Beware the front of a woman and the back of a horse.
“I’ve stopped feeling ashamed for something I didn’t do.”
I didn’t know him. I think his name was Mattias and he was 29, but I still don’t know.
He didn’t have anywhere to sleep and I said there was room in my tent. I crawled in and crashed. I was really, really drunk, almost unconscious. The first thing I remember is that his hands were all over me and that I felt terrible and crawled outside the tent and was sick just outside the opening. Then I went back to sleep. The next thing I remember is that I’m naked and he’s got his head, and his beard, between my legs. He smelled of sweat and alcohol. I didn’t have the energy to move, I just fell asleep again.
When I woke up I was dressed, and bleeding between my legs. I was still drunk, and when I staggered out of the tent he was sitting there, talking to some other people. I went to look for my friends and told them what had happened. I just sat there, staring; I felt so bad about what had happened. Nobody felt sorry for me. They said it was my own fault; I shouldn’t have drunk so much. I agreed with them.
They said it was my own fault; I shouldn’t have drunk so much.
It was several years before I could talk about what happened. I saw a psychologist at the youth clinic, where I started to talk about my sexual habits. I’d started having sex all the time, with anyone and everyone. There were no deep feelings involved, it was just sex, with girls and boys, more and more, sometimes several times a day.
It wasn’t exactly gentle sex either. I was mean and rough, and I probably hurt people. Now I know that it was my way of taking back control. Of being in charge. While I was having sex all my thoughts disappeared, but they came back immediately afterwards. I used to stand in the shower for hours, scrubbing myself. I felt so dirty. Repulsive.
I did fall in love once, for real, with a girl, but I even had to spoil that by being unfaithful. Then I met my boyfriend, the one I have now. That was the first time I’d felt something deeper for a man. I told him everything, because I’ve always been honest, and now I know how much it hurt him. As for me, I began to realise just how stupid it was. That I was a sex addict.
Even today, I still can’t see myself as a victim of rape. But then I’m not; not a victim.
When my psychologist asked me about the rape it took a long time before I stopped defending him. “Maybe he thought I wanted it,” I said, but she gave me a long hard look and reminded me that I’d been almost unconscious. “Of course he raped you.” I hate that word. Even today, I still can’t see myself as a victim of rape. But then I’m not; not a victim.
My psychologist sent me to a therapy group for people who’d been through the same thing and in the end I was actually able to say that it was rape. We all had different symptoms – one person couldn’t have sex at all, someone else ate too much, a third person didn’t eat at all. The abuse had hurt us all deeply. But we weren’t alone any longer, and together we could relieve ourselves of all the dirt, and all the shame.
Now I’m living with my boyfriend, and I’m happy. I’m faithful, and I’ve stopped feeling ashamed for something I didn’t do.”
Maternal deaths: 5 deaths per 100,000 births
Number of children/woman: 1.67 (2011)
Abortion legislation: Right to abortion up to the end of the 18th week of pregnancy
Law against rape within marriage: Yes
Violence against women in close relationships: On average 17 women are killed each year by their husband, boyfriend, ex-husband or ex-boyfriend.