Journalist. Writer. Researcher. Editor.

Why I didn’t report my rape #12

X is my cousins best friend.  We got together at my cousins 21st many years ago, and dated for about a year.  I called it off, for a variety of reasons, the most important being that I knew he wasn’t someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.  I knew that he felt differently.
We stayed in contact on and off for the next decade or so.  About two years ago I invited him round for coffee, just to catch up.  I knew he was dating someone, so for me it was just a chance to catch up on life.  That was until he told me that they’d broken up.  Until he kept touching me, and wouldn’t stop.  Until he raped me, even though I kept saying no, and asking him to stop.  I didn’t even fight.  I just let him, hoping it would be over quickly.  And then I kissed him goodnight, and waved him goodbye.  I later learnt that he’d lied about breaking up with his girlfriend.

I never reported it.  I knew I would not be believed by the police.  I also couldn’t handle the family drama; given that he is basically a second son to my aunt and uncle, I knew they would never believe me either.  I developed serious depression, which I am still battling with.  I told some friends; their support was minimal, and I now find it difficult to trust any man.  Maybe I could have handled things differently, but I think that when it happens, it’s hard to process that something like rape is actually happening.  It took me ages to call it rape, to verbalise what happened to me.  Even just writing this email has been incredibly hard.


If you are rape survivor and need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call the ‘Stop Gender Violence‘ helpline at 0800 150 150.

Note: Rape myths abound after the Vavi rape accusation was brought to light. These myths hurt all rape survivors – and if you ever experience sexual violence, these myths will hurt you too. The most common myth I’ve seen is the fallacy that if you don’t report to the police, it didn’t happen.  (See here.) I put out a call on Twitter for survivors who didn’t report to send me their story. To follow the series, see here.

If you would like to include your story in this conversation, please email me: michelle at journoactivist dot com. I will assume anonymity for all submissions unless specified otherwise.

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