What I would like to say to my first ‘real’ boyfriend.

It’s obvious to all who know me and/or read my musings, I’ve not dated a man in many years, but I was relatively late to come to learn that I was a lesbian.

One reason I wish I’d have known myself well sooner, was that the abuse I have suffered at the hands of men, wouldn’t have happened. As may be expected, my not knowing myself is likely a product of the low self-esteem I had, which would allow the abuse to happen.

I am the same age now, as you were when you met that 21-year-old student in the public house she worked in as a barmaid.

You chatted, and got on. You came to the bar each week after that-and eventually arranged to meet for drinks regularly.

Over the period of the following year, you grew close. You danced, laughed and were happy together. You got on very well.

Then you kissed.

After this, you told her you ‘didn’t want her to get too involved with you’ and she accepted. I suspect you knew this hurt her hopes greatly, but she was not the type to be angry.

The drinks out continued. You slept together. She asked you if this changed things and you said you didn’t want a girlfriend but ‘why not just carry on sleeping with you and see how it goes’. Crestfallen but with this glimmer of hope, she did.

You eventually began calling her your girlfriend, rather than ‘this girl I’m seeing’, I suspect this correlated with other men often commenting on her looks and personality, she was well liked and others found her attractive.

This boosted your ego. Your ego was very important

A girlfriend however, tends to be more than someone you go out and get drunk with twice a week. This young woman was surprised and shocked that this continued, apart from sex would be involved now. As soon as you woke the following morning, you would leave without as much as using the shower. Just straight away, off. If it was a weekend, to have dinner with your Mum and Dad. If not, to go home. This left her deflated and upset, and you knew.

Now and again, you’d get her hopes up with promises that she could do something different with you, be a bit more involved. Meet your friends-but it would never happen.

You took her to the Lake District for a break once, her hopes full of spending some quality time together, perhaps talk, go for a meal, walk somewhere nice. She soon realised it was all to be spent in the pub, just the same as at home. She’d feel sick and want a rest from this, not understanding how you could do it*-but she stayed.

Because you’d been so nice to her before the ‘dating’ started, she wanted to make it work. She also did not notice or dismissed, all the red flags that now she looks back, were so glaringly obvious you may as well have presented them in a sizeable bouquet.

The chauvinism-

 ‘Women love being called slags during sex’

‘Women have been around me and my mate too much’

‘I never let women get in the way of my life’

When it came to actual sex, you had no interest in pleasing her, but she just put it down to her being hard to please and was just glad she got to be with you.

One evening, she finished her shift at the pub at 20:00 and you wanted to go out around that time. As you were driving the car to her house, near where you’d be going out-she asked that you’d pick her up to save her the 30-minute walk home.

She was told ‘Yes I will just this once but don’t be expecting it more and do NOT be late out or I’ll just leave!’

Looking back, you had no intelligence. But because your opinions, as a man were so important, she believed she was the one who lacked intelligence because she did not understand the things you spoke of. You knew of her past, and you knew she was vulnerable and it put you in a great position.

Once it dawned on her that the relationship was going to be nothing more than going out, getting drunk and having sex, she felt she would lose you if she didn’t comply. So, she put up with it. She got herself through it by going out every. single. night. Drinking until she passed out. It put her in the company of other people and took her mind off her horrible situation. It stopped her wondering what was wrong with her. She still remembers vividly arriving home, staggering into her cold, dark house and feeling the crippling loneliness as she had viewed her friends any given night with their partners, embracing, enjoying one another, kissing, excitedly planning their futures and wondering how she had ended up here-you’d always seemed so nice.

She was not allowed to ring you ever, only text.

At some point, you had a problem with your landline ringing, and nobody responding when you answered. You angrily asked if it was her. She said no. She said no because it wasn’t. Being a trusting, ‘normal’ human being she forgot about it.

A week or so later you were very angry with her for being ‘obsessive’ and she asked in what way had she done that?

‘Phoning me ‘ouse!’

Sometimes, she would have you walk out of the pub in the middle of a night out. She remembers sitting at the bar, and you walking ‘sorry sweet’ with a glassy stare, out of the door. You’d gone and left her. *

Another time it was when you were in bed with her about to go to sleep so she thought-gone. *

About 18 months in, she became afflicted with a particularly aggressive infection. In agony, having seen the student nurse she realised she had to go to hospital. She didn’t drive and asked you for a lift, to be told

‘You know I’m not like that! I’m watching the football!’ *

It said other things-but that is all she remembers, very vividly.

