How I coped with being raped

When I was living in this shared house privacy was available and my door did lock, but that never seemed to stop people knocking or sending me texts. The walls were thin, I could hear most of what happening in the living and dining rooms downstairs. Otherwise you could see into my window from the garden and if I was home and awake during the day I had the shutters open to make the most of the sunlight. After what happened I did try and stay away from the people I lived with. I had the advantage that I was in mourning for my Grandmother and that I was a student, but this wasn’t always enough.

When I was living in the shared house where I was attacked privacy was available and my door did lock, but that never seemed to stop people knocking or calling or texting me. The walls were thin, I could hear most of what was happening in the living and dining rooms downstairs, this worked both ways and I learnt to leave my phone on silent on my bed so they won’t hear it vibrate if I was in there. Otherwise, you could see into my window from the garden and if I was home and awake during the day I normally had the shutters open to make the most of the sunlight. After what happened I did try and stay away from the people I lived with. I had the advantage that I was in mourning for my Grandmother and that I was a student, but this wasn’t always enough.

My instant reaction which I think was probably the worst I could have had was denial. Part of this was blaming myself, saying that I hadn’t said no loudly enough. That my fighting wasn’t effective enough to have been seen as fighting. I reasoned and I thought that if I didn’t say anything to anyone it would stay between my attacker and myself. People live with secrets all the time and I thought I could cope. I was ashamed and embarrassed that this had happened to me and I didn’t want to let it ruin the friendships I had started to make in the shared house. So although I avoided them when I could I had a hard time when everyone was downstairs having fun, especially if it was a weekend or a day nobody had work tomorrow. I tried to act my way through it, if I smiled and joined in they wouldn’t know. I was suspicious of Myra at one point because she would either put me with my attacker or ask about other things he’d done with other people. She was making jabs and would always say not to be jealous. In reality I would have loved him to move onto someone else even though that sounds selfish. My secret was heavy and on evenings like these there was normally alcohol around. That made it more bearable and from there I started buying a bottle of off-brand martini every week or two. Sometimes it was cheap rum with sugar and lemon juice, it was always alcoholic though. I would ask for a few minutes to get ready if someone came looking for me, but really I’d be drinking something. I had a pitifully low alcohol tolerance back then and it would just make me sleepy and I could claim I was overworked and I needed to go to bed. It worked. Avoidance was a good technique and I relied heavily on it. I had some really messed up reasoning at the time, things like if he didn’t like me it wouldn’t have happened. I also tried saying at least someone found me attractive. I know now that rapists don’t look for pretty people, they look for weak and vulnerable people. I was depressed, having very dark thoughts apart from when I had a distraction like work. I didn’t want to eat and I would make the excuse that I didn’t have money to. I don’t know if it is anorexia if you’re just not hungry but not trying to lose weight. I was full of self-blame and guilt that was eating me up. My coping mechanisms were destructive. Stay out for as long as possible, drink to forget if I could. Shut myself away so nobody could say anything to me. Self-harm.

When I eventually confessed to two housemates what had happened everything went wrong. My aggressor had spent his time telling a false story while I had been avoiding everyone, he had made it out as me consenting. He made up other incidents saying they were all consensual and left a trail of lies the others so readily believed. He isolated me from the housemates while I was avoiding them, so I would have a hard time breaking back into the group. I know I was getting depressed not long after I was attacked because my anorexia kicked in, I was self-harming again and I was all around miserable. I felt consumed with guilt even though I was the victim and then when Myra started blaming me for it I just let her. It ate me up. It fitted with the blame I had been putting on myself already.

It has taken a long time but now I am clam. I feel at peace with what has happened, ready to take the next steps. Although I still drink in excess sometimes. I still cry about what happened, sometimes I still blame myself. Myra’s words marked me and sometimes I call myself a whore the way she called me a whore.

