Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

I am still so angry, I can’t breathe sometimes

My rape happened 3 months ago, on May 8th. He was a friend I was in a sexual relationship with, but I had ended things between us months previously, mainly so I could focus on therapy I had begun to try to sort my life out. He didn't seem to want to understand that we weren't a thing anymore, and would often send aggressive messages in which he would be angry and have a go at me for not seeing him. I agreed to see him in March, to keep him quiet even though I didn't want to. I went because I couldn't face the shit he would give me if I cancelled. I got drunk and slept with him.

Therapy moved me on and by May I was beginning to truly recover my autonomy. I agreed to see him, fully ready to end things once and for all. In the event, we spent so long talking about his concerns for his daughter, I missed my train home and didn't feel there was time after all that to raise the issue, especially as I now had to spend the night. I had no intention of having sex with him. I wasn't drunk.

We got into bed (I still had my underwear on) at which point he started trying to compliment me. We argued about compliments, because I don't like them and I certainly didn't want them at that point. This lead to me raising the issue of his messages, his entitlement, the fact that he behaved as if we were still a thing when we weren't. We argued about that too, and I turned away to try and sleep.

He tried to make moves. I said no. He asked why. I said I didn't want to. He asked if it was period. I said no, I just didn't want to. He asked if it was because of my therapy. I said no, I just didn't want to. He asked how I felt. I said, Closed down.

He said, "How about I go down on you and then see how you feel?" I said no, and tried to stop him, which I couldn't do. After that, when he entered me a minute or two later, I froze.

My mind was a fog. I couldn't understand. It was as if the room had melted away, my friends, my life, his furniture, everything gone.

He pushed and pulled me around the bed, manipulating me into positions, pulling me on top of him, flipping me over, slapping my backside.

I cried. Sometimes I crawled away from him. He told me he was sorry I was sad but he couldn't help wanting to fuck me. He said I was lucky that when I cry I look really beautiful; some people are ugly criers. Not you. You look beautiful.

I turned away from him. Several times. He started again. I couldn't look him in the eye. He finally fell asleep.

I lay there, with my back to him, in shock. My mind wouldn't process beyond the clear understanding that I had to get out. I knew I had to get out. I just couldn't think how. I knew I was naked. I knew my clothes were in the room somewhere, but my brain wouldn't go further than that. But even if you run outside naked, you'll still be safe. I was too scared to move in case he woke up.

Outside it got light and I dropped off. When I woke, my body sensed his beside me and I nudged towards him before I remembered the night before; I think I had been asleep for an hour at most. That woke the beast, and he started again.

I showered and left. He tried again after that, tried to take off my towel and go down on me. He saw my tears and this time he stopped. He texted later, and I apologised for crying. It took days for the shock to wear off and for me to realise what had happened.

A month later he messaged asking for clarification about us. He didn't seem to realise. I told him.
How humiliated I felt. How afraid. How shocked. How often I've found myself at the train tracks, without knowing how I got there, looking at where I should put my head so I would definitely die and not just be seriously injured.

His messages after that have been about how sad he feels. How it's broken him. How he doesn't feel like going out and socialising.

And I just think, Well, you weren't raped, were you? Have some of your work friendships collapsed because it was all you could do to get through the day, and people didn't understand why you weren't talking so they've stopped talking to you? Do you see your face in the mirror and hate it? Are you able to masturbate? Do you leave the house fretting about what you will do if you have to talk to a man you don't know? Can you look at your own naked body without wanting to vomit? Do you look at every single man you know and don't know with a deep sense of fear and mistrust? Do you sometimes wake up from a dream about being slapped on the backside whilst you're crying and being fucked, and think maybe you should just get to the train tracks and not go to work?

Most of all, are you sometimes so angry it takes the breath clear out of your body? Pure, white-hot rage that threatens to burst out of your chest? Rage so colossal and impotent that it suffocates you?

It should be you at the train tracks. You, with your entitlement, your aggressive messages, you blaming me for your inability to communicate how you felt, you claiming I had smashed your confidence because you didn't know if I liked you all those months ago.

You, who took what I wouldn't freely give.

 

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