I'm ready. TW: rape

To the victims of sexual abuse/harassment/assault that have spoken up: words can't undo what's been done to you, but for what it's worth, I'm sorry. You are so brave, so much braver than I am. Reading your accounts has been devastating, but at the same time, it has made me feel so much less alone. So thank you. However, I am one of the lucky ones, my abuser was de-platformed (no, I did not de-platform him, I do not have the power to do that alone), which gave me the space to heal somewhat that many other people have not had.

I know what it's like to feel like you don't have control of your own body, that it doesn't belong to you. I know what it's like to feel 'dirty'. I know the feeling of the sleepless nights, the slow journey of convincing yourself that you'll be 'back to your old self' again soon. I know what it feels like to feel like a part of you has died, I tell myself that I was fun and free and sexy before, and now I feel like a used empty shell.

I also know what it feels like to try and accept what happened to you - it's been a long time for me, and I still struggle to accept it. I knew what happened to me was wrong, and I went to the police a couple days after it happened because I knew I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I saw it happen to another girl. I went to the police thinking I was telling them my account of a sexual assault. The police officer told me that what happened was rape - I'll never forget how harsh that word sounded when he said it. Many survivors don't realise until long afterwards the gravity of what happened to them.

Before I was assaulted, I had an online personality that was very open, I talked about the experiences I'd had often, the good and the bad. I shared personal stories that people found shocking, I wasn't ashamed to talk about myself in that way. I was gaining traction in the Twitch world at this time. After I was assaulted, that version of me died. I took a long break from streaming and retreated from all social circles on Twitch. This has taken a long time for me to accept, that I will never be that person again. I idolized that version of myself, it made healing from the trauma very difficult because I was always comparing myself to the 'old me'. I remember a few days afterwards, I was standing in the bathroom naked about to shower. I was looking at my body in the mirror, so ashamed and disgusted, I cut off six inches of my hair. I wish I could have that carefree Louise back. I mourn the days and nights I've wasted thinking about what happened to me.

I first met him at twitch con. I thought he was funny and a bit socially unaware but in a sweet sort of way. After twitch con he reached out to me a few times to get my attention, we had flirted a bit but never exchanged anything or sexted. One night he was desperate to see me, it was last year the day after I finished my uni exams for the year. He drove up in his car and arrived in the middle of the night. I remember thinking it was romantic. He drove me an hour out of the city up to a lake where we watched the sun rise. He seemed to take joy in driving 130mph on the motorway even after I screamed for him to stop, I thought he was just being reckless and romantic again. He stayed over that night, we slept on the sofa together. We spooned, and I liked that, I wanted to spoon and it was sweet. He tried to move his hands elsewhere and initiate something further that night, I simply moved them away and told him I didn't want to do anything like that and he said that was fine and stopped. He said the weirdest thing that night that stuck with me for ages, I asked him what the weirdest thing he'd ever jerked off to was. He said he loves imagining commiting mass genocide, lining up one race against a wall and just shooting them all. It didn't seem like the appropriate time for a joke but I laughed anyway, I really thought he was joking. Maybe he was? I dont know, he joked about a lot of things and I never knew if he really meant them.

A few weeks go by and after this night he doesn't talk to me much at all, is very distant. I get the impression he's not interested in me so I dropped it. However one night we did go on a call, I wanted to talk to him about meeting up for drink with a mutual friend of ours. I had not spoken to him a while so I was nervous to call. He seems like he's listening to me at first, then asks me to turn on the camera. I realise he has his penis out and he's been masturbating the whole time. I wanted to talk to him about the meeting up for drinks but he had a different agenda. He asks me to turn around. I hadn't showered in a couple days and was wearing pijamas and no makeup. He said all he needs is 30 seconds and then he'll talk about whatever I want. I stupidly, complied, I turned around, fully clothed and waited till he finished himself off. It was so strange to me because he jumped from something quite innocent to this straight away. I started talking about what I originally called about and he said he had to go and ended the call. I was so fucking stupid, I thought he was embarrassed and that he didn't have a good time and was ashamed. I didn't want him to feel embarrassed, I thought he was just some socially unaware gamer. I messaged him afterwards saying that I enjoyed the call and what happened in the call but that I didn't want anything like that with him ever again. I realised at this point that he didn't like me, just wanted to mess me about. I thought he was just a bit of a player too and I didn't want anything to do with that, but I told him I still wanted to be friends. He replied calling me a faggot.

