Something changed me, something really bad that happened. I have already told my story about being raped by my own boyfriend. That was the first situation in my life when someone hurt me, but it wasn’t the last one …

After what happened, I lost more weight. Even though I could barely put socks on without feeling dizzy I was happy with my body. Everything looked so good on me. After being sexually abused, girls usually don’t want to attract attention on themselves anymore. For me it was different, I didn’t care at all. My boyfriend took something from me, my innocence. Sex became meaningless and since it didn’t matter anymore I just wanted to have fun. I started dating random guys and sleeping with them without thinking about it much. I felt that finally I was the one with power. I used to think “I’m in charge.”; “I decided to have sex with you.”, “It was my choice.” 

My first date after the breakup and also the first time I had sex with someone else other than my boyfriend was with an older guy. He was confident, he payed for my drinks, he told me I was a  “beautiful woman”, not a “cute girl”. So I went home with him. We had quick, unsatisfying sex. Without clothes he wasn’t that good looking anymore. I left right after, with mixed feelings. It was my choice to go with him. But he had taken me back to his place just because of my body, not because he was interested in me as a person. 

A few days later another guy texted me that I was beautiful. He was good looking. We started talking, sending pictures. In every picture, both of us had fewer clothes on. This time I invited him to my place. The sex was good, he was really handsome and he knew what he was doing. It was definitely much better than with the other guy. But again, right after we had finished I had mixed feelings, so I asked him to go. He didn’t object because really he just wanted to have sex. Again it was my choice to have sex with him, but again it was with someone only interested in my body. 

Next guy, same story. There was physical attraction but no mental connection.

I started believing that I was only a body. Sleeping with guys got easier and easier. I got addicted to the feeling that someone was attracted to my body. If I wasn’t complimented on my looks, I would stop believing that I was worth something. 

This got so crazy to the point that once I got really drunk at a party. I just remember the beginning of the party and this really cute guy. He was a dancer, as am I. We were dancing and drinking the whole night. I woke up the next day in his bed not knowing what had happened. This time something changed. I knew that if I had been sober I would have slept with him anyway, but this time it wasn’t my choice. I didn’t even know if he used a condom. I got really scared thinking that I might be pregnant from a guy who’s name I didn’t even know. I promised myself that I wouldn’t do this anymore. I wouldn’t have sex with random guys anymore. I wouldn’t drink so much anymore. Control, I needed to have control. 

Two weeks after this had happened, I went on holiday abroad with some friends. It was me and 4 couples. I didn’t mind that I was the only one who was single, because they are like a family to me. I always have fun with them. During that holiday I met someone, let’s call him A. … for the very first time I felt something. Once again hugging felt nice to me. I didn’t feel like burning my body. On the contrary, I felt calm. I didn’t feel like a body anymore. I felt like a person. We had a really deep conversation on the beach. A. was hugging and kissing me, he made me feel in a way I hadn’t experienced in a very long time. We went to his room but this time I promised myself that I wouldn’t have sex with him before making sure that it meant something. He respected my decision, so we spent the night just hugging and talking. It felt so good… but the holiday was over and I had to go back to my own country. We exchanged our Instagram nicknames and A. seemed really sad about me leaving. We talked for almost 3 months. At the beginning it was just like back then, we had deep conversations and we were making sure we were both fine; but with time he started asking for more pictures, with fewer clothes on. We ended up sexting all the time and stopped having normal conversations. Again I started feeling like I was only a body and when I told him he just stopped talking to me for weeks… I didn’t know if it was because something bad had happened or just because he was not interested anymore. Obviously it was like the last one, he only acted like he cared but in the end, it was only about my looks. 

I was crying so much. Once again I thought I was not good enough for a relationship. I was only good enough for one night. Afterwards I pushed every guy away for almost a year.

After some time and besides the fact that I had no love life, I became happy again. I had really good friends. I had also good grades at university. I got accepted for an exchange semester (in the same country where I had met A.). I had a plan: to go for this amazing adventure, meet new people, make new friends and who knows, maybe love. 

My first day in this new country was already very hard. I was far away from family and friends in a new place. No one was speaking my language and surprisingly there were definitely more guys than girls on the streets. I felt kinda insecure walking around in summer dresses but I was trying to stay positive. I had a few situations in which strangers started talking to me or tried to hug me on the street… it was weird but somehow I always managed to scare them off. When the weather got worse and I started putting more layers on, the situation got better. I met nice people and in particular one guy from my new university, let’s call him N. … At the beginning it was nice, I felt something but both of us agreed that it was not love. I thought this was for the best. Maybe it was better to have a nice friend with whom I could cuddle and sleep with, but who couldn’t hurt me since I was not in love with him. But it turned out N. was not even thinking about friendship … he was just attracted to my looks and he wanted to spend time with me only when he was in the mood for sex … seeing him gave me mood swings like never before but I kinda couldn’t stop it. When I was with him N. was acting cute and I felt safe. As soon as I left his apartment I was crying, not knowing when he would want to see me again… finally, N. said he didn’t want to see me anymore. It was painful but also refreshing because he was the one who had made the choice. He set me free from my own crazy mind that forced me to think that I had to do everything to see him. I was angry and thankful at once. At that time friends from my country came to visit me so I was busy and I didn’t have time to overthink it. We didn’t talk or see each other for almost a month. 

