||I was raped... by the one person I thought would never hurt me that way.
I started seeing Lee in February 2007. We met through work, apparently he had seen me at a works event and couldn’t take his eyes off me but at the time he wasn’t single so did not approach me. 4 months later he spoke to a friend of mine to find out if I was single and asked her to ask me out on his behalf. I remember getting the email and being very confident telling her to tell him if he wanted to ask me out he should do it himself and told her to give him my number.
That night, I got my first text from him. It was 14th February – Valentines day. Because I was busy, I wasn’t able to go out with him until a week later.
Throughout that week Lee would ring and text me every day. By the time the day came for us to go out I was really nervous. But there was no need to be... from the minute he picked me up I was at ease. We chatted all night and from that night we became an item.
We were serious from the outset... Lee lived in Mansfield and I was in Huddersfield. By May Lee had moved to live in Huddersfield so that we could be together.
We continued with our relationship for 9 months and I was the happiest I had ever been and felt like I’d found my ‘one’.
But in October things didn’t seem ‘right’. Lee kept losing jobs, sleeping in, disappearing on evenings claiming it was for ‘work’. I was oblivious to anything being wrong and trusted that he was just having a bad spell with work.
My sister had raised concerns with me that she felt Lee was using hard drugs – she had previously gone out with a heroin addict and was aware of the signs to look for. I dismissed her concerns over and over again.
More and more strange things kept happening until one day, whilst arguing over Lee with my sister again; she told me that she had seen him driving away from an area of Huddersfield which was notorious for drug dealing. Lee would have had no reason to be there, he wouldn’t have even known this particular area.
From this day... my world as I knew it changed forever.
When I confronted Lee... he denied it all at first and then the information I received has become a blur. Day by day something new would come up... The long and short of it was that Lee was a heroin and crack addict. He had lost his job and was behind with payments on his rent and bills.
I was heartbroken. I couldn’t get my head around how this person I had loved and wanted to spend my life with could have gotten in to such a mess in such a short space of time and how he had managed to keep it hidden from me for so long.
I made the decision to stand by Lee, I believed his words of how he would tackle his problem, how he would ‘beat it’ and we would continue to fulfil the dreams we had talked about together.
My sister and friends weren’t happy and tried to persuade me to walk away before I got in too deep. But it was too late; I was already in too deep. The ‘good’ 9 months we’d had together had cemented to me how much I loved him and wanted to be with him. I swore to my sister and friends that I wouldn’t do any longer than a year, he had that time to get him straight, with my support but that if it went on longer then I would walk away. 6 years later Lee has still got a hold of my heart only our ‘love’ has been tarnished with all the things he has done.
In December 2007 Lee's parents were going to Australia for a month and they weren’t happy with leaving Lee in the house alone (he had had to move back to his parents due to his circumstances). So I moved in with him for that month... with me being there it was harder for him to hide what he was doing.
He would constantly sneak out, or money would be disappearing out of his account at a rapid rate, he’d not be able to stay awake. I would question him all the time but he would dismiss my concerns and make me feel as though I was being paranoid. It got to the point where I was always searching for evidence to back up my gut feeling and even then, when I had the evidence he would again dismiss it like I was mad/crazy for suggesting such things.
I should of walked away following a night out in the January... we’d argued before going out to meet friends as he was hiding money from me and I knew he had been using drugs of some sort but he denied it. We then went out and drank throughout the night with friends. The atmosphere was not good between us and this built as we continued to drink.
I went to the toilet in the bar and then Lee suddenly lost his temper, he came in shouting at me that I’d been in too long and accusing me of cheating on him. He pulled me out and pushed me up against the window of the bar. At this point he was dragged out of the bar by the bouncers. I wasn’t really sure what had happened so we got in a taxi and went home. The memory from the rest of this night escapes me but it resulted in Lee showing me his ‘other’ side. Our arguments had followed us home and it soon became physical... every time I tried to get away from Lee he grabbed me and threw me to the floor, at one point he had his hand around my throat and had me pinned to the stairs. I was terrified of what he was going to do and didn’t know how to get away from him. He eventually let go of me and walked away. I knew he wasn’t going to let me leave so I got in to the spare bed and laid there crying with my dog coming to comfort me.
