I wanted to write a whole new post about this stuff, but there’s something symbolic about posting something I wrote and was too scared to put online a year and a half ago.
I wrote this late one night in late October 2014 when I couldn’t sleep because I had all these horrible memories and thoughts swirling around in my head. The Roast Busters case had come back to light as it had been announced that no charges would be laid which really kicked me in the gut and brought everything that had happened to me back to the surface as I could see so many similarities between our cases (except how young their victims were – the poor girls!).
It’s not necessarily graphic, but it admits a lot I’ve found hard to deal with when it comes to finger pointing and assumptions about my motive and I guess that’s why I never brought myself to post it.
This has been sitting in my Gmail email drafts all this time and I’ve gone back and read it a couple of times in that time, but now I’m feeling much better in myself, I thought it’s time to say what I wanted to say when I first got back from the UK.
I understand it’s clearly 16 months out of date (lol) but I think a lot of the feels are still extremely relevant, regardless.
There are a couple of tiny notes I’ve put in there, [italicised and in brackets] but the rest is exactly how I wrote it, with more paragraph spacing than I used…
Thu, Oct 30, 2014 [Draft] No Subject
Ok. So, some people may have noticed that I’ve been in the UK for 2 years and now I’ve come back all outspoken and feministy, and with this Roast Busters scandal back in the light, it’s a coincidentally poignant time to talk about why….
Note: This is probably going to be a long and less than pleasant thing to read/write and there are probably some people who shouldn’t find out on Facebook (I apologise), but I think it’s something that needs to be spoken about, for myself and for other people’s sake.
Also, trigger warning: Rape.
So I was raped.
In the UK, April last year. 
It wasn’t by a stranger in an alleyway, there were no knives or force.
It was the stuff that Robin Thicke sings about. Blurred Lines and all that bullshit.
To some people, it’s not considered “real rape” although an estimated 90% of rape is done by someone the victim knows.
I knew them, they were workmates, one was my manager, it was in our shared accommodation and I was drunk and don’t remember the majority of the night/incident. The only reason that I know is that one of the fellows kindly told me what happened the next day.
He literally could have told me anything, but he described a scene of non-consensual sex [actually, rape – there’s no such thing as non-consensual sex].
I technically never said no, to my knowledge, although I do know I drunkenly lashed out and hit him on his first advance, a few drinks later after his second advance I apparently cried (like tears), and after that he told his idiot lackey that I wasn’t going for him so he should “have a go”…
I’ll stop there, but it was all too clear that although, while in a state of blind drunkenness, I made it obvious more than once I didn’t want to do anything and and instead of taking that at its glaringly obvious face value, they waited until I was no longer capable of giving consent whatsoever.
So no, I didn’t say no, but I didn’t say yes, and more importantly, I was in no state to give genuine verbal or non-verbal consent (at any point of this story, but certainly not at the end).
The worst part is, that after he told me (I was bawling my eyes out) his blatant disrespect for my feelings and my body became obvious when he said “well you shouldn’t get so fucking drunk, it’s your own fault”. A serious lack of remorse for the distressed girl to whom he just described some pretty intimate things.
He never apologised once and didn’t care that I was in a state.
I wouldn’t have told anyone, I would have taken the secret to my grave. I was humiliated, I felt used, disgusting, physically ill, and I felt like it was my fault.
But despite my pleas for them not to, they told everyone at work. I imagine there would have been high fives. But when it came to me, I got looks of disgust and was treated like a “slut”.
People stopped talking to me as much, male workmates were laughing in my face [literally] (but not at the 2 boys) and telling me I need standards.
It was sickening but I rolled with it, I laughed along, you can’t mock someone who doesn’t care right?… Right?… I worked with my rapists for a few nights, laughing, smiling, hugging, and trying to act normal while inside wanting to rip their smug faces off and vomit on them.
It wasn’t till I was confronted a couple of days later by a couple of the ladies I worked with who wanted to know “if the rumours were true” that I finally got to say my part and they advised I speak to someone because they could tell immediately that something was seriously wrong.
Thank god for them <3 It’s the only reason I spoke out and they really got the ball rolling cos I was so scared and embarrassed to do it myself.
About a week after the incident was when I went to the police. That’s how long it took. By then I was out of the shared accommodation in a hotel by myself.
I couldn’t sleep due to panic attacks, feeling physically ill, and reliving and going through everything in my mind.
I was up until 6am when I decided that sleep wasn’t going to happen so I waited till I thought the police station would be open, and at 10am with zero z’s in my body, I put my iPod on full bore (literally ear-drum blowingly loud) to drown out any thoughts I might have as I walked, shaking and alone to speak to the officers.
If anyone wants to make going to the police look like it should be a walk in the park, I’d like them to speak to me because I can’t explain how terrified I was.
The reason I want to talk about this, is because now I know first-hand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the different ways people treat you, from before you tell anyone, to having people know, to having to discuss with people what happened and listen to their take on it, to talking to the police. And then in my case, dropping the case completely. (I tried to do it all on my own and I don’t think I had the strength to do that).
At the end of the day, it’s down to the individual whether they want to carry out proceedings or not, as we all know that only about 9% of sexual violence is reported, of which only 13% results in conviction (in NZ), and that sort of failure rate is a lot to deal with on top of the emotional and physical ramifications of these types of incidents.
(I did have one small win when the main guy got arrested by police, from his/our house/workplace and chucked in the cells on his birthday. Bam!)