A friend was appointed to take care of her that week as she could not walk, bathe herself or do much involving movement.

She won’t ever forget how that felt. Almost 20 years later.

About ten days later she limped into town to go to the pub she worked in, to let them know she was getting better and should be able to work next week. You were there. You walked half way home with her. She cannot remember what was said other than she told you it was over, but you weren’t having it.

Another notable time is, where she had gone into town and realised you were also in town. Excitedly she went to meet you at the pub you’d said you were in. You weren’t there-staff told her they thought you’d said you’d gone to a different pub, so she texts you and asked and was told ‘no’. She asked where you were-you told her. She went there and you weren’t there.

You led her on a wild goose chase through town, laughing with your friends probably.

Crestfallen, after about an hour and a half, she went to the pub she worked in and drowned her sorrows, cried and went home. *

Two years in, she grew stronger. You argued with her one night, in bed, over her having male friends.

She told you that you and her were better off as friends. It seemed to be accepted.

The following day, you texted her a usual text ‘I’m rough today’ or some such and ‘see you Wednesday’.

She responded that she meant what she had said, that you were better off as friends. She didn’t strictly mean this however, she meant ‘I’ve had enough please go and let me recover’, but she daren’t say that. She was scared she would anger you

The response ‘Wow you’re serious, I didn’t think you were! You don’t like me anymore-do you not want to give it a go’.

She responded no.

And then the tirade of harassment began. Had she been stronger she would have called the police. You would come into her work her house, phone her work and house constantly, phone her friends-she had friends arguing with her about her decision-she had never told anyone how she felt or how you treated her, so she couldn’t blame them.

You even got her mother on your side. She felt sorry for you.

Not content with having her as your subservient, loyal girl for so long, your ego bruising had to be her problem now.

Life was hell from then on in.

She came out the other side.

*all the times marked with an asterisk are probably unnecessary, because they mark the times she later learned you had been taking class ‘a’ drugs-unnecessary because you probably took them all the way through the relationship, beyond and before, but she had no idea. Drugs weren’t a part of her world. Alcohol had become her whole world, but she managed to not have it take her.

I am 38 now.

Would I date a 21-year-old? Absolutely not. So much for the huge age gap in terms of such different stages in life, but I also wouldn’t deem one one of my closest friends. It would seem very odd. I need not say ‘I certainly wouldn’t take advantage of one’ either.

You were cruel, nasty and abusive, despite never laying a finger on me.

You were an egotistical, self-worshipping asshole who not so much lacked empathy, but had none at all.

You have a girlfriend now, I notice. As a therapist and as a grown, experienced 38-year-old woman, I absolutely do not believe you will have changed.

I hope you have, for her sake, I hope you have.

I was a ‘late bloomer lesbian’ knowing only a fairly long time after we split.

I am so grateful for my sexuality. Because I would never trust a man again.

I am so grateful to be with someone who is kind, patient and notices the good in me.

And appreciates me for who I am. But you had a long-lasting effect that will always stay with me. I still, even now, ask if she’s okay far too often.

I still worry she is saying she likes me and doesn’t mean it.

My girlfriend before her, was a terrible persona and again, I put up with it, and didn’t tell a soul, instead choosing to stick up for her and make excuses for the mental load I carried and the way it manifested itself.

But she was in no way as terrible as you. The power dynamic wasn’t there. The age gap was very small. The chauvinism wasn’t there-and you had no excuse for it.

I will always remember you, unfortunately. I just hope your girlfriend now is stronger in herself, than I was back then.

On abusive relationships.

A frightening thing happened to me once. And I don’t remember being frightened. Maybe if I go into detail, you’ll know what I mean.

I have heard people say that when they fall from a great height, or similar, that they don’t remember the fall.

There is an activity some people do where they’ll jump from a great height, landing (painfully I imagine) in water-but the reasons for this I saw on a documentary once were said to be something like ‘The urge to make contact with pure air and atmosphere’ so for these people, they do remember the ‘fall’ but it isn’t a fall as such.