Charges have been pressed

On the 7th of August I went to bed at 2:30am, setting an alarm for 8am. My friend who had come with me on the Friday before was coming with me again to give my statement even though he would have to leave part way through for work. We left at 8:45am and walked there, disappointingly the bakery on the wat there was closed because we were hoping to get breakfast. Being me, I am very bad at explaining things, so when we got to the desk I confused the officer. I tripped over my words had to get my friend to explain why I was there. To be fair police officers are intimidating and I am telling a very difficult story. After waiting an hour, I was asked if I preferred to see a female officer, I said yes. I like the way they automatically ask this question in France. I find that since the attack I am sometimes intimidated around men, I don’t know why. Trauma does strange things I suppose. It took until 10:30am until someone came and got me for the statement, half an hour after my friend had already left. It was okay though, I was feeling brave.

I followed the officer into a small room, it was completely different from the last one. She started by taking my ID card and asking for my attacker’s name. I said I wasn’t great spelling stuff in French so passed it written down. She wanted some background, age, nationality, origins and the like. Then she wanted the address and date of where this happened. She was constantly typing away on her computer while I explained the details she was asking for and the attack. She had to ask some for pretty precise details and it wasn’t the most comfortable experience. I also had to answer a lot of questions about the other housemates, one in particular who was very mean to me. This was Myra, she used to make a lot of anti-Jewish and anti-Christian comments and I was sometimes on the receiving end. I was also called a pig by the Arabs in the house, I didn’t think it’s a big deal but apparently it’s a racial attack commonly used against the French. I was a big tearful a few times.

It lasted for two hours, I was asked a lot of questions and then I had to sign me statement, three copies of it. One for me to keep the other two stay with the police. As part of the ordeal I get to see a psychologist for free at the local hospital for an assessment, she will give a report to the police. I am not entirely sure what the point of that is, but I am going anyway, if there is help available I want anything I can have.

I think the part that touched me the most was when she asked me why I hadn’t reported it before. Quite simply fear. I was threatened with homelessness, I had had threats from my attacker though another housemate. Second comes shame, I was embarrassed and ashamed. I told myself I could live with it, I said I was okay and other people have lived with worse. I think I realise now I am not okay. I’ll know more when I see the psychologist. I have been downplaying the aftermath, putting it down to me surviving and coping the best I can, but I think this will do me some good. I think I have had a traumatic experience and I am sure my drinking is testament to that trauma. Now it’s just a matter of waiting and seeing what the police will do. I have been told this statement will be bounced around a few stations while they find my attacker. They have a possible town from his Facebook. Time will tell but I feel a lot better. It was a difficult thing to do but I am glad that I have done it and I think it was the right thing to do. I onlt hope I don’t end up regretting this if it gets difficult, I have spent the past two and a half years trying to forget while still enduring the living nightmares that plague me. Sometimes I am fine, sometimes I am easily tiggered and can’t face anything. Hopefully now I will be able to go back to normal, how I was before this disaster happened.

The worst day of my life

Today is the day I go to the police station to give my recorded statement. Today is as good of a day as any to share my story with the world. I’ll be sharing it with the police after all. I’m anxious, French is not my mother tongue, when I went to give my provisional statement I didn’t know the word for masturbation for example. I do now, but never would I have thought about learning through such horrors.

Before you read this post I would like to add a trigger warning, this post is long and discusses rape and sexual harassment. It is not easy reading and it certainly wasn’t easy to write. This is a true story told from my perspective based on how things happened at the time, notes I wrote at the time and my memories two and a half years later. This is my #MeToo story, this is the reason I am writing a book, this is the reason I have a blog. This is the reason sometimes I drink too much, or I flinch when I’m touched or someone moves too quickly near me.

There was Ahmed though who seemed way too old to be with the rest of us, but I put it down to him having some bad luck somewhere along the line. He seemed friendly enough but there were things that were off. I had never seen him dressed because he didn’t go out he would wear pyjamas and a leopard print dressing gown. I put it down to him being at home and effectively the communal areas are still his home. I think what bothered me the most was the smell that came off of either him or the dressing gown, weed mixed with body odour and must with a hint of aftershave. Nobody said anything so I kept quiet. He seemed to be friends with everyone but I noticed that Emily refused to be downstairs with him and would leave as soon as he appeared.

