How is it fair?

Yesterday I walked to my favourite cafe in Notting Hill, it’s about a 15 minute walk, so it’s not far. On my way there, I was beeped at twice by van drivers, a 50-year-old man looked me up and down and said ‘Ohh baby’. By the time I got to the cafe, I found myself wishing that I hadn’t done my make up or put a cute dress on. If I’d just tied my hair up and put sweats on, maybe I wouldn’t have been made to feel uncomfortable. It’s a bit ironic that I had made an effort in my appearance to make myself feel good and ended up feeling on edge and generally pretty shitty. Although these behaviours may seem small and non threatening, when they happen on almost a daily basis, they become very challenging to overcome.

The other week I was sat in Hyde park, writing some poetry in my journal. Three men in their early Thirties came and sat no more than six metres away. I noticed that every time I looked up from my work they were staring at me. I continued listening to my music and writing, trying to put it out of my mind and then one of the men came over. He asked if I had a spare cigarette to which I replied that I didn’t smoke. You would think he would just leave after that, but no. He crouched down beside me and asked me what I was doing. I said that I was writing. He then grabbed my book and tried to take it off me saying, ‘Let me read it’. I snatched it back and said ‘No’. He then proceeded to ask me if I was here alone, I lied and said I was waiting for my friends and that he was now making me feel uncomfortable. Thankfully he got back up and re-joined his friends. He continued to stare at me, so I turned my back on them. What happened next really bothered me; they started whistling me. There were a lot of other people in the park so I didn’t necessarily feel scared but I did feel like an object. The man felt like he could take what he wanted from me, my book for example, he felt that he could get my attention by whistling me like a dog.

When I was in my First year of university I lived in Kingston, and as you can imagine we went out clubbing quite a bit. One night we went out as a big group and one of our friends got pretty drunk and decided to leave us early. When we saw her the next day we asked her how she got back. She said she decided to walk home, as its only a short journey, but she really needed to go for a wee. She said she was too scared to go down an alleyway for a wee so ended up wetting herself while walking back. She wasn’t upset about the fact that this had happened she just accepted that it was something she had to do.

On another night out, one of my friends was being harassed by a young man who was adamant that she was to dance with him. She came up to me and asked me to help her as he wouldn’t leave her alone. I pretended to be her girl friend which he didn’t believe. I ended up having enough of it and simply told him to ‘Fuck off’. That really angered him and he told my friend that he would see her outside. Well, you could imagine my outrage, threatening a woman simply because she didn’t want to dance. I started yelling in his face, telling him exactly what I thought of him. He then drew back a fist, I naturally ducked causing him to punch my friend who was directly behind me. A woman was threatened and then punched, simply because she didn’t want to dance with this boy.

I have a ton of stories where random guys in clubs have slapped my arse or tried to rub their crotch against my thigh. I have a ton of stories of being beeped at, whistled at, winked at or even felt up on public transport. The stories I have highlighted here are not one off’s, I am yet to find a woman who doesn’t have a story of her own and who can’t relate to this issue. I also cannot discount the fact that it can happen to men too, however the only men I have met who have experienced this kind of unwanted attention have received it from other men. So I ask how is it fair that women are made to feel uncomfortable, afraid, vulnerable, and disrespected on a regular basis. Why is it that we are the ones walking home at night with our house keys sticking out between our fingers? Why do we normalise it? The behaviour should not be happening in the first place, women are not objects they are people who deserve to be respected and have the right to feel safe. A womans body is the closest thing to god, it creates life, and yet it is looked at far too many times as a sexual object, made for the pleasure of men.


It’s called rape.

So I’m about to get pretty deep on your arses. I was raped 5 years ago by a man who I used to consider my friend. I’ve been through every mental process possible throughout my recovery, and I’m still piecing myself back together now.

My first year was a mixture of denial, confusion, anger, crying and a crippling fear of the bastard doing it again. I didn’t go to the police because my very first stage was denial. It didn’t happen, things like that don’t happen to me. He was a friend, friends don’t rape each other. No, we just had sex that was all. I went a few weeks thinking in this way, and then it hit me. It wasn’t just sex, I said no, I screamed no, I tried to get away from him and he did it anyway. I then became angry, I lashed out at everyone, my friends, my family, teachers, anyone. I felt vulnerable, weak, my old self who I knew and loved had been murdered and for that I was furious. I developed a hatred for the word rape, I couldn’t bring myself to say it, and I hated hearing it. It offended me, I remember telling my friends not to use the word around me.