For many people the trauma of falling isn’t remembered-and for many others the trauma of any other event isn’t remembered, but rather the aftermath. People say they don’t remember feeling pain when they’re stabbed or punched in the face. We hear or read a lot of ‘And the last thing I remember…’ for this reason.

What I find strange is I do remember my fall. I’m not sure why, but I am grateful for it. I feel that the memory has protected me from any form of post-traumatic mental repetition illnesses. My brain doesn’t try to remember it-because I already remember it.

I digress.

It was backwards down a flight of stairs. I didn’t actually hit any of the stairs. I fell through the air and at some point momentum depleted and I landed somewhere at the bottom.

I was falling, through the air backwards and I remember it. I have absolutely no idea how long that would take, I can only guess at about a second or less? A standard staircase, and I had been thrown from the top of it. I don’t remember landing, but I remember the fall.

Upon landing I remember crying. I’m not sure what exactly had made me cry, it wasn’t pain, I didn’t feel much pain at the time, and I don’t tend to cry with (physical) pain. I felt winded, and was in some sort of shock.

Gerard (our lodger) came and took hold of my arm and helped me get up.

So how does one fall backwards down a flight of stairs?

I wasn’t pushed-I was thrown.

She had hold of me by my neck and at some point she changed her mind on strangling me and thought it fit to throw me.

Allow me to tell you how it came to this.

I will be honest-we had both had a bit to drink. I was drunk, and probably being irritating. I am quite a happy drunk. I am not in the habit of drinking until I am drunk, however if I do, irritating is as bad as it gets. I, like any other adult, am not as sensible when affected by alcohol, but I am also not nasty, argumentative or anything deliberately offensive.

She was less drunk than me-perhaps drugs in her system means alcohol doesn’t affect her.

We had been out for dinner, I’d had wine with dinner, then a few drinks following. I was ready for home much earlier than her, and it was an act of kindness on my part that, although I was ready for home, when some friends wanted to meet us and she wanted to see them, I agreed. She wasn’t one for going out much, and had never been much into the social drinking scene-I was a gig-goer, I had friends who would meet for food and drinks often, it was normal for me and when she first became a part of my life, it took her a while to become part of it so for whatever reason, I had usually welcomed it on the odd occasion she would be happy to join me.

I don’t know what happened between my spilling the drink on the bed and her beginning to throttle me but I remember her eyes, they had gone, but I believe the eye contact I made prior to her throwing me is what made her decision to stop strangling me.

She has since told me that she suddenly had a realisation of what she was doing that is, strangling me and that she could kill me and she knew that wasn’t a good idea. So she threw me. According to her, she never meant to throw me down the stairs-she just threw me to get me away from her so she stopped killing me.

I am not sure about this account, it somewhat makes sense, but I also don’t believe a word she says for good reason.

I want more of us to talk about domestic abuse in same sex relationships.

Me and her were split at the time. I was in the process of healing from her psychological abuse. I was getting there. But she’d never hurt me physically in this way before. I was scared of her, in the sense I’d walk on eggshells constantly and I watched my words around her, but I wasn’t in fear of physical attacks.

She had actually threatened to throw me down the stairs before-and this had made me tell her that there was no coming back from such a threat. But I did go back, because I loved her.

I believe in principle, that there are no differences between a woman being abused by a man, a man being abused by a woman, or anyone being abused in a same sex relationship.

But there are SOME differences. I will only comment on the differences that transpired during my experience.

I was in the closet-therefore I was limited in who I could talk to. I do not get angry, but I do feel some anger when I hear of people assuming that homophobia is a thing of the past-it absolutely isn’t. Aside from it still being a criminal offence in over 70 countries, it is still not accepted in some of our realities, in those countries it isn’t.

The power dynamic was not as it would have been, was I dating a man.We’re both women-no dramatic difference in strength (if anything, bizarrely perhaps, I was stronger physically than she was, albeit smaller and much more meek in my persona). This made it seem not as serious. Perhaps I could not feel as vulnerable, therefore in as much danger.

It felt a bit less ‘real’ than had I been abused by a male. It is much more difficult to accept-the same way female serial killers are often found more shocking than male ones, or a female abandoning her children and leaving the family is more frowned upon than the 100s of men who do this regularly.

