I never imagined I’d ever be counted as a statistic. Its one of those stories you hear about, happening to other people… never you; But one day you find yourself a victim and your life completely changed. 6 months later, you finally accept that its happened, but vow never to forget.
…THIS IS MY STORY…
Every time I think about it, I realise that he had it all planned out; pre-meditated on his actions and all that was remaining was for me to follow the script. The script to a play I never auditioned for.
Every time I think about it, I realise that in his eyes, I
was (am) just a body, no soul. To him, I was an object designed especially for his pleasure; to be subsequently to be disposed of.
I get shivers, every time I think about it. It could have happened differently, I could have been killed that night. I am thankful to be alive.
Its hard , not to hate every inch of myself, every time I think about it. Looking at myself in the mirror and not recognising the reflection looking back. Its hard to shut off the voices inside and outside your mind, telling you that its your fault… ‘you should have been more careful‘
Every time I think about it.
Its been 6 months of thinking about it. 6 long months of fighting with myself and my emotions. Of finding myself in a dark and what seemed like endless hole. Realising that time is standing still and passing me by simultaneously.
Sexual Assault: A term used to describe criminal acts that are sexual in nature e.g unwanted touching or kissing, groping or forcing the victim to touch the perpetrator in sexual ways.
Rape: Sex without consent. Including oral sex.
I was sexually assaulted just as 2018 was coming to a close, by someone I knew. We were never really friends, but I knew him. What I thought was an innocent interaction, resulted in me losing a big part of myself.
He knew his intentions of the night. He had it all planned out. . He didn’t account for his lead actress not following the script. We met in a public place but that didn’t stop him.
His plan? To get me drunk and take me home.
His mistake? I wasn’t in a drinking mood and paced myself as he gulped down his drinks.
There was something about the way he downed the drinks that made me anxious then, after some time, he said it ‘ I don’t like this place, too noisy. Come to my apartment its close by. I can buy Champagne on the way and I can make you my special cocktail‘
There it was his intention.
I said no. Why would I go to his house from the restaurant, yet I have my own place to stay?
He bought shots, of the deadliest alcohol they had. 63% abv. He had 4 of them, all at once. I had two, paced. He then switched up, ‘ You know I love you‘ I laughed at the joke, except when I looked up, he had a serious look. ‘ I’m serious, I’ve always loved you, but you broke my heart this year’ Again I failed to follow the script because I just laughed and ignored his comments. It must have infuriated him.
About half an hour later, as I excused myself to go to the washroom, he grabbed my bag before I could and began walking out with my phone, my keys and my wallet. ‘Come you can use the bathroom at my place its close by…‘ He had the higher bargaining power, I saw no other choice.
Five minutes later, in his apartment (which I’ve come to find out was never his), I asked to use the washroom. I returned to the living room, picked my bag and looked for my phone to call an Uber… it wasn’t there… he had set the ball in motion. He had picked it out of my bag and hidden it. He said it was in the bedroom (which I hadn’t entered yet) then tried to manipulate me into thinking that I had put it there myself… silly boy! He misjudged my level of drunkenness.
If there was ever a moment that I knew I was in danger, that was it. As I was trying to call an uber, he burst out crying, taking me by surprise. My kind heart and curiosity let me down, because I wanted to know why he was crying.
‘*sob* you know I love you, *heavy sob* I truly loved you and you hurt me. I even bought your friends drinks and have been nice to them to get your attention’ ‘I love you’
Next thing I know, I was on the bed, his lips were all over my neck and he was trying to kiss me as well. I screamed ‘NO! STOP IT‘ many times, shocked that this was happening. I tried pushing him off but he is quite heavy. I was about to give up.. thinking that it would be easier to let it get over quickly… but somehow, I was still resisting and screaming ‘No‘ even though I knew that no one could hear me. ‘I would never hurt you, I love you. I would never hurt you, I love you’ he repeated over and over as though those words were to comfort me.
I don’t know if it was fear of what was about to happen, but something came over me and I shoved him, got off the bed picked my things and began screaming at him… you know what he did? He blocked the door and began crying ‘I would never hurt you, I love you’ He still had the audacity to keep going. ‘Don’t go I’m sorry‘ He made as if to hug me, and I took the opportunity to push him to the floor and make my way out… he still followed me, begging for us to ‘talk about it‘, all the way to the taxi…
Or so I thought, that was just the beginning of what was to be the hardest 6 months of my life so far. I was fortunate enough to have a friend act as my sense in the moment and convince me to report the incident. Had I not done so, I’m sure the secret would have made me worse off than I was.
The thing is, this experience is such a lonely one. The only true home you have on this earth (the body) has been violated. Emotions are all over the place, but you have to keep it together. An ongoing police case and the voices of people around you don’t make it any better. ‘ He didn’t know what he was doing and now that I’ve explained it to him, he’s sorry‘ The words of my assaulter’s friend, trying to convince me to drop the case and settle the issue without police involvement. Does it make it worse that this was a fellow woman?
It doesn’t end there, even those you’d assume would support you, end up victim blaming and try cover it up as advice. ‘You shouldn’t have been there’ and‘ Sometimes the victim needs to hear the truth’ These same people when unfortunately made to imagine the women close to them as a victim, suddenly become soft… ‘Oh that’s different‘ they’d say… Is it because only those that they love can be a victim?… I hadn’t explained the whole story because I didn’t see the need to beg for support.
I sat in the pit of loneliness for a while, deciding that it is best I keep everything to myself and very few trusted people. Hoping that I would experience the healing that they say ‘comes with time‘ On the outside, everything seemed fine, on the inside was a mess. The world kept going, as it should, despite my life being turned around. It was my job to keep up. I still attended classes and tried my best to keep up social interactions but it was hard. Imagine being physically present but the sights, sounds and even smells around you seem to be coming from a distant.
Anxiety crept up on me. I was scared of leaving the house, least I bump into him or his friends. When I did, my brain played tricks on me because I kept seeing people who looked exactly like those I was hoping to avoid. This kept going, until I actually saw him… twice! The first time he didn’t see me but the second, outside the library he did, and looked me straight in my eye… but I had to keep going.
Insomnia became my friend, fuelled by the thoughts that would not stop racing around my head. I envied my youngest self because she would sleep through anything, yet at hat moment, the slightest noise would wake me. My memory got tampered with, I could barely remember the simplest things and it was a struggle to pay attention when someone was talking to me. Worse, my speech was slightly impaired. I noticed how hard it became to speak without stammering, or to speak and remember words. I no longer knew myself and quite frankly was slowly losing the will to do so.
Nothing made sense anymore. Nothing was interesting and so I began giving up. The signs were there, the way I spoke, ate, dressed. I became increasingly irritable at the smallest things, the end of the month being the worst, my body felt 10 times heavier than it actually is. The simplest thing like getting out of bed became a chore, I completely hated this body that became a chore to carry around.
For 6 months, I slowly lost interest in everything even things I enjoyed seemed like punishment. All this went on until recently when I decided it was enough. He had taken too much away from me and so despite losing a big part of myself, I decided to reclaim my power not only for myself, but for those who may be afraid to speak up due to fear or those who sadly have been silenced forever.
This is a social issue that is avoided regularly because it has to do with sex. An act which has been labelled as shameful. How long will we refuse to speak about it despite the rising number of cases being reported? How long will we allow the victims to punish themselves because law enforcers decide its not an important enough case to get involved in? Unfortunately, the more we keep silent about it, the more we allow it and only when it happens to someone you love will you realise how serious an issue is. Question is though, will anyone be willing to help even then?