On being a perpetrator of sexual assault

There are many times where I have been on the receiving end of sexual assault. Ranging from photos blatantly taken of me on public transport, being groped, being coerced into sex my first time, and even being raped, the list goes on almost as far as the blanket of sexual assault covers. Some of these instances are foggy, glazed over with justifications or self-blame; others are crystal clear and a triggering, fearful reminder of what was inflicted upon me.

But I have also been a perpetrator of sexual assault myself.

Back when my ex and I were still friends with benefits, each visit to his house had but one purpose. On 2 occasions, I convinced him to have sex with me even though he wasn’t into it. I still recall the first time, I rubbed his chest and said please, please, kissing him on the neck and cheek, even after he said he didn’t want to. Eventually he sighed and said okay. The second time was Valentine’s day; he was sick so I brought over soup. Again I asked him to sleep with me though he said he wasn’t up for it cause he was feeling sick. Again, he eventually sighed and said okay.

As with every sexual assault, there are 2 sides of the story: That of the Victim’s, and that of the Perpetrator’s.

How I saw it was that I wanted to sleep with him, that our arrangement revolved around sex anyways, and that my behaviour of pleading till he said yes was necessary. I don’t fully understand my behaviour then. To me, he was not the most emotionally available person, I really wanted him, and the answer was to keep asking until he said yes.

To him, I raped him.

This came from him months later when we progressed into an actual relationship, when he told me he talked to his therapist and she told him that I had raped him.

I was in shock at that revelation. I went to my best friend immediately and she reassured me that it wasn’t, that there’s no way I raped him, and he was just talking crap.

The fact of the matter was that I sexually coerced him. I convinced him to sleep with me even though he didn’t want to, and both verbally and non-verbally showed his disinterest.

Now, sexual coercion, sexual assault and rape are often misconstrued as one and the same. 

Sexual coercion: the act of using subtle pressure, drugs, alcohol, or force to have sexual contact with someone against their will.

Sexual assault: a form of sexual violence which includes rape (forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration or drug facilitated sexual assault), groping, child sexual abuse, or the torture of the person in a sexual manner. 

Rape: a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent.

I believe I didn’t rape him but I sexually coerced him into sex on 2 occasions. He believes I raped him, as per what his therapist told him. The difference between the two labels, situation, and perception are different. That’s why there’s always 2 sides to the story. One thing is for sure: I know and feel like the guilty party here. I will try to justify that this relationship itself was unhealthy and I’ve received a fair share of emotional and psychological manipulation, but in the very clear situation of sexual coercion, I am guilty.
Let me segue a bit, but I promise this ties back. This has been such an amazing time of #MeToo, where men in powerful positions who have sexually harassed, controlled and manipulated women are being called out, thrown into the harsh spotlight and are finally facing the music. Women who for decades have been quietly accepting such tyrannical, abusive behaviour towards them are finally being heard.

And then a case like the sexual assault allegations against Aziz Ansari appear. I’m sure some of you have already read enough articles to understand the situation. Though Aziz may not be a Harvey Weinstein, the way he behaved still perpetuates the issue with consent in our society. It also emphasises how gray the area of sexual assault is, not just in terms of the law, but primarily in our everyday lives, culture, and experiences. Men and women alike are constantly finding themselves on “bad dates”, with primarily men who push incessantly for sex, and leave the recipient traumatised or bitterly adding another bad date story into the books.

(This is where it ties back to my experience)
I never thought that I would be relating to both “Grace”, the woman he sexually assaulted, and Aziz Ansari himself.

 

As I said at the start, I have been the subject of such behaviours for years now. In some cases, I’ve cried. In others, I’ve repressed the memory. For some, I’ve taken to blaming myself for drinking too much, trusting men too easily, being too slutty (and on and on the list goes). Yet am I allowed to be a victim, when I myself was a perpetrator?

Every conversation that revolves around #MeToo and #TimesUp focuses on how women should not be blamed for such situations anymore, how we should stand in solidarity with our fellow survivors, and how it’s time for perpetrators to take responsibility for their behaviour and not be a perpetrator.

But what do you do when you’ve stood on both sides of the issue? When you’ve both coerced, and been coerced. Do your experiences as a victim hold lesser or lose all weight?