Anyway, a month goes by again where we don't really talk much and my exams have just finished but my internet died for a week. He knows I've had no internet for a week, and invites me over to stream with him at his place and says he'll pay for my ticket and we'll do fun stream stuff together. He invites me to a call with him while he is streaming and asks me to go see him. Multiple times in this call I made it clear I would not be having sex with him. I asked him while he was live, "I don't have to sleep with you do I?" he laughs and says of course not. He also makes a joke saying he would never even dream of trying anything on me because his biggest fear is getting '#metoo'd'. This made me feel pretty safe. I'd met him before and thought I knew what he was like. I did not know him at all. If there's anyone young and impressionable reading this: please don't ever make the same mistake I did. I thought I was tough, I thought I could handle myself, I thought that if anything happened to me I could always just leave but that's not what it's like at all. You just don't know what your reaction is going to be to this sort of thing until it happens to you. Please don't be stupid like I was.

I turn up to his city and he ignores my messages, he's laughing on stream about how he's not going to meet me at the station. Whatever, I thought it was just an act for his stream, playing the misogynist or something. I put up with it because I wanted to make it on twitch back then, I put up with a lot. I went along with the stream. For those of you who watched the stream: yeah he was a huge dick. I know. I thought it was all an act and that once the stream ended he would be nice and the version of him that I thought I knew. The verbal abuse didn't end, he was nitpicky, mean, comparing me to other streamers. He was dragging other streamers down too, calling all the "Rajj girls" whores. However, I couldn't leave at this point. My phone was fucked, it was super late too. I had gone out in the rain to his local shop to buy him new bedsheets because he promised me he would have a fresh bed for me and he would sleep on the floor. When I got there the bed was disgusting. I wanted to do it up nicely for him, I tried taking a picture of the bed before so that I could do a 'before/after' sort of thing. He said under no circumstances am I allowed to take any pictures in his flat. Anyway, I didn't have a raincoat so my phone suffered water damage from the walk in the rain. While he was streaming I was quite aware that the chat were the only access I had at the time to the outside world. At the end of the stream I remember saying that, that I didn't want him to end the stream because 'chat were all I had'. I said it as a joke obviously but didn't know how much later on that would be true.

The stream ends and he's keen to go to bed. He hops straight into the bed with me and to be honest I didn't actually mind this. I thought we might spoon and I was okay with that - I was a huge fan of spooning. He shares things with me at this point I think to try and push my buttons. Tells me that if I stopped eating so that I had a 'borderline anorexic' body, that I would make a much better spoon. He tells me dark things about how he's always wanted to kill a woman, just to see what it's like. That he wants to see the panic and fear in her eyes fade. Again, I brushed it off as a joke, I thought he was just trying to freak me out. He tells me that the 'next girl' is coming in a month. Another twitch streamer. He doesn't tell me who it is, I was aware that the month before me he had @Introverb around. He drove 130mph down a country lane with her in the car and they had crashed. A near miss and she could have fucking died - he seemed to find this part hilarious. I remember when I saw that picture of his smashed up car, I was so relieved that it wasn't me in that car.

He has wandering hands while we spoon. Asks me to go over again why I won't sleep with him. I explain to him again that I had feelings for him and I knew he didn't like me like that, and I only want to sleep with people that I'm sure are going to be kind to me. I was not getting that feeling from him at all. This goes on for ages, he talks and talks and then asks me why I won't sleep with him. The next part is going to be hard for me to write and to be honest I don't want to go into that much detail.

He keeps grabbing more parts of me and prodding, trying to find a way in, trying to get me to give in. He asks me if I like being choked, I didn't say anything at all and he said he can always get a girl to enjoy choking, as he puts his hands around my neck. I am pushing him away and turning around and facing away from him and he is trying to pull my pants down. Eventually, he pushed me over and climbed ontop of me and forced his way in. This was the only part of the night that I screamed no. After a few minutes he pulls out and ejaculates onto my pijama top. He rolls over, I am crying and tell him I need a shower.

I'll never forget that feeling of shame. Right after it happened the first time I ran to your bathroom and sat on your shower floor and cried. You knew what you had done, but you carried on anyway later that night. I came back into the room and you asked if I had been crying. That didn't stop you from continuing to use my body later that night. I didn't want anyone to know. In my mind I was weak and pathetic, I didn't want anyone to know that I had let this happen to me. I told people that you asked me to sleep with you and I said no and it ended there. Why didn't I pull a knife on him? Why didn't I try to leave straight away? Why did I wait until the day after? That was just the first time, later on that night you forced your way into my ass. You somehow in your mind thought that because I had told stories online about anal sex, that you had a right to that part of my body. There were multiple other times that night that I woke up to the sound of you masturbating in the bed next to me. You begged and pleaded for me to give you relief. I had little fight in me left, I lay next to you looking at the ceiling and cupped your balls as you relieved yourself. After you finished I told you I hated you and you laughed.

