Please note that the following blog post contains discussions around rape and sexual assault.
The recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein of rape and sexual assault have prompted women all over the world to start sharing their experiences of such abuse that they have had done unto themselves. I, like many other women, have been sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, and have had a man force himself upon me.
My first time
My first sexual encounter with a man was one that was not entirely consentual. This story is one that I have not shared in full with anyone, so it may come as a bit of a shock. I was in a club with my friends, and a man who was a good few years older than me started making a move on me. Initially, I showed interest, but when it came to the time that I was ready to go home (my friends were leaving), he wasn’t keen for me to leave. I had no plans to go back with him, but after telling him that I wanted to go home, he was quite insistent that I go with him. I shouted at him, in front of the bouncers, saying that I wanted to leave. He had his hands wrapped quite tightly around my wrists and wouldn’t let go when I asked him to. The bouncers said nothing. They saw a teenage girl with an older man holding her wrists and shouting to let go, but they didn’t even flinch. I had had quite a lot to drink but I remember it very clearly.
Eventually, he let go of my arms and then profusely apologised. At the time, I believed him – I believed that he was sorry. I look back now and realise that he had manipulated me. This should have been a warning for what was to come next, but I was young, naive and scared. I went back with him to his flat and we had sex. As it was my first time, it was painful, but thankfully it was over quite quickly. The next morning, he tried it on again but I had no interest in repeating that unpleasant experience. I said, “No” very clearly, but he ignored me. He pinned me down and forced a kiss on me. I tried to struggle to get him off and repeatedly said, “No! Get off me!” but he wouldn’t listen. He put on a condom and forced himself on me – just very briefly. That was when I really struggled and shoved him. He then broke down in tears, apologising yet again.
After all that had blown over, he got dressed and went off to work. I pretended to go back to sleep as he was doing this so that he would leave me alone. Just before he left, he asked for my phone number. I gave it to him because I panicked. As soon as he left, I hurriedly gathered my items and ran out the door. He actually had the nerve to text me asking when he was going to see me again. Completely baffling.
Was I raped?
For a very long time, I was running everything over in my head – over and over and over again. “Was I just raped?” I would ask myself. I had decided to tell myself that I wasn’t – after all, I had willingly gone back to his flat and had sex with him. He didn’t drag me there. Guess what, though? None of that matters. None of it. I was coerced in to going because I was scared of what would happen if I didn’t. I actively told him NO and he ignored me. Rape is rape.
This isn’t the only time that men have inflicted their unwanted advances upon me. I have genuinely lost count of the number of times that I have had some man feel me up in a club. I once had someone slap my arse really hard when I was leaning over the bar to try to order a drink – but I had the last laugh, because I got him and all of his mates thrown out and banned from the venue. I also once had someone repeatedly thrust themselves on me from behind whilst I was at a gig and couldn’t get away because I was up at the front and there was no room to move. He also slapped my arse and tried lifting me up on to the stage by it too. I also got the last laugh with that one because some kind gent behind me rugby-tackled him to the ground and dragged him outside by the hair to get rid of him.
In addition to these incidents, I’ve been grinded on dozens of times and, when I have told them to stop, they just simply haven’t stopped. They continue going until you violently shove them away, at which point they then start getting aggressive at you for defending yourself.
Cat-calling is not a compliment – it’s terrifying
Not only have I been sexually assaulted numerous times, I have also, like most women, been harassed in the street. I once had a car-full of men pull up beside me, beckon me toward them and shout, “I’m going to do you up the f*cking arse” and then drive off laughing. I’ve had people shout “Get your t*ts out you sl*g”, “Show us your t*ts love” and also been told by a club bouncer, “Suck me off, darlin'”. These are only the times that I can remember – there have been so many other times that I can’t recall because it has happened so often.
Why am I sharing this story?
The reason that I am recanting all of these tales is because I feel that I need to get them off my chest – carrying around secrets like these is not good for your mental health. Most importantly, though, I want people to realise just how often this happens. If it hasn’t happened to you, it has certainly happened to someone that you know.
This needs to stop. Now.