In my second year I went on a bit of a rampage. I put my energies into men, I slept around a bit, trying to prove to myself that not all men were capable of rape. I felt pretty shit about myself doing this. These men didn’t care about me or like me, they just used my body so they could cum. It was sex though, sex that I actually wanted and enjoyed at the time. Sweet relief, that had a pretty shitty after taste. I had come to terms with that fact that my old self had died, and that I had to create myself all over again. I just had no idea how to go about it.

In my third year, I started to pick up. I became strong or so I thought at the time, turns out I actually just slathered some concrete over my problems. I stopped sleeping with men and started dating and then dropping them, making myself feel poweful over the male species. I studied hard, I worked hard on my friendships and started going to the gym and leading an active, healthy lifestyle. I didn’t re-live my trauma as much as I used to, and I didn’t think about its consequences too much anymore. I was just getting on with life.

In my fourth year I was thriving. I looked great, I felt great and I had a full-time job that gave me purpose. I started casually seeing an old friend, the sex was amazing, we cared for each other, I felt in control of my life for once. He knew what had happened to me, and he made me feel strong for it. I moved to London towards the end of this fourth year to start university, and that’s when I took another knock. I got a call from a friend (my rapist had also raped her at a separate occasion) and she told me she had gone to the police. I instantly knew what I had to do, what I should have done a long time ago. I cried, for about 2 hours straight, I screamed and vomited, then I phoned the number she gave me. My life started to revolve around it yet again. I did interviews, I gave my account, I had to say the words that I had despised for all those years ‘I was raped’. I was a victim of a crime that should never have happened. I went to court, I stood up in the witness-box and gave my evidence. My rapid downhill spiral had started. At the end of the court proceedings, the jury couldn’t reach a verdict and so a re-trail was awarded. I was shocked and upset at first, but after it sank in, I gained a fire in my belly for the next case.

The beginning of my fifth year, I was very much so in limbo, waiting for the next trail. I put all my energy and passion into getting him sent down. I hoped and prayed every night that it would go my way, that I could get justice and that I would be able to finally get over what had happened. The trail came around, and as you could imagine anxiety was at an all time high. I had never wanted anything more in my life. I remember so clearly getting that phone call after the trail. This is it I thought, I was nervous but so hopeful. It wasn’t good news, in fact it was the worst news I had ever been told. He was found not guilty on every single count. Even thinking about it now, makes me cry. I grieved. I had lost my battle, and it literally almost killed me. I fell harder and deeper than I ever had before. I broke down and had to leave London and return home. While all of this was going on I had just begun speaking to a guy (my now ex boyfriend) and so I put my energy into him as that was an easier situation for me to deal with. After the ‘honeymoon’ period of the relationship I came back to the reality of my situation and knew I had a lot of work to do on myself. I then began the process of forgiveness. It took me a long time but I have now forgiven my rapist, I haven’t told him I have forgiven him because frankly he doesn’t care. But I can now say, ‘I was raped’ and talk openly and freely about it. Going through court feels separate to what had actually happened. Court was traumatic, hearing the verdict was traumatic and I produced a crippling anxiety disorder because of it. I can live with the fact that my rapist walks free, I just hope he has learnt. What I’m struggling to live with is that I lost the fight and it’s over.

relationships, Uncategorized

Moving Back

I’m back to being single. It turns out that being single is what I’m best at, and most importantly what is best for me right now. After so long of wanting a relationship it turns out that I actually really sucked at being in one.

I’m back in London, living with two of my best friends, having broken up with my boyfriend and leaving him rather heartbroken back home. My life is finally back on the right track, and I am happier than I have been in a long time.

I hadn’t realised how unhappy and not myself I was when I was in the relationship. I had stopped writing, my life was in limbo and I loved someone who clearly wasn’t right for me. My future was looking pretty dire and it wasn’t what I had originally planned for myself. My boyfriend told me that we can’t control our futures and we just have to go with what was happening and make the best out of it. I disagreed so strongly with this that I changed everything with a blink of an eye. I’m breaking up with him, I’m going back to London, I’m going to go travelling and my future will be completely in my control. I hold the key to my mind which has the power to shape my life.

So here I am, single, happy, and shaping my own future.