Ahmed had a TV in his second-floor room and would invite a few of us over to watch films in the evening that he had pirated off the internet. I liked being around people, even though I wasn’t the most talkative it was a nice atmosphere. Myra used to complain about the smell of weed though as he’d sit in his room with two other guys passing a joint around with the window closed. I used to have to be really careful after being in there because I found the weed smell clang to my clothes and hair and working with children, it’s just not a good image. The conversations were weird though, both Ahmed and Myra were signed up for a dating site. Although it wasn’t like Tinder where it’s mainly normal photos, this was a site where the profile pictures were explicit. I had never seen so many dick pics on one screen, Myra used to pass them around and laugh about the appearance or size. I tried to laugh it off the best I could. I asked her what her willy looked like and she exploded into laughter. Ahmed offered to show me his, the other two people kept quiet.

It was around this time that Ahmed started flirting with me. I’d had a few flings in France, nothing major. Just the kind of three-month boyfriend-girlfriend thing that is always doomed to break down because there’s no real interest other than sex. Nobody had shown any interest in me for the best part of a year and I was flattered by the attention. Especially since it was in winter and I was wearing baggy jumpers and shapeless clothing in general. My skin was dry from the winter air and I just didn’t feel in any way attractive, society and the media dictated I wasn’t. He was being nice, in the mornings if I saw him he’d always offer me hot chocolate or biscuits. When I told him that I didn’t have much money for food he said I could take what I wanted from his cupboard. I never did though, I’d rather be self-sufficient and I was never that hungry. We would talk about our pasts and he opened up to me that his mother had abandoned him into foster care at a young age so that although he had Algerian origins he couldn’t speak Arabic or anything. He even tried helping me with the welfare forms which are always a nightmare in France. I found out he was there because he had split with his ex-girlfriend and the only income he had was from the welfare system. He was waiting for social housing and didn’t want to waste too much money in the meantime. The friends I had made in this shared house were above and beyond anything I had hoped for, I imagined it would be the same routine of keeping my head down and avoiding trouble. The flirting carried on in text form, he asked if I wanted a sexy photo. I didn’t even bother to reply, not that I had the time. Within five minutes I had a dick pic. I put it down to me not being up to date with modern flirting, dick pictures are everywhere online.

Very late one evening about two weeks after moving in I was alone with him in his room, from the way things were going we could have ended up sleeping together. Then I chickened out and changed my mind, I just didn’t feel comfortable. I apologised and left, he said it was fine. He carried on texting me and even told me Myra came in really early and pretended to look for me, saying she somehow knew we’d slept together. I felt very uncomfortable at this point and not long after things started getting weird. Lunchtime I liked to go downstairs and eat in the dining room. I didn’t like eating in my bedroom because the smell would stay and I wasn’t opening the window any longer than five minutes in the morning, it was still January after all. I had eaten my lunch and he was downstairs with me, when I went to take my tableware back to the ground floor kitchen he followed me up the stairs. I was wearing a red knee length skirt and thick tights with a grey jumper. He spanked me as I walked up one step, I let it go. The next step he spanked me again, I asked him to stop. The third step once again I was spanked, I told him to stop and he told me he was only laughing. One more step and I wasn’t spanked, then the last step he did it again. I told him to cut it out more firmly than before, he said bye and headed upstairs to his room. I put it down to what had happened the other night and didn’t think any more of it.

