France* had an “atypical” career path. She lived, explored, settled down, explored again, then got raped. And since then, nothing has been the same…

“Believe me, don’t believe me, I haven’t had anyone since. It’s not easy…” confides the young woman, in her late thirties, with reddened eyes and a trembling voice, after a full hour of charged confidences.

She arranged to meet us in a café in Trois-Rivières to talk. She’s come a long way, casually, and she’s finally able to talk about it. “Three years ago, I wasn’t capable at all. In three years, maybe I’ll be even stronger? »

Seated apart, the thirty-year-old with colored hair, a health worker by trade, initially confides in lightness. His story started off pretty well. Think: first time at 16 “like in the teen films of the time, it had to happen before prom”, a lover at 17 with whom she finally “discovered” “pleasure”, in a relationship that lasts one year.

“And then, at 19, I experienced my first attack,” she continues without transition. We didn’t see that one coming. How then ? “In a party context,” she says, “at the end of the evening, the guy tries it, I say no, he ignores the no’s and puts his hand in my panties…”

France is upset, seeks help at school, and hears the counselor ask her again: “How were you dressed? » “I felt guilty, I really did. »

Another era? Not exactly: “It hasn’t been that long,” she reminds us, “that’s what’s disgusting…”

The months pass and France concentrates on her studies. A few one nights, a little French in a bar here and there, “that was enough for me”.

The following summer, she had a significant encounter: real love at first sight for a guy in an open relationship. It takes years for her to tell him that she would like to experience something with him, which they end up doing, and she is not disappointed. “It’s been on another level,” she smiles. He was completely at ease with his body, standing in front of the mirror for hours and hours. » They dated for several months, during which France also saw other men. “It was very hard to deal with emotionally,” she says, “looking back, “too much love! I didn’t know who to prioritize! »

And then in her mid-twenties, she finally said to herself that perhaps she should think about settling down. “Could I try something steady? » It was at this moment that she met the father of her child on a site. “Really good guy,” she said. But ? “We laughed, we were best friends, but we didn’t have the chemistry…”

Worse: the man doesn’t like French and is “uncomfortable” with oral sex. “I had zero cunnilingus the entire relationship. » But France hangs on because he is tender and serious. “I felt loved, but not wanted…” Their story lasted almost ten years. The last two years, “it’s dead.”

What if she cheated on him? One and only time: just before leaving him. “And that confirmed that I had to leave it,” she emphasizes. It brought me back to life, I was dead inside! »

Following her separation, in her mid-30s, France came back to life. Literally: “It’s a beautiful time, really. I started loving myself again, I played sports, I thought I was beautiful. » And she has “many” lovers. She even has a bucket list of fantasies to fulfill: swingers club, fetish experience… “I even had one person who wanted me to pee in their mouth. ” And then ? “I said no for a long time, I finally tried, and it confirmed why I said no for a long time,” she replies knowingly.

This phase lasts for a year, until France again says to himself: “I’m calming down. » “I wanted to meet more seriously,” she continues, still without transition, “and that’s when I met the guy who was going to attack me…”

Or so ? An application. It was at the third meeting, when nothing had happened yet, that things got out of hand. “I worked a lot, I had little time,” she says, “but that evening, he decided that it was happening. »

She remembers every detail: they eat together, then he lays her on the couch, kisses her and starts taking off his pants. She says no. He keeps on. Say no again. He holds her legs. Then takes out his penis. And becomes “empty”. To this day, the scene still haunts her. “I froze,” she said, her voice breaking, her eyes suddenly full of tears.

She eventually left, and they never saw each other again. A few exchanges in writing, denigrating, on top of that, and it stopped there.

Yes, she filed a complaint. Besides, she is awaiting her trial. France also wishes to emphasize that the welcome, both from the police officers and the investigators (two women, which is greatly appreciated, she specifies), was “wonderful”.

Except it doesn’t stop there. It’s been three years, to be exact, and since then, France no longer dares to approach men. Once, just once, she kissed an old acquaintance, and she broke down. ” I cried. I just saw my attacker’s penis,” she said, her voice choking.

It’s because she’s “scared.” Fear of being frightened and afraid. Fear of being in pain and hurting. To never escape from this spiral. “I have stages to go through, I have to go through them, but it’s hard to find someone to go through them with! […] I don’t know how to meet someone anymore! » It must be said that she has isolated herself, avoids happy hours (“people drinking, I feel uncomfortable”) and is always at risk of starting to cry.

“It changed me,” she concluded, wiping her cheeks. I no longer trust that a man will respect my boundaries. I no longer have confidence in myself, in being able to assert myself. […] At the same time, I walked. Maybe it will come back. But differently. […] But it’s not normal to be afraid of being attacked if I go to someone’s house for dinner. Society must progress. […] This is not normal,” she repeats.

His story ends here. For now, at least. France takes a deep breath, confirms that talking “feels good” and rushes off to smoke a cigarette.