Saturday, 7 January 2012

What a difference a year makes...

So, it's a year to the day since I was huddled on the floor of my hall bedroom, numb and shaking, trying to make sense of what just happened and equally trying to block it out completely. I still don't quite know how to describe it, or how to express what I think.

When I made myself write about it two months later, this is how it came out:

"I didn’t fight him. That’s still the worst thing. I didn’t even think to. I couldn’t even think, it didn’t seem real, what was happening. I couldn’t stop shaking, I remember gasping for breath but still feeling like I couldn’t breathe, and trying to stifle any sound for fear he would hear. And trembling, shaking so hard as though with freezing cold. I know he was speaking but I have no idea what he said. It was as though he was speaking a foreign language, as though the situation wasn’t real at all, like I didn’t realise what was happening, but at the same time I was so scared, of him, of myself, of the silence in my head where the right words should be, where the fight should be. Half naked, pushed over my bed, with rough blunt fingers probing between my legs. ‘I could fuck you’, he said. But he didn’t, just pushed me back to the floor and forced himself so far into my mouth again that I felt the bile rise, again and again, and even when instinct tried to make me recoil, he gripped in my hair and held me there, his cock brusing the back of my throat. I remember that it hurt, that I was praying in my mind for it to end, but I couldn’t stop it. That feeling of helplessness, of having no control. The absurd thing was, it was almost as though I was trying so hard to hide from him everything I was feeling. I remember thinking, ‘just wait until he leaves, then I can fall apart’. It didn't hit me straight away, what had happened, but slowly it crept into every part of my life. It ripped apart everything I thought about my judgement, about my reactions to situations. It was anomalous, I know- I was depressed and significantly self-destructive, desperately lonely, isolated, frustrated, terrified, overwhelmed, lower than I’d felt in years. But what I did, what I let him do- suddenly it threw everything into question, made me unable to trust myself, to trust my judgement of situations, of people, of myself and how I’m feeling and what I should do. And it bleeds into everything, the uncertainty, the sort of blankness, the fear and the awkwardness. And then I get that feeling again, the pressure in the back of my throat, the tightness, feeling unable to breathe, gasping gasping for breath, and then I can feel his hands again, can hear him again, feel everything again. I wish he would leave me alone."

Was I raped? No, I don't think so. For one thing, tab A never exactly entered slot B, but more importantly I didn't actually try to stop him, I didn't say 'no'. Funny thing is, I think he would have stopped if I had... he wasn't a bad guy, you see, and I really don't think he was a rapist. As for me, I felt I couldn't stop it, or I didn't know how to stop it, or I couldn't make myself try to stop it... I don't know. It's hard to figure out exactly what was going on in my head at the time. But the point is, I let it happen. I very consciously let it happen.

I remember thinking things like "I've led him on now, I can't back out" and "It's not so bad, if he's enjoying it what does it matter how I feel?" and "It'll be over soon" and "He's the first person ever to want me like this, what if he's the only person? I'm hardly in a position to be fussy" and "I don't want him to get angry."

These are all very much my own insecurities, my own fucked-up thought processes. If I was raped, if I was attacked, if I was abused that night, it wasn't him who did it. It was ME. It was my own self-hatred, my own crippling fears, my own misery. In a way, I think I was just using him to hurt myself, or maybe I should say letting him use me to hurt myself. It was passive self-harm.

The only person I've really talked about this to, however briefly and by email only, rather predictably set off on a tirade against my self-blaming, completely condemned him, and told me repeatedly that it wasn't my fault. Bless her, she meant well, but she didn't understand in the slightest. It was my fault- and realising that was essential to me moving forward from it. I wasn't a helpless victim, and I don't believe he thought he was forcing me. He thought we were playing rough, that's all. The blame doesn't lie with him. I'm an adult. I'm capable of rationality. I'm capable of deciding my actions. I put myself in that situation and I failed to act to get myself out of it. What he did is hardly important. It's what I did, or what I didn't do, that matters.

It was, one might say, the sharp shock I needed to convince myself once and for all that I needed to change, because I was, frankly, a danger to myself. And I have changed. I'm not fixed yet, far from it, but that changes in my mindset and how I think about myself over that past year have been leaps and bounds, and I do think I've managed to climb so far up because I had that moment, a year ago, of plummeting lower than ever before. Those things that happened, that turned me into a nervous wreck, that landed me with insomnia and recurring nightmares, social paranoia, and a hefty dose of shame... they had positive effects to. They became a motive for change. Just like what I was saying in my last post about that last time that I cut, the memory of what I let happen that day is like a constant reminded why I can never let myself go back to being that person.

"The memory of choosing not to fight..." is a lyric from the beautiful song 'Answer' by Sarah McLachlan. It describes so well how I remember it.

I chose not to fight. That was a mistake. I'm learning from it. So that, if the choice comes again, I'll make the right one. Because I deserve better than to treat myself like shit. And it's time I made myself realise that.


  1. First things first, that's rape. Obviously not in the after school special, young virgin pleads while vile MAN holds her down, way. I don't know you and I don't know him but I know some very few certain truths in this life. And I know that he knew you didn't want to. Unless he's got Aspergers, the truth was written all over you, unspoken or not. Feeling too powerless doesn't make it your fault and not saying no doesn't make it your fault. He knew he had the power so he took what he wanted. And that's my singular opinion.

    Secondly, I love your blog. It's nice to hear a voice without societal artifice. Also, I think the word bollocks is super cool.

  2. Wow, thank you so much for that comment. Getting someone else's perspective is so eye-opening. My thoughts about it tend to change from week to week, and every debate I have with myself seems to end up in a different answer. But anyway. I appreciate your words.
    And I'm so glad you like the blog :) Can just feel like I'm talking to myself sometimes, so I'm really glad- thank you! And bollocks is one of my favourite words, so damn satisfying to say.