The first time I realised it was actually rape, was the day after it happened. I knew what it was, and it was rape. I didn’t want to think about it though, so I didn’t. Not until now, when I have to face him. It was easy to ignore what had happened, because we don’t live in the same town anymore. But I’m moving back there. Where he lives. And I’m terrified.
I knew it was rape, but I wouldn’t believe that it was. Not until I started reading all the columns and news stories during the 16 days of activism against women and child abuse. That when I knew it was rape, and I couldn’t deny it anymore.
Until now, I hadn’t thought about all those protests I participated in, as part of the 1-in-9 campaign. I had forgotten about it. I taped my mouth shut for 24 hours in solidarity with the 8 out of 9 rape survivors who, because of social pressure, never report their rape(s). I fought for the rights of rape survivors, I prayed for them, and voiced my anger at the denial of their justice. I cried with them and laughed with them. And now, I am one of them.
Three years later, and here I sit denying myself my own justice. Because I am too shit scared.
He was a friend of mine. Actually, he was my ex-boyfriend’s best friend. He is my closest friend’s ex-boyfriend. He is a serial womaniser, and treats women as the means to satiate his sexual desires. I once heard he had slept with over 70 women. I am now one of them. But how many others also said ‘no’?
We were friends – but only God knows why. I think I trust people too much. I tried to support him through his bad break-up with my close friend. But because I have breasts and vagina, he saw my support as sexual flattery. I told him then, months ago, it would never happen. It was too complicated, too many people will get hurt. “It will never happen,” I told him.
He told me he wanted to do “naughty things” to me, but if I didn’t want it, he would “control” himself. He continued making sexual jokes and comments, even when I told him they made me uncomfortable.
So I avoided him. I would not go to see my friends in the town where he lives, because I scared I would see him. I told him again and again that it would never happen between us. He asked me why I wouldn’t visit. In jest, I told him it was because I didn’t trust him. He told me I could trust him, but not when he had been drinking, “haha”. I told him it would never happen between us. He said he understood. He said “you’re still my super Journo friend whom I respect whole heartedly (sic)”. I believed him.
How stupid. How absolutely incredibly fucking stupid.
He came to my town, I suggested we meet up for drinks for old time’s sake. I was lonely, vulnerable in a new town, and honestly just wanted a friend to hang out with at a bar. He said I could trust him – and I believed him.
He came to my house, so that I could introduce him to my dogs. I love my dogs – they mean everything to me. I was black-out drunk. I don’t remember much.
I do remember he kissed me. I do remember he carried me to my bedroom. I do remember he undressed me.
And I do remember saying no. I do remember stopping him. I do remember telling him that too many people would get hurt if we did this. I remember telling him I cared too much about my friend – I love her dearly. I don’t remember what he said in response, and I don’t remember what I said then.
But I know he didn’t stop.
The next day my thighs and my vagina hurt – I lied on my couch all day thinking about what happened. I showered twice. I cried and hugged my dogs. I slept on the couch that night, because I didn’t want to go near my bed – the scene of the crime – and the thought made me feel nauseated.
I considered laying a charge at the police. I have written evidence that I told him, months prior to that night, that I did not want to have sex with him. But would they believe me? I was black-out drunk. He was at my house, where I live alone with my two dogs. I took him home the next day. He has a reputation for sleeping around. Would anyone believe that I said ‘no’? That I tried to stop him? That I physically covered my vagina with my hands and told him, in no uncertain terms, that I did not want to have sex with him?
No one knows about that night. We are the only people that know. If I laid a charge against him, my friend will know. She will be hurt by me, after I tried so hard to protect her, and I was there for her, and I listened to her cry. I don’t want to hurt her. Everyone will know about that night. They will make my life hell. They will say it was not rape. They will question why I only reported in now, months after the fact. They will question, question, question.
But now I am moving back to the town where he lives. It’s a small town, and we have the same friends.
What the fuck am I supposed to do? I feel like I am betraying the cause by not charging him with rape.
But God, I am so scared. What should I do?