CW: Discussions of r*pe and PTSD
That’s a weird realisation.
It feels like a milestone, or like a huge anniversary.
But it’s literally the decennial of something that irreversibly changed the trajectory of my life, of me as a person, of my entire worldview.
It’s been 10 years since I was raped.
(I mean… it’s happened before and since then as well, but this was the only one I’ve reported and the entire circumstances around it were deeply deeply traumatising).
Also, what are the chances that it’d fall exactly on the 2023 Sexual Assault Awareness Month Day of Action?? The first Tuesday of April – which is April 4th this year. Yesterday.
At this time of year I start to feel really funny and have this need to know exactly what date it happened in 2013.
Somehow my body knows “that date” cos I’ll have a panic attack or get really emotional for no reason, and be like… wait… Then I’ll look up my Facebook memories for that innocent photo taken the same day that haunts me every year, and yup.. my body was right. It’s “that date”.
So to avoid this happening every year, it’s literally in my Google Calendar as a repeating event.
Why am I like this?! I’m so fucking bleak.
But honestly, I know why I am like this… it’s the feeling of control. Not knowing feels so much worse than knowing. Not knowing lived rent-free in my subconscious. Not knowing means it’s every fucking day. Knowing means it’s only “that date”.
Do other people do this????
Anyways, I’ve written about this in about 20 different ways – I’ll put links to previous blogs if you hate feeling good about the world 💜
- The truth about sexual assault
- This is just for the men
- 2020 has killed my eternal optimism. Send halp.
Today I want to write about how far we’ve come in the last 10 years
Firstly I want to acknowledge that we have not come neeeearly far enough.
I have seen first-hand someone very close to me go through something extremely similarly to me and honestly, it was uncanny how alike her experience was to mine. That hurts to my core to know that people who go through these god awful experiences are still getting the same outcomes that I got 10 years ago.
In saying that, I am soooo grateful that we have come far enough that people at least have the words to talk about these topics. Consent is a concept that people seem to know now – I had to research high and low in 2013 to try grasp this concept cos I had never been taught it.
And, as shitty that it is that I have had the exact same experience, at least I can hold the hand of a person who is going through it, and they know that I know what they know. We’re different, but we know a type of pain that is indescribable to the unexperienced.
I don’t want to brag, but I totally did #MeToo before it was cool. Such a trendsetter 🤪✌️ I wanted people to know that this stuff happens… and it hurts… and it’s complex…
So I wrote a blog about what happened and posted it in 2016. It was terrifying. Then in 2017, Me Too took the world by storm. Suddenly everyone was talking about it. It was amazing, and awful – my PTSD hated it and loved it deeply.
I felt so seen and understood, and so happy that the general population was learning how to have these conversations. But my god, did they want to have those conversations.
Looking at my Facebook comment sections from 2014 to 2017 is an absolute dumpster fire. I imagine that the people who were engaging with me about the concepts of rape, sexual assault, and consent would feel pretty shocked at some of the things that they said. I don’t believe any of them would be asking those questions now in 2023 cos these look particularly bad 😅
Quick content note that below there are screenshots from comment sections including about the Roastbusters case
Ok it hurts to just leave these comments on here and not the response, so here you go.
In no way do I want to name and shame people – I’m sharing these things with the opposite intention. I love to see growth and expansion. Sometimes you need to see your bad takes to know that you now have better ones – ya know?
In saying that, I am also partially just wanting to remind people of the emotional labour that goes into these terrible conversations that I was having, teaching people about consent. That was a lot that I took on for dudes that wanted me to listen to them but seemed to not to want to hear me.
They literally never told me if they understood my points, or changed their mind, or generally just heard me. They just stopped replying when my logic got too difficult to pierce.
However, over the past few years I have had several men thank me for essentially educating them and telling me how important my blogs were to them.
No wonder I’m so goddamn tired now!
I try avoid those sorts of comment section discussions now (after essentially being forced to by my therapist because apparently I was “compulsive” and it was “seriously damaging to my mental health” and “causing me panic attacks” – they’re so dramatic 😌).
But seriously, it was 😅
In 2023, the conversation is no longer just sitting on the shoulders of victims anymore. Victims who end up literally re-traumatising themselves in the pursuit of trying to make the world a safer place for other people.
Victims who end up having friends inadvertently tell them their rape didn’t count and discuss the issue like it’s a just an abstract theory. Like it’s a fun little thought experiment that can be discussed in the most blasé, throwaway manner. As if it doesn’t cut to the core when victims try to tell people that the worst thing that’s ever happened to them is not just an emotionless concept that the devil needs to weigh in on.
I’m so grateful for the people who picked up the slack when Me Too wore out and deeply triggered the people who were telling the world their trauma. When they showed the world that their story mattered, people stood alongside them and said “yes, your story matters” and started talking too. So many people picked up those awful conversations that I just can’t anymore.
Even if the world still has trash humans who will victimise people, I’m glad that at least they should know the concept of consent. That if they do sexually assault people, they know deep down that it’s wrong – there’s no more ignorance to lie back on.
The internet is vast. They can ask ChatGPT. A quick google will explain it in hundreds of different ways.
In 2013, alone in a shitty hotel in Blackpool, I had to research the fuck out of it. I was reading legal definitions or, at a stretch, one or two hardcore feminist blogs who explained that drunk people can’t consent. There was nearly nothing to help me contextualise what had happened to me, even though I knew, in my body and soul, that what happened was bad and wrong, I just wanted to see it written down by a legitimate website before I went to the police.
That took HOURS. Literally HOURS trying to understand if I was raped, or if I was just being a little bitch who couldn’t handle that she’s a drunk slut. But the police confirmed it was rape – although “he said, she said” made it basically impossible to make a solid case and it got dropped.
Now, my TikTok For You Page serves me videos of people explaining consent in all different ways. It’s a new world and I’m so happy that the agony of living with PTSD for the last 10 years and sharing and educating now feels like it was somewhat worth all that emotional labour. Like I’m a part of an incredibly enormous, global network of people who just want to make the world a bit safer for each other.
It’s easy to sit and lean into the click bait headlines and comment sections on the internet and start to believe that the world is a dumpster fire full of threats and awful humans. But while that’s maybe a little true, there are more good humans who want to make the world even gooderer. And it’s working. I truly believe that people are learning and growing and becoming more compassionate.
It’s just taking a long gosh darn time!
I hope that in 10 years, I either no longer need to keep dredging up my soul for you people 😆 or I’ll be able to share another similar sentiment about how far we’ve come again, cos I do believe we will.
Have a lovely day, be kind to yourself, keep educated and compassionate and care for your fellow human 💜
Love Charlie xoxox
If reading this has brought up some negative feelings in you, please make sure you get some support.
If you are worried about your or someone else’s mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call 111.
If you need to talk to someone, the following free helplines operate 24/7 in New Zealand:
- DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757
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- NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737
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- YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633 or text 234There are lots of places to get support.For others, visit: mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/in-crisis/helplines/