Testimony 43

My first sexual experience happened while I was at KEGS. It was nothing short of horrific. I didn’t feel I was able to have sex – I would often cry and bleed during sex owing to fear of the act itself, intensified by the fear of my ex boyfriend’s reaction if I “ruined” it for him. He once shouted at me and said I should grow up and learn to take the pain of it. I took his word for it – he claimed to have far more sexual experience than I did. After a while sex got less uncomfortable for me although never enjoyable. I developed an anxiety around it as my ex boyfriend would then use sex as part of his endless stream of control and manipulation tactics. He would make me question my appearance, my weight and a plethora of other things about me which he deemed unattractive. He would tell me often that he didn’t enjoy having sex with me because of these reasons alongside the fact that I apparently was physically unable to enjoy it the way the other girls he’d supposedly slept with had. He would often tell me I needed to see a doctor and that there must be something medically wrong for me if he could not enjoy having sex with me. The words that stuck with me the most were when he used to say “You are broken”. In other periods of our on-off relationship, he wanted to have more “rough sex” which included choking. I allowed this because I thought it would make him enjoy sleeping with me however not only was his method of choking completely wrong and probably illegal, it left my light-headed and unable to breathe as he put his full strength on my windpipe. After leaving him for the first time, I had no idea the impact his constant attacks on my self esteem until I met my next sexual partner. The first time me and my 2nd boyfriend tried to have sex, I again was unable through no fault of his. This immediately triggered a panic attack where I couldn’t stop crying and yelling that I was broken. It was only then I realised after the panic attack subsided, that this vaginal tightness, etc. was a completely normal response to nervousness around sex and also nothing to be ashamed of. The stress I felt at that time caused me to have a heavy nosebleed. To this day, even slight rejection from men, especially that of a sexual nature can trigger panic attacks. The lack of education surrounding sexual practice at KEGS was disgusting and left so many women like me experiencing dangerous situations such as sexual violence which were were conditioned by the men at our school to accept as “fun” or “normal”. This abuse I experienced at the hands of my first boyfriend WAS sexual harassment and psychological manipulation although I didn’t recognise it as such until far more recently. I didn’t deserve this to happen to me, I don’t deserve the pain and anxiety I will have to carry through the rest of my life and it’s all I can do to promote more sexual education so that other young women discovering their sexualities do not have to be subject to the same abuse and mental scarring that I and so many of my peers have suffered.

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