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How do I tell my partner I need to get help for sexual assault dating back to my schooldays? (Long)

(17 Posts)
AristotlesTrousers Tue 21-Jun-16 13:38:09

I've posted about this a few times now, under this username and a couple of NCs. I feel like a broken record, but I can't keep going around in circles.

Backstory: I had a horrendous time at high school. I was bullied for the first year. Things settled down a bit after that, but I was always unpopular. Fast forward to sixth form, I was doing okay, starting to discover who I was, what I was passionate about. I was finding friends, snogging boys and going out drinking. Basically, I was catching up.

Aged 17, I had an (embarrassing) crush on a boy in my year, so I asked him out. Cue a compete nightmare. Apparently I kept hassling him until I wore him down (his version) and he asked me to meet him one day during the summer holidays, where he took me to a multi-storey car park and manipulated/humiliated/disoriented me into playing sex games with him, culminating in me having to give him a blow job, at which point I froze. The lack of consent never occurred to me at the time, so I never told anybody, apart from a few close friends, and I never told them I hadn't wanted to do it.

Stupidly, I even met him twice and I had to play the sex games with him both times (it was on the second meeting I had to give him a blow job). I remember he said that he'd been trying to get rid of me in school and that he'd thought about pretending to molest me in public in the hope I'd leave him alone, but that he'd decided I'd probably let him anyway, and the good news was that it would be impossible to rape me (!). He also threatened to 'tell everybody what I was like' if I didn't do what he said, and that nobody would believe me anyway.

The only way I could cope with the situation was by trying to make the aftermath as 'nice' as possible, because I felt that if I could remain 'friends' with the boy then it would mean that nothing bad had happened. So when he told me he didn't want anything to do with me and that I wasn't to contact him in any way, I found it distressing, as if he was a victim of me. And that's how the narrative played out - he made up lies about me that I'd look stupid to question, and he told everybody I was unhinged and to stay away from me.

My last year of high school was the worst year of my life. I cried and cried. I self-harmed. I started drinking. I knew that something had gone really wrong, but I assumed the problem was me, because that's what everyone told me. I knew I wouldn't have a leg to stand on if I told anybody what had actually happened.

Life moved on. I stopped going to school (I felt practically hounded away). I failed my A Levels. Although I retook them and went away to uni, the damage was done. I became an alcoholic. I slept around. I lost friends. Eventually, I dropped out of uni. Although I'm lucky I got sober young, my life has been nowhere near the life I would have wished for myself, the life I feel I'd have had if I hadn't experienced the abuse I did at high school.

I'm forty now. I live with my partner and our 2 small boys. I'm finally getting back to the studying I should have done in my twenties. But I still feel so angry about what happened at school. I feel full of rage if I ever see the boy who assaulted me on facebook (I've blocked him now). I hate seeing his name anywhere, even his first name or surname separately belonging to other people. I hate the fact he got away with it.

I don't want him to get away with it.

But what can I do?

I'd love to report him to the police, but there's no evidence anymore, there was little evidence at the time. And I should have just said no, but it wasn't that straightforward. I froze. I was worried he'd ruin my reputation further (which he did anyway).

I need to get help for this. I have no idea where to turn. I tried to get help in secret, and have been emailing Rape Crisis, but there's only so much I can do over email and posting on Mumsnet.

I really need to speak to somebody in person, who can help me to work through this, and help me to decide what to do. I'm tied down with the kids though, so it's difficult to make an appointment to speak to anybody at a time I can make, and we're fairly rural so nowhere on my doorstep.

My partner doesn't know about it. I think I need to tell him, if only so that I can arrange to speak to somebody about it.

It all feels like such a massive inconvenience, and I've been letting the inconvenience of this override the importance of action.

Can somebody advise me how to bring the subject up? We don't tend to talk about that sort of thing. I've tried to edge it into a conversation so many times over the last few months, but it just never happens. I feel like I'm some kind of Harry Potter kind of magic that makes me unable to speak. That sounds silly, and I'm making light of it, but it's the only way I can describe it.

AristotlesTrousers Tue 21-Jun-16 15:22:28

Bump

CopperPot Tue 21-Jun-16 16:42:20

Sorry this happened to you.

