Too ugly to be raped?
A #SurvivorStory by Neil
In the aftermath of any sexual assault, many things go through the mind of the survivor. these, often negative, thoughts can strike at any time of day and for me this particular one came during in a recent depression shower. A depression shower is a shower which is not necessary to a persons hygiene but is used instead to hide from the world whilst sitting naked, wet and (possibly) crying whilst reflecting existentially. I regularly think back to the time in school where a boy touched me underneath my clothes despite me repeatedly asking him not to and how when I had told a teacher what had happened she questioned how he had lifted someone of my weight and why he would want to force himself on me. At the time, this caused a lot of personal self esteem crisis and despite being a healthy 9 stone to start with, it caused me to, at 13 years old, turn to a diet of weight loss milkshakes, forced vomiting and hours in the gym.
After my more recent trauma of being raped, my 20 year old self suddenly became this insecure child again, although the self hate did manifest its self in a much different way. as mentioned above, this idea that I was too ugly to have been raped hit me whilst I was sat on the floor of my shower. I was imagining non-existent conversations in my head between an anonymous person and myself and we were talking about my assault. The person questioned whether I thought my behaviour had lead to the attack and whether i had noticed that there are far more attractive girls that have never been taken advantage of sexually where I had had it happen several times. This got me thinking about the self-esteem of the rapist’s and how they possibly didn’t think that they were good enough for those girls and that I was just ugly enough to allow them to get close and just attractive enough for them to get off on it.
Sudden thoughts like this make question whether i’m fully healed from the earlier trauma or whether i’m just distracted and that the recent assault had triggered some sort of PTSD that had been laying dormant for the last 7 years. of course between then and now there had been moments where I had physical contact with somebody that made me flinch or flashback to the assault but the full on regression to a mindset I believed I had grown out of feels like a whole other issue.
the aforementioned idea of someone asking me whether I believed it was my own behaviours that had led to me being raped is another thing that regularly plays on my mind, particularly given that this played such a big part in the police’s investigation. on the night in question I was wearing tight leather leggings and a low cut top; I will happily be the first to admit I enjoy the attention that dressing scantily gets me when on a night out however I will also always be the first to say that this does not equate to my consent nor does it mean anything about my intentions for the night. Just because I enjoy some attention off men in a night club, does not mean to say I want to take a man home with me/ sleep with anybody. sex and attention are entirely different things. further to me being dressed ‘provocatively’, I spent most of that night wrapping myself around a pole, slut-dropping to early 2000’s Britney and the Black Eyed Pea’s and had probably snogged three or four different men. I was never shy from admitting any of this. I think it was actually the first thing I told the police because I wanted to be fully transparent in the fact that I probably would have had sex with this man if I had been conscious and therefor given the choice to consent. I think that speaking factually, yes, my behaviour that night did lead to me meeting my rapist and him ending up in my bed at 4am that morning but I need to make peace with myself and realise that it was his behaviour, his actions which meant I was raped because non of my actions equated to consent and even if they had done, those behaviours exhibited in the club that night were premature for sexual consent later in my bedroom and I had a right to withdraw that consent- me passing out was unquestionably me withdrawing my consent. sadly there are no witnesses to prove my being unconscious but I know, and he knows that he raped me that night and I have to stop blaming and questioning my actions and self worth for something somebody else is entirely responsible for.