Nobody ever thinks a tumble drier or a washing machine can be a source of bullying or abuse. In the shared house the kitchen and dining room downstairs was much larger and housed the two front-loading washing machines, a tumble dryer and the clothes horse. One washing machine was much older and very basic, the other was newer and clearly top of the range so Myra kept the drawer in her room. This meant we had to ask her to use it and only certain people were allowed to. The tumble dryer was some front-loading thing from the mid-2000s judging by the look of it. It was clunky and would commonly block because the lint trap that needed washing after was torn allowing a substantial amount of lint to get through to the machine. Thinking back this was probably a fire hazard, but I didn’t signal it to Mrs Leroy because Myra said she knew The clothes horse was some rickety thing people would dump bedding when it was next to the heater, I never used it but did knock it over at least twice. These facilities were open to all of us whenever we wanted, but understandably we had to provide our own products. Once again Ahmed took advantage of me having only just moved in to give me several Ariel capsules.
I was doing around one machine a week and most things were going through the tumble dryer apart from some underwear and some socks I had knitted. The rules were you took your washing down in a bag and if you didn’t come and get it before someone else needed the machine they dumped your stuff in the bag, whichever machine it was in. I always try to set a timer on my phone to avoid any problems as well as leaving the bag.
One evening after I had started avoiding everyone post-trauma I went down to move my laundry from the washing machine to the tumble dryer. Ahmed, Myra and various other housemates were there. I tried chatting and being friendly but really I just wanted to get the washing finished and go back to my room. The tumble dryer was absolutely disgusting, nobody had cleaned the lint filters and for some reason, they were damp so the lint just stuck to me. I put the filter from below the door back in, pulled it out and more lint had stuck to it. I must have spent at least fifteen minutes cleaning the lint traps out, and I had to pull out the inside filter that was always a pain to get back in. Once I had finally done that I shut the door and pressed start. The machine beeped at me telling me to shut the door. I opened and shut the door again but no luck. I checked the filters again, making sure I had put it back properly. Ahmed started looking at it saying he couldn’t figure it out. I gave up and said it was okay, I would take the washing upstairs to dry in my room. A few days later Myra started talking tome rather aggressively, saying I had broken the tumble dryer. Although I was the first person who tried to use it when it wouldn’t work. I said I didn’t understand and she said I would have to see about that with Mrs Leroy. She said part of the door had broken off when I tried cleaning it and they’ve had to plug it up with a straw. Essentially part of the door clipped into the machine to signal that it was closed, the system exists on microwaves too for example. With the heat of the tumble dryer, I suppose the plastic got brittle and likely snapped off when the person before me used the machine. It’s not really that someone broke it, more so that it had worn out or been overused.
After the rape had come out I would try to do sneaky machines early in the morning before anyone was really up. Then I would either grab the machine just before going out or I would pick it up on my lunch break and take everything to dry in my room. I didn’t like using the tumble dryer much after what happened. One day I got back on my lunch break and my bag had been used to put trash in, which annoyed me because in France you don’t get free bags and this was one of the big reusable ones that cost me 2€. I had a look around for my clothes but they weren’t in the tumble dryer or anywhere else to be seen. Myra had friends over who had been sleeping in the living room and it was locked so it couldn’t have been in there. They left that afternoon but the room stayed locked. Someone had effectively stolen my clothing. I found it several days later, dumped on the sofa in the living room once her friends left. It absolutely stank of mildew and I had to re-wash it at least twice to clear the smell. I know it was Myra who had kept the living room locked after her friends had left.