For what is probably only a few minutes, but feels like years, the vile beast that has broken in to my home just stands before me staring at my trembling, very naked body. I can tell that he is getting a lot of pleasure from my fear and humiliation and so I try to minimise it as much as I possibly can. I don’t dare meet his eyes, because I do not want him to see the terror in mine and I do not want to see whatever emotion he has in his. I cannot stop my violent shaking, I am petrified and cold so there is simply nothing I can do. The only thing I focus on as he approaches me is staying on my feet, my legs want to buckle but I know that he will beat me again if I fall and that it will be easier for him to rape me if I am on the floor, so I focus on keeping my body upright. I find myself wishing that I had taken some kind of self defence class. If only I knew how to ‘smack his nose in to his brain’ or whatever, but I don’t. Any futile attempt to fight him off would fail I realise, and it would bring him pleasure to knock me around further, or worse it would anger him in to harming one of my children, so I focus my gaze on the ceiling and wait for whatever his next move is.
He stands only inches from me now. I can actually smell his foul odour. He stinks of cigarettes, alcohol and a disgusting chemical smell that I cannot name. The hideous stench seeps into my nose and combined with the fear coursing through my body makes me wretch. I cannot help but flick a quick glance at him, and notice that his eyes are blue, an eye colour that I had previously associated with innocence and purity, but now a colour that I will hate for the rest of forever. Despite their colour his eyes are glazed over in a way that I have only read about, never seen, it doesn’t disguise the twisted pleasure he is gaining from this. I swallow down the urge to scream and to run as I hear him unzip his trousers. I wish I could go back in time. I wish I could be back in the shower, go back to feeling blissful and relaxed again, but this time I would have closed the bloody window. I wish he would leave. I wish I could die or even better he would drop dead right now! The tears are flowing silently down my face as he starts to masturbate as he stands before me. Every now and then he manages to bump his penis in to my stomach and each time I fight the urge to scream, or run. I need to stay calm, the more I cooperate the faster this ordeal will be over. I chant that mantra over and over in my mind. I force myself to picture the faces of my sleeping children and will myself to be strong and brave for their sake.
Muttering the whole time he continues to masturbate before me. Purposely I tune out the things that he is saying although I do catch the odd disgusting word that he spits at me. ‘Slag’, ‘dirty cunt’, ‘whore’, nothing very imaginative. ‘Stay calm’ I continue to chant silently, ‘this will be over soon. Stay calm’. I cannot stop the tears from flowing, or my skin from crawling but I try to be brave. I have to do anything, anything he wants in order to keep that vile beast away from Nathaniel and Elle. Sadly no matter how brave I try to be, when I feel the warmth of his sperm splatter on to my belly button I shriek and recoil in horror. I cannot help but look at him and my disgust is clearly visible. If it were possible, I would rip my own stomach off of my body and throw it away, I sure don’t want it anymore! I cannot bear to feel him on my skin! I can’t even bring myself to use my hand to wipe it away, and I am unable to move so I have to stand and tolerate the vile substance.
My reaction clearly makes him angry again. He rants at me that I am ‘a fucking dirt slag’ and smacks me square in the face with the hand which is holding the gun. The force of the blow sends me reeling in to the thankfully unlit fireplace. I manage to stop myself landing in the grate and clutch on to the sides to keep myself up. Pain strikes through my brain like lightning and the force of the blow literally blinds me for a second. Everything is reeling around me but I do hear him do his zip up and I feel the blood streaming from my nose and running down my breasts and stomach until it is mingling with his vile bodily fluid. Pain and renewed terror wash away any bravery that I had previously been clinging on to and I am openly crying now. Once my eyes refocus I can plainly see that he is pleased to have ‘broken me’ and to have probably broken my nose too. Neither of us speaks. I cannot. I have no words and am terrified that if I dare to open my mouth I will scream, and scream and scream! As I don’t dare to wake the children, they cannot see me like this, I just hang on to the fireplace and pant through the pain. With my eyes finally fixed on him, I can see that he is dithering; planning his next move. I look at the blu-ray player again, 24 tiny minutes have passed since I last looked. That feels crazy to me. I have endured this horror for such a short time, but it feels like months have passed. For what feels like years he continues to stare at me, clearly planning what to do, I am petrified about what he might do next as he walks forward towards me. Where is Dean? I have changed my mind; I want him to come home now, please God! Please let Dean rescue me from this horror!
