By Joshua Blake
In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and assault allegations by the likes of Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette and Gwyneth Paltrow and numerous other women, a firestorm of stories about other’s experiences in their own lives has surfaced with the hashtag MeToo
Weinstein admits he has a problem and that he wants to better himself – yet it seems that his willful ignorance was the only thing keeping him from making such a statement in the first place.
There’s been reports of Ben Affleck and Matt Damon knowing of Weinstein’s behaviour and keeping it hush-hush. There’s been people questioning why these Hollywood actresses waited so long to speak up. There’s political pundits asking what will the Democrats do about their relationship to Harvey Weinstein.
These are talking points that miss the actual talking point – or lack thereof. Sexual assault and harassment are difficult to talk about, and they should be difficult to talk about.
I saw tens-of-thousands of tweets and posts carrying the #MeToo banner, and I had this knee-jerk reaction against it. Not because of others will power, but of my own.
At the same time, I felt an amazing amount of pride and safety knowing that others are brave enough to share those two words. Not strong enough, but brave enough. Something like this isn’t about strength because heinous acts like these rob you of your strength.
However, that having been said, I have a story of my own. It’s a story that seems like something the best fiction writers come up with.
I’ve been afraid to talk about this for the fear it will cause those closest to me immeasurable pain, anger and sadness. Although this may also affect those farthest from me, and for that, I’m sorry.
I also feel like my experience isn’t worthy of such a title. Me too? How so? I always thought of sexual assault or harassment as physically violent – I never knew it could be so subtle-y applied to any situation.
And because of that, I still have problems identifying what happened to me. I don’t know how to speak up about it to this day. I’m no longer plagued by nightmares or pondering why this happened, but it’s left a scar since.
I recall what happened nearly three years ago as vividly as I recall what happened last night. I was at a party and I sat down with a girl, a silver-tongued devil.
We were talking about music – the Australian band Tonight Alive released their second album – and I mentioned a song that made me reminisce about a time long gone. Little did I know that I opened myself up to a sharp bite I wouldn’t be able to escape from.
Now that I let my guard down, this silver-tongued soothsayer knew exactly how to play me, catering to my apparent need for a closeness to intimacy. I knew then there’s no intimacy to casual sex, but I didn’t realize how fooled I was until after our physical act of righteousness.
Well, for her it was righteous.
When you seduce the broken spirit of a depressed, anxiety ridden 20-year-old at what could go wrong?
At the time, my friends didn’t even know how to respond to the benign scenario. Some told me to accept it and move on. Others thought it seemed enjoyable. What followed the months after that night were feelings of guilt and sorrow, pain and suffering, insanity and malice.
I’d cry myself to sleep numerous times a week wishing for someone to save me, while having flashbacks of her legs around my waist, her breathing – her hands pulling the hair on the back of my head – that kiss on my neck that overtook my fears at that moment and turned it into blind passion.
I whispered for her to follow me to which we found ourselves at a point of no return. I asked if she was clean, to which she nodded in confirmation. I didn’t have protection, and I didn’t bother to ask. I didn’t know how to say no, or even ask if she had any, so I let her straddle herself atop my lap as she thrusted her hips and removed her shirt.
And to think that this moment started hours earlier with her sitting inches from me giggling at every word I spoke. Although I know one thing’s for certain: you never forget your first.
It all still feels like as if it were a dream – a concoction of a teenage boy’s ultimate fantasy – only to be acted out in reality, without all of the “accomplished feelings” and high-fives from your bros. I think I always knew something was going to happen that night – she was flirting like a high-school girl with an engorged crush on the dark, mysterious guy who always sat alone at lunch. Only, she was no school girl, and I don’t eat lunch.
She brought out my fears and hopes all in an equal fashion. She enveloped my desire to feel normal – and normal I had felt – up until the point where my sudden attack of conscious decided to guilt me into fault for what ensued between two morbidly, sad lovers.
So, as any story goes, now what?
I managed to graduate from my community college and ended up at my state university four months later – to which I withdrew medically from my only semester.
I met with a counselor named Lisa for every week during that semester. The Devil was the source of my fear, my worries. Walking around campus feeling isolated from society, from friends and family and having no self worth, make life pretty unlivable. I hated her. She took something from me I still can’t get back: losing myself to someone whom I love for the first time.
I felt unwanted by everyone and everything. I felt like a freak undeserving of love and affection because of my disability. One day, Lisa asked me if I were a woman if that succubus were a man, would that change the meaning of what happened between us. I said maybe, but I really meant yes. I went through with my actions that night because I was too afraid to say “No.” I thought she’d judge me, too, if I didn’t give in to her advances.
In an odd twist of fate however, that night’s allowed me to reconnect with others and with myself. Fast forward a year after I withdrew, and I met a girl online named Anette. Psychiatry has become my best friend, and I understand my importance to others now. Anette has become my saving grace and without her love, I’d be a body with no shadow.
Anette helped convince me to return to school, and I’ve been back for almost a year-and-a-half. After this current semester, I’ll have been back for two years.
I felt like the most useless life form on this planet for nearly two years, and if I hadn’t met Anette, I don’t like to imagine where I’d be. That scares me too much.
But things do get better – eventually. It just a matter of when and how, not one or the other.