A Diary of Consent — Page 2: “Almost happened” actually happened

Diego Velázquez, ‘The Rokeby Venus’ (1647)

(Trigger Warning)

This wasn’t the night I was almost raped… this wasn’t something that almost happened. Something did happen; I was attacked and assaulted by someone I trusted

Women asked/women assaulted : 2/2

In her words:

It has taken me until very recently to realise this wasn’t the night I was almost raped, that this wasn’t something that almost happened. Something did happen; I was attacked and assaulted by someone I trusted and that realisation has brought flashbacks and emotions that I hadn’t realised that I felt for 15 years, leading me to have to re-deal with shit I thought I had figured out.

Who assaulted you?

We went to school together. I was always one of the lads and he and I were best friends for about 3 years, then we ended up going to college together. I considered myself one of the guys and I never even thought for a second that any of them saw me any other way.

After we left school, the summer before college, there were a couple of nights that we all went out as a group, and I did end up kissing him, but I never thought it was more than just being drunk; it certainly wasn’t for me. I had pretty major self-confidence issues at that age and I never even considered that anyone was attracted to me.

We’d been at college almost a year, I had a large group of friends and he was part of it but more on the periphery. We heard there was a big party so we headed that way. We found out about halfway that it had been broken up, so I invited everyone back to my Mum’s as I knew she was out ’til midnight. Only he and one of our friends, a girl, ended up coming back.

All was fine until I went upstairs to get my CD player (oh, the days!) and he followed me up.

I asked what he was doing and he said we hadn’t kissed that night. I told him that I had a boyfriend that we were both friends with and it wasn’t going to happen.

He grabbed me and tried to kiss me, I pushed him. He locked the door and shoved me onto the bed, jumped on top of me and started undoing my trousers. [Our friend] heard me shout at him to get off me and ran up the stairs, banging on the door. I threw him off me, I have no idea how but he hit the wall, I got up, unlocked the door and ran downstairs with her.

I wouldn’t tell her what happened; she’s my mum’s best friend’s daughter, we grew up together and she’s a year younger so she’s like my little sister. I am fiercely protective of her.

He wouldn’t leave. Nothing I could do would make him go. Then our friend had to go home, she was 16 and had a 10pm curfew. I begged her to call her parents to come get her. She argued that it was a 5 minute walk. He said he’d walk her home I told him no, that I’d stay here with him but he needed to keep away from her.

He insisted. So I went too. I knew damn well what he’d do to me but I absolutely would never risk him hurting her.

So we walked to her house, I hugged her goodnight, made sure she had closed the door and I ran.

He caught me about halfway. Slammed me into a wall and started trying to tear my clothes off. I don’t know how I got away that time.

He caught me again just outside my mum’s house. There was a wasteland next to it at the time that had pine trees that had been cut back, he threw me backwards onto a footlong stump cut at a 70° angle. I still have a scar on my thigh.

Again, I don’t remember how I got away, but I remember that he was laughing. I got to my house and triple locked all the doors.

Mum came home to me crying on the floor in the hallway while he left repeated answerphone messages screaming that he loved me.

I guess I felt like I deserved it. Like I led him on by kissing him previously.

Did you tell your mum what happened?

Yes, and she said it wasn’t my fault.

Did you believe her?

No, I didn’t. To a degree. It’s difficult, he was my friend, my best friend and I trusted him. I knew I didn’t instigate what he did but…. Maybe I didn’t want our friendship to be meaningless? I didn’t make friends easily growing up.

Do you think you protected him on any level?

No, but I guess I felt like I deserved it. Like I led him on by kissing him previously.

I went to college and I told the teacher that ran the class we had together what had happened. I said they needed to move him or move me because I couldn’t look at him. They moved him.

I’m pretty sure she believed me as they moved him with no question. I think they were more concerned about the reputation of the college. They never mentioned it to me again.

Who else did you tell?

I told our friends. No-one really reacted. I didn’t tell the whole story though so maybe that’s my fault. My teacher asked me if I was going to the police, I said no. That was it really.

The worst part was that I saw my boyfriend talking to him 3 days afterwards, I asked him why and he said “Well, he’s not done anything to me”. I dumped him.

How long did it take you to realise that this wasn’t “almost”?

June of this year. I went to stay at my mum’s for a couple days to have my wedding dress fitting. It was the first time I’ve been back in daylight. I know it sounds silly, but I moved out straight after.

I’ve always run away when things get too much, never dealt with why before just bottle it up and run. I’m in a different place now. I was diagnosed with acute depression at 11. I self-harmed for years, had an eating disorder, attempted suicide many times. I always thought I was broken, that if I didn’t make waves then maybe people wouldn’t see it.

What’s your definition of sexual assault?

To me, sexual assault is when someone decides they’re entitled to you, that they’ve earned something from you and your opinion on the matter is irrelevant.

Why are we talking about this? Read more about it here.

This series is an open dialogue. If you disagree with anything written here, or want to contribute, the floor is open for discussion — publicly or privately.

Want to talk/share? Email me: meerabel@gmail.com