It’s so gray and complicated because sexual consent in our society is so fuzzy. There’s been more awareness of Consent as Key, with No meaning No. In Aziz’s case, he stopped when Grace said “No”, but didn’t when Grace showed non-verbal cues or said anything but the word “No.” He kept trying to bring the situation back to one of a sexual nature. Later on, when she texted him about how she was uncomfortable throughout the scenario and he might not have realised it, he apologised to her personally, and later released a statement saying he thought it was “by all indications completely consensual” but that he “took her words to heart”.

In my case, back then I thought it was fine to keep trying, because I always gave in when my previous ex kept pushing; because my first time happened even after I said No; because with all my past experiences with sex, consent was never really in the picture. I thought that was what people did in relationships/fwb arrangments/hook ups: Keep Trying till the No becomes a Yes.

It’s completely fucked up, I know this now. I no longer push or try, I am focused on it being a consensual, mutually desirable circumstance. But yet, the fact remains that I have committed sexual coercion before. The fact exists that at the back of my mind, I’m looking for a way to be redeemed for my actions. 

After reading Aziz’s response to “Grace” and his released public statement, I wonder if he felt the same way I did upon realising the situation was completely different from what he thought it was: Consensual.

The question now is… What do I do? What do all these men who have finally been outed as sexual predators and rapists do? What can we (if I can even be considered as part of the victims of sexual assault) do now to make sure these situations stop happening? What do I do as having been both a victim and a perpetrator? 

This piece has no real answer; I’m stuck in limbo. Horrifying, self-aware, conflicted and paralysing limbo.

 

Do You know what is to be done in this situation?

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Heartbreak

I’ve had many failed loves
Whether relationships that ended
Or one-sided infatuations coming to an end.

With each of their demise came the tears.

You know the kind I’m talking about:

Snot-filled
Puffy eyes
Cracked voice
maybe a little bit of drooling

But even after my first boyfriend told me he never really loved me
Or after my best friend of 8 years broke off our newly-founded romantic relations
Not one of them broke my heart as much as my mom could, and still can.

Just one single argument
(that escalates into a screaming match
paired with passive aggressive screeches of my ungratefulness
unfilial-ness
rudeness
and how undeserving I am of their love and brought up)

leaves me crying so hard I’m left
voiceless
eyes burning with tears long evaporated into salt
lungs splitting apart after heavy heavings
(perhaps even a panic attack as I hyperventilate)
muscles cramping from curling into a ball
as I try to keep my shattered heart together and make it whole again

before I come crawling into her arms
begging for her forgiveness and her love again
praying she’ll take me into her embrace
tell me she still loves me
wants me
pet my head and make all the bad feels go away

I make do with the anger in her voice
and the look of disgust on her face
as she holds me
and tells me Okay lah stop crying already!
Stupid girl, cry so hard until like that.
Who asked you to be so rude, huh?

And I cry like a baby
who just got her first bruise
relieved by a mother’s touch and presence
and cries louder simply from the ease of knowing mother’s here
that I am now safe.

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up high.

Each climb requires a descend,
but all I desire is to fly,
wasting away high up in the sky.

dripping down melancholy
as I soar through clouds

embracing false evolutionary instinct
as the wind pummels against my eyes.

Even with the agony of sleet
breathlessness
rain-soaked skin

I’d rather never land
and instead keep drifting through
these stratocumulus clouds.

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Escapade bursts

Been having more nightmares recently. The types that linger even though you’re dog tired daily and forget important details of your everyday waking life regularly.

1) He was raping girls, 2 of which were literally doll sized. 1 was a young adult. They started spilling vomit from their vaginas after he was finished and we went down on them. The older lady tried to push him away, shocked and repulsed but he pushed on. She eventually gave in and engaged in the fellatio as well.

2) I will update this when I remember. A little woozy right now

3) I have been telling myself that I deserve to be treated wonderfully by my future partner. Went to bed with drowsy fever medicine during the afternoon.

I told my friend that I deserve to be treated well. He leaned over, hand on the back of my neck to pull me in to kiss me. I pushed him away. He told me, “For someone who has so many criterias, you should have lower standards.”

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Tactile Surreality.

