In light of the recent events surrounding Hollywood movie producer, Harvey Weinstein, and the multiple women coming forward about his alleged sexual harassment/abuse claims, I have decided to finally share my story. This is hard for me and definitely a subject I not only feel strongly about but feel that it needs to be spoken about in order to give courage to the millions of men and women around the world that have suffered at the hands of a sexual predator.
In the last month alone, I have witnessed more and more people speaking about sexual abuse, assault, and harassment and although it breaks my heart to see just how many people have experienced such a debilitating encounter, the world needs to know that we are strong AF and WILL NOT back down to these monsters that think its okay to be sexually inappropriate in any way, shape or form. In just under a month, it will be a whole year since I was assaulted. For me, I still can’t believe that I have only just recovered and now feel strong enough to share parts of this story.
I won’t be going into detail about my assault in this post, I’ve decided that in doing so will be a huge trigger to not only myself but for all of my incredible readers that are also survivors. I don’t want this post to be a trigger to anybody reading so please read this with caution and, as always, I will be here if anyone needs to open up. So… here goes.
To, the man who changed my life…
Do you know I attempted, and very nearly succeeded, to take my own life because of you? Do you know that what you did haunts me to this day? Do you understand the amount of pain you have caused me and my family? Probably not. I’m probably not even a thought in your mind. But you, you fucked me up more than words can say. Let me tell you why.
Finding someone that just ‘gets it’, whatever ‘it’ is, they just understand, is a great feeling. When words just tumble out of your mouth. Words that you never thought would be released from the bottle that is your head, statements that have made people run a mile when you’ve told them. What a great feeling it is. You were that person to me, did you know that? You listened to me. You didn’t have the same problems as me but you were the first person to not throw the judgement about or tell me that I was crazy and needed to get help. You told me stories and how you’ve never gotten over what happened. We would talk about health, relationships, mind states, the world, the past, the present and the future. Nothing was limited. In those moments, I had my someone. Someone that I didn’t have to give anything to in order to be listened to. Someone who didn’t brush it off or tell me that I would be fine soon or tell me that me and my boyfriend were going to be okay. A true friend.
When I sat in a hospital waiting room, you were the first person I told that I’d lost my baby. When my boyfriend left to deal with the loss in his own way, I was alone and turned to you. “My relationship is over” I cried. “I just don’t see a way back from this, how could he leave me?”. You were the one who told me that we would be fine, that people deal with things differently. When we had a huge argument in our home and he walked out, leaving me to mourn and cry alone for our baby, you were the one I called on. When I was staring at the blister pack of pills that could easily end my life if I took a handful, I needed you.
I called you. You see, I could do that with you. We could have a chat on the phone or you could come around because we were good mates, right? As you made sure I was okay, you told me that I needed to eat and you made me a cup of tea. You cared for me. You went home but would come back every few evening for a chat or a laugh and for that time that you were there. I didn’t think about how much a mess my life was. You kissed me one of those nights and it wasn’t right, I didn’t feel that way about you at all. You were my friend, why would I? I sat up that night after you had left and everything flooded back into my brain plus the added confusion of what had happened. I didn’t feel the same, I loved my boyfriend and you weren’t him. But I couldn’t lose you. I couldn’t lose my friend, so I pretended that it never happened and continued as normal. Held my head up high the next day at work and smiled as I walked past you, ignoring what had happened. That Saturday night, you convinced me to go out. I wasn’t feeling well but the thought of a night in alone was trumped by the thought of dancing and having a laugh with my friend.
That was when everything changed. You came to pick me up to go to the pre-drinks and, in typical girl style, I didn’t know what to wear. Finally, as I put something together and stood in front of my mirror, you stood over my shoulder, and the image haunts me. That was when the alarm bells should have rung… But they didn’t. Why would they? You were my friend. Then the party. I was coming out of the bathroom, opened the door and there you were. I laughed it off but as I passed you slapped my bum, grabbing a handful in the process. I remember the sound as your hand connected with my leather skirt. I was so uncomfortable.
I distinctly remember everything I drank and I know it wasn’t much. I wasn’t eating properly and I knew if I drank too much I’d be sick and ruin the night. So I stuck to mixing my rosé wine with lemonade. It was awkward because everyone was making out that we were going to get together and you weren’t denying it. Again, I laughed it off. How was I to know that in a matter of hours, I would be unwillingly touched, groped and raped?
While we were out, there was a lot of drama over whether or not your brother in law had taken drugs, to which he completely denied. At this point, it was around 1:30am and I wanted to go home but you wanted me to stay, telling me to not be boring. After that, my memories of that night are hazy. Some completely forgotten, some vivid. The next thing I know, looking at my phone, the time is 4 something. I remember looking at my phone thinking that someone changed the time settings and this was a joke because no way had three hours gone and I hadn’t noticed. But it wasn’t a joke. The streets only occupied drunken, barefoot girls carrying their heels, groups of lads on their way to the taxi rank and the usual police vans.
I don’t remember things that I should. Things that I usually remember from a night out. Stupid little things that you laugh about the next day. I don’t remember leaving the club, walking the streets, being at the taxi rank, in the taxi or getting home. I remember getting changed into my baseball jersey and getting into bed, not even realising you were in my home. On my sofa.