During this month the second worst thing of my life happened. It was New Year’s Eve. I was celebrating it with my new friends, by going around a few clubs. We were having fun. It was really nice and I stopped thinking about my problems. I decided to go home around 6 am. I took a taxi because I thought it would be safer, but the taxi driver drove to the wrong street so I decided to walk because we were 3 minutes from my place. There was a guy walking ahead of me. He looked like a normal guy, he had average looking but clean clothes and he definitely didn’t see me walking behind him. Or at least I thought so. He passed my door and kept walking. But when I opened the door he turned around and came inside the building right behind me. It was so fast I didn’t even realize. As I started walking upstairs, I felt his hand between my legs. Luckily before going abroad for the exchange semester, I had taken self-defense lessons so, out of reflex,  I kicked his chest and started screaming really offensive words in both English and his language. He freaked out and left the building and I rushed upstairs. I couldn’t stop crying thinking that he could have raped me. That I had been so close to experiencing it again… I could only think about how much I missed my mom and how badly I wanted to be home. I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening to me. That guys are still showing me that I’m only a body. I had a few panic attacks being around guys in the bus or in the metro later on. I saw an enemy in every male and I didn’t want anyone to touch me anymore. 

Then N. came back into my life. Two weeks after New Year’s Eve he invited a few friends to his place and because we were hanging out together all the time I went with them. This time I couldn’t touch him. I could still see the guy who tried to rape me in front of me. Obviously N. saw that something was wrong. He texted me the next day and I explained to him the whole situation. He said that I could count on him but it didn’t feel right to talk to him about this. We started seeing each other more often because of our friends. I was weak enough to let him affect me again. One night I couldn’t open the door to my apartment – we had a strange lock (when someone locked it from inside it was impossible to open the door from the outside even with keys). My roommate was sleeping and then I got a notification from N. that it would be really nice if we could see each other that night. Not thinking much about it I asked if I could sleep at his place because of my door (it wasn’t the first time so he wasn’t surprised). When I went there I was scared and happy. I was scared that he would touch me and happy that he was there next to me. When he hugged me for the very first time I melted. It felt so safe I didn’t think about anything anymore. We had sex again but this time it was different. He was more gentle and more emotional (if it makes sense). I was so confused but happy. This happened shortly before both of us were going home, so I saw him only a few more times. He invited me to his country for the concert of our favorite artist. I thought that after all he was going to be a good friend and maybe this time it wasn’t only about my body. But I was wrong. I saw him with another girl and my heart stopped beating. I didn’t really love him, but I actually can’t describe my feelings for him. It was painful knowing that I was not special as he had said I was. Luckily it was one day before my flight home. He just fucked up my last impression of him and my last day of this strange but still beautiful adventure… again I was only a body. And again I’m definitely bad at reading red flags.

I came home crying. Firstly because I met amazing people there and I still miss them so much. Secondly because I had been broken so many times. I was too tired to keep all parts together. But I was still pretending on social media that I was fine. I was posting pictures on ig stories and got dm’s from N., from A. and from other strangers and old friends. It made me sad. They were saying disrespectful things based on my looks. But when no one texted me for a few days I posted the next picture to get attention. 

I’m back to the point where I don’t see anything else beside my body. I rejected love from a real nice guy. I started seeing another guy, D., a month after coming back from the exchange. But it was done after three months because he wasn’t that crazy about my body but he was actually interested in me as a person. He kept on talking about how smart I am, not about how firm my ass is. I felt so insecure that I pushed him away not even noticing. 

Since the day my ex boyfriend decided to treat me like an object to fuck, I don’t see myself as something else. Lots of guys made me feel this way afterwards, and the process of changing this belief is my inner fight. 3 years of hard battle. But I won’t give up and I will win myself for me again. I WILL LOVE MYSELF ONE DAY. I still have this small positive part in me and I’m trying to be gentle with it. I don’t know if it’s just my bad luck to attract those kind of guys or if it’s my issues that lead all my relations in this body-based direction. I’m learning to choose the people around me more wisely, especially guys. And I hope that as strong as I’m now I won’t have to go through something like this again in the future. This shaped me in a way I wish it hadn’t  but I can’t change the past. I got broken and my future partner will have a hard time dealing with this. I think this is my biggest fear: not being worth this hard job. But I still believe and hope for love and for not being hurt by someone I love. I wish to love again. To love my partner and most importantly to love myself.