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Gratis (en anoniem)

Ellemijn wishes to remain anonymous. The woman in this picture is not Ellemijn. Foto: Eye for Ebony

Ellemijn’s story

Ellemijn (28) was raped by an unknown man when she was 18. Her body froze during the rape, so Ellemijn was unable to fight back. The perpetrator has never been caught.


‘I have escaped my prison’

‘I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s how I see it. After taking the train, I walked from the station to my house, it was evening, and suddenly a lost jogger appeared. A jogger who had set his sights on me. He threw me to the ground and started groping me right away. “I just want to look,” he said in an almost friendly way. That felt like a relief, that he was only after my body and didn’t want to kill me. He raped me on the cycle path.

Unsafe place
That feeling of helplessness, being at the mercy of a rapist, it changed my life. The world became an unsafe place to me. I thought that there would be someone waiting for me at every corner to do something to me. Something awful. Stories of rape and even murder constantly haunted me. When I arrived at my destination, I thought: I made it, I’m still alive but I’m sure it will all go wrong tomorrow. It gave me stomach ache.

‘I was preoccupied with danger all the time, which led to me alienating myself from those around me'

I became scared of the dark, couldn’t be alone anymore, didn’t dare to go outside. To avoid my anxiety, I started using avoidance tricks. I took medicine so I could sleep, I put a bucket next to my bed to use as a toilet, I never again took a “difficult” route on the bike, and I memorised the number plates of suspicious cars. I was preoccupied with danger all the time, which led to me alienating myself from those around me. I didn’t understand how they could view the world as an innocent place.

I had various forms of therapy for seven years, but it didn’t help enough. When my therapist told me to go outside in the dark, I thought this is life threatening. I sabotaged the therapy, didn’t do what was asked of me. I heard about avoidance behaviour by coincidence. What it is and the effect it can have on your life. And that’s when the penny dropped. I thought, this is about me. All of a sudden, I understood I was constantly displaying avoidance behaviour.

I started practicing, practicing, practicing. Staying in my seat if a strange man came and sat next to me, sleeping a night on my own, that kind of thing. I got braver and braver. I started to realise more and more that I would be able to fight back if I was ever threatened. The fact I was at my rapist’s mercy back then doesn’t mean I am always at his mercy. I could be very different next time. I gradually escaped my self-made prison. I can be at home alone again. I no longer need a babysitter. I can do it by myself, and I dare to live again.’


After an unwanted sexual experience it is good that someone is there for the victim. Your support can make a difference. But what is the best thing to do? Check out our tips for loved ones.

Do you need help or advice?

Have you also experienced an unpleasant sexual experience and need help or advice?
Then contact the Sexual Assault Center. We are here for you!