Being abused by a woman was hard for me to accept, perhaps harder than if she were a male. As above, it is (perhaps unfortunately)more unexpected. We expect women to be nice.

I couldn’t credit my reality to this actually happening.

I can only speak for myself, about my own experience but I would welcome others’ views and accounts of their own.

What happened after Gerard scooped me up, was bizarre.

I don’t know why my actions were thus, but I went back upstairs. I spoke to her-and she was crying, and screaming, very brutal crying. She asked me to call her an ambulance because she was going to kill herself. I still don’t remember any pain at this point. I did as she asked. They asked to speak to her-and she didn’t tell them what had just occurred, but did tell them she felt she would harm herself. I told her it was okay, we’d sort it out tomorrow, and after some toing and froing with this sort of conversation, I went to bed in the bed me and her shared, the one I’d bought when she moved in.

At some point some hours later, Gerard came and woke me, saying the police wanted to speak to me. I got up and made my way downstairs and saw police officers through the glass door that separates the kitchen from the sitting room. Gerard was about to open the door when I said ‘No Gerard, tell them I’m fine, I am going to bed’ and I walked back up the stairs.

I learned next morning, that what had happened was, she had fallen asleep downstairs. The ambulance staff had arrived and found the house in silence. They had looked through the door and saw our friend asleep on the sofa. He has long hair-and they thought he was female, and the one for whom the concern was.

They had rang the police, believing that what we know as ‘the big red key’ was required in order to allow them to access the house.

For some reason I have never figured out, the fire service also turned up. I am not sure if they were the ones rang for access, but if so, it makes no sense that the police also turned up. As luck would have it, Gerard awoke and let the ambulance staff and police officers in. The ambulance asked if our friend was okay, and she, had by that time, become sober and she spoke to them and told them she was the one the concern was for but she felt better. The police had  asked where I was, as I’d given my name, and Gerard had gone and got me but I had come down half asleep and changed my mind, figuring I may say something I would regret.

I’ve been eternally grateful for my sense in that moment-although I was half asleep and quite possibly still drunk, I knew talking to the emergency services at that point could have given me a huge panic the following day, about what I may have said, should I have lied, should I have told the truth?

The following day.

When I woke up I was in the most agony I can imagine. It hadn’t sank in what had happened, and she was next to me. I was due at work early the following morning and I had to drive back home. I was in a state of mild,ongoing shock. That is the feeling that stuck. This is the person I had given my love to for so long, my life and my help and my time.

She helped me put my T shirt on as I was in so much pain whenever I moved my arm.

My shoulder took the brunt of the fall. I have realised since that, how much my shoulder was hurting reflected how hard I fell, and how lucky I was that it wasn’t my head. I like to think that I purposely manoeuvred myself to ensure that my head wasn’t hit, some fluke maybe but more likely just luck. A lot of it.

I felt strange as I winced and she sympathised. I think now, the sympathy was fake. She has since told me that she feels ‘robbed of emotion’ (her words not mine) because she never got the thrill out of throwing me down the stairs, that she feels she should have had. She feels she should have been euphoric, at that feeling one gets from managing to throw someone like that, and she wasn’t.

Make of that what you will.

Driving home I was numb. I didn’t cry. I was still rather shocked and upset and bewildered but I didn’t feel any of it at the time, I just feel I must have been. I rang a friend of mine who talked to me most of the way home. I didn’t tell her anything.

The pain the next day was incredible. No better than the day before. I struggled to put on my work uniform, each movement to my arm was agonising. I considered calling in sick. But I don’t call in sick, so I didn’t.

One strange thing that happened, was a mark never appeared on me from this fall and the impact of landing. Nor did any marks appear around my neck. I can only attribute this to my having drank too much. I can’t think of what else it could be.

I walked into work the next morning, terrified although I am not sure quite what of. I shuffled past my supervisor’s desk in order to get to my own.

Allow me to tell you a little bit about my supervisor.

An military man in his fifties with a strong build, a swagger and a definite ‘presence’ when he enters a room, he is the kind of man I am naturally wary around for his size and the characteristics that come with that.

But Rick had always understood me and I’d always cared about him. He had kind eyes and a kinder face, and he liked people, accepting them for who they are. He was interested in everyone and respectful of all, and I trusted him.