Could you write your H a letter? Maybe it would be easier than talking about it. I'm sure he would want to support you and sharing it will help you. Have you had therapy at all? X

AristotlesTrousers Tue 21-Jun-16 18:48:57

That's not a bad idea, CopperPot. I don't really want to make it into too big a deal, but I just don't know how to drop it into the conversation naturally, and also, if I'm too casual about it, DP will just assume I'll eventually forget it. He likes to bury his head in the sand.

I don't know why I always feel the need to add so much backstory when I post about the abuse on here - it's like I still need to convince myself that what happened was serious. But when I see it written down it always looks so silly and trivial, even though the after-effects stole pretty much half my life. I just know I need to deal with it. Somehow.

I've asked MNHQ to move this to Relationships.

CopperPot Tue 21-Jun-16 19:49:57

Well I would tell hI'm first. Say H I'm going to write you a letter about something that happened to me and it's been affecting me a lot. Then he'll know it's serious. I'm sure you would want him to tell you if it was the other way.

Tbh something similar happened to me but not oral but attempted intercourse in a block of flats. Grim. I hate thinking about it but think it was so long ago I'm a different person now and they were the arseholes not me. Be kind to yourself x

OnTheRise Tue 21-Jun-16 20:05:30

I'd love to report him to the police, but there's no evidence anymore, there was little evidence at the time. And I should have just said no, but it wasn't that straightforward. I froze. I was worried he'd ruin my reputation further (which he did anyway).

There is evidence: your statement. It's valid and will be taken seriously.

And freezing when you are forced into something abusive is a common reaction. You aren't to blame in any way for doing that, just as you weren't to blame for not saying no. You're right, it isn't always straightforward, and the police will understand this.

If you want to tell your partner, just tell them. Go to the police and just tell them too. Be honest about what happened. Don't blame yourself. Just tell the truth.

AristotlesTrousers Tue 21-Jun-16 20:27:00

You're right, OnTheRise. I do need to report it, partly because I suspect I wasn't the only person he did this to.

I don't think I could go straight to the police though (because of a bad experience when I reported a separate rape). I've been in contact with Rape Crisis and they've recommended a SARC near me. I was thinking I could go and speak to somebody and take it from there. I really wanted to deal with it all in secret, but I know that's silly. I just didn't want to have to bring it into the open with DP. I'm sure he suspects something like this in my past, but he's not very open or inquisitive, which is part of my dilemma.

I'm going to send him an email, but I'm not sure how to word it.

OnTheRise Wed 22-Jun-16 05:55:34

You could send your partner a link to this thread, perhaps.

A couple of years ago I reported someone to the police for sexual abuse, and the police were good. Supportive, sensitive and thorough. I know it's difficult, and that there are some not-so-good officers out there. But if you go to the police with this you might not have such a bad time this time round.

I am concerned that you want to do all this in secret. I wonder if your GP could arrange some counselling for you? You might feel more able to deal with it out in the open if you sorted out how you're feeling first.

I hope you find a positive way to resolve this.

DetestableHerytike Wed 22-Jun-16 06:36:55

I agree with writing a letter.

Alternatively, you could tell your partner another reason to go to the counsellor (if he knows about your drinking, maybe say you want to understand better why you did drink) and then tell him down the line with your counselloer's help. It's more important you get support as soon as possible.

EverFallenInLoveWithSomeone Wed 22-Jun-16 07:17:07

Different situation, but just to reassure you that it's not you, I had coercive non consensual sex with a man when I was 20.

It was a manipulative situation, I felt threatened and vulnerable and allowing him to do what he did felt like the lesser of a few evils at the time.

I also had a crush on him which clouded the issue for me.

I ended up going out with him and he is my eldest child's father. I also felt that by 'normalising' it into a genuine sexual encounter, it would make it less bad.

I haven't seeen him since before my son was born. They've never met.

It wasn't your fault.

AristotlesTrousers Wed 22-Jun-16 10:43:37

I think that's what clouded my perception for so long, EverFallen. I thought I must have 'consented' on some level, because I'd had feelings for him. Thesedays, I know otherwise. Hope you're okay now.