The things that were said to me…
“Are you sure you didn’t just do it, get embarrassed, and now you’re saying this?”
“Are you sure this isn’t an overreaction?”
“Maybe you should think about how much you’re drinking”
“But you slept with another guy at that same place, do you sleep around?” [that was the police – they questioned my friends to gather how much of a slut I was]
“Where were your friends? Why didn’t they stop it?”
“What were you wearing?” [that was the police again – I hope it was for genuine reasons but I’m not sure]
“Why were you in his room alone with them?”
“They were terrified when they were arrested, they’ll probably never have sex with a girl again without a signed permission form” (Good!!)
“Now I know all I need to do to have sex with you is get you drunk”
“You’re just a slut who had a threesome, regretted it, and cried rape” [that was my next boyfriend, ladies and gentleman]
– All very sweet really but incredibly misinformed.
Hence why Roast Busters is such a key incident to talk about.
While my situation sounds like a case of “blurred lines” (they’re not blurry, they’re quite clear), and my story is literally me retelling what someone else told me, RB is a high profile case, of what looks to me like a pretty solid guilty verdict of statutory rape of MULTIPLE girls with videos, and online admissions.
And they can run free.
How can anyone feel like they can come forward and get the right treatment from family/friends/acquaintances/
The current mentality is to focus on the girls, and what they did wrong, and what they should have done to prevent it.
Victim blaming is not ok. Things need to change.
Whether your a virgin or not, young or old, a librarian or a prostitute, single or married, your body is not public property and no one has the right to treat it as such.
Sex is not something that is done to me, it is something that I may choose to do WITH a particular person if we both want to.
We are not brought up understanding this, and with shitty analogies like the master key and the lock going around, it’s no wonder people think like this.
I’m also telling you because you might not realise you know someone that was sexually assaulted [rape – you can say rape, past Charlie].
Some people genuinely seem to think it’s a smaller problem than it is.
If we assume that 50% of my FB friends are female, and go by the current statistic that 1 in 5 Kiwi women will experience sexual assault in their lifetimes, that means that statistically, approximately 70 of my wonderful female friends have, or will, experience it.
And things need to change.
Just to follow up…
My work’s HR talked to us all individually and they were found guilty of gross misconduct within work and fired. The police also made sure there was a restraining order so they couldn’t come near me or contact me.
However, in an attempt to be fair, up until then we were all banned from our place of work. Which was no problem for them – one was English and didn’t live there anyway. The other had worked there so long and had an ex-wife and family and friends to stay with/hang out with.
I was a kiwi in a new city, everyone I knew lived in my workplace and were often too poor/sleeping/working to hang out with me, it was also where I got cheap drinks and cheap food.
I was poor because, although I was getting paid in the time out, it wasn’t much and I usually relied on tips to get me by week-to-week, plus I had no cooking facilities and had to buy everything I ate.
So, basically, I was completely isolated in a small, shitty part of England and a weird little hotel, with no money and sick (always sick, lols), spending each day waiting to talk to police, or HR, or whoever, and being scared of running into the guys, since I was alone most of the time, I didn’t feel safe at all.
I was also target to bullying by the guys at my work and slut-shamed to hell. Despite the fact that the police ended up being surprised that I wasn’t a massive whore (it shouldn’t matter regardless).
I was the one who was left alone with my thoughts after this traumatic event. Encouraged to leave the city. Told not to tell anyone at my next job. Maybe not tell anyone at all. Encouraged to stop lying, and pretending like I wasn’t super keen at the time to bang the biggest douchebag at my workplace and his weak-minded partner in crime.
Seriously, what part of this sounds like a fun and motivated way to, what, get a couple of guys who I didn’t really care about in trouble? It wouldn’t have been worth the trauma just to get 2 guys fired, who, again, I really didn’t care about. Plus, I’m the worst liar in the world. Most of my answers to the police were – “I don’t know, I don’t remember, I only know what he told me”.
Shout out to the girls who got the ball rolling in getting some justice. To my workmates, who managed to hang out with me when they could. You, who came and drank wine in my hotel room and listened to NZ music with me. You, who let me borrow your DVDs and made a huge effort to get food/drink with me when you could. And you, who dropped everything and came to visit me from London and take me out and generally for always being there for me.
In the end, I was strongly advised to drop my case against the 2 guys because a video came to light weeks after of me apparently kissing one of them earlier that night (no memory of that whatsoever), which apparently shows I was into it.
Let’s not forget that if I was too drunk to consent to sex, so how was I capable to consent to kissing? Even if I did want to kiss him, it’s completely within my rights to expect him to not have sex with me when I’m incapable of consenting. (I was less read up on the subject when the police told me that – I just cried and took the rest of the day off work because I was inconsolable.)
If I could do it again, I’d say “fuck it” and do what I could to at least get the fuckwits into a court room, but Charlie from 3 years ago wasn’t as strong and educated on the subject as she is now. To be honest, I’d say that this whole experience is a large part of why I am stronger and more educated on the subject, so it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy really.
I also wouldn’t change much, because, as shitty as it’s been, it’s given me the voice and self-appointed podium to speak up. If my opinions and/or blogs can change one person’s behaviour and prevent just one rape, or help one girl leave an abusive partner, that’s all I need.
And I know for a fact that’s happened, so it’s all for the greater good and I guess that makes it all worth it.
But I don’t forgive them… Not yet…