The truth about sexual assault

This is going to be my biggest content warning ever. It triggers me to read this back and I know what it says. I wrote it while having flashbacks so it’s probably more graphic than most things I write.

I also know that things normally sound worse than I realise because I forget some people don’t know my story, plus my perception of my experiences make them become… normal?? So I legit can’t tell if it’s a horror story or I’m just like kinda unlucky.

So, especially for survivors of sexual assault, I don’t necessarily recommend you read this. It isn’t for you, you already know the truth about sexual assault. I love you and I see you and you and I’m sending healing and happy vibes ❤️❤️❤️

For anyone else who decides to read… If you haven’t experienced sexual assault or rape, I’m gonna give you some insight to try help you understand the gravity of it.

I know people know that rape is bad – everyone believes they’ll kill a rapist if they know one… until they know one…

It’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

It’s also just past the 8 year anniversary of my most awful rape.

I’ve also been going through a PTSD relapse this year, partially related to that.

It’s also a time that I’m assisting another person through the process of reporting her own sexual assault.

So to say it’s a hard month is an understatement.

I woke up this morning and had flashbacks of that fateful time 8 years ago. I tried to hold it in, but I couldn’t help from crying and venting to my friend about how I felt while he held me and told me I was safe.

And that gave me the idea for what I wanted to write about for my own little piece of awareness.

I was not a perfect victim

There is the concept of a perfect victim. The type of person that is the victim of a crime, and because of how they acted and responded, they are more likely to be believed, taken seriously and treated compassionately.

I was flirty. I had casual sex. I wore little clothing. I had stayed in the room with them when others left. I was blind drunk. I didn’t say no.

I asked them to promise not to tell anyone. I pretended nothing happened. I was friendly, and actually, joked around with my rapists in the days following what they did to me. I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t report them for days. I collected no evidence. It was my word against theirs.

It was hard to be taken seriously because no one likes an imperfect victim.

You look like a slut. You look like a liar. You look like a drunk.

You look like you were asking for it.

More recently, it was hard to get ACC for my PTSD therapy because I tend towards doing the opposite of what a person with PTSD supposedly does, even though my reaction is so extreme that it’s clearly symptomatic of what happened to me.

Do you avoid going to places that feel unsafe? E.g. bars.

No, fuck you, I’ll go to bars alone. I don’t give a fuck. I’ll go out drinking. I’ll go into dodgy little pubs – they’re my favourite. I won’t let those men affect my actions now, I’ll do it to spite them. I’ll travel alone. I’ll go to Mexico and Guatemala and go out to bars by myself and talk to men. Fuck anyone who tries to stop me.

Do you avoid media that reminds you of what happened to you?

Hilarious, no. I obsessively, compulsively follow public rape cases. I follow news about rape laws around the world and how little rights women have. I research consent. I know the law. I know the definitions. I read all of the comments. I watch all the documentaries. I follow all of the Me Too stories. I’ve basically been preparing as if I might need to back myself or other rape victims in a court of law in the future if I needed to. I’ve been preparing to support my friends. Fucking try me.

Do you feel like you can’t trust people?

Dude, I’ll walk home alone at night. I’ll talk to strangers. I believe people are inherently good. I refuse to believe that everyone wants to hurt me. I’ll end up in positions that people use that trust to hurt me.

Do you avoid sex? Does it make you panic?

Baby, I’ve never had more casual sex than I have in the past 8 years. If anything I’m hypersexual because of it. I’m low key obsessed with it. I am so educated on sex, relationships and kink from podcasts, reading, and social media that I could probably start answering other people’s sex questions pretty similarly to sexologists.

I’m an awful victim. It’s hard to feel sorry for a girl who does everything that they’re supposedly not supposed to do. Who reacts in a way that seems to be the opposite of what you think they should do.

Even though that has literally nothing to do with it. How a person deals with trauma is so personal and there is no right or wrong.

You wouldn’t tell a gazelle it was wrong for going into fight, flight or freeze after it was attacked.

The only thing that matters in a rape case is if there was sexual penetration without consent. A person can’t consent if they’re blind drunk. The end.

The before and after are so irrelevant it’s wild.

But let’s talk about the aftermath

This is what’s getting me lately. How little people seem to understand the extreme effect that sexual assault and rape has on a person.

They’ll be like, rape is a serious crime. Thank you for coming forward. Then do fuck all about it. They might even recommend the rapist contact the victim to talk it out.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FUCKING IDEA HOW TERRIFYING A RAPIST IS TO THE PERSON THEY RAPED?! Jesus fucking Christ.

They are dangerous. They are predatory. And people be like, “well, he says he didn’t do it, so maybe he just didn’t explain it to you properly. Are you sure you didn’t just have sex???”

