The most fucked up thing happened to me the other week when I went out
Now I don’t usually post about this kind of stuff so I’m not sure if this is the right terminology but I’m chucking on a trigger warning for sexual assault and rape just in case
So I was out the other week at this club/pub thing with my friend
It hadn’t been a good night
I’d already pulled the ‘I have a boyfriend’ on one overly persistant guy, and even that didn’t prevent him from trailing his hand across my ass when I went to walk away, then grabbing me and hissing ‘I could make you feel better than he could’ into my ear. Disgusted, I told him I doubted it and to get his fucking hands off me. He told me he was in the army, that I should show some respect. I said old men who pawed at teenage girls in clubs didn’t get my respect. He said he would make me change my mind. I practically ran away.
He seemed to hang around in my peripheral vision for the next hour, and by the time it got to him trying to corner me as I went to the bathroom, I decided I’d had enough.
I went over to the security guards, and, for some unfathomable reason, completely embarrassed, explained that this guy wouldn’t leave me alone and I was really uncomfortable and was worried he would get violent. To which one of the guards shrugged, and said ‘Honey, you’re in a club. Guys are drunk. You’re pretty. What do you expect?’
I suppose that should have been the point where I said ‘Fuck this, I’m going home’ but my friend was having a good time, and it was only 11pm and I made excuses to stay and try and enjoy my night, although by then all I wanted to do was go home and wash the night off my skin.
So when this second group of guys started talking to us, I was relieved of all things. Because they seemed nice. They were asking about us, and talking about tv, and food, and normal things, and we thought that maybe we’d been lucky enough to find a group of people who weren’t creeps. We were wrong.
My friend was distracted by one of them, engrossed in their conversation, so I decided to leave them to it and started talking to the other guys. They seemed nice at first. But they were drinking heavily, and were slowly getting rowdier, and I was aware I was surrounded by a group of strange men who were obviously physically stronger than me, and was aware that I still had to walk home in the dark at some stage that night, so I had stopped drinking. That, coupled with the rather sobering events of the past few hours, and I was relatively sober.
My friend was hooking up with her guy, and I found myself dealing with 3 guys, who, throughout the rest of the night, each in their own way, made me feel vulnerable, pathetic, and disgusting.
The first one, who I have posted about already, briefly, came up out of nowhere when I was talking and licked my lips. When I asked him what the fuck he was doing, he said he was ‘tasting Australia’ and suggested I come home with him. It was a huge invasion of my personal space, it made me uncomfortable, and yet, I made excuses for him. He was drunk, it was late, if it was someone I knew I probably would have found it funny, if it happened to someone else I would have laughed. But as it was I was disgusted and no matter how many times I wiped my mouth, I felt like I could still feel the line across my lips there and it made me sick. Later that night, he came back, saw the corner of my tattoo, and pulled my shirt down to see it, exposing most of my bra, and ran his hard across my breast. I told him to stop groping at me, desperately trying to pull my shirt back up. He just laughed.
The second one was just a jerk. He was annoyed that someone else had gotten to my friend before he had, and had decided I was the next best option. He came up, asked about my friend for a few minutes, asked if I liked his hair, asked if I liked his shoes, told me my jewelry was stupid, told me my country was a piece of shit, and then asked me if I’d fuck him. I laughed, and looked at the others with a ‘What the fuck is this guy on?’ look. I told him he was dreaming. The guy got mad. He told me that fat chicks should get what they could. Before I could fathom a response, one of the other guys told him to fuck off. ‘She’s gorgeous mate, she doesn’t need your fookin approval. You can fuck right off.’ See, I thought, these ARE nice guys! They’re defending you!
However, apparently, defending me meant he thought he now had the rights to me. I was talking to some other guys, when I felt hands wrap around my waist and someone, him, start grinding against me.
Automatic reaction: I laughed. It wasn’t funny. I wasn’t amused. But somehow I’ve been taught that when a guy makes a move and you don’t reciprocate, you laugh it off. You make a joke of it. Heaven forbid you tell him to fuck off- you don’t want to be that girl, the one who looks like a prude, or a bitch, right? Wrong. I wish I had shoved him off, rather than half heartedly pushed him away. I wish I’d been brave enough to say everything that went through my head at that moment, every curse and accusation and bit of disgust. But I didn’t. I just fucking giggled.