A few nights later I was in his room with Myra, Ahmed and two other men living in the house share. I was unlucky and stuck sitting next to him, I tried using the excuse of not having my classes to get away but it didn’t work. He held onto my wrist and when I feigned being tired said it was okay if I fell asleep there. I was too shy to assert myself and leave. He kept trying to caress me in the dark, I took his hand off of me and glared at him but I didn’t have the courage to shout or hit out. In his other hand, he held a joint that he was passing around the room, I was pressured into trying it. Almost instantaneously I felt calm, zen and passive and I think this was planned to combat my silent protests. It must have been the second or third joint because Myra got up and said she was fed up with the smell, she pulled the roof window open. I sound like a real stoner but I noticed how bright and beautiful the consolation of Orion was. The beauty was short lived though because after that they all complained they were cold, two blankets were pulled out and shared between us. I was stuck with Ahmed, I protested pointing out I was from a cold country and I wasn’t cold, he grabbed me and pulled me under. From above the blanket I doubt they could see the tight grip he had on me. I wasn’t comfortable but if I tried moving too much he tightened his grip on me, by this point he was taking it too far with his caresses and I wanted out. When I looked at my phone to check the time my battery was dead, so I finally had a valid excuse to leave. Even then he tried to make me stay, he said that he had his phone if I was desperate but Myra told him to let me go. I must have been so relieved as I ran down the stairs and into my room, it was short lived though. After a quarter hour, he came and knocked on my door asking when I was coming back. I lied, I said I’d seen the time and I was going to bed because I had work in the morning. I was so lucky it worked and I didn’t have to open the door, and soon as I was sure he had gone I went to the basement and had a shower to wash the smell away from me. The realisation that I would have to cut myself off from my housemates hit hard, but it was okay. I had caught it early, I would stay polite saying hello from time to time. I wasn’t that deeply entwined with them so I reasoned that I wouldn’t be missed.

Myra would still phone or text from time to time as would Ahmed, but I only gave bland replies saying I had a lot of work to do with my studies. In truth I wasn’t that busy I just wanted to avoid everyone because I found there were overstepping all my limits. By the end of January, I was miserable. My Grandma was only getting worse and had been expected to die at any point for about a week. I didn’t really want to be around people but at the same time, I didn’t want to be lonely. Netflix only provided so much distraction and knitting wasn’t easy because I wasn’t concentrating well. One night when there was a lot of noise downstairs and I thought I’d feel a bit better around other people. When I went down Ahmed was there with his ex-girlfriend and their two children. There was also Myra and some other housemates. I just sat down and tried to keep quiet, Myra said I could have dinner with them, I convinced myself it would be okay. I ended up talking a lot with Ahmed’s son, he was 8 and had a 3DS which he was trying to teach me how to play. I played dumb and said I couldn’t figure out the controls and he was having a lot of fun teaching me. I felt a lot better, he was showing me some drawings he’d done earlier and said he’d like to do more drawing. Although he only had a ballpoint pen I had colouring pencils and I asked if he wanted them. I said I’d go up and grab them, but he wanted to see my room. His parents were okay with it so off we went, I thought at the same time I’d grab some knitting to do. Then Ahmed appeared at the door saying his son was wanted downstairs. I was stood at the foot of the bed away from the door and Ahmed had both hands between his trousers and his underwear, I tried to play it cool, but I was very uneasy. His son walked off happy with my pencil case. I asked if it was okay to go downstairs now, but Ahmed locked the door behind him and pocketed my keys. He said he hadn’t seen me for a week and claimed he had missed me, he asked if I wanted to do anything with him (or to him depending on your translation) and I bluntly said no. He walked around my bed to my wardrobe which I hadn’t closed, I moved away but and ended up next to the window, I considered climbing out of it, but it was closed and so were the shutters. Ahmed and started going through my underwear, he knocked something out of the wardrobe and I bent down to pick it up. In the time it took me to get back up he had pulled out his penis and grabbed the back of my head and neck trying to drag me towards it. I tried to wriggle away, I tried asking him what he was doing but as soon as I opened my mouth to speak he was trying to force himself in there. I bit down and he got angry because his grip tightened. The thing is I wasn’t biting as hard as I could because I didn’t want to hurt him. I tried pulling away, but he shoved my down and pulled me towards him saying he was almost finished. He tried to force himself into my mouth a few more times but when he realised it wasn’t happening he just carried on by masturbating. After the longest and worst few minutes I have ever had to endure he ejaculated on my face forcing it as close to my mouth as possible, I spat what got in on the floor. I have never been so grateful for premature ejaculation in all my life, I had never been so disgusted either. After that he asked for a tissue to clean himself off, pocketed it and said he’d see me downstairs in five minutes reminding me that his son would be waiting for me. I wiped off the damage with another tissue that I chucked in my rubbish back that was by the door and in a daze went back down.

