. I just keep walking. The pain is not there. I will just walk through it.

I am at the party. I am drinking. I am dancing. But, the pain will not go. I need to sit down.

The pain shoots though me. It is hitting my heart. I am shaking. I want to get up, but my legs collapse. Somehow, I am being driven to hospital.

There, I am blank again. The nurse briskly examines me. Seeing my anus, saying, “You got what you deserve.”

I get a taxi, and go home.

I am in my bedroom. I have collapsed. The next day, I cannot get up – I cannot move. I am paralysed. All I can move is my eyes. For three days, I cannot move. I cannot read, watch TV, or listen to the radio.

I know that I can choose whether I live or die. I could let my body close down. I could will my own death. I had to change so I could live. I know that I have to leave Cambridge. I had to find a new life. I needed to discover hope.

So, I chose to live. I forced myself out of that bed. I was extremely sick. I did not understand why I wanted to live. I just ran away to Manchester. I did not know if I had a future. All I knew was that I had to keep breathing.

My first three years in Manchester were a nightmare. The sexual violence continued. I lived in hostels and B and Bs. But, I had stopped being scared. I would not go back to my past life. I had a new life. But still, I did not understand why I had chosen to live.

All I knew was that I was getting more and more angry at the sexual violence. I could not take it any more. I was so angry, I would kill someone who abused me. I knew I needed help. I just didn’t know how to ask for it.

I could feel that the sexual violence was coming to an end. But, I couldn’t recover from the mental abuse. It was so deep. When the physical violence had stopped, I still got body memories. I could not stop the nightmares or flashbacks. I thought I was going mad.

But, I had stopped the sexual violence.

I was listened to for the first time. I was believed. I found that once I had been raped, and it was noticed. This time, the police were called. He was not prosecuted, but I was sent to counselling.

There, I was not talking of that one rape. Rather, I spoke of my childhood. I just talked and talked – for three years. I found that I wanted to live. I found that someone cared.

I found that I wanted to tell my story.

Conclusion

It took about a year for the sexual violence to stop. But, I had changed I know that I did not deserve the violence. I was beginning to believe that I had a future. I was beginning to believe that I was capable of being good.

As I write this, I know that I am a long way from recovering. Only now, I can see my life clearer, I do not hide from the past. For me, the hardest part is knowing there can be no justice. My stepdad can never feel my pain and desperation. He will always believe that he did nothing wrong. He will die believing nothing much happened. This is very hard to live with. But now, I have no connection with him. So it does not matter if he stays the same.

I feel that this piece of writing is a reward to my child and teenager. I am rewarding their life force, that was there even when they were desperate to die. I am rewarding their bravery, which was there even when they wanted to run away and hide. I write so they can cry. Then we can feel compassion for so much pain. I write so that the guilt can go. I write in order to show who is to blame. I write to show that my stepdad did not destroy my mind.

I write because he did not make me go mad.

 by Rebecca Mott