The next morning I got up and drove home to Huddersfield but by the evening I couldn’t cope with being so far away from him knowing what had gone on between us and returned that night. Lee was full of apologies, it would never happen again, he loved me. All the usual things that you hear people say that their partners have said to them after they have assaulted them. And I believed him... I consoled myself with the information that he hadn’t actually ‘hit’ me so it wasn’t that bad. I made up excuses that his aggression had been enhanced through alcohol and the fact he was taking steroids – all in a bid to keep his weight up to stop me suspecting he was still using drugs.
I continued seeing Leaned supporting him through all kinds of things till November 2008. During this time, Lee had been thrown out of his parents home, lost his job, lived in a drug den and put me through months of hell. He would disappear for weeks at a time but always came back when he thought he was ready to ‘try again’ at getting ‘clean’.
In November 2008 he had been in a stable job since September and wanted to move in with me again, and naively I agreed thinking that we were in a good position to move forward.
We found an apartment in Huddersfield and against my family’s wishes, we moved in together. Things were good, until January 2009 where Lee lost his job again. Lee didn’t find/wasn’t able to hold down any other job following losing this one and his drug use just spiralled out of control. He attempted numerous detoxes but never completed them... the need for his drug took over his want/need for anything else. Every single promise he would make would be broken so that he could use heroin and crack. There came another night where Lee again became physical with me. We’d been arguing over something to do with his drugs and lies again and before I knew it he had thrown me to the settee and every time I tried to get up he would throw me back down again. I’d managed to get out of the flat and call the police who came and arrested him. They kept him in the cells over night but he returned the next day. Some time following this I made him move out, we didn’t break up but I could no longer live the way we were doing.
People would often ask me, and still do today, how I could stay with him through all the pain he put me through. They didn’t see the good that Lee did... if you took away the drugs and how he was when he was controlled by them then you had the most perfect guy that I could ask for. He was caring, gentle, loyal, funny.... he’d make me a soft boiled egg for my breakfast every morning and run the shower for me, drop me off at work and pick me up again. I’d cook tea and he’d already be cleaning up before I’d finished eating. On a night we’d lay on the sofa watching tele together, he’d give me a foot massage or go to the shop to get us goodies to eat together. It was the little things that showed me he still loved me and made me believe that as long as we had each other that we would get through all the pain together.
3 years later... Lee was still massively caught up in a world of ‘grafting’ ‘scoring’ ‘using’... it had become a cycle that he didn’t seem able to break. He wasn’t showing any signs of wanting to stop. He had resigned himself to the fact that this was his life and there was no way out. When Lee got in to this way of thinking, he would totally cut himself off from me and any of his friends that had tried to help him. I went to see him to drop his belongings off and get some of mine for him. I went with the mindset that we were over, that I was going to walk away for good. Things escalated in to another row and I lost my temper and ended up slapping him across the face and driving away. Lethem did something stupid in a total act of desperation as he himself felt he’d had enough. He walked in to a supermarket, picked up a load of things and walked out again, he then handed himself in to the police. The end result was a month in prison... Lee saw this as a way to get ‘clean’ and start afresh. The whole time he was in prison he wrote to me every day and talked about how when he got out things would be different. Ultimately... there was no change... he used the first day he was out of prison.
Throughout 2011 up to April 2012 Lee was still an integral part of my life, neither one of us were able to give up on the other. I did meet someone who I fell for but subsequently they were not good for me and emotionally they hurt me a lot. Lee was the one to pick up the pieces. He struggled to understand why we couldn’t be together and blamed himself for the way I was affected by the person I got with after him hurting me so much. In April 2012 I had a week off work and Lee came up to see me and stay in Huddersfield for the weekend. That weekend would change our relationship forever.
It was Friday 13th April, and we’d gone out to the local pub along with some friends.... we were having a great night, everyone was getting on well. However the night took a turn and the leading events in my memory are hazy... The end outcome was that Lee raped me, twice... quite possibly three times but I can’t remember?! And I am ashamed to say that. Because if I can’t remember the full details how can I possibly claim I was raped. But believe me; if I could take you inside my mind and show you the memories I do have of the night you’d not question me on it at all.
