An Overview of My Life Since 2018

So, quite simply and bluntly, I was sexually assaulted for around a year in total by someone who I considered a close friend before this.  I will be raising awareness for this and I will be writing articles to try end stigma around assault in general – particularly with teens and young adults.  Due to the fact I’ll be writing about it so much, I feel it’ll help if you read a general overview about the whole situation and it saves me from having to write an essay before I can get into the actual article and I don’t do clickbait.  Although, please read with the reminder this may not be suitable if you get triggered by reading about sexual assault, depression and suicidal thoughts.  I won’t go into the horrific details, as I find that still hard to talk about myself but just remember these themes will be involved throughout the article.  Stay safe and I love you all x

After the sexual assault began (for a timescale it began spring half term 2018 – when I was in year nine.), my mood began deteriorating extremely quickly.  My best friend who’s been my rock – Thumper – began noticing and one night I explained to him about what had been happening with this individual.  Thumper was so supportive and gradually encouraged me to tell the friends I’ve had since I was about six. 

Around six months later, my parents noticed I wasn’t acting like myself; I was more closed off, wouldn’t talk as much, and I was not motivated to get out the house.  My parents – the amazing people they are – took me to see a psychiatrist to review my mental health (I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder when I was 11 but this seemed different).  I didn’t tell her about the sexual assault and so she diagnosed me with having a depressive episode – no real trigger points known.

Fast forward to September 2018 – I began Year 10, my mental health totally unstable and taking a turn for the worse and the abuse still occurring.  I didn’t go to any lessons because I didn’t see the point – I wasn’t going to have a future anyway.  By the time it got t Spring Half Term 2019, I was on 150mg of Sertraline, I was avoiding him at all costs, and I was going to therapy.  Then, I met this guy.  He was nice, he was cool, we hit it off, we started dating and life was going okay – except for the constant low moods and suicidal thoughts.  I had a boyfriend and I found a new group of friends and I felt slightly better (spoiler alert yet again: they were bad news but what I needed to get away from my abuser)

Fast forward to May 2019 – I had been dating this guy for about a month and one night I felt like I confided in him about how I was getting sexually assaulted by someone for eight-ish months and he promised me that he wouldn’t tell anyone unless it happened again.  Just so my explanation makes sense, I need to clear something up: my boyfriend doesn’t live near me, but his friends do and they go to my school.  This will make sense shortly. 

So, a few weeks went past and my boyfriend told no one about the assault but then one Wednesday afternoon, I decided to walk home from school with a few of my friends.  One of the “friends” who was there was the assaulter himself.  Now, before you jump to conclusions, nothing had happened since around October 2018 and I missed my friendship with him – I’ve known him since I was 5 for God’s sake!  I’ll explain more about the manipulation I faced with him another time.  So, as I was walking back with my friends – there were four of us in total – it was fun and there were a lot of laughs.  As my friends dropped off one by one, it left me and the abuser.  I won’t go into detail, but he did it again.

I ran straight home and phoned my boyfriend straight away – I felt so guilty!  Even though it was non-consensual, it still felt as though I cheated on him and I felt dirty, disgusting and gross.  My boyfriend leapt into action right away, contacted his friend straight away who planned to report it to school the following day.  I freaked out, I didn’t want anyone to know how weak I was, I didn’t want my parents to find out and there were so many other reasons I didn’t want anyone to find out.  I went to sleep that night feeling panicked, stressed and depressed.

The following day (fun fact it was my Dad’s birthday so guessed who ruined that for him…  Sorry – I’ll make it up to you next year I promise J) I had my final end of year exam and my boyfriend’s friend came up to me promising he wouldn’t report it to the school – to say the least I was so relieved.  I felt like I didn’t have to worry about it ever coming out.  However, as happy as I felt, I felt as though something wasn’t right – I just couldn’t work out what it was.

By the end of the test, I got let out of the exam hall and I waited around for some of my friends.  Suddenly, my boyfriend’s friend came up to me and told me he was reporting the whole situation to our safeguarding teacher and there was nothing I could do to stop him.  I was gobsmacked.  I felt as though he betrayed my trust, didn’t care about how I felt whatsoever, and I didn’t know whether to scream at the top of my lungs or just curl into a ball and cry.  Of course, I now know he did it because he was looking out for me and wanted me to be safe – I appreciate that majorly.