That morning, he noticed something.

And I still don’t really understand what.

I caught his eye and said good morning, as I always would.

‘Are you okay?’

‘Yes, I’m fine thank you. How are you?’

‘You don’t look right, are you sure you’re okay’.


‘You’re not walking okay, are you in pain’.

My face must have fallen because I felt it change. I had not at all I knew I couldn’t lie to him fully and depend all was well, now. Despite my lack of obvious complaint he had noticed something.

I lied, but not fully. I still don’t fully remember what I said, but it involved falling down the steps. I believe I said I drank too much and fell over the dog, or similar.

He didn’t believe me, but Rick was always very empathetic. And  I believe he knew pushing me further wasn’t a good idea for me or conducive to the shift being a success, nor my relationship with him.

He knew.

And I knew he knew, and he knew, that I knew he knew.

What is it, about that?

He has my evermore respect for it though.

Since this event occurred, I have been out for drinks with her. We’ve been out for dinner several times. We’ve slept in the same bed. I’m not afraid of her.

What I am tring to say, I suppose, is this.

For an outsider, an abusive relationship is perilous, frightening and sometimes downright mad

Why would you stay with him!? (It’s usually him, isn’t it?)

Why would anyone put up with that?

Why would anyone be that stupid?

I can tell you why.

I stayed because I wanted it to work. I loved her and I had become complacent about loving myself and what it could mean to love oneself in this situation.

I’m not stupid. I’m actually far from it.

I’m also afraid of losing my life.

I am also scared when I look back at what she did.

The human mind is resilient. It does things.

We carry on making mistakes if we have taken a long time making them.

We put our faith and trust in people in relationships-when we’re proven to have made a wrong decision, we don’t like to admit it? Who does like to admit that they got something so personal and so important, wrong?

We can be intelligent-but also very much attached. We’re designed to remain attached.

This is even *before* one considers things like children, financial ties, commitments, friends and families.

It is NOT easy to leave an abusive relationship.

It is NOT the same as getting out of a situation whereby a stranger walks up to you, assaults you and your first instinct is to remove yourself. Domestic abuse is different, to an extreme

It quite often isn’t scary, and a person who isn’t scared, doesn’t run.

It becomes normal. It’s expected. It’s in the remit of being with that person.

It isn’t a ‘run away now’ situation-It’s a situation to be managed-like any difficult one is to any adult.

Vulnerabilities exist only when they’re shown-and abusive people are good at rendering them visible.

It can happen to anyone.

Anyone can lose their way and fall in love with someone not good for them.

That said, I believe the chance of this happening increases when one’s formative years have some element of abuse in them. This definitely was true in my case although it is far more complicated than a ’cause and effect’ situation.

If we grow up scared of our parents or guardians, afraid of their reactions, we approach our adult relationships with a tendency to be afraid of upsetting people, and with low-self worth due to growing up believing it is normal to be afraid of those who are there to love us,meaning that we do not expect to be treated with respect. Add to this the fact that abusers seem to have a proficiency for sensing a person like this, and it is simple to see how one can end up in an abusive relationship.

When one is in one, it often isn’t ‘terrifying’ or ‘horrific’ or even frightening.

It is more applicably, stressful, upsetting and full of confusion. The result is the same, the situation is still dangerous and perilous, but when one is in the situation, outsider’s opinions of how they would just run as soon as the first hit took place, as soon as someone shouted at them, as soon as they’d been berated for spilling something, making a simple mistake, or being late to meet someone, is unhelpful.

Perhaps *they* would, because their life experience has taught them that this behaviour is bizarrely wrong.

To someone who has had years of being downtrodden, often beginning from an early age, it isn’t so wrong. And they’re often not only yearning for love, but subconsciously associated this behaviour WITH love.

The ‘Boiling Frog’ analogy is applicable. No matter what else features in an abuser’s characteristics, there is a manipulative, punitive streak present which never materialises early on. Things start slowly and are often so subtle that they’re almost undetectable. But they have an effect and the victim notes them, consciously or otherwise, and changes their behaviours slightly. Their change is noted by the abuser, whose next move is to play off something similar, perhaps slightly more serious. This continues and eventually the push/pull coercive control is ever present, without any means of escape for the aggrieved.