He walks up to the table, picks up the bottle of wine that I had uncorked before he grabbed me and sarcastically asks me if I want some. I don’t speak. I don’t move as I am trying not to give any response or reaction if I can help it but he still sniggers to himself before taking a long glug from the bottle. “Tastes like fucking shit, rich bitch” he mocks and throws the bottle on to the floor. He stares straight in to my face waiting for a reaction as the red liquid spills on to the cream carpet that is already stained with my own blood. I don’t react, I don’t even look. My pulse is still beating in my ears and I am still shaking violently but I am trying to calm my breathing down. I need to think, to prepare for whatever is coming next. Right now he is picking my smart black bag up from behind the chair that I pointed out to him earlier. He rummages around in it and pulls out my purse. He pulls the notes out and looks mighty displeased with the small gains of £75. Tossing my bag and purse to the floor he spits “Is that all the cash rich bitch?” I nod still unable to dare to open my mouth. “You said there was gold?” again I nod, “take me to it”. This demand makes me freeze, if I take him to my room which is where my jewellery box is, that means I have to take him near my children. That is the last thing I can bear do. Stalling for time I fumble to take my earrings out, and to take my necklace and rings off. As I do so I sneak another look at the blu-ray player. He has been in my house for 32 short minutes. With hands that are shaking violently I hold the jewellery out to him. Bile rises from my stomach as he walks towards me once again.
Without warning the living room door swings open and a very happy looking Dean walks in waving a bottle of wine and greeting me cheerfully. His voice stops dead as he slowly takes in the scene before him and his eyes widen in shock as he tries to comprehend what he is seeing. The world has slowed down for me once again; I didn’t hear Dean come in and couldn’t even shout a warning, I feel sick with fear again! I futilely raise my hands and shake my head ‘no’ as though to stop him from coming in to the room despite it being too late. Sadly the beast thinks fast and flies at Dean who is still frozen with horror. He smashes the gun full force in to Dean’s face and flies out of the room and out of the house without a further word! Thankfully Dean managed to duck quick enough to save his nose, but the force of the blow has sent him flying in to the wall before he crashes to the floor in a heap. I drop my jewellery to the floor as I run to him “Dean, Dean are you OK?” I cry hysterically. I am panicking again for fear that Dean might be seriously hurt, but he doesn’t answer. Instead he leaps to his feet he makes to go after the attacker. Still naked I run after him and drag the jacket of his suit, “please don’t, please don’t” I sob and hiccup, “he has a gun!” For a second Dean turns as though to push me aside but suddenly his eyes actually focus on me and he stops in his tracks. Thankfully instead of running out of the wide open door after the vile beast, he slams it shut and pulls his suit jacket off and helps me in to it, kissing my head as he does so. “I...I, should, have, been, here!” he stutters clearly fighting back tears, “what did he do to you Jasmine?” Although I hear the urgency in his voice and see the terror in his eyes I cannot answer his questions yet, there is something more urgent that I have to do first.
“I need to see the kids” I assert tearfully instead of answering Dean’s question, “he, he was here for ages I think.” As I am speaking I am already making my way up the stairs with Dean following close behind me. Once I reach Nathaniel’s room I attempt to open the door but Dean removes my hand. “Let me check first” he whispers, “he will panic if he sees you like this”. I concede without argument, and stand aside as he opens the door. My heart is pounding in my ears again and I am silently praying that my babies are sleeping unharmed. Once he is satisfied that Nate is not awake Dean moves aside and lets me look at my son. He looks fine, peaceful, but I am still frightened and nudge my husband, “Make sure that he is breathing, please” I whisper in a voice thick with tears. I can see that Dean wants to object and to reassure me but then he thinks better of it, instead he obliges and tiptoes in to the room and stands before our sleeping son, “he is fine” Dean whispers and bends down to kiss Nate gently. Nathaniel sighs and turns over causing tears of relief to stream from my eyes. Once Dean has gently closed the door we both walk to Elle’s room, my legs are still shaking violently and my pounding heart picks up its pace once more. I cannot help but hold my breath again as Dean opens her door, quickly he moves aside and I am able to peer in. Elle is still snoring gently and the relief of hearing her gentle snores causes my knees to finally give way. I sink to the floor just outside of her room and weep so hard that my whole body shakes fiercely.
Dean scoops me up in to his arms and carries me down the stairs in to the kitchen. He puts me in to a chair and holds me tightly until my tears subside a little. Once I am slightly calmer he informs me that he is going to call the police. I nod in agreement, there is nothing else that I can do, but I hate what I am going to have to go through now. My attack has ended, but the rest of my ordeal is only just beginning I realise as I wonder how I will ever get through this. He steps back in to the hall once again and I hear him make the call. I don’t listen to what is being said, I am still crying and my mind is spinning, but I have never heard Dean sound so bewildered and sad in all of the years that I have known him. I guess that we are both shocked that this could have even happened to us because these hideous events are things we hear about on the news; they are not events that happen to us, and not in our own home! Once we are inside of our front door we are supposed to be safe from all of the evil in the world; that evil is not supposed to be able to enter our safe haven and harm us! That is just not supposed to happen, it’s as though I have been living in a horror story but hadn’t realised it yet!
After a while my husband comes back in to the kitchen; “They are going to send someone” he informs me and grabs a bag of frozen peas out of the freezer, wraps them in a tea towel and hands them to me, “and I have called your Mum, she is on her way so she can watch the kids and I can stay with you”. I cringe at the idea of my Mother having to even know about this, never mind actually see the state of me, but I accept that it is inevitable. “I hope the Police come soon” I whisper, “I really want a shower”. The coldness of the peas on my pounding nose makes me flinch. I can already feel that my eyes are swollen and can imagine that they are already bruised. Once again I send up a silent prayer that he didn’t break my nose.
