‘Til it happens to you

CW: rape and rape culture

There was an article doing the rounds a week or two ago, talking about the scary new ‘trend’ doing the rounds: men secretly removing condoms mid-way sex.

It flitted across my timeline while I was sitting on a MyCiti bus, making my way to work. I froze when I finally read and re-read the headline, hearing the blood rush in my ears as I struggled to keep it together.

You see, that had happened to me.

My then hook-up partner had decided he didn’t like condoms anymore. And made it seem like he had worn one.

He told me after we were done, sheepishly while he snuggled me. I felt my stomach drop but he liked me so what did it matter right? I was barely 22.

Since becoming a bit more socially conscious and understanding the horrors of rape culture – I had to step back and look at my sexual history. It was horrifying.

I have been sexually assaulted multiple times by men who made me feel like I could trust them. The first time I told him to stop and he continued even as I said no. I couldn’t push him off because I was tipsy.

The stark realisation affected my future relationships, while a combination of the Pill I’m on and my trauma has made my desire for intimacy plummet.

I went from being generally very affectionate with partners to struggling to hold someone’s hand. I’m cold and distant even when I don’t want to be, like intimacy autopilot.

It can be hard to deal when we live in such a hyper-sexualised society and all you’re trying to do is be somewhat okay again.

People make callous jokes about sexual assault or being “frigid” constantly. While there’s nothing wrong with talking about pleasure in an open, somewhat trusting environment, you have no idea what people are dealing with.

I wrote about this because so many people are walking around with secrets similar to mine and feel alone.

Even if you can’t speak about it with anyone, you’re not. Even if you can barely figure out how to cope.

I’ve made some progress with regards to the way I feel about my body since then.

I’ve added five piercings, four tattoos, shaved half my head and grew it all out. It’s not perfect but it’s mine.

This body that has endured and lived and survived. I’m no longer 22 and I can’t go back. But I do like this version of me, most of the time, which is something.

I always can work with something.


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