In honour of Sexual Violence Awareness Week, I'm sharing one of the sexual abuses I've endured in my past...
I was 16 years old and recently dumped by my boyfriend for being boring. I was feeling low and not in the mood to socialise, but a close friend of mine wanted to go to an 'intimate house party' in our complex because the guy she fancied was going to be there. After a long discussion, she convinced me to tag along.
It was just us two (16-year-old) girls, and two boys (one aged 18 and the other 19). The gathering was at the 19-year-old guy's flat- his parents were away, so he had the flat to himself. His name was Arman (he doesn't deserve anonymity), and he was known for his bullying and crazy acts in our area. He once threw my brother in the trash bin just because he felt like it.
We started drinking, playing games, and talking, but I was still not feeling good enough to socialise. After a couple of hours, I tried to get out of the flat, but my friend insisted that I should stay. She was planning on staying longer to conduct her flirting with the other boy. Arman and my friend were trying to peer pressure me to do shots and drink more, but I resisted their pressure. Hours passed by, and I was longing for my bed- it was just 2 minute walk away- but my friend was insistent, she didn't let me go even though I was about to fall asleep.
Arman suggested that there is an empty room upstairs with a mattress where I could sleep if I wanted to. I was looking forward to sleeping in my bed that night, but my friend begged me to stay so she could stay up and continue flirting with her crush. Being a yes-man back in the day, I accepted the offer and went upstairs with Arman where he led me to the room. He wished me goodnight, closed the door, and went downstairs to carry on drinking with the other two. I fell asleep as soon as I put my head on the mattress...
I had no idea what time it was, and couldn't understand what was happening... Was I dreaming, or awake? I felt his weight on my body, his fingers all over me... I tried to open my eyes but felt still half-asleep. My sight was blurry, but I saw Arman on top of me. He had this grin on his face that I can never forget. I tried to shout out his name and told him to stop, he heard me, but he didn't stop. Then he started putting his fingers in me, I was trying to push him away, but I was still not fully awake. I was becoming much more aware and accepting of reality. I started to panic, and I realized that I needed my full strength to get out of this situation.
For a few seconds, I stopped struggling and let my body rest to gather all my energy while he continued touching me as he pleased. Once I gathered all my strength, I managed to push him off me and ran away straight to home. I was still in shock at what had just happened, I was going through the night minute by minute; Did I do anything to make him think I was interested? Did I make him feel welcome in the room? Was it my fault? Did I send him the wrong message by staying in his flat? After all those horrible thoughts, I came to my senses and realized that none of this was my fault, there were no excuses for his behavior, and nothing justified his actions.
The next day my friend called me to ask why I didn't stay that night, and I told her what happened. She was shocked, but she tried to convince me to answer his many phone calls and texts and give him a chance to apologize. I wasn't ready to give him that peace of mind. After almost a week, my friend convinced me that Arman was devastated, and he wanted to apologize, face-to-face.
We were a small group of friends in the complex, and it would have been impossible for me to avoid him for the rest of my life- to avoid him, I would have had to lock myself home and end my social life. I accepted the circumstances and agreed to meet the group and face Arman. He had apologized through text many times, but I didn't want him. I was just going to hang out with the group and ignore him all the way.
After a couple of hours, I almost felt like he didn't exist and started to enjoy myself until everyone decided to move the gathering to Arman's flat. I said I wouldn't join them, but everyone, including my close friend and Arman, insisted I did. I thought ripping the bandaid off and facing my trauma in the early stages could heal my wound faster, and I agreed to go. I tried to get comfortable and worked on creating good memories with new people in a place where I had experienced the darkest moments of my life just a few days ago. Everything was okay until...
Arman suddenly gathered the attention of the whole group and told everyone that I was a slut, that I had come over and slept in his flat a week ago, and that I was moaning his name, begging for more while he fingered me but then when it was time to do the deed I had run away. In his words, I was one of those 'bitches' that would do everything to get attention but then leave a guy dry and wanting more...
I was mortified. My friend started attacking straight away, telling him off, explaining to everyone that he tried to rape me, that I could show all these messages he sent me begging for my forgiveness... But I wasn't going to stay there a second more and endure this disgrace. I went home crying, I was so mad at myself for putting myself in that situation and letting him talk about me like that after all he had done to me.
It took me a while to get myself to talk about it to my friends, but I had to talk about it, even to the strangers who witnessed the abuse.
I've seen the guy so many times after this sexual abuse and managed to look him dead in the eye and face him without feeling sad for myself. I could see the humiliation in his eyes, and he always kept his distance. I'm sure he wiped this from his memories so he could sleep well at night, but I will never forget what he has done to me.
I wish I had never experienced this, but I'm also proud to be a survivor of sexual abuse. For all those out there who have experienced any sort of sexual abuse, I want you to understand this clearly; NO, IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT! NO, IT'S NOT ACCEPTABLE! YES, TALKING WILL HELP! YES, YOU WILL BE OKAY!