“I think that you will have to see the doctor first” he answers in a voice that is chocked with tears of sorrow. I had of course already realised that this would be the case, a prospect that I am not relishing because I cannot stand the idea of yet another stranger’s hands touching me, but if they are going to catch that monster then I will tolerate it I decide. Dean puts the kettle on and sets out everything he needs to make coffee. “He didn’t rape me” I whisper causing my Husband to turn and face me once more, “he...he..” through huge wracking sobs I try to tell my husband exactly what happened to me. I see the horror and anger etched on his face as I relive every humiliating detail of what I endured, and once I am done he is there holding me and soothing me once again. Over and over he promises me that ‘everything is going to be alright’ but I am unconvinced, will life ever be ‘ok’ again?
We cry together for what feels like an age, Dean murmurs over and over again that he ‘should have been here’, but I know that this is my fault. I should have closed the window before I left the room, I am the person that allowed evil to enter our home, and I tell my husband as much. Of course Dean is horrified that I am blaming myself and the disagreement is not helping us so instead I ask for the coffee he was making even though I don’t want it. Dean looks relieved to have a task to focus on and hurriedly makes himself busy preparing the drinks. I try to close my eyes and focus on my breathing to try and stop myself from continuing to cry, but every time I close them I have this sudden feeling of panic that someone is behind me and have to turn around to check. ‘Will I ever feel safe again’? I silently wonder. The tears come back as I realise that I am unlikely to ever feel normal or safe again. No one has the right to make a person feel this way I seethe! I already know that I will never feel safe in this house again, so we will have to move. How could I ever step foot in that room again I wonder? I hate that that beast has ruined my dream home. I hate him so venomously for everything that he has done to me and taken from me, but I think that I hate him more for the effect his actions will have on my family. He had been in my home for just 34 tiny minutes, but has managed to destroy it for me! How can 34 minutes ruin everything?
Once the coffee is made we sit at opposite sides of the table and drink it in silence. Trying to drink the coffee is painful and as I dribble the hot liquid from my mouth I realise for the first time that my bottom lip is cut and very swollen. I hadn’t even felt it as I am in so much pain from so many parts of my body that it seems to have all merged in to one. Once he realises that I am struggling to drink the coffee Dean finds a straw for me, he hands me the bright pink straw and the absurdity of the act makes me laugh! I am part laughing, part howling and part crying while poor Dean is still standing there holding the straw out to me looking completely bewildered! This just seems to make me laugh more! “Are you in shock?” he asks clearly petrified. Those words seem to snap something in me and I stop laughing and howling and just cry-hysterically instead! So yes I probably am in shock! Clearly the poor man doesn’t know what to do for the best, so he just crouches down and holds me once more. I’m enveloped by his beautiful, warm scent and the strength of his embrace temporarily makes me feel a tiny bit safer.
Hammering on the front door forces us apart, and once alone I feel scared and vulnerable again. I already know that it is my Mum. The worst thing about what I have endured is the having to talk about it, I conclude. I felt so humiliated even telling my husband everything that happened, especially having to explain to him why I was naked apart from the silk dressing gown to begin with. When you actually do something like that it feels sexy and empowering, but having to say it, even to Dean made me feel pathetic and desperate. I don’t know how I am going to tell my Mum about the things that I endured. I fear having to tell the police and even a court room full of strangers if we are even lucky enough to get that far, what if they think I led him on in some way? That I was dressed to seduce him or something! What will they think when I have to admit that I didn’t even attempt to fight him off? Will they understand? I have to shake these panicky thoughts away and that is how my mother finds me shaking my head and silently crying.
My poor Mum cannot hide her horror, Dean had been quietly talking to her in the hall and I am sure that he tried to prepare her, but my Mum clasps her hand over her mouth and gawps at me. Her normally neat grey perm is wild where she has clearly pulled the rollers out in a hurry and her face is bare of make up making her look every inch of her 67 years. I am about to get up to comfort her but Dean beats me to it, he gently guides her to the chair he had been sitting in and sets about making her a cup of tea. The only words that are spoken are about how many sugars she takes and how strong she would like her brew. I know that I am the elephant in the room, that my poor Mother must want to know what happened but I cannot bring myself to talk right now, as cruel as I feel for that. I do try to smile and try to assure her that I am OK, but nothing can wipe the agony from her face. Mum gets up and comes over to me; I am still sitting as we embrace but I hug her as firmly as I can. As she pulls away to accept her tea from Dean I see that she is shaking and that her pretty white blouse is stained with my blood, tears well up in my eyes again. Is life always going to be bleak now, I cannot help but wonder. Perhaps how I look now is all that people will see when they look at me from now on. I hope not!
Before anyone can say anything further there is another knock at the door. We all look at each other and brace ourselves for what can only be the police. Fear engulfs me again and bile rises within me once again. As I hear Dean invite them in I stand on my weak and still shaking legs. I know that I need to be brave and to face everything head on if we are ever going to get through this, so I had better start right now.