But I left the group, found my friend, complained that I was having an awful night. I didn’t elaborate. ‘You just don’t like going out! Come on, go dance! Lighten up! Have some fun!’
The idea of being dragged onto the sweaty dance floor, where I had seen the army guy go just before, with strange men pawing at me and drinks being spilt on me repulsed me. I shrugged. Told her I didn’t feel like it, to get back to her guy.
So for some stupid reason, I found myself back with that group. Some of the guys were nice. The conversation was generally funny. I found myself relaxing, telling myself I had overreacted before. I could hear the security guards words in my head ‘What do you expect?' and reasoned that he was probably right. And I am so mad at myself for doing that, because under no circumstances should I expect to be made feel unsafe just because I am out in public.
The conversation turned to talking about kissing. I have no idea how. I spoke to someone outside the group, and I turned back into the conversation to hear ‘So what, are we all just kissing everyone else now?’ and suddenly the guy who was grinding on me, lunged forward, and started sucking on my neck.
I don’t like people touching me without my permission as it is. That night I’d been threatened, grabbed at, ground on, belittled, licked, and now had this creeper attached to my neck. I flinched away, ducked to get away from his mouth as quick as I could. His friends laughed.
And then one of them said ‘Mate, she doesn’t want it. Roofie her and rape her. Then she’ll want it.’
They all laughed again. Hard. This time at my expense, I realised. These guys were laughing at the suggestion that they drug me and rape me. They seemed to think it was hysterical.
I’ve never felt quite as suffocated as I did then. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was going to throw up. This group of guys who minutes ago had seemed generally decent, with a few exceptions. suddenly seemed lecherous, dangerous, repulsive. I felt like I was being leered at, analysed. I felt like I was actually in danger.
One of them, just one of them, out of that entire group, looked concerned, didn’t laugh. He could see I was freaking out, frozen. He stepped towards me and reached a hand out for my arm, and I pulled away faster than I thought possible. He grimaced at me. ‘Sorry, I’m not trying to…I was just going to help you find your friend.’ I let him guide me away from the group.
We found my friend, she said she was ready to go home too. But we live in different directions. Taxi’s are rare here, especially at 1 in the morning, and even if you could find one, often they wouldn’t drive me back because the house was so close and it wasn’t worth their time. The guy who led me away from the group offered to walk me home.
I weighed up between having a stranger, whose friends had joked about raping me, walk me home, or leaving the club by myself, walking home alone, in the dark, fully aware that the army guy was still in the club and could easily follow me out, or that any one of that group of guys could do the same, and made the first rational decision of the night, and said no. I went back to my friends house instead.
When I tell the story of my god awful night out to people in real life, I worry it sounds silly, and petty, and somehow it turns into a joke. It’s taken me so long to write it all down because for a while there I was convinced that it was fine. That it wasn’t like I had actually been drugged and raped. And then I realised that no, it’s not fucking OK to be threatened and laughed at and belittled and being expected to take it all as a joke.
My safety is not a joke. Things like this happen far too often. So many people I know have come back from nights out complaining that some guy wouldn’t leave her alone, or that she was sick of being grabbed at by strangers. And we roll our eyes and groan and say things like ‘I know right!’ and ‘Same here!’ and I find it so sad that this is the norm.
I hate that whilst I was being made feel so vulnerable, that I was telling myself it was OK. That it was expected. That I shouldn’t expect to be treated better than I was.
Alcohol is not an excuse. Turning it into a joke isn’t an excuse. Me smiling at something you say isn’t an open invitation to touch me. I am sick of being manhandled and expected to like it.
I read something once about ‘not-rape’ where the author explained we all had our encounters with ‘not-rape’; things that don’t fit the description of rape, or sexual assault, but still damage, can still hurt. I thought I was an exception to ‘not-rape’. I’m not.
Sorry this is way longer that it was meant to be and probably doesn’t make sense. I’m just so disgusted with every aspect of that night and needed to get it out.