Sexual assault happens to people you know

It happened to me. Four times I have been raped, the most recent only a bit more than a week ago. This is my story and my feelings. It is graphic and confronting – take care of your own mental space if you read this.

I am happily married to a monogamous man, but I am polyamorous. For a long time I have been burying that part of me, but with a recent bout of hypomania it has resurfaced. I struggle to love just one person, and my husband has been very understanding about this. Thus, recently I began dating again.

I made the call to try Tinder, and initially it worked really well. I was looking for casual hookups that I hoped would sometimes develop into friendships that would last, and this has happened. But the world is a dangerous place, and it was only a matter of time before  met someone who was not as good a human being as I credit them for.

I met Suman in a hotel off Queen Street, and he was incredibly respectful and caring. I was running late because of family stuff, and he was considerate and understanding. He had a clear understanding of consent – he asked if it was ok to hug me, to take my sweatshirt off, everything. He was the most respectful man I have ever had the pleasure to meet, and we had very nice vanilla sex.

He got up, and pulled out a pipe and some pot. I figured, why not, he’s a bit tense and this will relax him. He had admitted to having OCD and anxiety, and to smoking pot quite often to help deal with it. We went outside, and smoked up. I had only a little, but he drew deep and often. Before long he was buzzing and floating, happy as anything, and relaxed. We went back to the room.

As soon as we walked into the room, things changed. I took off my boots and stood up, and he wrenched my clothes off and threw me onto the bed. I was scared, and I froze up. What happened next is a mess of flashes. I can’t put it in any logical order. He forced me to go down on him, grabbing my by the hair and forcing me deeper and deeper until I choked. He pulled me by the hair til I lay on my back again and choked me. He slapped me. He bit me, and the bruises are yet to fade. He licked me all over, and that makes my skin crawl. He masturbated over my body, dripping sweat all over me. He penetrated me. All this, while I pretended to enjoy it so that I could get out of there in one piece.

Perhaps I should have said no, perhaps I should have fought. I was terrified, though, not knowing how far his violence was going to go. I shouldn’t have to excuse not fighting a sexual assault though – it’s not on me, it’s on him.

Finally, he collapsed, buzzing out, and I gave him the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert to watch. It was perfect, he was enthralled, and I got dressed and left.

I got home, threw everything I was wearing in the wash, and showered and scrubbed the sweat and stench of him off my flesh. Twenty minutes in the shower, and I felt clean enough to step out and begin the road to healing.

My husband has been amazing through this, supportive and loving. I proceeded into a four-day bender, kicked off at a wonderful friend’s place who helped me write a note to Suman telling him why I would never see him again. She poured me G&Ts until the pain was numbed, then another friend took me to dinner and poured cider down my throat.

That night, a lovely man helped me get totally plastered in a safe place, and showed me respect and kindness. It was the first step in trusting again, and I am grateful to him for how he treated me that night. The following days were spent in Wellington, soaking in wine and tequila and being cared for by wonderful women and men, and my journey continued.

Thank you to all of the people that have helped me to move forward. I’m not going to name you all, because some will want to remain unnamed and I’ll inevitably forget someone wonderful and important but I am ever grateful and I love you all.

There have been questions raised about going to the police, and it’s simply not going to happen. I know what it’s like, I’ve seen people go through it and supported them, and I will not risk my mental wellbeing for it. I will brook no condemnation for this decision. It is mine alone to make.

To the men who accept that I’m a bit broken, and deal with my freakouts and freezing up when they touch a trigger they didn’t know existed, thank you and thank you again. You’re helping me heal, and I value you deeply. To the women who have listened as I poured my heart out, you are my rocks and I appreciate you. You stand in the swirling waters of my emotions, and you hold me tight. It is wonderful beyond measure.

I will not let this stop me loving and trusting. I have known for a long time that there is no such thing as a completely safe person, after my oldest friend raped me. I choose to trust and to love, deeply and passionately. I will not let this change my heart.

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