I don’t remember much. I do remember that we were fooling around, when all of a sudden I felt… pressure. I asked if he had put “it” in, and he said yes. I asked if he was at least wearing a condom, he said no. Some drunken part of my brain – and I will probably beat myself up about this for years to come – went, “Well, it’s too late now” – and I said, “Well fucking at least put one on then”. Or something to that effect. He did, and carried on. My tequila-addled brain was more concerned about HIV and pregnancy than anything else that was happening at the moment.
It was only the next morning, when I told my best friend, that she said: “You do know that he raped you, right?” But I felt complicit in it. Because I had not said no. Because I hadn’t fought. Because I was drunk, flirtatious, all of those things that people use to blame a rape survivor, and make the rape her fault. I wish I had said no, instead of letting him carry on. I wish I could at least have that.
I haven’t spoken of it again until now. I didn’t report it because, at that stage in my life, I didn’t feel that it was rape. I still don’t, sometimes. Because we’re taught – because it is ingrained so deeply into the young women in our country – that rape is almost always partly your fault.
If you are rape survivor based in South Africa 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 virtually every case of rape or sexual violence is 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. These stories aim to dispel that myth.
If you would like to include your story in this conversation, please fill in the form below or email me directly at michelle[at]journoactivist.com. I will assume anonymity for all submissions unless specified otherwise.