A Pox on the Patriarchy
Afterwards, in the car, I laughed and pretended I couldn’t remember his name. It was an attempt – a pathetic one – to take back some form of control. Everything’s fine, you’re totally forgettable, I’m the one with the power here. He just looked at me, disgusted. I had been trying to recover some self-respect, but I just ended up feeling more like a slut who deserved what had happened to her than I already did.
That’s why I didn’t report my sexual assault. I internalised what I saw in that look. I internalised the disrespect evident in how he used my unwilling body for his gratification and then ejaculated all over me. I was a dirty slut and that’s what happens to dirty sluts. I was so ashamed that I had let it happen that I worried he might tell people (he was a mutual friend). It was six years before I told anyone at all.
This was before I discovered feminism. Before I knew that saying “no” should be enough for a man to respect your humanity and that it doesn’t matter if you’re drunk. It doesn’t matter if you danced with him in a club. It doesn’t even matter if you went back to his flat.
But even if I had known all that, even if it happened to me today, still – like most sexual assault victims – I wouldn’t report what happened to the police.
Continue reading this article at the New Statesman