I was 15 and you were 13. Exactly one year and four months apart. But they will say two years because apparently, in months, we are supposed to round up. I had never met you before, even though we went to the same school. After the usual Friday night routine of underage binge drinking and smoking to look cool, we ended up staying over at a mutual friend’s house. His not-so-traditional parents made it an ideal hangout.We were talking casually when I first noticed you flirting. I wasn’t exactly a looker back then, and definitely not the kind of guy who girls at our school usually flirted with, so I guess I was flattered. I made some kind of attempt to mirror your advances and we kissed.
“Bed” turned out to be you, your friend and me sleeping on three mattresses in a dining room. We held hands when the lights were out and you guided my hand to your brea$ts.
We gave up our virginity in eight minutes of clumsiness and confusion. You took my belt off and I battled with your bra. We were as silent as we could have been so as not to wake your friend who lay just two metres away, asleep.
I think we were both relieved when it finished. We didn’t use a condom, I guess because I never expected to have s3x any time soon and if you did have one with you it wasn’t offered.
It was entirely mute apart from the simple, but essential, “Do you want to … ?” and “Yes.”
We parted with closed-mouth kisses and I returned to my mattress to sleep.
I woke up being shaken by my friend’s father and two policemen. They were telling me to get dressed and come with them. I didn’t have a clue what was going on.
One of the officers instructed the other to “bag” my T-shirt so my friend’s dad gave me his to put on; all the while I was being escorted through the house rubbing my eyes and asking what was happening.
Through the living room door, I saw more police comforting you. My friend was shouting something in my defence but it wasn’t until I was being arrested at the side of the police car for r*pe that I realised what was happening.
The arresting officer held my arm in detention until I finished heaving my stomach on to the street before pushing me into the back of the police car and driving me to the station.
I was processed and taken to a single cell where the door was closed and my head exploded. I didn’t make a single sound and declined the blanket and the solicitor, as if they might let me out for good behaviour. They took my shoelaces so I didn’t hang myself.
I woke up in tears to the realisation that I was still in a nightmare that couldn’t possibly be true. My foster dad had been called and he came and cried with me, demanded a solicitor and sat through a police interview so in-depth and humiliating that I still refuse to let myself remember it.
I had samples of my nails, saliva and pubic hair taken.
For three months, my bail was renewed monthly while the case was investigated. All this time, I wasn’t allowed to arrive at school until every other pupil was in class, for their safety. I spent every day in isolation, having work from each lesson sent to me via reception staff. If I went to the toilet, I’d be accompanied inside and prevented from talking to any other pupil in the school who I’d spent the last three years trying to make friends with.
My foster placement nearly collapsed because social workers were not sure if I could be trusted to live in the same house as my foster sister. I became completely introverted.
The charges were dropped in January, after the worst Christmas of my life. I was told that charges against you and me for underage s3x had been considered but weren’t pursued. They did not give me any options to take action against you.
I never saw you after that night. In the six years since, I have done all I can to block out the horror of not just that night but of every month spent on bail. While the police seemed to hold true to innocent until proven guilty, my friends and their families certainly didn’t. Even when I returned to a you-free school, I never quite recovered. My relationships since have been damaged and I still struggle to trust my partners. I tell practically no one now about what happened, for fear of being perceived as a rapist and because I guess they’d say stories like mine make it harder for real victims of r*pe to be believed.
I moved away from home and keep minimal ties with my old life, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget what you did. I don’t know why you told your friend that I had r*ped you – maybe because you didn’t want to admit you’d had s3x so casually or maybe because you were scared.
But I will never be able to forgive you for what you did to me.
You damaged my perception of women entirely and the only relationship I have since been able to sustain is with a man I can trust.
Rape is an abhorrent crime and every victim should be able to report it. But false accusations of r*pe are abhorrent too, and the victims too easily forgotten. Not only do false allegations damage the life of the victim but they also contribute to the trivialisation of the seriousness of genuine s3xual violence.