An hour or two later I got a message from my Mum that we had all been waiting for with dread since October. My Grandma was gone, peacefully in her sleep. It came through during dinner, but I used it as an excuse to excuse myself from the conversation and lock myself safely in my room. I took the chance to wash my face and brush my teeth in the kitchen opposite my bedroom in the hopes none of them would see me. I didn’t feel better, but I did feel a bit cleaner. I couldn’t sleep that night. I don’t know if it was because of my Grandmother’s death or if it was because of Ahmed being a jerk. The following morning was a Monday, I had to be out early for class and I had to be on form for babysitting. I was in bed tossing and turning and trying to sleep but I just couldn’t. I got up about 4am and tried to make instant coffee as quietly as possible. I took the opportunity to go downstairs and have a proper shower, but I still didn’t feel clean. I was trying not to think about what happened, I was putting it down as my fault because I didn’t shut him down when he was flirting. I had spent the night trying to convince myself it was okay and nothing major happened, but in the shower it hit me. This was the first time I cried over it. I had been sexually assaulted, I didn’t consent and that means he should have stopped. I actively said no and that meant he had to stop. I bit him and he didn’t stop. Up until this point I had felt more or less numb, just dirty and ashamed.

I went to press charges

Today at 6pm I got a phone call from a close friend of mine who had recently been the victim of abusive homophobic comments and violent threats. He knew a bit about what had happened and how Tuesday I was convinced I was going to press charges then I wimped out because I wasn’t brave enough to go alone. He asked if I wanted to go to the police station and I said not particularly, but he said it to accompany him. He had the details to press charges against the person in our building who had made the comments and threats. I said I could and we ended up walking there, we spoke about what would happen with my charge. He reassured me that if I thought I could do it he would be there for me. I said I would try, it’s as good of a time as any. When we got to the doors we had to ring and explain why we were there, then wait at the desk for an officer to see if there is a valid case. We were still discussing my options, I could do it today and get it over with or try again another day. A male officer came out and took the details of my friend’s case saying someone would be out shortly to take a statement. Then my friend said that I had something to say too. I looked at the officer and tried to speak.

“I was raped two and a half years ago and I would like to press charges” I stammered as my words failed.

He asked if I’d rather speak to a woman and I nodded. A few minutes later a female officer came out and took me to a quiet corridor to get the basic details. I was almost crying from the stress and my voice was shaking. I had to explain what happened, and when I had done that she said someone would take my statement but that it would take a long time.

I went to sit back down with my friend and took to Facebook. At one point my attacker had been my friend on their although he had since been blocked. Somehow my blocked list was empty so I started looking for other ex-housemates in the messenger application, I found one but there was no prior conversation. I could remember my attacker’s first name and the first letter and pronunciation of his surname, and I really wanted to find that detail. On the off-chance he was still connected to my Facebook, I typed his first name into the Facebook Messenger search. I found him, I got a screenshot. He was using his real name so I’ve got it. Then I started looking for the landlady’s details, I remember her name but not how it is spelt and things in French can be deceptive. I started googling rooms to rent in the town this happened. She has two available and I know it’s her, I recognised the name and the photos. I had a screen capture of the landlady’s name, phone number and proof our bank details were at some point connect and my rapist name and Facebook account. My friend went in for his charges and I started to worry that I was going to have to go alone.

A while later another female police officer came out to see me saying she was going to take a provisional statement from me. On the way to her office, I saw my friend coming out and I grabbed his arm asking if he could come in with me. The officer said yes, we went into a bland office and she asked if we wanted the door closed or not. I figured with the extreme temperatures at the moment and because we were secure in the police station it was okay to leave open. I tried explaining the story but it was all coming out disjointed, a few times we actually laughed. Apparently, I’m still not broken enough, or I have fixed myself enough. I said something about not wanting to participate because my aggressor smelt really bad, he was known for his poor hygiene. I gave enough details for it to be accepted as a rape and I have been invited back to give a recorded statement on Tuesday morning.