It does not always come from a negative childhood experience however however.

Anyone can be a victim of their partner who they’re meant to receive love from-by our very intelligence to crave that and need it, we allow it.

I invite replies to this post, personally if you’d rather.

Many Thanks for reading.

A nice man molested me the other night

What a stupid thing to say, huh?

Nice men don’t molest women! Nice men don’t want to upset anyone?

‘Nice’ is a bit of an ambiguous term so I’ll define what I mean by it for the purpose of this blog.

Nice means not nasty, nor sinister. A nice person isn’t a person you’d avoid or be wary of. A nice person is someone ‘normal’, liked, a job, a nice family, a lot of friends, respect in the community. Some things about some people have an almost unanimous wariness factor-nice people are those who have none of the things that give us any reason to be wary.

Nice men-they know It’s wrong to touch a woman sexually without consent, of course.

Hell if a man touched their wife/girlfriend/daughter/sister/female friend like that, there’d be hell to pay! How dare he!

No man with an ounce of respect for women does things like that do they? They hear the females in their life relate stories about it happening, or see it on TV and react to it with contempt and shock, what a scumbag! Not a nice man, nice men don’t do things like this.

Apart from when they do.

This happened to me in my own house.

I must note that this blog was inspired by Kathleen Stock’s article, which I will cite at the end. Like hers, this is not written in a bid for sympathy (I am absolutely fine).

The man who did it is someone I regarded as a friend. Quite a new one but, my family have known him longer and he’s worked as an affiliate of my Mother’s for years

I don’t know many people around here, having moved recently. This man is someone I pay to do work I need doing, and we got along, and me and my partner and this man’s then-girlfriend all met for drinks one night a while ago and had a good time. I learned he did a pub quiz and me and my family went and did it. In short, he became someone we sometimes liked to hang out with, my other half liked him too. All good.

For a bit of a synopsis of this man, he has a great, prestigious job, and a fantastic relationship with his adult children. He is well liked, well known, friendly, popular, personable, generous, largely thought of as lovely.

I learned recently he had had some bad news. He’s lost a close family member. I paid my condolences and felt for him. He came around for a coffee and me and her sympathised and said pop in any time. So when she was working away, and he asked if the kettle was on the other day I said ‘sure’.

Only I’d ran out of coffee. I also realised I needed to walk the dog, and said rather than coffee shall we go to my local pub garden and have a couple of pints. It’s lovely weather, why not.

After that we walked back to my house and he came in for another drink. After a while and a chat, and my genuinely hearing his legitimate woes, I said that I was sorry to end the evening there, but I really had to go to bed.

I was tired, as I’d been up since 4:30 am. I was tipsy and did not want to drink more. I told him to see himself out, or sleep in the spare room if he wanted.

I had no reason why I should have believed I was in any danger.

Looking back, the slightly tipsy and very tired me must have had her guard up.

I don’t remember it being a conscious thing, but I didn’t undress. Why not? I guess because for whatever reason, I don’t trust men fully no matter what.

I woke up some time later, with a hand up my top at the front and two wandering hands caressing me. I hate to use that word, but literally that’s what they were doing.

What they were ACTUALLY doing, was molesting me. Touching my breasts and upper body without my consent, while I was sleeping. Unconscious.

Unable to give (or not give) consent. I did not react. I pretended to be asleep. I was not shocked or scared, and simply froze and said nothing. This man had gone upstairs, entered my bedroom, seen me asleep, and thought this was an okay thing to do. The hands then pinched my nipples, hard. Causing me to screw my eyes tighter closed in pain, and then they stopped. I remained still until I felt him move away and heard him leave the room. My main thought process at the time wasn’t what some may imagine.

It was ‘Oh for fuck’s sake.’

And this has a point. I wasn’t traumatised, upset or deeply affected in any way by this incident. I wasn’t shocked either-I’m still not. Why? Because to me, this has become ‘just something men do’. I sort of expect it, and have grown to accept it.  

Upon this first happening, I posted about it on a large forum I frequent. I wanted unbiased opinions. The replies did not shock me-they encompassed a lot of women responding by sharing their experiences of when something similar (or worse), had happened to them. So many of us, just in response to one incident on one day.

