Raped over a dream

We planned to marry, have kids – then he at­tacked me…

Chat - - Contents - By Aimee Pace, 27, from Le­ices­ter

Charm­ing, funny... those first mes­sages in April 2008 made me smile. I was 18 when I got chat­ting to Mor­gan on Mys­pace.

Six months younger than me, Mor­gan John­sonHar­ris lived not far away from me and was a bas­ket­ball player...

I was in the sixth form, had a part-time job in a phar­macy and sang in a band.

We clicked in­stantly and spent hours talk­ing to each other on the phone.

A few days later, he came to meet me in per­son.

At 6ft 9in tall, Mor­gan, 18, tow­ered over my 5ft 5in frame. He was mus­cly, too.

There was an in­stant con­nec­tion and we walked to the park, chat­ted for hours.

Af­ter that, he’d come to my house most evenings, be­fore catch­ing the last bus home.

Kind and car­ing, he bought an ex­er­cise book and wrote me lovely mes­sages in it, bought me presents.

‘I want to get mar­ried and have chil­dren with you,’ he told me one day.

‘Me, too,’ I agreed.

Mor­gan was my first se­ri­ous boyfriend, and I idolised him.

Soon, I was stay­ing at his house most week­ends.

So in love.

But, about six months af­ter we got to­gether, I had fam­ily prob­lems, be­came de­pressed.

In­stead of sup­port­ing me, Mor­gan started putting me down, mak­ing snide re­marks.

Then one day at his, he re­ally laid into me.

‘You’re ugly, you can’t sing. You’ve got no friends…’

Shocked, my eyes filled with tears. But he didn’t stop.

‘The only per­son you’ve got is me,’ he sneered. ‘No­body else.’ Sob­bing, I got up to leave. ‘I’ll break your phone and lap­top if you go,’ he threat­ened, grab­bing my arm.

Then he punched me hard on the thigh. I reeled, stunned.

Why is he treat­ing me like this? I thought, up­set.

And then, sud­denly, I came to my senses.

‘I don’t want to be with you,’ I told Mor­gan.

‘I’m sorry,’ he cried. ‘I’ll never do it again.’

Young and naive, I be­lieved Mor­gan’s prom­ise that it wouldn’t hap­pen again, but he’d suc­ceeded in mak­ing me feel worth­less. As if I only had him.

And, af­ter that, his abu­sive be­hav­iour be­came the norm. ‘Leave him,’ Mum begged. ‘But I love him,’ I replied. Mor­gan had a hold over me, so I kept tak­ing him back.

I did make a stand about one thing, though.

‘I don’t want to have sex with you while you’re be­ing like this,’ I told him.

So we hadn’t slept to­gether for a cou­ple of months when Mum went on hol­i­day on

He was my first se­ri­ous boyfriend, and I idolised him

Satur­day 30 May 2009. That day, Mor­gan phoned. ‘You’re go­ing to be lonely on your own,’ he said to me. ‘Shall I come around?’ ‘OK,’ I replied war­ily. We had a re­ally nice two days – watch­ing TV, go­ing for walks, snug­gling on the sofa.

It was like the Mor­gan I’d fallen in love with was back.

But, on the third day, he awoke in a foul mood.

‘I dreamt you cheated on me,’ he raged.

‘Of course I haven’t,’ I told him. ‘It was just a bad dream.’

But he was fum­ing for the rest of the day, kept mak­ing spite­ful re­marks.

By evening, he was apolo­getic – cook­ing me chicken dip­pers and chips, car­ry­ing me up to bed when I got tired.

I put on my py­ja­mas and went to sleep. But, when I woke up next morn­ing, Mor­gan was ly­ing next to me and I was naked.

‘I took off your clothes and tried to have sex with you,’ he said. ‘But I couldn’t.’

‘Why would you do that?’ I gasped, hor­ri­fied. He knew I didn’t want sex – I was asleep! He didn’t an­swer me. ‘I can’t take this any more,’ I snapped. ‘Leave, and don’t come back.’

But Mor­gan re­fused to go.

For most of the day, he shouted vile abuse at me, re­duc­ing me to tears.

I felt trapped in my own home. And his abuse and in­sults were re­lent­less, went on for hours.

It was early af­ter­noon when, sud­denly, Mor­gan snapped – grabbed me by my hair.

‘I’m go­ing to rape you and kill you,’ he hissed, be­fore stalk­ing into the kitchen.

My heart thun­dered as he re­turned with a stain­less steel kitchen knife.

‘You wouldn’t dare!’ I gasped, as he put the knife to my neck.

I felt over­whelmed with relief when Mor­gan dropped the knife. But, be­fore I knew what was hap­pen­ing, I was pushed to my knees, my head shoved into the sofa.

And then I felt Mor­gan’s hands pulling down my py­jama bot­toms.

‘What are you do­ing?!’ I cried.

I heard him undo his belt, and pull down his trousers.

I tried to fight him off but I was no match for his size and strength.

‘Please don’t do this!’ I screamed, ter­ri­fied.

But he didn’t stop…

I tried to fight, was no match for his size and strength

Mor­gan raped me, then got up and walked away, laugh­ing.

I was too scared to move or speak.

‘Get dressed,’ he said even­tu­ally. ‘You slut.’

When I didn’t move, he pulled me up, put my py­jama bot­toms back on and sat by me.

I was ex­pect­ing to get more vile abuse from him. In­stead... ‘I’m re­ally sorry,’ he said. ‘I think you should tell the po­lice be­cause I need to be dealt with.’ Af­ter he left, I did just that. The po­lice took my clothes away for ev­i­dence and I was taken to a rape cen­tre to be ex­am­ined and to make a video state­ment.

Part of me felt as if I was be­tray­ing Mor­gan – I still loved him. But I’d done the right thing. He was ar­rested and bailed. For the next three months, Mor­gan and I car­ried on tex­ting, speak­ing on the phone.

Mor­gan promised to make some­thing of his life af­ter prison, to do the right thing.

In Novem­ber 2009, Mor­gan John­son-har­ris ap­peared at Le­ices­ter Crown Court. He pleaded guilty to rape and as­sault oc­ca­sion­ing ac­tual bod­ily harm.

Thank­fully, it meant that I didn’t have to go through the trauma of a court case.

He got an in­de­ter­mi­nate sen­tence with a min­i­mum term to be served – two years, 293

days. He’ll re­main on the sex of­fend­ers reg­is­ter in­def­i­nitely.

When he went to prison, he car­ried on writ­ing to me and, at first, I wrote back.

He’d had a hold over me for so long, I couldn’t stop.

But then, in March 2010, we moved house and I didn’t give him our ad­dress.

I re­alised how un­healthy the con­tact was.

That same year, I started work­ing for Le­ices­ter Rape Cri­sis helpline.

I also went to Botswana with a char­ity that sup­ports vic­tims of rape and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence over there. I made a new life for my­self. I be­lieve Mor­gan was re­cently re­leased.

When I saw him come up as a ‘friend’ sug­ges­tion on Face­book, I felt sick.

My story shows just how deep abuse goes.

Even af­ter I was raped, his hold on me still re­mained. Now I’m free. I’m telling my story to show other women that do­mes­tic abuse doesn’t have to break you – it can make you, too.

Mor­gan John­son-har­ris put me through hell, but I’ve re­built my life again.

I’m not a vic­tim – I’m a sur­vivor.

My story shows just how deep abuse goes…

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