I was very lucky though because we got there during closing time, normally only urgent things are recorded outside office hours and by the time a woman who could take my statement became available, it was no longer office hours. I even saw the officer who took my statement come into work while I was waiting. Thankfully they took a provisional statement and my friend was allowed to come in with me. I am very grateful for those two things even though they seem mundane, had I been told to come back another day it would have been much harder. Had it not been so long between my attack and the report they would have taken it that evening but as it isn’t urgent because no evidence is decaying it can wait. Also because it is my word against my attackers I need to give contact names for people involved and I need to get friends or professionals who were aware of what happened around the time it happened. I have two who have already agreed, I can probably find another three so Monday I will be making phone calls.

I think this will be okay. I have to go in for the interview alone but my friend will be waiting for me after. Also, it’s going to be bounced around from the station for where I live, where I was attacked and where my aggressor lives if he has since moved. After getting out we went to the supermarket, we bought apple juice and vodka. Coming out of the station I felt lighter but strangely numb. My friend and I went back to his and played Ticket to Ride while enjoying our vodka apple juice. However, I have just noticed that I have been eating my lips since earlier.

While I was there I was asked why I hadn’t come in earlier. I said I was ashamed, I felt guilty and I had tried to brush it off as my fault. I said I have been through hell and the aftermath has taken a lot out of me, I have probably pushed my liver towards failure a few times too many. I didn’t want to cause any problems in the house because I wanted to get on with my studies and with all the work that I had I didn’t think I could handle moving as well. I also explained how my landlady menaced me with homelessness when she found out, she said either I could leave and involve the police or I could stay and keep quiet. How I had been accused of bringing it on myself too because victim blaming is a large part of modern society.

7 Reasons of Victim Blaming – Part 2/2

I have some ideas as to why we victim blame, I have only studied child psychology, so it is very important to emphasise that this is only my perspective and I am in no way a professional or qualified in such a way as to give a proper reason. I could be completely wrong, I could be downplaying victim blaming, but to me this is it and this is what I have experienced. I would love to hear more opinions on this subject.

As this post was 1500 words long I have divided it into two parts.

Victim blaming is a devaluing act where the victim of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment is held as wholly or partially responsible for the wrongful conduct committed against them. Victim blaming can appear in the form of negative social reactions from legal, medical, and mental health professionals, as well as from the media and immediate family members and other acquaintances. Traditionally, victim-blaming has emerged in racist and sexist forms. The reason for victim blaming can be attributed to the misconceptions about victims, perpetrators, and the nature of violent acts. – Quoted from USLegal

 

5 – The perpetrator got there first

Again I have lived through this and it was hell. My attacker went around telling everyone I had agreed to the assault. Except he didn’t tell them it was an assault. He went so far as to say that the reason people hadn’t seen me for a while is because he wanted to keep me for himself and didn’t want me going out. He intentionally lied to all mutually involved saying that I was his submissive and he owned me, so that if and when I said anything he’d already covered his tracks. This person was so used to lying that nobody thought to question it, telling everyone the intimate details of the encounter from his perspective. Twisting them just enough to make it sound like a consensual hookup, sugar coating and stretching the truth to suit him.

6 – Regret sex

There is a theme in the media of regretful sexual encounters being turned into rape. This has been so prevalent that last few years I was actually trying to convince myself that’s what had happened begin with. I stupidly tried to convince myself that my mind was playing tricks on me and trying to turn it into a rape. The reality is even though I was actually saying no and that I didn’t want to he carried on, and when I tried to move away he restrained me. When I bit him he pulled back and used his hands instead. At no moment did I consent, I did the opposite and in that case it’s not regret. Something much worse happened.

7 – Why didn’t you fight back?

This question just winds me up, anyone who knows me can clearly see that I’m small! I am feeble, weak and dainty, I don’t think I could fight a grown man a good 25cm taller than me. I also think my fight or flight reflex kicked in at some point because I just froze. Sometimes I do ask myself this question. I don’t know why I didn’t fight back but I hate to imagine what would have happened had I even tried it. He probably would have hit me, could have restrained me harder. I don’t think I want to know, I think I would rather live with my ghosts as they are rather than imagine worse ghosts, or even more ghosts. One thing is sure though, I would not have won otherwise he would have left when I said that I didn’t want him there. He wouldn’t have stayed when I was specifically saying no.