They’ll act like the negative effects of prosecution of a literal rapist is maybe a bit much. Like… I know what they did was bad and stuff… but we wouldn’t want to ruin his career over one teeny tiny small decision he made one night.

Brock. Fucking. Turner.

So I don’t want people to keep lying to me and saying they’d kill my rapists.

Cos no one did.

And no one would.

Because it’s a lie – people feel bad for rapists when they look them in the eye and talk to them about it. Men are so scared of a false allegation that they’ll feel bad for an actual rapist. Many people are so aware that they’ve done some kinda dodgy shit in their life that they’ll back away quietly from the situation and pretend like they didn’t hear nothin’.

No one got vigilante on my rapists.

You know what people around me did do?

Suggested I was lying. Suggested I was a slut. Suggested I drink less. Suggested I was just ashamed for “having a threesome”. Suggested I was overreacting. Suggested that the guys were shaken up enough by what I was saying. Suggested that them just being interviewed by the police was scary enough for them. Suggested I maybe should just shut up and move towns.

That’s the truth. People would rather make you the baddie than sit in the discomfort that someone they know was raped. That someone they know is a rapist.

You know what’s more comfortable that believing something that awful?

Not believing the victim. Or blaming the victim.

It’s so common and I can not express how fucked up it is.

Because that’s the exact mindset that means that so many men (statistically) get away with this shit.

People are so scared of the effects on the perpetrator’s life.


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Want to know the effects on the victim’s life?

I can tell you the effects on my life. The shit I never tell anyone because I don’t want to hurt the sensibilities of my loved ones

People say they want to be there for you, but the majority don’t have the capacity to hear the truth of what it’s actually like. People shut down, change the subject, start crying, get angry.

So few people can hear me without drowning my words and feelings with their emotions.

It’s been EIGHT whole damn years and I’ll tell you what.

I’ve been TRYING to ignore the feelings and memories. I’ve been TRYING to feel them and get them out of my body. I’ve been TRYING to express them. I’ve been TRYING to process them.

And maybe I have done a little bit, but….

There is no number of nice bosses that can undo the words “it’s just sex, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Are you sure you didn’t just have a threesome? You can tell me, I won’t judge you. We can just forget all of this happened.”

There are no amount of measured arguments that can remove the memory of my rapist leaning over yelling at me, asking why I was telling everyone he raped me when “he doesn’t need to rape me, he has other women he could fuck if he wanted to”.

There is no amount of birthdays that can pass that will undo the infantilisation I experienced when my boss told my friends to make sure I didn’t drink cos he was worried I’d get myself raped again.

There are no number of nice hotel rooms that can remove the feelings of extreme isolation and abandonment I felt when I was moved out of my accomodation when I reported my rape. Away from the only people I knew, and banned from the only place I knew, banned from the only place I could afford to go, and sent off alone to a shitty hotel in this unknown city.

There is no amount of sleep that can bring back the entire night with no sleep that I spent awake researching the laws and consent because no one had ever told me I had rights before.

There is no amount of chamomile tea that can bring back the sleepless nights, the memories, the feelings, the flashbacks, that I got, and still get, at night when I lay there in silence.

There is no amount of water that can undo how much I cried and cried and coughed and cried in that hotel room.

There is no volume of music that is loud enough to drown out the thoughts I was having as I walked alone to the police station with my headphones in on full blast.

There are no songs that can remove the memories tied to California by Phantom Planet – the opening song to The OC – after that song was burned into my psyche as I binge watched entire seasons, sitting alone, marinating in trauma in that hotel for days… weeks?

There are no amount of good policemen that can undo the humiliation of having my work colleagues questioned about how much of a slut I was in that bar we worked in.

There is no amount of money that can financially help the sick girl who was barely getting enough to feed herself and had to rely almost fully on days on end of complimentary greasy English breakfasts for any form of “nutrients” for the day.

There are no words that would every be able to explain to the housekeepers and kitchen staff that I made friends with why I was sitting alone, puffy-eyed, in their hotel, day in, day out, barely leaving my room for them to be able to clean.

There are no amount of friends that I can make that could fill the void I felt when my “friends” were too busy or too poor, or just didn’t care enough to reach out to me, meet me, or make an effort with me during the worst time in my life to date. Just left me to sit in it by myself.

There is no amount of kindness that could make up for the intense abandonment I felt from the people who were supposed to love me who were unable to even just ask me how I was even though they knew what had happened to me.

There is no amount of empathy I could receive that would override my rapist describing to me details of what he did to me, how I hit him the first time he touched me. I cried the second time he touched me. How he told his friend to “have a go on me” and made him fuck me in front of him because I was incapable of saying no at that point.

There are no amount of new, happy memories that would make me forget that he said he looked at the blank expression in eyes as his friend was inside me. How he said “if you don’t look away from me, I’m going to stick my cock in your mouth.” How he said that my glassy eyes didn’t look away. How he laughed so aggressively in my face as I started sobbing as he described what they did to me that I had no memory of.

