I haven’t posted in a really long time, mainly down to the fact I started work again a month ago and I’m still settling into the work-baby-home-no sleep routine.
But then i saw the news, the Harvey Weinstein stories. I saw social media. And this hashtag. #MeToo So I had to write something.
When I made this blog, I debated with myself about opening it up to everyone, or staying private because I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about people who actually knew who I was in real life, knowing my thoughts and feelings.
I’m really glad now that i stayed private, because it means I can write this post. I feel like with everything going on, i need to write something, i need to get this to stop swimming in my head. It’s going to be emotional for me to do it, but I think, I hope somewhat therapeutic too. So here goes, this is my story.
Please take note, this is my story in all its detail. While some out there find it better for themselves to not go through the details, for me almost 10 years on, it has helped, but this may trigger unwanted feelings or memories for survivors of similar experiances.
There are 3 people in the world that know this about me. My partner of 8 years, and two male friends of mine.
(This is the bit where I’m going to point out that the next sentence genuinely took me two days to type out)
I was raped at 17.
I’ve never actually seen it or said it like that before. I feel a bit sick doing this but I’m going to carry on.
I was 17, happy, semi-confident-ish. I had a good group of friends, I was studying for A Levels in Art, Textiles and I.T. I wanted to be a fashion designer. I was single, but in love.
My boyfriend of a year and a half had split up with me just before Christmas, telling me he wanted to be with someone else, but then spent months telling me that he missed me, loved me, but didn’t want to break her heart.
Exams were coming, it was April, it was my friend’s birthday party. A house party, fancy dress, lots of cheap alcohol.
I was the “mum” of the group I guess. I always knew my limit with booze, never drank too much, never let people talk me into things, i was the one who always looked after everyone else.
No one looked after me.
I’d had a rough time the past few months, my grandad (through marriage thank god) had been charged with molesting a 12 year old girl. My gran was torn apart, and therefore my mum and I too. I had a lot of questions that I realised I’d never get the answer to, I felt like my heart had been ripped out.
I trusted him, I loved him, he was the only grandad I had known growing up. He babysat me countless times.
So the party was perfect timing, it was the day of his sentancing. My mum had gone to be with my gran and her lawyer, and she told me she’d call me the second she knew anything. 4 years was all he got, 2 with good behaviour. I was devastated and confused, and at a house party.
No body cared that I was sat in a dark bedroom by myself crying. I’d spoken to my ex, but his knew girlfriend started calling so he had to go. I had no one.
That was until my friend’s older brother came home. He heard me crying, he came and sat with me and held me and told me everything was going to be okay. A drunk-ish 17 year old me divulged everything to him, he promised me he’d be there for me, even if none of my supposed friends were. He told me to come upstairs with him and have a drink and calm down. He said there’s no point in going downstairs and getting upset with everyone because they wouldn’t care anyway, they’re all too selfish. And there’s no point going home and sitting alone because my mum wasn’t home.
I went. Everything was fine, nice even. He let me drink, smoke. He was smoking weed and offered it to me but wasn’t pushy when I declined.
It started to get late, the party started to wind down, people were beginning to fall asleep downstairs. I told him I should go, I only lived around the corner so I’d always said I’d just go home once I got tired, I never planned on spending the night. He asked me if my mum was home yet, I said she wouldn’t be back till tomorrow, she was staying with my gran tonight.
He told me to just sleep in his bed, he promised me I’d be alone, he said he would sleep on his couch. I protested and told him I’d be fine, but he insisted. Again, no point in going back to an empty dark house, not on a day like today.
So I did. I climbed in his bed, and I was alone, and I fell asleep feeling protected and safe.
I did not wake up feeling that way.
I don’t know how long I’d been asleep. I didnt know what time it was. I don’t know how long he had been in the bed next to me. I don’t know how long he’d been naked.
All I knew was that something didn’t feel right. I came to, and opened my eyes, he was on top of me, he was inside me. I tried to push him away, he told me i was enjoying it really. I told him to stop, he told me to just let him finish. He pinned my arms next to me so I couldn’t get away, he told me not to make a sound or he would choke me, and besides, who would believe me anyway, i had spent all night in his room, they would just think I was a slut. He told me to stop fighting because I obviously wanted this, I wouldn’t have sat with him all night otherwise.
So I stopped fighting, I stopped trying to make him stop, I stopped everything. I lay there, in the bed of someone who I thought I could trust, while he raped me.
That day ruined my life. It ruined me.
