It’s been a while.
I toyed with the idea of starting a new blog, even bought a domain, but in the end, this is probably my spiritual home. Today’s post is going to be about something that didn’t happen to me, but it really could have, and how/why that freaks me THE FUCK out.
I used to know this guy. Over time, it became clear that because we’d fooled around a couple of times after he’d split with his girlfriend, he couldn’t really be trusted to be alone with me. Even physical games (rough-housing–I don’t mean anything sexual) became about him trying to dominate me, in increasingly humiliating ways, and then being pissed off if I fought back.
Eventually, he spread a rumour that I’d said something about his new girlfriend (I hadn’t–if I had, I’d have owned up to it). He sent me a message in which he told me at least 1 lie that I can prove, and a couple of things that I’m 90% sure are suspect. Without giving me a chance to respond, he blocked me and warned me that if I contacted him in any way, he’d ignore it.
Even people accused of a crime have the right to answer their accuser, legally speaking. And this guy used to say I was one of his best friends.
A couple of months after this, I was complaining about one of the times this former “friend” of mine had pushed me up against a wall and tried to snog me. The friend I was telling then went on to mention a third friend of ours, who had been staying with ex-friend…. apparently, one night after getting outrageously drunk, he followed her up to her room, threw open the door, went inside, and shoved his hand down her pants.
That’s sexual assault.
And maybe if I’d said something about the… more than 5? fewer than 10?… times he’d done similar things to me (albeit, he never got as far as groping my vag, just other parts of me, plus holding me still and laughing while I struggled) maybe he’d have known better. A nice caution from the police might have made all the difference.
The worst bit is, she was staying at his while recovering from a life-threatening illness. She’d been hospitalized several times that year. And she has a history of serious, damaging sexual abuse. She was the epitome of a vulnerable person… and in hindsight, by not telling everyone what I knew about him, maybe even going to the police about it, I contributed to the ignorance that helped put her in that position.
Don’t misunderstand me. It’s 100% on him, that he both did that and continues to deny it now, over a year later. But if I could’ve prevented it, I would have… I just (foolishly) believed him, all the times he said he was sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again. But then, it’s not the first time I’ve fallen for that particular chestnut.
I have a history of being abused, too.
To summarise, the thing I wish I didn’t know: if someone sexually assaults you, no matter how minor the assault is (and there are scales to rate these things, so it’s legit to say some attacks are worse than others) you need to tell people about it. If not the police, at least the people likely to be at your abuser’s mercy. If you don’t, you’re still the victim and you mustn’t feel guilty about it, but… if you can, tell. Tell everyone.
And cut all ties with the abuser calling themselves your friend. Something like 80% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by people you know. They’re predators, they choose to prey on people they suspect won’t report them, won’t call them on their behaviour, due to misplaced loyalty.
It is in no way your fault if something bad happens to you–but please, if you can, get away from people you *know* actively want to hurt you.
Here are some groups who can help you move on:
SupportLine 01708 765200
Confidential emotional support to children, young adults and adults by telephone, email and post.
CISters (Surviving Rape and/or Sexual Abuse) 02380 338080
Answerphone 023 80 338080 is usually monitored daily during the week and callers can choose to leave their name and phone number, and we will call them back and will take care when doing so. Or can email firstname.lastname@example.org
The helpline is available to female adult survivors of childhood rape/sexual abuse, and others can call if they have a concern about such issues. In the case of the latter we will seek to signpost them to appropriate services.
Rape Crisis England & Wales
Rape Crisis England & Wales is a national feminist organisation that exists to promote the needs and rights of women and girls who have experienced sexual violence, to improve services to them and to work towards the elimination of sexual violence. They are a national umbrella body for their network of autonomous member Rape Crisis organisations across England and Wales and was set up to support their specialist work.