I was on a camping trip with friends and sharing a tent with my boyfriend. I said no, he ignored me.
I was shocked into rigidity, horrified and betrayed-feeling. I couldn’t scream, didn’t want to wake my friends who were his friends too – the embarrassment, and what if they took his side, what if they said “well you are dating him, you gotta put out”, what if I was stuck in the bush miles from anywhere reliant in HIS friend’s car to get home and alienated them all… Afterwards he rolled over and refused to speak to me. I went to a the camp site communal bathrooms, empty and freezing at about 3am, and scrubbed myself in freezing water as there was no hot water available. We were so far from anywhere, and I didn’t even have a cell phone, and I had to be around him for the rest of the trip. I went through the next day in a disbelieving haze. Everything was normal for everyone else, except me. By the time we got back to civilisation it was way too late to report it – no biological evidence, no witnesses. Whatever window there might have been for telling anyone had closed. It was years before I told anyone about the worst holiday of my life.
If you are rape survivor and need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to call the ‘Stop Gender Violence‘ helpline at 0800 150 150.
Note: Rape myths abound after the Vavi rape accusation was brought to light. These myths hurt all rape survivors – and if you ever experience sexual violence, these myths will hurt you too. The most common myth I’ve seen is the fallacy that if you don’t report to the police, it didn’t happen. (See here.) I put out a call on Twitter for survivors who didn’t report to send me their story. To follow the series, see here.
If you would like to include your story in this conversation, please email me: michelle at journoactivist dot com. I will assume anonymity for all submissions unless specified otherwise.