In this time of #MeToo being very much in the public awareness, what follows below are the shared experiences of one of BGIM Media’s contributors that illustrate how, unfortunately, the idea that sexual assault, rape and sexual oppression are just the doings of a tiny number of “bad apples” in a huge bunch of “good men” is not accurate. That isn’t to say there aren’t many good men who do right, but there still remain a huge number who do not, and think it their right to do as they will sexually without proper consent. – Shay, aka BGIM
Before I could speak, before I understood my body is mine alone, before I had the words to say stop, before my family caught him, I was molested by an uncle, in my bed, for years, less than two feet away from my twin.
First grade. A male teacher is inappropriately touching himself at his desk, fully aware that I see him. There is no one else there; my female teacher is outside for recess with the rest of the class. I never tell anyone. After that I never allow myself to be anywhere in the school with him alone. Over a decade later he is caught, in that school, with a child in the bathroom.
Sixth grade. The nicknames given to me by my peers—the “the coolest of the kids”—are prude and ice queen. I won’t drink alcohol, and I won’t have sex with boys. I wear those names as a badge of honor, externally. I never talk about how much shame I feel because of them, internally.
Seventh grade. A male classmate I like asks me to be his girlfriend. I’m elated; I say yes. We “date” for several months, attend a school dance as a couple, hold hands when all our friends are together, and giggle when we talk about kissing each other. Then the day comes, he asks “can I kiss you?” “Ok!” I say with a big smile, and close my eyes, happily waiting for what will obviously be the best thing ever!
As his lips press against mine, his right hand cups my undeveloped left breast. Before I can think I separate from him and punch him in his face as hard as I can. The blood pouring from his nose freaks him the fuck out and, he starts screaming, crying, calling me names, and runs off.
Freshman and sophomore year of high school. I find out, in my 20s from a male “friend” that there was a pact among several boys to “break René’s virginity.” One of the boys found the money and contacted everyone else to ask what they should do with it since “No one won.”
Freshman in college. My friends and I walking into the Shugga Shack in Boston. Small town kids in the big city, ready to be grown. Over the next two hours we are keeping men and women out from under our skirts, literally. Several men actually begin sexual play with their finger between my legs without my consent in the midst of dancing. Like it was normal for them to just pussy pop someone in the club. I was mortified.
Then seemingly out of nowhere, there is this flawless contempt and disgust with me the minute I push them off, the minute I advocate for myself and say no. By the end of the night, for safety we friends decide we are all coupled up lovers, just to get some dancing in.
Early 20s. First violent rape. I tell no one.
Mid 20s. Second violent rape. I tell no one, develop agoraphobia and a serious drinking habit. I attempt suicide for the second time in my life. I discover therapy.
Late 20s. I am seeing a guy. No titles, but we are spending a lot of time together. I’ve spent the night without sex for weeks; no issues. Nudging a little, joking about it a bit, but not pushing. Then one night, I’m ready for bed and climbing in to his and he is bottomless. No warning. We talk about my surprise, but I’m game. I appreciate the bold move in the language of building trust and healthy sexual report. In the dark we make out, I allow myself to explore his body with my hands and my body as he willingly explores mine. For sweet delicious moments we are excited and curious. I feel safe.
I perform oral sex, and enjoy watching my partner feel pleasure. I am excited to guide him through pleasing me, I think to myself. We take a quick water break, and I lay down on the bed. He wraps his body around mine and proceeds to penily penetrate me. I stop him and inform him kindly, gently, how painful this experience will be for me without proper internal lubrication.
He ignores me and continues to try to penetrate me. I no longer feel safe.
I squeeze my thighs together as hard as I can, keeping him out of me, while reminding him this is about both of us, not just him. He tries to whisper sweet bullshit in my ear like I haven’t told him I’m not into this. I tell him to stop and get off of me. He tries one more time to “calm me down.” I get louder, so he lets go of me.
I get dressed, and start packing my things to go home. He begs me not to leave. He apologizes profusely as I tell him how fucked this whole thing is. He apologizes some more. I decide not to leave; I sleep on the couch that night. I don’t immediately leave him alone.
Thirty-three years old. I find out a male friend whom I trusted has been telling people in my city for years that I offered my naked body to him as payment for rent when I, for whatever reasons, couldn’t afford it. I was shocked—visibly shook—as my female friend informed me of her interaction with this man, just a few weeks back. It was her first time ever meeting him.
I called him and asked for a meeting immediately. When he said yes and he asked why, I told him, “I don’t trust you or feel safe around you any longer. I need you to know why so you will leave me the hell alone.” He denied everything until the very end, eventually apologizing for breaking my trust. I remember laughing at his pathetic apology text message the next morning as I happily deleted all digital traces of him from my universe.
He is a scumbag, a low-life, a criminal, a meticulous wolf in sheep’s clothing pretending to be a gentleman. Like every man who violated me before him, a coward who should fear the harm they have caused because it will come back to them. Know our names and our faces, the days of us keeping your secrets are over.
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