I can’t remember much of the conversation but I heard you say something to me so I dragged myself out of bed. I remember you just laughing at me as I stood in the doorway to the living room, confused why you were in my home, my head was spinning and I got back into bed. The next thing, I’m waking up to my arms pinned against either side of my head, being restrained by your knees. You were naked. I remember turning my head and telling you no. Each turn of my head was accompanied by the whirling sensation in my head and it was making me want to throw up. You then rolled my comatose body over and had sex with me. It makes me sick to even think about how mentally disturbed you have to be to do that to someone.
The next thing, it’s morning. I must have cuddled into you thinking you were my boyfriend, but he doesn’t have chest hair. You didn’t smell like my boyfriend or feel like my boyfriend. My eyes pinged open but I had to blink to get rid of the haze. I just looked at you, in disbelief. Why were you in my bed? I sat up, rubbing my head, and you stirred. You grabbed my right arm and tried to pull me back down but I said no. I was so confused. I noticed I wasn’t on my usual side of the bed. I told you to leave, that I was going out with my sister. But I wasn’t. You left sheepishly. You knew exactly what you’d done.
I watched you turn the corner from my window and as soon as I knew you were gone, I ran to lock the door- double bolted and secured the chain. I whipped the sheets off the bed, flipped the mattress, and took off my clothes. I bundled them into the washing machine and turned the dial to 90 degrees. The hottest wash. Slowly, some memories of the night before grazed my thoughts and I collapsed into a heap on the kitchen floor, crying my eyes out. I picked up my phone to ring my boyfriend. Would he come round? Would he be angry? Would he believe me?
Selecting his name, I felt disgusting. I’ve never even cheated on a person because I know how much it hurts. I loved him with every fibre of my being. There was not a chance on earth I would hurt him in that way. No matter how angry I was with him. Especially not with you.
Have you ever had to tell something utterly heartbreaking to someone you love? Do you know how hard that is? Uttering the words: “I’ve been sexually assaulted” was one of the hardest parts of the whole ordeal. The wait for him to come to me, to hold me, was agonising. I sat alone in the home that once held so many happy memories- movie nights, parties, laughs- feeling sick and alone. Because of you.
The next few weeks were awful. My mental health plummeted. I began to self-harm again. I lost my job. I felt dirty and no amount of showers would take that away. You did that to me. All the trust I had in you shattered. Heck, my trust in men has completely shattered. Your name would light up on my phone and I couldn’t bear to see it. But I had to see you. I had to know why you did that. When we met, you didn’t know that the ‘friend’ I was staying with was my boyfriend and that I was petrified that the second I got into your car that you would drive away and do it again. This time I’d be sober. My boyfriend came with me and sat in his car watching from a distance with the promise that if you had of as so much as stepped on the accelerator he would follow you. I tried to put on a front but my body couldn’t physically co-operate and I shook uncontrollably, to which you noticed. We had sat in your car countless times and I couldn’t be more comfortable but this time was different. I was sitting in a car with a stranger.
I recorded every second of that conversation that we had with the intention of getting some sort of confession, admitting to what you had done to me, I was going to report exactly what you did to the police. But of course, you denied everything.
You made me feel like I was crazy, that I had just made the whole thing up.
You told me that I wanted it. That I wanted you.
You told me that I asked you to come to bed with me.
You told me it was consensual.
It wasn’t. It never was.
In those next few weeks, you turned my best friend against me. You made it look like I actually did want you and that I had lied.
In that year alone I had lost everything that was important to me. I became a shell of myself. Scared of you. Scared of men. Scared of your twisted lies. Scared of what people thought of me. Scared of being branded a liar, a cheat, a whore.
I stood on a bridge one day and swore that this was it. I couldn’t take anymore. I didn’t have the mental capacity to be constantly doubting my own thoughts. Did I make this all up? Was it all a dream?
But now, a year on, I’m finally recovering. Recovering from the post-traumatic stress disorder you inflicted on me. I’ve been admitted onto a psychiatric ward brought on by the nights I spent, terrified to close my eyes because of what you did. I suffered from intense flashbacks. I take medication every day now. I went to therapy. I spoke to people about what you did to me. I’m taking back my life. Taking back the last bit of hope I had left; the hope you took from me. I’m rebuilding myself from scratch.
I am not a liar. I did not dream what had happened. It was not consensual. You sexually assaulted me. What you did to me was rape.
It kills me that you’ve got away with this. I wish I had gone to the police. Told them what you did to me. You still have your home, your job, your life. I don’t. I shouldn’t be the one paying for this, you should.
But I’m rebuilding myself. I want to be the best person I can be. To teach my children that they can be strong no matter what life throws at them. You won’t have that because you have learned that it’s okay to lie and to take advantage of someone. That it’s easier to blame someone else for your mistakes.
That makes me happy.
I am a better person than you will ever be, no matter what job or social status I have. I am already excelling you in more ways than you can think of.
You will not destroy me and I will not let myself be destroyed.
Your’s sincerely; the girl you manipulated, the girl you terrified but also, the girl who is not afraid of you anymore.