There is no amount of compassion I could experience that will ever remove the words from my mind, “well you shouldn’t have gotten so fucking drunk. Next time I decide I want to fuck you, I’ll just get you drunk again”. How he laughed on the phone to his friend, as I stood there, about how pathetic it was that I was crying so much.

No amount of trust I can give anyone will undo the fact that I begged them not to tell anyone, and they promised not to, but that same day they bragged to everyone I worked with that they had a threesome with me.

No amount of nice guys I meet can remove the laughing and sneers from my male colleagues. The slut-shaming. Snarky remarks that I had even lower standards than they thought.

There is no amount of enthusiastically consensual sex I could have that would make me forget that that a man told another man to fuck me cos he couldn’t and so the guy just… did…. in front of him. Like I was a toy.

There is no amount of mouthwash, or brushing my whole mouth, or scalding my mouth with boiling water that can remove the IDEA of an unwanted cock in my mouth. Not even knowing that every cell in my body has been replaced since the incident is enough to get that shit out of my fucking head.

There are no amount of nice workplaces that can change the fact I was transferred to a new bar, told not to tell anybody what had happened to me, and that bar had just had a talk about rape, obviously because of what had happened to me, and everyone was laughing and joking about how stupid it was they needed to be told not to rape. How everyone was making rape jokes for a week because of it and I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone that it was because I was raped. And how fucking rapey half the awful men were there. How I went from one awful place to another.

There are no amount of wonderful boyfriends that can undo the one telling me that no one else would want me because I was damaged goods. No one wants to date a raped girl. But he’d look after me. Until he started abusing me.

There are no amount of kind words that can help me unhear that same boyfriend calling me a slut who cried rape after he tried to choke me.

There is no amount of alcohol that can dull the flashbacks. Even trying to drink myself into oblivion and ending up with alcohol poisoning hasn’t done it.

There is no amount of therapy that can get rid of all of my triggers for the panic attacks that come when I see unexpected rape content on TV, or when my friends make rape jokes, or when I hear people victim blame rape survivors.

Eight fucking years

And there is no amount of anything that seems to be getting rid of the memories and feelings that are sitting in my body, associated to that period of time.

How because of it, I can’t work right now. PTSD is the reason on my medical certificate from my doctor for why I can’t work.

How I’m so fucked up from a lifetime of trauma that I can’t function properly anymore because of anxiety and depression and dissociation, and so now I’m in debt. Borrowing money when I used to be on $78k in a great job. The benefit barely covers my basic bills.

How it seems soooo imbalanced that I’m so affected by these boys’ one little decision that one little night, when I bet they’ve forgotten about me. I bet they’re working full time, making money, functioning in society perfectly fine.

Because we are not set up as individuals or a society to support victims of sexual assault and rape in a way that we can GUARANTEE that justice will be gotten.

They deserved prosecution. They deserved to be treated like rapists. They deserved to have their lives affected by that little baby decision they made that one night to take away my sexual autonomy and use my body how they wanted to.

My life would still be affected, but so would theirs and that seems about as fair as it could be. But here we are.

And people make me feel like a psycho for going through a PTSD relapse as if this isn’t the most traumatising fucking shit that people always say is the worst thing that can happen to a person. It’s also not the only time, but I won’t get into the others.

Literally why would anyone lie about this shit.

It’s been EIGHT YEARS. And those first few weeks were full of all kinds of the worst shit I’ve heard and experienced in my life from my friends, my managers, my colleagues.

Imagining doing that for…. for what? Fun??

I can barely lie about little things. Why would I do all the imperfect victim shit, that little flirty drunk slut, go to the police and tell them I have no memory of what happened to me, but I can only tell them what the boys told me.

Ruin my whole reputation. Be victim blamed. Be slut shamed. Lose friends. Have fully grown men yell in my face. Have it weaponised against me by my next boyfriend. Have male friends interrogate me to see if I’m a liar.

Repeat that story a million times to people I didn’t know in HR and in the police. Describe something so intimate and traumatising, over and over and over.

Imagine crying perfectly, and catching your voice at all the right times as you faked the story for the tenth time. Fuck off.

Anyone who can do all that has to be some sort of psychopath. It would not be easy to fake a rape allegation.

Happy Sexual Assault Awareness Month

I hope you’ve had a better one than me.

I hope my trauma can open your eyes and teach you something you didn’t understand before.

Cos no one talks about the actual truth. The true awfulness that lingers. The way things actually play out compared to what you think would actually happen. The little details that are the ones that for some reason follow you around for years.

The fact that most people respond awfully to rape and sexual assault victims coming forward. And how many people sympathise with rapists.

I’m going to go cry in my room.

Thanks for coming.

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