We’d gone to bed, and he’d tried to take things further between us then kissing... I remember saying no but he carried on... I made a comment along the lines of “so are you just going to have sex with me whilst I lay here not wanting it” and he said yes and carried on. The part that confuses me is that I just laid there and let him. This is not the stage where he raped me, although I suppose some would say that at this point he did. This is where my memory is blurry. I don’t know if it’s my defence mechanisms kicking in... If I’ve blocked it out... if the alcohol took over. I just don’t know... but I remember me screaming at him to get off me and him pinning me down, the next thing I know is we were having sex. When he finished I ran downstairs and hid in the downstairs utility room... I sat there for what seemed like forever. Then I went back upstairs and got in to bed... why you may ask and I can’t give you an answer on that. I hadn’t registered what had happened and for some reason still felt in control.
I laid in bed and anger, hurt, confusion... all manner of thoughts running through my mind... and all I could think was that he was laid there sleeping, seemingly not a worry in the world. I started pushing him and shouting at him to get out of my bed and out of my house... this was possible the worst thing I could do, it was like I had awoken the beast. What followed.... was the defining moment between us. Lee was angry with me and showed an aggression that I’d not seen before, not the nights he’d thrown me about, not the times I’d seen him get angry with guys who had disrespected me or him on nights out and not the Lee who had raped me earlier that evening... He pinned me down on the bed and literally ripped my pyjama bottoms and knickers off and forced himself inside of me and raped me. Whilst doing so he told me that no one would believe me as I was a dirty fucking whore.... When he got off he lay on the floor and fell asleep then he’d wake up and start howling and screaming and crying as he realised what he’d done. He was screaming out “please don’t let it of happened” “Let me take it back” and just cried and cried... I couldn’t deal with it. I didn’t know what to do how to react... I laid there numb. Then I got up, got in my car and drove to a friend’s house... I stayed there a while but knew I needed to go home.
Lee ended up staying over that day/night... I had no energy, no nothing... I couldn’t bring myself to speak to him. I didn’t feel scared; I didn’t want to report him. I just didn’t know what to do. I left him downstairs and I stayed upstairs. The next day, I took him to the train station and he went home. Looking in to his eyes as I drove away all I can say I felt is utterly heartbroken. I knew there was no going back... it had gone beyond what I’d ever dreamt it could and I was just empty.
It’s now December 2013... And I am still in contact with Lee. I haven’t seen him in over a year but I still ring and speak to him. Lee’s life has not really moved on since June 2011... He is still using; he is still on probation for his many misdemeanours and is still no closer to making any changes. I think what happened last year has stopped him ever giving up his addiction. If he stops then he has to face up to everything he has done, he has to feel the emotions of what he’s done. And I don’t think he’s got it in him to do that.
People may ask how can I still speak to him, how can I still care about him... and how could I have not reported him. I can’t answer you that... ultimately I loved Lee a lot, and I think maybe I’m still in denial about what happened, what he did, and I still care enough about him to want him to beat his addiction and go back to the Lee that I knew and loved. Although I’m not sure I even believe that Lee exists anymore.
What about me you might be asking... how am I doing? Well.... it happened on a Friday... and I went back to work on the morning and got on with things as though nothing had happened. I contacted my GP on the Monday and disclosed to him what had happened and requested that I be referred back to the counsellor that I had seen back in 2010 when I went through a period of depression. He referred me instantly and also tried to persuade me to go to the police but I was not willing to do this at all. I saw my counsellor for 6 months fortnightly and she helped to keep me going however we had to call it a day when it became clear that I was ‘stuck’. I kept Lee on a pedestal and was unable to accept what he had done. I just put it all to the back of my mind, refused to become a victim and got on with my life. Or so I seemed... it’s only now, that I am seeing the impact it is having on me and my ability to have relationships. My confidence has gone; my self esteem has gone... I keep going round in a cycle with the guy who hurt me back in 2011 and allowing him to keep hurting me. I don’t trust people like I used to anymore... I have become very negative about pretty much everything in life and I get no enjoyment out of the things that I used too. I withdraw from my friends/family when my emotions become too much. I struggle with any kind of rejection and take it as a massive personal hit against me which then reinforces my insecurities. The one thing I have learnt is that it is ok to ask for help, ok to acknowledge that I can’t be ‘strong’ all the time. I have been referred back to my counsellor to see if a year since I last saw her, I can start working on building my self esteem, accepting what has happened and move on from it. I haven’t given up and I won’t give up. Only when I give up... have I allowed myself to become the victim.