A/N: My contribution to the FFSAA. It was/is a fantastic cause that raised a lot of money.

The subject matter I chose to write about is not for the faint hearted, but it is important. There are no graphic descriptions of sexual assault of any kind. This o/s deals with the thoughts, feelings and mannerisms of a victim/survivor of sexual assault. No offense is meant.

Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. It's her baby, I'm just using her characters to highlight something here.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


The devil came into his eyes. A wicked glint so strong it was hard to imagine why I had never noticed it before.

He sneered at me.

I knew what the look in his eyes meant, even before he reached out to touch me.

I pulled away.

But that didn't stop him.

I screamed NO! Over and over again.

That didn't stop him either.

I pleaded with him for mercy.

I begged him not to hurt me.

I cried out for him to leave me alone.

Nothing stopped him.

-(x)-

Numb. Pained. Raw.

That was how I felt now. No specific area felt worse than another; everywhere just hurt. Ached. I was raw.

I stared at the newspaper article I had been reading only that very morning, but through very different eyes. I recalled the sympathy I had felt for the victim.

Victim.

Was that the definition of me now?

I remembered reading about how the victim had been snatched from the street. A stranger had attacked the newspaper's victim. The same could not be said for me.

I knew the man who had violated me.

I knew him well.

I was married to him.

It felt strange to me to want to shield myself from my husbands gaze, but I did. Even now, as I was fully dressed, I felt naked as he leered at me.

He sat happily listening to the television. The devil eyes were fixed on me, though. He'd laugh occasionally at the jokes from his favourite TV show, but he never looked at the actual screen.

Eventually, after a torturous age, he spoke.

"Stop sulking. You're my husband. It's normal. I have my rights."

His tone suggested I was the one in the wrong. Like I was somehow being unfair.

What about my rights?

Wasn't I normal?

Was I stripped of the right to refuse sex, just because I had married this man?

Did my body belong to him?

I wasn't sure anymore.

I didn't feel like I belonged to him. I didn't feel like what he had done was right. In-fact I felt that it was wrong. So very wrong.

"Look, I'm sorry, alright? You know I love you. I just wanted to show you. To share with you that love."

Eyes locked, pain filled the atmosphere.

Love? Love didn't live here. Not anymore. It had been ripped away and destroyed just like my rights had.

He moved from his seat. Eyes still on mine, he approached.

The panic... the terror... it was like nothing I had known before today. Just the sight of the man I had loved so much coming towards me filled me with fear. This is what it had come to.

He reached a hand out to cup my cheek, thumbing one of the many bruises he had inflicted upon me.

"Please, baby. I'm sorry. Honestly, I really am. I just love you so much. Too much, sometimes."

I looked at him, my skin crawling under his touch, and said nothing.

"I promise, mate, it will never happen again. You know I'd never hurt you on purpose. I love you."

There was that word again. Love. Oh how easily silly lovers throw it around. How easy it is to find comfort and safety in those words. Now I felt nothing in them.

Pain. Anger. Used.

Those were words I could relate to. Those were words I understood.

Hate.

That was a word I felt at kin with. I'd never known the true meaning of the word until today. I'd never thought it possible how intense true hate was.

It was overwhelming. Consuming.

It was the only thing keeping me from screaming.

Get out.

Get away from me.

Leave me alone.

I hate you.

Saying them would make no difference. He wouldn't understand them. He wouldn't believe them. After all, he'd acted through the most pure of emotions. Love. Right?

His fingers moved from a lovers caress to a vice like grip on my face.

"Look, I said I was fucking sorry, right? Drop the fucking hard done by act. I'm getting fucking sick or your dramatics now."

With a push he releases me, storming back over to his chair.

I knew the repentant act wouldn't last.

I watch him, as he watches the T.V. His jaw clenches and unclenches. His knuckles white from where his fist strains.

He's angry again. No good can come of this.

"I'm going to make something to eat. Are you hungry?" I ask him.

He looks at me, a smile on his face because he thinks he's won.

Maybe he has. Who knows? All I know is that I don't want round two, and he looks ready to kill someone.

"That's be fucking marvelous, mate."

He goes back to watching his TV show, happier now. Sated.

I shuffle to the kitchen.

The burn in my body is torturous. Yet, at the same time I feel numb.

I feel like I'm walking through a thick fog, and nothing I can see is real.

Nothing sounds the same. I could hear clearer under water.


It's been days since. Weeks even.

I stopped counting. I stopped caring.

Life goes on as normal.

The world still turns.

The sun still sets and rises.

He still climbs into our bed every night.

He still makes love to me.

I just retreat into my head. The thought of him touching me repulses me now.

He's been on his best behaviour ever since. Polite. Charming. Funny.

He's more like the man I fell in love with.

I hate him more for that.

I wish he'd just be the monster we both know he is. It's easier to deal with then.

Having our old life constantly shoved down my throat is worse than what he did, because I still want it.

I want the old us back.

I want to go back to before.

And I hate myself for it.

I hate him for it.

I even hate the dog, sometimes.

