By Sara Lain.
Sitting on the wall at the end of my road with my pal, Tim, from school, we talked about the day that had passed.
‘Have you done your homework yet?’ I asked.
‘Nah, I’ll do it tomorrow,’ he smiled. ‘Let’s walk up to the park and see who’s about. I think my big brother’s around somewhere.’
At 13, I’d only been at the high school where Tim and I shared a registration group for a few months. I was pleased I’d made a friend and he lived close by in Lanark, too.
As we walked around, the corner, we bumped into a load more kids, and Tim seemed to know them all.
But one lad in particular walked over to us and started chatting to him.
‘What’s up bro?’ the lad said, ruffling Tim’s hair.
‘Nothing,’ he said, straightening himself out. ‘This is my friend Kym from school.’
‘Hi Kym,’ smiled the lad, who looked much older than us, before turning back to his friends.
Tim then told me the older boy was Robert Wilson. He was only 15, and should actually have still been at school, but he’d left. He looked and acted much older too, so he got away with it.
I was a shy child and didn’t speak much to him for the rest of the night but somehow I felt cool, hanging about with the older kids for once – and especially with tearaway Robert
A few nights later, we did the same thing again, hanging around the streets.
Only this, when I got home and logged onto Mum’s computer to check my Facebook, a pop-up went ‘ping’.
‘Hi it’s Robert,’ the message bubble said on MSN messenger. ‘My wee brother gave me your email address. Wanna chat?’
I felt my face flush red as I added him as a contact and wrote a nervous reply: ‘Okay. How R U?’
I couldn’t understand why an older lad who was too cool to even go to school would want to chat to me on MSN. But after a few minutes, he told me.
‘I thought you looked really nice tonight,’ he typed. ‘I liked your top.’
Suddenly something stirred inside me. I’d never been a confident kid or had a boyfriend and now suddenly an older, cooler boy fancied me.
After that we saw each other almost every day when we were out with our mates and then every night we’d chat online for hours.
‘Do you wanna go out?’ he typed one night as I was about to go to bed.
‘Yeah,’ I replied grinning. ‘I’d like that.’
At first things between us were great. We spent loads of time together and even my parents liked him. I was thrilled to have an older boyfriend.
Then one night after a few weeks, we were in his room when he started talking about ‘taking things to the next level.’
‘I’m ready, I’m just waiting for you,’ he said seriously.
But although he was 16 now, I was still only 13. I wasn’t ready.
At first he was okay with it but a few weeks later, he tried again, grabbing my chest and trying to get me to touch him.
‘I’m not ready,’ I said sternly.
But then he looked serious.
‘Okay, well if you’re not going to have sex with me, you can at least let me see you in your underwear,’ he said challengingly.
Scared he would dump me if I didn’t I nervously peeled off my clothes, then stood in the corner of his room, shivering in my bra and knickers.
‘Okay?’ I asked, my skin crawling as he stared at me.
‘Not really,’ he snarled. ‘You’re a fat dog under those clothes aren’t you?’
Then before I could grab my clothes, he snapped me with his camera phone.
Back home that night I felt sick. How had I let a boy talk me into letting him take porn shots of me?
Ashamed and full of guilt, I couldn’t eat my dinner. I could barely look at my parents either.
But somehow a few days later back at Rob’s house, I found myself cowering in the corner again, tears in my eyes as the camera flashed again and again.
‘You know you won’t find anyone else to go out with you when you look like that,’ Rob spat, holding the phone screen up to me so I could see my hunched figure. ‘You’re a fat ugly mess.’
Once again, in bed that night I cried. But somehow I couldn’t bring myself to break it off with Robert.
Maybe this was what all girls in relationships did. It was my fault I wasn’t having sex with him. I had to give him something otherwise I’d lose him.
But a few months later, the day came when the pictures weren’t enough.
‘I’m a man and I have needs,’ Robert said, pushing me down onto the bed. ‘If you don’t want to have sex with me, I might have to make sure those pics get out. I’m sure your mum would like to see them. And your nan…’
I felt vomit hit the back of my throat. I couldn’t let that happen. It would ruin my life.
So I nodded quietly and lay back while I let him have his wicked way.
I whimpered and cried throughout and when I got home, I stood in the shower for almost an hour. I felt cheap an dirty. He’d raped me.
But a week later, when the same thing happened again, I had no idea things were about to get so much worse.
As he forced me down onto the bed, talking the whole time about showing the pictures to my family, I saw Robert take his phone from his pocket and start filming.
‘That’s it,’ he said, forcing himself inside me.
That was the start of a string of hundreds of nights where he forced me into having sex. Sometimes I just said yes to stop him from talking about my family. Others I cried and begged as he filmed.
It was two and a half years before I finally plucked up the courage to break the relationship off, though. I hated myself so much I truly believed he was all I had.
But I was 16 now and I knew what he’d done was wrong. I wasn’t going to let him get away with it any longer.
‘Whatever, I’ve been sh*gging girls behind your back anyway,’ he hissed as I ended it.
But the very next day as I walked to school, I felt eyes on me. Then out of nowhere, someone grabbed my arm. It was him.
He dragged me by my school uniform towards the park. Then, the camera on his phone rolling once again, he raped me.
Then when he’d finished, he dragged me, dishevelled-looking, back to school.
Almost every day after that was the same. Teachers yelled at me for being late, but somehow I couldn’t pluck up the courage to tell them where I’d been. I couldn’t tell Mum because of the shame. What if she thought it was my fault?
Then one night eight months later I was in my room, praying for a way out when Mum called up to me.
‘What the hell is this?’ she barked, pointing at her computer screen.
There I was, in the middle of her Facebook page aged 13, wearing nothing but my underwear. It was a friend request from someone calling themselves my Kym Sinclair, claiming to be me. Robert had finally done it. He’ finally carried out his evil threat.
I couldn’t bear to look at the screen and ran upstairs, locking myself in my room.
It felt like the end of the world already as I knocked back one paracetamol tablet after another, hoping for death.
But when I came round in a hospital bed, Robert was the first thing to cross my mind.
Still, somehow back home, I couldn’t bring myself to tell. The shame was too much. So I let Mum think the pictures were consensual and never mentioned a thing.
Then a few months later I met Graham Stewart at a train station. We had friends in common and struck up a conversation.
When we both got to his stop, he asked me back to his flat for a chat. I don’t know why and I doubt I ever will, but somehow I felt safe.
We nattered for hours, and I knew instantly, that was the connection I’d been looking for, not the warped relationship I’d had with Robert.
We took it slowly, but after a few months, finally, as we fell in love, I was able to tell him what had happened. Finally I opened up.
It was Graham who helped me tell Mum, and more importantly, the police.
It took a few months, but Robert was finally arrested and police ceased his laptop.
When they found eight hours of footage of him forcing me to have sex, he had no choice other than to admit what he’d done and plead guilty to rape and sexual assault.
He’s now in prison, serving four and a half years for what he did. It seems like a joke – he put me through three years of hell and he’ll probably be out in a shorter time than that.
But meanwhile, Graham and I are still together and have a beautiful baby boy, called Jack. The two of them keep me going.
He treated me like an animal and I’ll never forget what he did. But I’ve found happiness, and that’s the greatest revenge.