That was the longest night of my life.

He played league for the rest of the night. Stopping occassionally to disturb me from my sleep. He came over and held a pillow over my face so I couldn't breathe as a 'joke' until I kicked and screamed. Another time he came over and pulled up my t-shirt over my head, exposing me.

That stream the next day it was obvious something had happened between us, but I didn't want people to know. I didn't want people to think that I had slept with him, that I was a slut and sleeping my way to the top. He joked about other women again, and shouted at me for the way I was eating chocolate, joked about how I was trash and how he doesn't want to drink out of the same water bottle I drank out of because that's disgusting. I don't know if anyone noticed, but on that stream I reached my breaking point, there's a moment where I look down quiet, and walk up and go to the bathroom because I've started crying. He knows I'm crying, he carries on streaming. His chat start to pick up on something being wrong and tell him to make sure I'm okay. I'm packing my bags to leave. I get my stuff and as I'm about to leave he comes over because chat is pressuring him. He shakes my hand and tells me he's sorry, and that he's just 'fucked in the head'.

I left and got the train to a nearby city to stay with a friend. As I'm on the train he sends me $100, for the train tickets. I felt like a whore. I tell my friend what happened, I'm gradually coming to terms with what happened to me. I try and do a normal stream a couple days after, and brush past it. People keep coming into my chat and talking about him and it just sets me off crying. I became an ethot on the internet that was just crying for attention. A day or so later I decide that I need to report it to the police. I couldn't stop thinking about how he said the 'next girl' was coming in a month. I just knew I wouldn't be able to live with myself, if I saw it happen to another girl.

After that night I was no longer welcome in Twitch circles I had been in before. Some people stopped talking to me altogether. I was fighting the memories of the trauma I had, and I was also fighting with my own social anxiety, and the belief that everyone thought I was a liar. I had only told my close friends what had happened. I went to twitch con thinking that everyone hated me. I went to twitch con hoping to feel like my old self again, but I was told that even the people I was supposed to be sharing an airbnb with were 'concerned' about sharing with me. I assumed this was because they thought I was a liar. My own paranoia amplified all the interactions I had at this event, I realise now that people probably didn't know, or didn't even know who I was. But in my head I felt the shame, that they were looking at me like I was dirty. I didn't know what was worse at this time, that people thought I was a liar and were disgusted, or that people believed me and were disgusted with how pathetic I was.

And then months later I met a boy I liked, after having spent a few days with him, I wanted to kiss him. He leaned over to kiss me and I had a panic attack, couldn't stop crying. I was pathetic and weak again. I mourned the death of who I was before. I felt isolated and alone. Twitch was everything to me, and it soon became a place that only brought me pain. I wasn't happy. I hadn't masturbated in months, I couldn't even look at myself naked. I couldn't even kiss a boy that I liked without the trauma resurfacing. I gained a lot of weight. My university degree brought me no joy, I had a bed that I'd also not slept in for months. I wanted to die. I would think about it every day. I kept telling myself to 'wait and see how you feel tomorrow'. This would then turn into 'wait and see how you feel next week' and so on. I slept on my sofa with a knife under my pillow. It's been a year and I still sleep with a knife by my side. The police have reassured me that there are no signs that he would ever come to my flat, but it helps me sleep anyway. My therapist has worked with me every week, to help me through working on not blaming myself for what happened to me. I'm not there yet, but I'm getting there.

He reached out to me recently, saying that I need to come clean about being a liar, that he wants to kill himself and he's terrified every time someone knocks on his door. He told me he doesn't want to 'ruin my life' over this, he just wants me to come clean. I still don't know to this day if he truly knows that what he did was wrong. I've heard so many different versions of events from other people that he's told, from 'nothing happened at all' to 'everything was consensual'.

The police investigation was dropped. They couldn't prove that it happened, nor could they prove that it didn't happen. I was advised that this is what happens with most rape and sexual assault cases in the UK, they are so hard to prove unless you basically have it on video or a witness. Yes the case being dropped was disappointing, but I did feel relief that it was dropped - I didn't want to relive the experience in court. To fight what's going on in your head, and also fight to prove that what happened to you did happen, it's exhausting.

If you made it this far, thank you. I spent so many hours of my life, every day, thinking about this, about when and if, I would ever share my story one day. I hope posting this will be the final piece I need to be able to move on, and get back to my old self. I feel like for the past year I've been hiding this terrible secret, carrying this weight with me. I just want to move on and let go. Please leave me alone.

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