Me & My Sexual Assaults

Under Canadian law I’ve actually been sexually assaulted several times.

1) In middle school, a male peer decided my ass provided too great a temptation and held onto and forcibly humped me. I reacted by bursting into tears and never really understood why I wanted to make it a secret until becoming an adult.

2) My ass again provided too much temptation to my deranged grandmother. Groped. I generally see this as part of her ickiness.

3) And again, while bending to look at a counter of pastries. Difficult because stealth gropes can be brushed off as an accident. The worst part was having the conviction that I had been groped by no proof other than feeling it.

4) At a college dance, I say hello to a stranger, who proceeded to grab my ass. I forcibly remove his hand and get told “Don’t be an asshole!”

5) In the scene, a well known rope top decided that since in his demonstration of pressure points that since none of the other ones worked on me, he’d demonstrate on my nipple. He teaches an anti-rape class. I was… not happy. This was one of several incidents.

6) A male in the scene, as part of a hug, put a hand on my ass, justifying it that I’d been at a nude beach with him. Hand removed. Stammering self justifications from a man who was a literal peer of my father.

7) While on the metro, I smiled at a young man with  a passing resemblance to my gentleman. He proceeded to bump his crotch against me.

Rape victim, no. Nobody has ever forcibly penetrated me. I don’t like the term “survivor” either, which is supposed to make me feel empowered, but ends up making it feel like a bigger deal than it was, as my life was never threatened. It had an impact on me. I was victimized repeatedly by people who could not respect my bodily autonomy. But I never was torn or bled. It just… is tiring.

Up until very recently I didn’t see it as more than frustrating human social interactions, an assault the way that poking is an assault that you are unlikely to get a conviction on. It was actually weirdly embarrassing when I finally looked up what was against the law in Canada, to realize that I was actually sitting on a pile of legal violations. Like when you discover that the person you thought hated you had your back all along. And yet I feel, for some reason, like if I tell people this was sexual assault it’ll somehow be used as proof of how unreasonable I am for not wanting to get my body touched in a sexual fashion.

If I had a purpose in talking about this it is because the fact that I feel I should keep it to myself if the biggest stain these assaults have. Seriously, if people walked on my feet deliberately I’d be twittering that shit in rant caps. But it’s taken me this long to actually, at 27, say “Hi, I’m Pearl and these are the ways people sexually assaulted me.”

Hi, I’m Pearl. I’m legally a sexual assault victim.

Hi, I’m Pearl. Men and one woman has touched my body sexually, without my consent.

Hi, I’m Pearl. I can’t enjoy my buttocks as much as I’d like because other people treated it like collective property.

Hi, I’m Pearl. I have so little trust in society that I brushed off twisting my nipple as a “miscommunication” and took for granted he should have thought he had consent.

Hi, I’m Pearl. I don’t smile at strange men anymore as easily because I can’t tell when one is going to rub up against me.

Hi, I’m Pearl. And a part of me thinks that by writing this people won’t take me and my feelings seriously.

Hi, I’m Pearl. I know damn well I’m not alone.

 

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7 Comments

  1. Yep.

    There are a LOT of really creepy people out there. I was shocked many years ago when my wife reported to me that a friend of mine, who is also a clergyman ffs, surreptitiously groped her arse as she was getting into a car.

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it only happens to women though. As a young man, it happened to me on numerous occasions at the boys’ school in the UK that I attended. Certain masters were the worst offenders, and we all knew who they were and feared them. Worse than the covert gropers were the sadists who caned young boys principally because they enjoyed it.

    I’m now well into old age, but I still can’t think of these incidents without an upsurge of rage.

    That said, they were probably instrumental in turning me into the anti-authoritarian dissident that I later became.

    Win some, lose some.

    Reply
    • Oh, believe me, I know males get sexually assaulted at higher rates than anyone seems willing to talk about. It’s very unfortunate.

      Reply
  2. GimmeShelter

     /  August 29, 2013

    I’m a guy but I have been groped a couple times. First one was on the train when I was a teen. It was extremely crowded and the huge dude next me took the opportunity to fondle my privates. It was too crowded to even move an inch so couldn’t move elsewhere.and the persistent stimulation led to unwanted arousal, which was… embarrassing. I got away when the train emptied a bit and there was space to move.

    Another time was similar, again getting off the train, someone put their hand between my legs from behind. Wasn’t just a brush, there was a brief grab. I saw a guy casually moving away through the crowd when I turned around.

    I’ve never thought of those as sexual assault. What disturbs me more is that I didn’t do anything to defend myself.

    Reply
    • The not defending yourself part is why sexual assault is so awful. It’s like your brain flips itself off and then you get to do the blame dance of how the person must have had a reason to assume consent because you didn’t shriek.

      But Canadian law doesn’t worry about who put what where because it’s not the precise details that matter. I’m sorry you were sexually assaulted by a stranger.

      Reply
  3. Lady Pagan

     /  August 29, 2013

    I have been both where you were, and where you are. I was just able to define something as assault in the past month or so…. about 30 years after it happened. And I always blamed myself for not just getting up and walking away … but you’re right. I imagine it to be like a rabbit freezing instead of running. It’s almost an instinctual reaction “If I just don’t move, don’t make a sound, it will stop, I’ll be okay….”

    But yes, I take you quite seriously. And yes, you are not alone. I hope you take your experience to scenes and make sure that others know that they can still be mistreated when they are oh, so vulnerable, that not everyone has respect for other’s bodies – and that it is *not* cool. Ever. And defending yourself doesn’t make you a wuss, a pain, a whiner or any of the other tags that some people will use to try to silence you. That’s *their* problem, not yours.

    Reply
  4. Tashi

     /  August 31, 2013

    When I was younger (Maybe… seven, or eight? It was before I hit third grade anyway) my older brother (By six years) would do some sexual play. We were playing “cowboys” once and I got knocked out so he pulled down my underwear and played with my penis, going “How peculiar”.
    Once, we were alone in a hotel room, he kept asking me to come over and give him oral sex. I made up a few excuses to say no… And I honestly don’t remember if I did or not. If I did, it was for barely a couple seconds.
    I’ve never told anyone this, ever. I don’t know where on the scale it would rate, or if it does… but it’s my story.

    Reply
  5. “Hi, I’m Pearl. I know damn well I’m not alone.”

    No, you aren’t.

    Reply

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