At 02:35 a.m.,
when the darkness of the night was quite and while multitudinous thoughts crossed my mind, all of a sudden, I decided to pen down about that atrocious night of January 17th, 2017. I harked back to what is still garden- fresh in my cache.
I had a tremendous evening at my boon companion’s birthday party until I was ready to depart. As I was glancing for a taxi/cab outside the club, a boy-friend of mine from the same party offered to walk me home. Walking home alone, late at night, in the dark was something I actively tried to keep away from (now even more), so I readily accepted his proposal.
When we reached to the steps that led up to my residence, he civilly questioned me if he could come in for a glass of water because he was feeling not (very) well. Maybe this is when I should have heard tocsin, but even as I was pouring the drink in my kitchen nothing struck me as awry. Not until after he’d finished the water and his dissembling was over.
With his first command to go to my room, came my first snub/rebuff – my first spoken “No”. I’d never had sex before and made it very limpid to him that this was not on the cards at all. I told him I had my period at the time, so I would not be having sex with him. But, he did not attend to what I said. To this day, it still wallops me how a endearing disguise can so speedily disseminate and turn into aggression. Regardless of my rejection to go to my bedroom, and my repeated attempts to get him to leave, he was relentless: “Why would you let me in if you didn’t want something to happen?”. The more I said I wasn’t interested, the more vigorous he became. I lost count of how many times I said “No”. And then suddenly there was someone physically stronger than me, refusing to leave until he got what he wanted. It became instantly pellucid that his target had never been to get me home safely.
I juddered as I tried to make my way to the main door. He positioned his arm out in front of me, creating a bar between me and the outside world. My eyes began to dart around, endeavoring to find another point of egress. I tried to push past him, but he opened his arms wide to envelop me in his clench. His abrupt clutch around me forced the air out of my lungs and I fell silent, unable to speak or yelp, trying to focus on controlling my breath. He lifted me off the ground and carried me over to my bedroom, and then walked over to the door and slammed it shut, locking the deadbolt and the chain, and dragged me further and further and finally threw me down on to the bed, his forearm pressed firmly across my throat, a knee in my ribs, while he groped with the button on my jeans. It was a peculiar feeling, being so paralyzed by fear in your our living room, as he took off my tights. My hands moved up his arms in an effort to grab his attention, my eyes petitioning to release me, but by this point my body from the waist down was entirely exposed. He bent down to grab my ankles, pulling them towards my head.
He spit into his hand and penetrated me. I wanted to scream, to cry out in torment, but the sounds just wouldn’t come. My body felt just gone. I just remember staring up at the ceiling and following the cracks in the paint until he was done with me. I couldn’t tell you how long it had lasted, but to me it felt like an eternity. I finally felt the weight of his body lift off me, but I still did not feel in control of my muscles. I rolled off of the bed and on to the floor and just sat there. My mind telling me to just stand up, to bawl, to run. But I didn’t. I sat there deaf and blind to the man rustling around the room. He threw my clothes back at me and I slowly rose to my feet, got dressed. He said, “I had a great time, we should do that again sometime, till then have a nice life”, as he unchained and unbolted the door. I kept my head down, making sure not to make eye contact.
Once he left, I went straight to the bathroom where I tore off all my clothes and got into the shower. I let the water run over my body until it ran cold. Then advancing to my bedroom, I sat in front of a mirror goggling at my reflection and began sniveling uncontrollably. I lay there profused with disgust, self-blame and guilt. I remember feeling so confused by this, why was I crying? I’d just had sex for the first time and that was meant to be great, right? So why didn’t I feel great? I was left traumatized, suicidal and with a complex linguistic decision: what should I call myself?
I knew in my gut that I had just been raped but I tried to suppress this and dismiss it. If I didn’t acknowledge that anything was wrong, maybe nothing was? The following day, my closest comrade sensed that something wasn’t good about the situation and after talking with him at length about it I was able to express and accept that I had been raped. Coming to terms with this was supremely disconcerting.
I knew I would have to see him again. I was in a student bubble, studying and socializing with my peers – even at an institution as big as my university was, bumping into someone seemed inevitable. And because of his charismatic public persona and popularity it seemed easier, and less traumatic, to suppress what has happened, then face up to it. So I told no one. I saw him all the time and force myself to pose as if nothing happened. But every now and then there would be glimpses to slap me of what happened- moments where he would stand a little too close or persistently message me late at night, behaving as stubborn as a mule.
First there was immense misery. Then the rage came flooding in. I began to hear of things that he had passed on to his friends. According to the bro-code, I had given him sexual favors in exchange of Absolute Elyx drink. He also shared confidential details about my body which became common knowledge to others. My rape had become an antidote to them, reduced to a piece of bantar to joke about with the lads. Just as your classic ‘locker room’ chat which President Trump would say, completely harmless. After all, what is it we are told? Boys will be boys.
By now I was in complete incredulity, it started to become very clear to me that he had no idea the implications his actions were having on me. So there I was, a 17 year old rape survivor finding myself feeling a responsibility to educate my 20 year old rapist on what rape was. But why the f*** had nobody else already taught him this? Was it his parents’ fault? Was it his school’s ? Somebody needed to be held accountable and I knew sure as hell it wasn’t my fault.
I decided that the best course of action was to send him a lengthy note drafting the effect his actions had on me. He evidently just did not apprehend what happened and surely if I explained the situation he would get it and make an apology. At this stage I was still holding onto the belief that he was simply a ‘nice guy’ who made a mistake. I wonder how many times since I have heard those words. “Oh but he’s such a nice guy though?” “His family are really good friends with my family!”.
Let me blow out the bubble you are living in- ‘nice guys’ do bad things sometimes. He never reverted to my message. Nothing has ever screamed guilt to me more than the ‘seen’ icon at the bottom of that message. Nothing has ever screamed guilt to me more than him subsequently blocking me on social media. Block me all you like, but I will not be quietened. I am a writer, a survivor, a ferocious Lioness that will continue to hold my truth and speak up about this injustice as long as sexual violence continues to be so goddamn frequent in our society.
Eventually I decided to go to the police and lay a complaint with them. I was passed from officer to officer, having to re- live the trauma of my story in detail to myriad of people. It was almost like the matter was too difficult for them to deal with. I understand that working for a sexual violence team for the police is no walk in the park but I mean hey, neither is getting raped. I walked away from my experience with the police feeling like their response was, “I’m sorry this happened to you, but there is really not much we can do”. A verbal shrug of the shoulder. Too many people have these stories. I am not an island, I am not alone and this is why I choose to express. So that if there is ONE person out there who reads this, who this resonates with, they will know that they are not alone in their journey.
That night was over three years ago. Yet, it wasn’t until this summer, when I was done with my degree and had left University that I was able to admit to others that I was raped. .
I’ve to live fearless, free (बेख़ौफ़ आज़ाद हेजीऩा मुझे)