"You go in and grab a shower, mate. I'm cooking tonight," he calls from the kitchen, as I arrive home from work.

My workmates have noticed there is something wrong with me. They know something is different. They ask all the wrong questions. They don't follow up their suspicions.

They saw the bruises. They bought the excuses.

It's easier that way.

It's easier for people to pretend that the evil under the bed is just a ghost story.

It's easier for people to believe that things like this don't happen to men.

Most who guess probably think it's my fault.

That I'm weak.

Men are supposed to be strong. We're supposed to be able to defend ourselves.

We aren't supposed to be victims.

Hell, we aren't even supposed to cry.

(x)

In the bath, the water is never hot enough.

It burns, but it doesn't clean.

I scrub until I'm red and tender, then I scrub some more.

Sometimes I scrub until I bleed.

I regret - more than ever now - not having the shower installed he suggested so long ago.

I feel like I'm sitting in my own filth in this bath. Every shame, every disgust swirls in the water around me.

Onto me.

Into me.

It's a circle. Never ending.

I'll never be clean.

I see men just like me on the bus to work.

The same sunken expression. The same defeated look.

I want to ask them if they're okay. I want to ask them if it happened to them too.

I don't. No-one does.

It's not spoken about. It's taboo.

I do my journey to and from work everyday, and I see thousands of men just like me.

No-one speaks up.

No-one breaks the silence.

No-one. Never.


My parents are over for dinner.

The atmosphere is laced with malice.

My mother never took to him, and my father never really took to his only soon marrying a man.

The whole meal is fake pleasantries and small talk.

Everyone notices I wince when he strokes my cheek, ruffles my hair.

My parents put that down to my knowing that my father is uncomfortable. No other reasoning for it would enter my parents mind.

He is back to his charming self in their company.

The ever loving, ever devoted husband of their only son.

No-one knows that inside I'm screaming.


It's been a while, since.

Sometimes I think I imagined that night.

The devil hasn't been back in his eyes.

I even reached out to touch him first the other day.

It wasn't much, but we both knew it meant everything.

We went to bed together that night.

We didn't make love, but we were both there at least. And that was progress.

It went on that way for awhile.

Soon I was convinced I had imagined that night.

I stopped noticing the other men on the bus. I stopped feeling like I was living under water.

I laughed more. I smiled more.

I initiated kisses. I initiated cuddles.

I let my guard down.

Everyone commented on my change.

Everyone said they were glad I was feeling better.

He talked of renewing our vows.

I even got promoted.

(x)

I arrived home late one night. Then a few nights.

Then I was late more than I was on time.

I had more work to do. More responsibility.

He got snappy with me and become controlling again.

He stopped being charming.

He stopped being kind.

He stopped being funny.

I went out one night with friends. I didn't get home until very late. I was drunk.

He was angry.

He shouted.

I told him he didn't own me.

I told him that I had my own mind. That I had a right to do what I wanted.

The devil came back into his eyes.

He sneered at me.

I knew what the look in his eyes meant. We'd been here before.

Please not again. Please, no. Never again.

He reached out to grab me.

I pulled away.

But that didn't stop him.

I screamed NO! Over and over again.

That didn't stop him either.

I pleaded with him for mercy.

I begged him not to hurt me.

I cried out for him to leave me alone.

Nothing stopped him.

It never did.


Numb. Pained. Raw.

Not again. How had it come to this. How?

He'd been so different. So sorry. He'd changed. We'd changed.

He'd promised.

Lies. Always lies. Why did I believe them before? Why did I let it come to this? Why did I become the victim again?

This time I cried.

I cried for days. And when I ran out of tears, I retreated in on myself again.

And screamed.

He apologised. He said he loved me.

He blamed me: Told me I was neglecting him, that he had rights.

How could I blame him? My loving husband. The man who waits home for me worrying that I'm okay. The man who begged me to stay home more.

It wasn't his fault. It was mine.

He had rights.

I'm surrounded by familiar faces on the bus.

On the street.

Everywhere.

There seems to be more now, or maybe I'm not remembering right.

It's not right. It's not fair.

So many victims. So much pain.

No-one questions.

No-one helps them.

Us.

Why?

Are we invisible? Can you not see that man, over there?

The one with the sunken eyes. The one with his head to the ground. The one who smiles when prompted. The one who acts out. The one you speak to every morning.

Take a look at them. They're there. We're there.

Cloaked in our shame. Hidden away.

Society's last taboo.

"I'm leaving you."

"Jasper, please. I'm sorry. I love you."

"It's too late, Edward. It's far too late."

And just like that, I escaped.

I do have rights.

My opinion does matter.

I am not ashamed.

It wasn't my fault.


I know no-one wants to see Edward portrayed in this manner, but that's the point. Loving someone doesn't make it okay.

Male Rape is something not widely reported on or spoken about, but it does happen. It exists. Closing your eyes to it only continues to hide the problem.

We need to face this.

It's unacceptable.

No means no.

Follow malesurvivorsorg on twitter. It's a great cause.