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It seems that in the last month, the mental block I once hid worries, pain, and hurt has fallen away. My life has been a roller coaster of emotions and difficulties.

When I was four, I was sexually molested by an older cousin; someone I trusted. The abuse corrupted my life and tore at me – I’d cry with guilt and shame. I believe it was at this time I set up my mental block.

When I was eight, my mother was diagnosed with a terminally debilitating physical illness and delusional paranoia. She’d just given birth to my sister and was so ill that I became the mother to my sister; I cleaned up cuts and cooked dinner. My mother didn’t like this. When her mental illness reared its head, she’d abuse me physically and emotionally while my father was at work. Eventually, he had to stop working to look after her.

As a teenager, I was severely overweight; I was paid no attention by boys other than disparaging remarks about my appearance. My best friend was the total opposite – pretty and bubbly, however she controlled and dictated my early years. She controlled a variety of sexual experiences that I wasn’t comfortable with, but was too afraid of being called frigid or that our friendship would end.

I’ve been with my current boyfriend for five years and he is my other half – he’s brilliant with my sister, kind and patient with my mother, and dependable. During our relationship, I’ve lost weight and look like a different girl. Still, my self-esteem is so low that I’ll avoid a deserved argument, afraid that someone will pick my appearance apart – fearful that I’ll be fat and fifteen again, crying in my bathroom.

Last year, my life took a turn for the worse.

I was being intimidated by my roommate’s boyfriend and felt so unhappy, lower than I’d ever been. My boyfriend and I were fighting and I was sure he was going to dump me. I’d found out that my father may have fathered a child with one of my mother’s closest friends and the child is very, very ill so the woman regularly comes to my house begging my mother for handouts and sympathy. My world had crumbled, so that when a friend – someone I considered to be like a brother – offered to take me out for a drink, I accepted.

At the bar, this friend of both myself and my boyfriend told me he’d broken up with his girlfriend and wanted to drown his sorrows. I got drunker and drunker so when he said he should go back to his place and get on Chatroulette (something we’d always done while drunk) that sounded fun.

When we got there, he realized he’d forgotten his laptop and mentioned we should probably go to sleep – I was too drunk to walk home, I should stay over. I had no issues with this – he was my “brother” after all – so I drunkenly pulled off my jeans getting ready for bed. On the verge of sleep and too drunk to know my own name, all of a sudden I was fifteen again, feeling pressured to allowing something to happen. I lay there not realizing that what was happening wasn’t right before shouting “stop!” He may have stopped, I think he probably did, but I was already unconscious.

I woke up later to him touching me, my pants pulled to one side. I lay for a second and the only thing I remember before I had the urge to vomit, was disappointment. Disappointment that he’d done this, for instigating this while I was drunk. Disappointment gave way to numbness. I stumbled to the bathroom and vomited. I looked at my face in the mirror – I wasn’t connecting thoughts together, I felt I was a completely different person – lost and bewildered. I stumbled back the bed, still too drunk to walk home. Besides, I reasoned, he probably didn’t mean to do it. I lay as far away from him as I could, my thighs clenched like a vice and my back to him.

He wouldn’t dare do it again.

I fell into unconscious or a heavy, deep sleep again and woke up to him doing it again. I was afraid he’d say something mean about the way I look or emotionally blackmail me into silence. So I just lay there, my head turned to the wall, my eyes glassy, my face pale as I vomited until I bled and my friend molested me. I was a child again, not understanding what was happening, merely knowing that it was outside my comfort zone and that I wasn’t enjoying what was happening.

I gathered the urge to say stop in a way that I knew would draw his attention. I don’t know why, but I knew that something was holding me back from telling him that what he was doing was wrong; a hunch that he would turn nasty. I told him to stop. He replied, “come on, no one will find out,” to which I replied “no!” once again.

My memory is fuzzy with pain, drunkenness, violation, numbness. I don’t think that he stopped, despite keeping my back to him, despite saying no, despite showing my discomfort. My brain told me that it might be over sooner if I pretended to play along, but I couldn’t keep up the act beyond a few seconds. I lay there, shivering, clutching my stomach while he rubbed his penis along my back.

Eventually I woke up feeling well enough to get away from him. Numbly, I informed him that as far as I was concerned that nothing happened; that I wanted to forget the whole thing. In my mind it was true, during those horrible few hours I never kissed him, touched him, or was in any way sexually excited.

Six months later my numbness is fading – now I’m having panic attacks and crying every day. What happened as a betrayal I see as a betrayal of my boyfriend. The guy who molested me was his friend. He assures me that he forgives me but that he wants to know who assaulted me.

I can’t tell him.

I want to. So badly.

I want him to know that the person he smiles when he mentions was my attacker. I want to come clean to him – tell him everything. The logical side of my brain tells me that if I do, my life might be over. I’d lose a lot of friends, my abuser could say that what happened was a fling – anything but the truth. My family and his would be at logger heads; not a good idea in our small community.

I hate him, but I miss the friend he was. I’m writing this because I’m sick of feeling depressed, full of guilt and shame. I’m sick of looking at my male friends and wondering would they hurt me like that? would they touch me while I threw up?

I worry I’m victimising myself when I wasn’t actually a victim; my memories of that day change like crazy – I can’t be certain what actually happened. One minute I see I was sexually assaulted while the next an evil voice at the back of my head cuts me down.

How do I even begin to move on from this?

My life feels like a black hole that’s physically and emotionally destroying me.