I stayed home for weeks. I didn’t talk to people. I told them I was just sorting out my exam. I didn’t go to class. I blamed it on my grandad’s sentancing. I had one friend, who knew something had changed with me, she didn’t push to ask what it was, and I didn’t tell. But she worked part time as a waitress in the evenings, so we started spending the days together, we would drink, we would smoke and then I’d go home when she started her shift.
I quit my a levels, I did the exam but didn’t even bother to go and see the results. I didn’t bother telling school i wasn’t coming back, I just didn’t turn up. They got the picture eventually and stopped trying to call me.
I got a part time job because my mum told me to, because she didn’t understand what had changed in me, she didn’t understand who I am now. I started working at a supermarket in the Autumn. I didn’t want to be a fashion designer anymore. I didn’t want to be anything anymore. I drank every day, I barely ate, I got into fights.
I can’t sit here and say that there was ever a day where I felt like I had healed. I don’t think I’ve healed to this day.
Rape on tv still makes my stomach churn. Typing out this blog post still made me cry.
People talking about rape makes me nervous. It makes me feel like I’ll blurt it out like some dirty little secret. But I’m ashamed.
And that right there is the sole reason I didn’t report him to the police, or my family, or my friends. I was ashamed. I felt stupid. I still do. As a 26 year old woman, I feel stupid that I let someone dupe me into thinking that I could trust them.
But the truth is, I shouldn’t be ashamed. I shouldn’t feel stupid. If it had been a closer male friend of mine, it wouldn’t have happened. How was I supposed to know my friend’s brother was a rapist? A predator who saw a vulnerable drunk girl 9 years his junior, and thought to himself, I’m gonna screw her tonight whether she likes it or not.
I said three people know. They do. They know I was raped. I never told them who by. I never told them what night it was. I never told them that he made me trust him. I never told them how I felt like it was my fault.
I never told them how for years, I blamed myself. For going up there, for not going home when I got tired, for letting him tell everyone, including my friends, how he had slept with me, and for not telling them that he hadn’t slept with me, he had raped me. He had procured my trust and then used it against me to force himself upon me in a vulnerable state.
My #MeToo story isn’t about just my rape. It’s about how the straight male friends of mine teased me for months about ‘sleeping’ with him, never looking at the defensive signs I gave, or listening to how I told them to shut up about it. They thought I didn’t want to be teased, I just didn’t want to relive it every time. They thought I was sick of them taking the piss, but I wanted them to ask me why I looked that way every time they brought it up. How the shame across my face was not because I was a regretful girl who got drunk and slept with her friend’s brother, how the shame written across me was because I felt like I could have changed the course of events to prevent being raped. How I was angry at them all for not coming to save me.
It’s about how when a friend told her parents she had been sexually assaulted to get out of missing her curfew and wanted me to lie with her, I never spoke to her again.
It’s about how I heard countless stories over the years of girls I knew ‘crying wolf’ to make an ex pay attention to them, or to stop their parents from being mad at them, it made me sick.
It’s about how when now, I see tweets that say things like “Obviously the #MeToo hashtag just proved how weak minded women are, why did they not speak up sooner? $ over everything” (This was tweeted by a woman)
Weak minded?! Bitch please. You haven’t been assaulted or abused have you?
This hashtag is about the strength we have.
You’ve never woken up in cold sweats because you’ve had that nightmare again.
You’ve never had to hold your keys poking out through your fingers because you’re so afraid to go anywhere.
You’ve never had to explain to someone you potentially want to spend your life with, why you may never ever fully trust him.
You’ve never had to tell someone to stop during consensual sex because they’ve done something in the moment that has made you freak out and go back in time.
We are not weak minded. We are strong. The men who assault us are weak minded, they lack self control. I am stronger than you because I live with what happened every day. And I live with the fact that he is still out there, and that he lives his life as if nothing ever changed for him. I am strong.
My #MeToo story is about being catcalled, honked at, patronised, felt up, groped, leered at, kissed, grabbed and raped.
All of these thing have happened to me. If I wrote down the most memorable stories from each one, I don’t know if I’d ever finish this post.
So to the people out there who have never been a victim, feel lucky. Feel grateful. Understand that you are one of the few, not the many. Understand that just because you’re not a victim or a predator, you are still responsible for calling out people who try to do any of the above listed things to anyone. You are responsible for raising your children to do better. You are responsible for checking on your friends when they are vulnerable. You are responsible.
And for anyone who has been victimized, assaulted, abused or otherwise, remember that you are strong. You are not to blame. You can survive and you do. You will at some point feel like a human again, it will take time, but it will happen.