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Justine tells the story of one abusive relationship

As stories rarely have a clearly-defined beginning, let alone end, I will start this one on the day that I emailed the local Rape Crisis Centre, as they were looking for new volunteers. That was about three and a half years ago. I didn’t hear much more back from them until the end of the summer, when I was invited to an information evening. My application to become a volunteer was accepted and the training began.

I have always been feminist, but had never really had a proper think about it. It bothered me that people thought women were somehow in any way partly responsible for being raped. I hated trying to buy a music magazine and having to search around Nuts and Zoo to find one. I intensely disliked that so many music publications are clearly aimed at men, as if women couldn’t possibly care about these things. And when I read women’s magazines, the adverts that suggested that looking anything over about 20 years old was hideously unforgivable irritated the hell out of me. Let’s not even talk about the heterosexist relationship advice that focused on pleasing your man by giving him lots of blowjobs on demand.

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