 

The real problem with victim blaming and other similar attitudes are that they marginalize a victim and discourage them to involve legal charges or even talk about the violence they had to go through again. In my personal experience when I told someone connected to me and my attacker I knew I would never tell anyone else connected mutually again just because of her reaction. I didn’t feel safe, I felt quite the opposite. I felt ridiculed, shameful and stupid. I actually felt guilty because of what they were saying about me, and as me speaking out snowballed I was petrified by the threats that my aggressor had been making though other people. I would get messages saying that when he gets back from his holiday he’ll make sure I leave the building. To watch out because he was angry. It was so painful being blamed for something horrendous that I had no real control over. I think we start off by or finish by blaming ourselves depending on who surrounds us, I was pushed pretty low down by people who I naively thought would help me. I didn’t realise how big of a thing victim blaming was until I experienced it first hand and from what I experienced I am sure that it only gets worse.

I am a survivor because I didn’t let it beat me down in the end. I found strength, I got out and I have rebuilt my life. I was, although, a victim for longer that I would like to think about. I probably still am in some respects.

I didn’t press charges

Today was going to be the day! I got drunk on Saturday, I convinced myself I could do this. Drunk Andrea has motivation and ambition and plans things for her life. Sober Andrea plods on day after day. Drunk Andrea applies for a driving license, sober Andrea drives around in her Mum’s car. Drunk Andrea signs up for an online course, sober Andrea does all the work. Drunk Andrea decides sober Andrea can press charges, that sober Andrea is strong enough to. Sober Andrea thinks she is. Sober Andrea thinks she needs the support of her partner. Sober Andrea calls it off at 1am while walking back from the karaoke at the local bar, saying she’s too scared to.

Not today, but hopefully one day. I think I need to gather my strength, work out the entire story and then go. I doubt the police will care I received dick pics beforehand. Or that going upstairs in front of him he groped me. I can’t imagine they’d be happy if they knew or if it would even matter that I stopped speaking to him and started avoiding him. I think that I want to go alone, or at least not with my partner. I don’t think I want him knowing about all the intimate details, he already has a vague outline and it’s hard for him.

I’m still carrying on with my story, 9437 words in after only four days. I have given a name to the monster. All people included are having their names changed because I don’t want any trouble for slander. He is now called Ahmed, the rest of the description is correct though. For now, I would like to share this short description of my attacker.

Ahmed had a TV in his second-floor room and would invite a few of us over to watch films in the evening that he pirated off the internet. I liked being around people, even though I wasn’t the most talkative it was a nice atmosphere. Myra used to complain about the smell of weed though as he’d sit in his room with two other guys passing a joint around with the window closed. I used to have to be really careful after being in there because I found the weed smell clang to my clothes and hair and working with children, it’s just not a good image. The conversations were weird though, both Ahmed and Myra were signed up for a dating site. Although it wasn’t like Tinder where it’s mainly normal photos, this was a site where the profile pictures were explicit. I had never seen so many dick pics on one screen, Myra used to pass them around and laugh about the appearance or size. I tried to laugh it off the best I could.

It was around this time that Ahmed started flirting with me. I’d had a few flings in France, nothing major. Just the kind of three-month boyfriend girlfriend thing that is always doomed to break down because there’s no real interest other than sex. Nobody had shown any interest in me for the best part of a year and I was flattered by the attention. Especially since it was in winter and I was wearing baggy jumpers and shapeless clothing in general. My skin was dry from the winter air and I just didn’t feel in any way attractive, society and the media dictated I wasn’t. He was being nice, in the mornings if I saw him he’d always offer me hot chocolate or biscuits. When I told him I didn’t have much money for food he said I could take what I wanted from his cupboard. I never did though, I’d rather be self-sufficient and I was never that hungry. We would talk about our pasts and he opened up to me that his mother had abandoned him into foster care at a young age so that although he had Algerian origins he couldn’t speak Arabic or anything. He even tried helping me with the welfare forms which are always a nightmare in France. I found out he was there because he had split with his ex-girlfriend and the only income he had was from the welfare system. He was waiting for social housing and didn’t want to waste too much money in the meantime.