I'm going to write DP an email. Just struggling to do anything at the moment, as my 2 year old is charging up and down and my parents are here supposedly giving me a break, but actually not letting me get anything done. (They were part of the problem at the time, too. They won't be on board with me taking action at all. Must join Stately Homes thread.)

I suspect DP won't want me to do anything about reporting it either, but we'll see when I send him the email. I reckon he'll be in the 'don't put yourself through the stress, and think of the kids' camp.

Will post the email here before I send it. Any tips would be gratefully received.

AristotlesTrousers Wed 22-Jun-16 12:58:22

Ok, here's the email I've drafted. Is it too long/detailed?:

Dear DP,

I've been trying to casually weave this into a conversation for months, but I keep changing my mind at the last minute.

Since doing this counselling course, I have realised I need to take action over a few things.

I expect you'll tell me to forget about it and move on, but after twenty years, I don't think it's going to happen. I've written about it quite a lot, and eventually felt brave enough to actually voice it during one of our practice sessions in class. I'm not spending my life living quietly and then dying having never spoken out about it.

I won't go into too much detail here, but this is what happened:

When I was seventeen, a boy I went to school with used to bully me into playing sex games with him. The situation was horrible and manipulative and I told nobody. (Actually, that's not true, I did tell a couple of friends, but I didn't mention the coercion and lack of consent.) I became a mess psychologically afterwards, and everybody just thought I was a lovesick teenager. The boy concerned used my emotional state to make everybody think he was a victim of me, and that I was some sort of bunny boiling maniac. He also spread lies about me. I think he was covering his tracks, and it worked, because for my last year of high school nobody wanted anything to do with me.

From speaking about this to people on my course, and from email correspondence with Rape Crisis, I realise that I actually need to do something about this - by that I mean speak to somebody professionally about it. My first port of call is an organisation in Norwich called the Harbour Centre. They are trained in all aspects of dealing with sexual assault and will be able help with signposting counselling and advice. They are open 9-5 during the week, and I'll need to make an appointment. Not sure what we'd do about childcare, as obviously the summer holidays is coming up. I can ask my mum and dad, but I don't want to tell them where I'm going. They were useless at the time.

So that's that. Sorry I've never mentioned it before, but it's not the easiest subject to bring up.

AristotlesTrousers X

PoshPenny Wed 22-Jun-16 13:04:48

I'm so sorry for what happened to you, I think it happens more than we realise. You email is just fine, and hopefully will get things started for you. Best of luck

VestalVirgin Wed 22-Jun-16 15:31:28

There is evidence: your statement. It's valid and will be taken seriously.

That's very optimistic. I wouldn't count on it.

I'd definitely first go to an organisation that is on your side. Police might be on the rapist's side. Judges might be on the rapist's side. It's risky.

I am not sure you could even do anything about it where I live - the only crime that's always investigated is murder. If a rapist avoids being caught for a long enough time, that was it.

Do what you feel is best for you.

shockthemonkey Wed 22-Jun-16 15:48:40

I'm sorry haven't rtft but does your partner really need to know at this stage? You say you have to tell him in order to arrange counselling -- however my suggestion would be counselling first... then think about telling him. Your counsellor may help you decide when the time is right and how best to raise it with your partner.

I would skip straight to the counselling, forgetting the police too at this point. I somehow cannot see that yielding much fruit.

Best of luck with it,

AristotlesTrousers Wed 22-Jun-16 16:40:06

Tbh, I don't hold out much hope for police action, Vestal. They were crap when I reported a separate rape some years ago. I can only hope there's already a file on him - I don't hold out much hope for that either, but I guess you never know.

If I could do the counselling etc without telling my partner, I would, shock, but so many arrangements with childcare etc, that I just couldn't manage it, besides, it's probably healthier this way.

Thank you, Posh. Am having second thoughts about sending it now though. Once it's done, I can't take it back.

AristotlesTrousers Thu 23-Jun-16 10:40:54

Right, panic over. I've talked myself down. No good can come of telling DP. For the time being, I think it's best for everybody if I keep quiet. Thanks for the advice. smile

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