Passing gradients and swirl dream dyes.

bumps, crackle, white-red sparks
chest expanding lifts,
tippity-top of the brain
rolling eyes.

oxygen widening the tubes
seeping into nubs
tinkling jerks and winces
clench

Smooth rippling tides by gentle lilies.

Self obsession a cure
for redirection
and healthy minds
healthy hearts
healthy lives.

Ease, a belief of connected souls.

snap, crunch, crackle, brittle
seeping, crystals, thick
soft, compact, tough
tender, hurried, curious.

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Loneliness

What is this 

Running alcohol

Of emptiness 

In between my lungs and at the centre of my lower spine.

Coldness appears like the chill unexpected at 4am after a night of tossing in humid Asia.

Mental tears forming and pooling

Empty eyes.

Fear, burrowing, curling. 

Slightest needles of agonising icy spears jabbing incessantly behind and above the breasts

Breathing getting tougher as nostrils seem to tighten and air gets sweeter.

Shrapnel sweetness of air, loneliness pains, clenched muscles in the calves and butt.
Loneliness beyond romantic and platonic friends and partners.

Loneliness in this universe, always expanding never ceasing to stop or slow down and each connection growing steadily further.
God is infinite. Is there and mind proportionate stretch of me between Him as the universe speeds on by?

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Breakups

Crushing loneliness is realising that both of your past relationships began with sex, progressed into romance due to their feeling obligated to your growing love/emotional attachment to them, and ended with the first breaking up on your 8th month saying he was too young to be tied down but has been with his current for 2 years, and the second landing you with depression and anxiety that have not faded 2 years since.

Crushing loneliness and agony is realising you were single for about 3 months between the two relationships, and have been single for 2 years since the last. Many around you are on their way to marriage, have started their careers. While you’re here single, jobless, and lonely.

Crushing loneliness, agony and helplessness is when you have friends who love you and you love back, but you can’t meet cause some days you just can’t bring yourself to be around other people. It’s seeing loving couples and feeling so jealous a disgusting green bitch comes out, playing off as “sassy”. It’s being afraid to start work for equal fear of achievement and failure. It’s sleeping late, waking late, lists that never get fulfilled and projects started but not continued. 

Crushing loneliness, agony, helplessness and frustration is applying to jobs since January, trying out dating apps, avoiding sex and unhealthy emotional relational attachments for 8 months now, going on dating apps, starting 2 creative projects, getting a 3 month freelance job, a test for a potential job, being on the waiting list for the final interview of another potential, and still be clueless. Not knowing why I’m in this state, where I’m supposed to go, what I need to do.

Why I’m not loveable enough to be wooed.
My friend told me to stop thinking about what I can do for someone to love me, but love myself and let whoever deserves me appear when the time is right.

It’s hard when I have control issues, anxiety and depression. When I find it hard to believe I can be loved by someone. Hurt by men, friends or not, with me just a body to so many, and when it was more, dropped because I wasn’t what they wanted me to be, because I couldn’t give them what they needed. They weren’t perfect, but I feel like I wasn’t good enough.

How do I get out of this quicksand, leaving me waist deep with nowhere to go, affixed and trapped? How do I find a job, my passion, my love?

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Mind state.

Desperate for love

Dejection from rejection

Agony from disdain

Sadness with solitude.

People pleasing, pleasure pursuit.

Addiction and impulsiveness.

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Short on its way

Hi readers,

So if you’ve been following me for a while, you might have seem some posts with the title Escapade.

They’re an ongoing series of my dreams, usually the extremely poignant or fucked up ones that I remember well enough upon waking to record down.

Well I’m planning to take some of them and translate it into a short story. It’s going to tie in with my ideas of life, dreaming, alternate universes & realities, and consciousness.

It’s a work in progress. I’ve been ruminating on these separate chunks for a while now, but it’s only just hit me as a whole story idea. While showering, of course.

So watch this space. Might take a while though.

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Jesus wept

two words

Jesus wept

I wept
I am weeping
the beauty of music is its ability to

shock our soul into
recognition of mortality

connection, flimsy contact

shaking and trembling
tears dripping
heart breaking

stiff and agonising realisation
mortal prison of flesh
the soul she cries

for she can not escape and mingle with her fragments
swirling with the universe

trapped shard in meaningless structures
false identities and constructs.

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