A school day had never gone slower for me, each time someone came into my classroom, I froze and had a panic attack.  I couldn’t deal with the stress or tension I was feeling.  Finally, at the near end of an agonising day, I was told to go to one of the many safeguarding offices in my school, and I found out this wasn’t just a school issue and that the police had been informed and were coming over to my house later on that evening.  The school would contact me the following Monday to discuss what I should do about school going forwards.  Once I got home, the police spoke to me and told me I had to make a statement.  Then, the school called and said I wasn’t allowed to go into school until further notice for my own “safety” which was honestly even more ridiculous than when I found out Donald Trump was going to be president of the US (yes, I am getting political).

That following week was the total definition of bittersweet, sometimes I felt higher than the clouds but then other times I felt lower than the lowest I thought I could feel.  Although there were some good things which came out of that week, for example, I managed to speak about things I thought I was going to take to the grave, I found out I have the most supportive family in the history of the world (thanks Mum and Dad) and that I had the most amazing friends I’ve ever wished for.

Of course, I was bound to crash back into reality after being in Neverland for so long and I crashed when I had to go back to school.  I had people forcing me to answer questions I didn’t feel comfortable with, had people turn against me, had people corner me in the halls, had people ask me to do unspeakable things for them and so much more.  But I somehow miraculously got through it.  I also got through the last few weeks of year ten feeling kickass with some newfound support.  Of course, it was still extremely difficult to have to see him in school every day, but I wasn’t ever going to give up that easily, I’d come so far and the summer holidays were just around the corner.

The summer holidays were truly amazing, they were the break I desperately needed from school.  I went back to school in year 11, ready to run the world.  I hadn’t heard anything from the police but then out of the blue, on a Sunday night, my parents got a phone call which said the police have decided to drop the case due to lack of evidence.  I was mortified, it felt as though all the work I’d put in, the hell I’d gone through had all been for nothing.  I got no closure, no satisfaction, nothing.  I became completely numb.  But thank God for my lord and saviour that horrific evening – my friend came over straight away and managed to help me through the storm and I don’t know where I’d be without her.  The biggest positive about the case being dropped though is that I now have a platform.  A platform to spread the word about how stuff like this does happen and how cases get dropped almost daily.  They say we should speak up when all they do is silence us.  But anyone who knows me will know I don’t do silence.  If someone tells me to be quiet, I’ll shout it from the rooftops and even though I’ve had so many people try to shut me up, they’ve not succeeded, and I have no plans for that to stop anytime soon.

See you all soon, stay kickass and don’t conform with what society pushes upon you.  Fight back – viva la résistance!

xo baby,

Tati xx

Girl Love

Tina Fey once said “You have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores” and that’s one of my mantras in life. Girls are always so well known for being two-faced, shady and just plain mean – even my Mum has said to me since I was younger that people are mean, but girls can be the worst. I’m not here to tell you to love all and Hakuna Matata your way through all your issues but I am here to try get you to love and support your peers.

With everything going on in the media in the past years, with the #MeToo movement and the abortion laws changing across the world to name a few, us girls should stick together now more than ever. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. I’ve had my fair share of girlfriends who’ve left me in my times of need, called me an “attention seeker” when they learnt I was depressed, said I was “asking for it” behind my back when I said to them about how I’ve been sexually assulted by someone. I just want to make it clear: as horrible as what they’re saying is, you are strong, beautiful and powerful and you can change the world. These girls are idiotic and it’s clear there is nothing going on in their sad little lives so they decide to take it out on you. That doesn’t make it any less horrible or mean and that won’t change how you feel about them, but time can heal these wounds.

I’m not saying we should love the people who screwed you over in life just because they’re females – at the end of the day they did screw you over. What I am saying though, is you shouldn’t spread gossip about someone just because you’ve fallen out with them, it’s totally unneeded and rude. However, I do want to encorage girl love: give compliments to other girls, tell them what you think, bring them up not down. If a girl seems upset, go speak to her and try help, you never know, you could make a new friend. If you hear gossip or anything mean about someone that’s painfully untrue – call the people who are talking about it out! Tell them what they’re spouting is total rubbish and totally unneeded. These are just a few ideas but you’re all imaginative and unique so I’m sure you have other plans on how to show girl love.

Just remember, you are strong, you are brave and you can rise above it all. Go out there and kick ass, take the high road, it’ll look better on you in the long run and it won’t impact your mental health as negatively – more details about what negatively impacts your mental health soon!

xo baby,

Tati xx