Yet again social media has made me uncomfortable and confused about myself. What’s the right thing to do? Some say the hashtag, in support of Rose Mcgowan, is necessary, others say it’s insulting because the support wasn’t there for them. At first I tweeted the hashtag, before fully waking up this morning, which isn’t something I’d normally do but I wanted to show I sympathise (which, of course, I do).
But then I got more and more annoyed -not at the hashtag, I absolutely want to make that clear, people should be free to protest how they wish, but at the idea of my keeping quiet any longer. I have something to say. He may not have been a fancy producer or anything to do with Hollywood, and it wasn’t as traumatic as most people have experienced, but it’s a situation that frightened and confused me and it was my own silence at the time that I still find so frustrating.
Years ago, at university, I knew my boyfriend and I weren’t particularly suited, which isn’t his fault. What was his fault was the thing that began that summer at a festival.
We rolled into the tent after a fun and busy day, and I was too tired to accept his advances and fell asleep. When I woke it was almost morning, I could tell by the light, and something sexual was happening. Fear flooded me – such a harsh awakening kickstarted my fight or flight responses and I did…nothing. I froze. There was no context to the events occurring and my brain was struggling to process it. It wasn’t as if we’d been fooling around or being intimate, I’d literally been asleep. For hours. Not that that’s any kind of excuse if you don’t want to go further, I just mean he wasn’t misunderstanding the situation and it took me a while to piece together what was happening.
It seems he’d woken in the night and decided to work on himself, which is fine. Obviously I don’t have a problem with that. What sent this over the edge into something that induced primal fear was the fact that he then rolled over, pinned me down, held my hands in place and ground his hips hard (and I mean hard) into my body, only letting go when he’d finished, which was when he rolled back over and fell asleep.
I lay there all night, thinking, trying not to think, wondering what that meant, what I was supposed to do, whether it was a big deal and why I really felt like it was. The next morning he got up, said hello and went through plans for the day like nothing happened. I was so confused. Did I dream it? No, I definitely hadn’t, I could still feel the pressure of his body, the way he’d made me feel like a useless rag doll.
He went off to get some supplies and I met up with our friends who were camping nearby. Our conversation went roughly like this:
Me: So, (blank) did something a bit weird last night.
Me: yeah. I didn’t want to do it, so, he kind of did it anyway.
Her: What do you mean?
Me: I mean…he just did it after I said no.
Her: Well, you must have wanted to do it a bit, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to get it in.
Me: He didn’t get it in…he just sort of did it on top of me.
Her: Oh, I don’t think that’s anything to worry about.
So that was that. I was with him for a year and he did it a further five or six times. I told myself each time that I was making a big fuss about nothing, but I reacted to our relationship by getting drunk too often and insulting him. Which, by the way, the same friend told me wasn’t very nice and that I should really treat him better.
Yes, I was naive and yes, I should have finished with him after the first time, but I was young and still didn’t quite understand how relationships worked. I mean, who does? I’ve tried to stop thinking about it and tried to forget it, even, as just another odd thing that happened to me. It wasn’t the worst thing that’s happened to anyone and I really wouldn’t want to compare my experiences with something truly terrible, but it’s been increasingly making me angry and I’m starting to see how it’s affected me since, and I need to get it off my chest.
I think people should protest how they like and their way of dealing with things is theirs, but I don’t want to be quiet anymore.