The assault I’d almost forgotten (CW/TW) 


As some of you might know, I was in hospital recently due to a rather belligerent kidney infection. 
Waiting on a bed in A&E for the nurse to come and see me, I was surprised to be told that I was being put on a ward. Another nurse and a porter came to wheel me up to the ward on the second floor. 
I looked at the porter and we made eye contact. He averted his gaze and that was then I realised who he was, I’m not sure if he recognised me but as the nurse had referred to me by my full name, he probably had. I thought it best to pretend I didn’t know him (I’ll refer to him as D from now on). 
The man in question was someone I knew when we were both in primary school. I think I’m a couple of years older than him. His family lived up the road from mine and our mums were friends. They often helped each other out with childcare. 
There were a few afternoons when D had to stay with us after school. I’m not sure why but we were left alone in my house, maybe my mum had an appointment or something. 
We would play games and run around the house, you know, the sort of thing young kids do. Then there was this particular afternoon where things turned that bit darker. 
When I saw D standing over my hospital bed/trolley, it all came flooding back. I felt vulnerable on the bed, cannula in the crook of my arm and wiped out by days of infection. Not the sort of time you’d want memories of an assault to come flooding back. 
I remember him chasing me around the house. At first it was fun, then his jog turned into a run and suddenly I felt fear instead of excitement. I raced into my bedroom and jumped on to my bed, it was a place I associated with security and comfort. 
D raced into my room and pinned my down on the bed kissing me. I pushed him away (he has gripped my arms so this was no mean feat) and said ‘no, I don’t want to kiss you’. I ran out of the room and he followed. I can’t recall how long it went on for but he chased me up and down the stairs and through various rooms. Terror span through my mind, I needed to find a way to get away from him.
He managed to grab me a couple more times until I made a run for the bathroom. In my haste to lock the door, I caught my face causing a slight gash which bled lightly down my face. I could hear him outside the door but I didn’t come out. Instead, I sat on the floor and tried to breathe normally again, relieved that it was over. 
Time went on and I heard my mum come home. I didn’t come out, I felt ashamed and dirty. Ok, it was ‘just’ a kiss but I was a very shy 8yo (maybe 9yo) and it was like I had done something truly awful. Needless to say, I blamed myself. I was young and not equipped to process what had happened, assault was not a word that I was familiar with. 
Eventually he went home, I reluctantly stepped out of my new sanctuary to be met by questions as to why I had locked myself in the bathroom and what had happened to my face. I didn’t lie about what had happened to my face but I did lie about the events that led up to it. D never stayed over again, I can only imagine that my parents released something wasn’t right. I’ve never spoken about this before or since. 
Whilst writing this, it suddenly occurred to me that the bathroom was then and now my safe place; my sanctuary. Many, many times I would lock myself in the bathroom as an upset teenager or when I needed some space alone. It was also the place I went when I wanted to flee my ex husband. Hearing him lurking outside, sometimes thumping the door, sometimes saying my name over and over again….. 
It’s been a long time since my bed and bedroom ever felt safe and secure like it did when I was a child. Probably why I struggle with getting to sleep and feel anxious at night (not as bad in daylight). My new house has locks on the the bathroom and WC doors but they are the sort that you can undo from the outside. When I shower, I don’t feel as safe anymore. 
I wonder when I will ever feel safe again? 


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