I apologised to my rapist. It took me five years to write that sentence and will take me many more years to understand why. What happened that night in August 2011 has haunted my dreams, damaged my friendships and obliterated my trust in men.
I relive that night and the aftermath frequently. I know my rapist. He was a close friend. He’s the husband of one of my best friends. Before today we were the only two people who know what happened that night.Read More »
I’ll always remember the first time I encountered sexual harassment in the workplace. I was 17, new to a small company where I was the only female employee. I was encouraged by my boss to be “one of the boys” and join in with the office banter which seemed to revolve around critiquing the tits of the models in lads magazines. I shared an office with Peter, who was in his late 30’s and proudly displayed pictures of his wife and children next to his desk. Peter became really interested in finding out about my life and would quiz me on my breaks. Did I have a boyfriend? Had I had a lot of previous boyfriends? Where did I like to go out? Had I ever had plastic surgery? I felt uncomfortable with his questions, especially when I found out he was relaying my answers to the rest of the team when I wasn’t around.
Peter kept finding ways to come over to my desk, usually under the pretence of borrowing some stationery. He liked to put his hands on my shoulders and slyly look down my top or he’d reach past me and brush his hand against my chest. I started wearing high necks and baggy clothes to deter him. I told him I didn’t like having my personal space invaded but he didn’t listen. I was friendly, smiley and chatty with anyone who came into the office but when we had client meetings I’d often hear one of the guys say, “Watch out for her, she’s a maneater.” I’d blush with embarrassment and tell them to shut up but it just seemed to encourage them.Read More »
The landline rang on Saturday afternoon. No good news is ever delivered via the home phone. It’s the hotline for cold callers and bad news. But I already knew, I’d seen the news online. I held the mobile in my hand with my Twitter feed still open as I picked up the receiver. It was my sister in law: “Have you heard?” A small groan escaped from my lips. “He died this morning, it was sudden, are you ok?” She’s talking about my ex husband and the answer is no. I’m not ok.Read More »
It’s amazing how three little words can change your life. I spent my whole life taking love for granted. It was something I didn’t have to go looking for, it was always just there. I had an enthusiastically loving mother, she would say the words every day. She would text, email, write notes and make up songs. Love oozed from her pores. As a child it mortified me. I would wipe away her cheek kisses and mumble “love you too” in a mocking tone. When I reached my twenties and thirties I would often cringe at her public displays of affection. Luckily my nephew and niece were born and mum had new children to worship and smother with kisses.Read More »
I am used to being the odd one out: first of my friends to leave school, get a job, leave home, get married, then divorced. At the age of 33, I am in the minority once again. I am the childless one. All but three of my close friends have children, and two of them are trying to get pregnant. I fall in love with their babies. I buy gifts, change nappies, listen to all the stories of sleepless nights and cracked nipples and I give the well-rehearsed smile when it’s suggested that :“You’ll be next”. But I won’t be. Having a child was never part of the plan.
I find it difficult to articulate why I don’t want kids to my friends; it’s hard to describe a deep-seated feeling that you’ve had for most of your life. Aged 19, I went to my GP and asked to be sterilised (he refused to even refer me to Gynaecology for at least ten years). If I do ever tell people I don’t want kids, I am told that one day I will grow out of the notion, the biological clock will start ticking and I’d better start making plans.Read More »
One of my earliest memories involves being read stories by my mother. Raised in North America, she had the kind of sing-songy reading voice that is perfect for children’s literature. We had a load of old Dr Seuss and Disney fairy tales sent over from my granny in the US that I loved listening to. After a while we no longer needed the text, we both knew the stories off by heart.
I adored books, I devoured at least one a week as a child. I exhausted the local library, begging staff to order unobtainable titles from other sites and generally avoiding having to actually fork out any pocket money on a trip to Waterstones. I wasn’t fussy about what I read either: teen fiction was quickly followed by crime and horror novels, I then became fascinated with biographies and later travel guides, plotting journeys across the globe from my tiny bedroom in Edinburgh.Read More »
My ex-boyfriend is in prison. This makes me happy. My only regret is I didn’t put him there.
They say you never forget your first love. This is certainly true for me. I was 17, C was almost double my age and recently estranged from his wife. We were co-workers who embarked on an intense and impulsive relationship which resulted in us moving in together within a month. He was everything I was looking for in a mate: strong, funny, intelligent and mature. Everything guys my age weren’t. He showered me with compliments, wrote me notes to tell me how much he loved me and a quick glance in my direction would give me butterflies. All very Mills and Boon. I soon discovered this was all a front.Read More »