I had to be told I was sexually assaulted.
This does not mean I had to be convinced I was sexually assaulted. But I had to be shown that the common denominator of all sexual assaults, a betrayal of trust, was present.
I was drunk. He was drunk. Memory is foggy for me and nonexistent for him. All of the moments where I was struck by fear occurred after, when I pushed my limits by continuing a friendship with him. In the moment, I had one thought 'I already told him no!'
Stupid girl. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
And so this essay will paint me as I feel 5 months into an aftermath that will surely last my whole life. I feel stupid as hell. Heart made of steel, brain mushy as diarrhoea, stupid.
I'm not sure my body is mine anymore, at least not in the same way it was before. I feel inanimate sometimes, and I think I see myself the way he saw me in that moment. He says it could have been anyone, and I was just there.
I woke up crying in the night from a cryptic dream and drew a ragdoll with a slit cut in the crotch. Dirty, with blood and something that looks like crumbling, dry skin. But I don't have skin, I'm soft and made of cloth. I have a smile sewn in where my mouth should be.
I have nothing to say about the way you treat me. Throw me on the ground when you're done with me, I can't feel a thing.
I hate the way I feel used by people who are nothing like him, and how I tell myself over and over there was once a 'him' who I thought he was nothing like. But he was worse. Can't trust anyone, anyone at all.
In the first month or two, I had no appetite and I was scared suddenly, of my friends and the shower and time spent alone. I tried very hard not to think about it. He was devastated and making a lot of promises I believed he would keep, so I pushed it all aside to help him.
My mistake, not his. I thought he'd keep those promises and I thought he wasn't actually that evil...just alcohol and sometimes these things happen...my bad.
But he lost his temper at me frequently, and we grew steady into a cycle where he would berate me and break down with guilt afterwards. I came to realise after way too fucking long, that he was violent to the core. I'd done myself a terrible disservice by staying close after I saw who he really was, and that made it so I didn't know who to be angry at.
Sometimes I am still quite sure it is and was my fault. I ignored advice and I ignored my instincts that night. Getting dressed, I put on my Winnie the Pooh overalls, because who would want to fuck a girl wearing Winnie the Pooh overalls? Maybe some part of me knew what was going to happen that night.
I told him what I was going to wear, before I met up with him, and he told me to get changed. I wish I hadn't gotten changed and I wish hadn't gone out that night and I wish I had never met him, but most of all I just wish I were braver. A brave girl would report him to the police, she'd be ready to go to court and make him feel worse than he already does. She'd have no sympathy, a virtue which has destroyed me from the inside out since I woke up the morning after.
I can talk about it but I treat it like a goddamn joke. It has to be funny, somehow, or I will cry.
I'm the princess of self-delusion. I'm the duchess, no, the queen!
I'm trying to be brave by writing this, sharing this. I have had all the words rattling around in my head for ages and I know they need to go somewhere. I hope I don't embarrass anyone including the obvious, and I wish I could stop giving a fuck. Perhaps there's some strength in my weakness though, and that is that I hope I've been able to show you how messy this all is. Lots of sexual assault cases are like this. This is not clean cut and I'm not sure it makes sense to anyone at all.
But if it does I'm sorry. We're better than this, you, me and every person with a complicated story they don't like to tell. Sorry, sorry. I'm so fucking sorry.