real life

'My ex drugged and assaulted me. I had no idea until his new girlfriend called me one day.'

Warning: This post deals with sexual assault and might be triggering for some readers.

I’ve always tended to blame myself for everything wrong in the world.

Someone doesn’t like me? It must be because I’m a horrible person.

The adversities I faced? I probably deserved them.

My dysfunctional family? It’s my fault for ruining them.

So when my first relationship didn’t go the way it should’ve, it’s not shocking I felt guilty.

Women and violence: The hidden numbers. Post continues after video.

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I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t lovable beyond my body. I was a drunk, a slut, a disaster waiting to explode on anyone who loved me. I was a swirling hurricane of chaos and uncertainty.

But my perceptions changed because of an unlikely person — my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend.

I was clocking in for my waitressing shift when she first contacted me.

My relationship with this ex (let’s call him ‘Tyler’) had ended over a year ago at this point. Naturally, I was surprised when I received a Snapchat from a girl named “Anna”, asking if I could talk. I sent her my number, tied on my apron, and began the dinner rush.

She called me as I left the restaurant a few hours later. I answered on the first ring.

As I drove home, I listened to Anna explain that Tyler cheated on her, and when she confronted him, he confessed to more than just adultery.

He admitted he struggled with a “sex addiction,” and started seeing a therapist. She knew how many girls he’d slept with during their relationship, and his tendency to manipulate people.


I rolled to a stop at a red light.

She also said, “he never explicitly told me, but I think he might’ve put stuff in your drink before.”

I froze when I heard those words, gripping the steering wheel. The light turned green. Two cars honked at me to go.

“He begged me not to tell you, but I felt like I needed to,” she said. “I’m so sorry.”

I pressed the pedal to the floor, speeding away from the inpatient cars behind me.

A few days later, I did what I do best. I wrote about my relationship with Tyler. I rearranged, edited, and stripped off the story’s passive voice. I pasted it into a new draft and searched through Unsplash for a captivating image.

But I couldn’t press publish yet — I felt ashamed of my words, worrying they were somehow “wrong.”

It’s been a couple of months since then, and I still feel unsure. Yet, despite my self-doubts, I’m choosing to share my story with the world.

His name made me nauseous.

I met Tyler on a humid September night at a party, only a month after beginning university. He stood over a foot taller than me, and his smile reached his eyes. His body was firm and muscular. When he winked at me, I swear my whole body lit up.

Tyler was my first. He promised I was his second. I was drunk and hesitant, but he convinced me; after all, this was university— this was adulthood.

I woke up horrified the next morning, even though I tried to feel happy about it. I mostly just felt sick.

Still, though, it was empowering to know someone desired me. For the first time, I felt unique, worthy, valuable. When he texted me later that day and asked to hang out again, I agreed.

From there, our relationship moved at lightning speed, which made me uncomfortable. And after our second date, I stopped liking Tyler. I began getting a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever he crossed my mind.

But I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I ignored the red flags and stayed with him.


One Saturday in October, I went to a ‘darty’ (day + party) with my friends. Soon after arriving, Tyler texted me and asked if he could pick me up.


“I guess,” I replied. I hadn’t even finished one beer yet.

“Be there around two. Send address pls.”

He poured more beer for me in a solo cup. I sat beside him on the couch as I took a few sips, feeling the world start to spin. The next thing I knew, I was hovering over the trash can. After that, I faded into oblivion.

I only remember a few blurry pieces from the rest of the night — being at an apartment I didn’t recognise. People chattering and laughing around me.

In my memory, I can’t see them; I can only hear them.

Another fragment — being on my hands and knees alone in someone’s bedroom, throwing up my stomach’s contents until there was nothing but bile.

The last flashback — waking up in my bed sometime during the night while Tyler was on top of me. Burning tears streamed down the sides of my face and I squeezed my eyes shut. The memory ends there. It only lasts for a second.

In the morning, I asked him what happened, and he reassured me nothing sexual took place. I’d gotten too drunk at a darty and begged him to come and get me. Anything weird was probably a dream.

Tyler said he loved me for the first time as he left. I didn’t say it back. I felt crazy for thinking he’d hurt me.

Crazy that the smell of his cologne lingering on my sheets made me throw up.

Crazy for washing all my bedding — my duvet, mattress topper, pillows, stuffed animals, everything. For sitting down in the shower and letting the hot water run down my back. For thinking my period started. It wasn’t my period.

I rearranged my room and began sleeping on my couch every night. I bought a weighted blanket to keep me warm. I ordered new sheets and threw away the old ones.

“I’m just being dramatic,” I thought.

I tried to break up with Tyler in person many times; I never could. Eventually, I gathered the courage to text him it was over.

After the relationship ended, I delved into self-destruct mode. Every hangover reminded me of how his lips felt, so I became a morning drinker.


Mamamia’s daily news podcast The Quicky explores why taking control of the narrative is so important for many survivors of sexual assault. Post continues below audio.

I longed for the love I thought I had, so I went to every party and bar I could, even as my friends slipped away. My only priority was men.

I pretended to be nonchalant — as if becoming a slut would prove Tyler didn’t hurt me. But inside, I was frantic and anxious beyond belief.

Over time, I began putting my broken pieces back together.

I never realised how much my past relationship was eating me alive until the night I talked to Anna.

But she didn’t just confirm to me that Tyler was a shitty person. By calling me, Anna was validating the emotions buried deep inside my mind and telling me it wasn’t my fault.

It was as if she’d said, “You are worthy, and you deserve to know and accept the truth about Tyler; you weren’t crazy all this time.”

Her words allowed me to stop beating myself up for something I couldn’t control. Once I accepted my feelings, I began actually healing, not just stuffing everything down with alcohol or sex.

Over time, old pictures stopped sending waves of nausea throughout my body. I removed myself from Tyler’s orbit and leapt into the life waiting for me in the rest of the universe.

I’m not hiding any longer. I’m speaking up about my experience because what I went through should never happen to anybody.

We are more than our bodies; we are our souls, our emotions, our passions. We are the infinite strength of a billion galaxies, the fearlessness of every star in space, the beauty of limitless possibilities waiting beyond the sky.

Nobody’s gravity should ever hold us back.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

This article was originally published on Medium and was republished here with full permission. 

Caelyn is a college student, devoted dog-mum, and passionate writer. You can find more from Caelyn on Medium.

The feature image used is a stock image from Getty.

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