Just by looking back in this I can see the build-up to what was coming so clearly. I did start distancing myself but it wasn’t enough. I can now see how much of a predator he really was and I think that will only help more when I am finally able to press charges. I think these little details the followed were harassment and I’m sure it will interest the police that he harassed Me and then went on to attack me.

7 Reasons of Victim Blaming – Part 1/2

Growing up with a decent knowledge of western Christianity and the UK media I think I have some ideas as to why we blame the victim. I was raised with solid morals, and the type of people who get raped are horrifically portrayed as heathens or whores in the eyes of my social circles. I have studied psychology but only child psychology, so it is very important to emphasise that this is only my perspective and I am in no way a professional or qualified in such a way as to give a proper reason. I could be completely wrong, I could be downplaying victim blaming, but to me this is it and this is what I have experienced. I would love to hear more opinions on this subject. I put on Twitter and Facebook my #MeToo but didn’t dare explain more to my family. They are liberal but I don’t think they would cope with such a shock, I’ve already been criticised enough about breaking up with my first fiancé, I don’t need more.

Victim blaming comes from misunderstandings in our society that a victim or survivor is somehow always partly or shockingly fully to blame for their actions. Victim blaming or victim accusing happened to me first when I was being bullied at school, I was told by teachers it was my fault repeatedly while they refused to act.

Victim blaming is a devaluing act where the victim of a crime, an accident, or any type of abusive maltreatment is held as wholly or partially responsible for the wrongful conduct committed against them. Victim blaming can appear in the form of negative social reactions from legal, medical, and mental health professionals, as well as from the media and immediate family members and other acquaintances. Traditionally, victim-blaming has emerged in racist and sexist forms. The reason for victim blaming can be attributed to the misconceptions about victims, perpetrators, and the nature of violent acts. – Quoted from USLegal

1 – We’re uncomfortable

The first reason I can think of is that we’re not comfortable. I don’t think this is always intentional victim blaming, but it’s not helpful. We don’t want to hear their story so we shut it down, we call out their faults in the hope they’ll stop talking. It’s easier for us to hide from the reality of their broken world and stay in our happier world. By blaming a victim we can distance ourselves from them and their story, and reassure ourselves that we’re not like the said victim. It’s reassuring for someone who isn’t a victim to know they’re not like a victim and they don’t do said actions that lead to the attack, thus it cannot happen to them.

2 – Women are commonly seen as faulty or asking for it while men are seen as macho

Misogynistic opinions that are rampant in our society means that if a woman wears too short of a dress or is showing too much cleavage she is viewed as asking for it. Sadly this isn’t true and should never be seen as a valid excuse to sexually assault someone. In summer if I were to grope a half-naked man’s chest I can imagine there would be some kind of repercussions, so why would it be okay for someone to do that to a woman even if she is wearing skimpy clothing? Thankfully women have begun speaking out, SlutWalk exists. Women are meant to be seen as pure, not as whores or promiscuous. Whereas men are meant to be seen as macho, they’re allowed to sleep around. These gender stereotypes of a sexual double standard are so harmful.

A lock that gets opened by many keys is a shitty lock, a key that opens many locks is a master-key.

3 – We want to deny monsters exist

Really linking back to the first point of being uncomfortable. There are monsters among us and recently again I got too close to one. Nobody seems to have the courage to involve the police in these cases. Victim blaming and fear of victim blaming leads us to feel very ashamed meaning that we are giving too much power to these monsters and they hide among our friends in full view of the world. Would you like to imagine your neighbour is a rapist? It could be true, even your own family members could be. Not all monsters are creepy, some are charming and use this as a way of lulling you into security before attacking.

4 – Egotistical people

I went through this. Some egotistical narcissistic friend couldn’t gain anything from helping me. I would occasionally be given food and told that it would get better, that I was in their thoughts and prayers. This was just so they had someone to appear charitable with, nothing more. There was no gain for them to put me in their spare bedroom, at least not for them. I was left festering while this person would tell everyone they were praying for me.

As this post was over 1500 words long I have decided to split it into two parts, part two will be coming shortly.