How many of us has this happened to?

This sort of thing is not uncommon. I knew that already, and they affirmed it. My ‘oh for fuck’s sake’ actually meant the same. Yes It wasn’t great, and what I was actually thinking as the thought developed was ‘Right, another one.

Another male I can’t trust-another man I can’t socialise with.

Another job I have to do or find someone else to do because I can’t have him do it any more’.

Acceptance by women that this is just ‘something that happens’ probably perpetuates it happening. Despite this, I firmly believe that it is absolutely not our responsibility as women, to do something about it.

The point I try to make is, men who do this sort of thing aren’t necessarily creepy oddities in flashers macs down dark allies, loners without jobs or families whom we wouldn’t ever let into our space or lives, they’re not that frowny, toothless weirdo whom you see in the beer garden by himself every day (who might actually be a perfectly decent person).

‘Normal’ men, those we think of as nice, do this.

Our brothers, colleagues, friends, fathers.

They do it because THEY THINK IT’S OKAY. The way this man was touching me, at least until he hurt me, was in a way I would like my girlfriend to touch me. But when it’s none consensual, unprovoked and unwanted (and in my case, from the wrong gender) it is not a nice feeling at all. And it’s very wrong.

Another point to this blog is, as I write about this experience, I recognise my own symptoms of dangerous social conditioning, certainly not unique to my experience as a female, the deeply internalised theories I have.

They make me want to blame myself.

This sort of thing;

‘*I* should have made him leave before I went to bed’

‘*I* shouldn’t have got tipsy around a man I don’t know so well’

‘*I* shouldn’t go out for a drink with a man by myself, he may have read more into it’

‘*I* shouldn’t have let him in the house for another drink-maybe he was disappointed that I didn’t want anything sexual’

‘*I* shouldn’t have dressed the way I was’ (I was wearing a tight top and a short skirt, albeit with thick tights and flat boots, I wasn’t dressed especially provocative, not that it matters).

There are also some things about this situation, generated by me, that if I had done differently would have ensured this couldn’t happen. If I hadn’t have ran out of coffee, I wouldn’t have been tipsy and perhaps would have been more guarded.

When I am already tired, alcohol just makes me sleepy, maybe I shouldn’t have had any.

If I hadn’t have let him come in for another drink.

If I hadn’t have been a friendly or sympathetic person.

If I had have locked my bedroom door.

If I hadn’t have made friends with this man in the first place.

If I’d have said no to him accompanying me anywhere without my partner (whom presents as masculine) for protection. (Because of course, when a man or a masculine-presenting woman is present, It’s to protect one from ‘other men’).

If I wasn’t a person who appreciates friendship and likes to enjoy company of people I get on with.

If I wasn’t trying to make friends in a new area.

I can go on forever with this. And I know I am far from the only woman whose brain comes up with such things.

However, the reality is, what he did was very wrong.

And it would still be wrong if I were straight.

It would still be wrong if I had gone out wearing a PVC mini-dress, a push up bra and stilettos.

It would still be wrong if I had have flirted with him all night.

It would still be wrong if I had have fancied him.

It would still be wrong if he was my husband.

It would still be wrong if we’d been out all night and I was pissed out of my head.

Another thing worth mentioning is, I actually told a male friend about this. His reaction was;

‘Well you invited him in, he probably thought he was in there’.

Aside from being disgusting, this is a huge part of the problem. There are people out there who believe that it is a woman’s responsibility, to stop men from behaving like this.

And it absolutely is not.

In this particular case (I must stress I absolutely don’t apply this to all such situations, all women are vulnerable to predatory men) I also think he did it because he finds me attractive, and he thinks this means he is allowed to touch me. This again is, a huge part of the problem. I know why he finds me attractive. I have a stereotypically attractive look, I’m relatively young, I have long blonde hair, I dress in a way he likes, I keep myself in reasonable shape.

He thinks because of that, I DO IT FOR MEN.

And this is what makes him think It’s okay. This type of thinking (in my opinion) is archaic, unintelligent, and dangerous. I don’t think he would have done this if I was butch, overweight, or his idea of ugly or unattractive in any way.

It doesn’t occur to some men that a woman who makes an effort with her looks in a way that they like, do it for any reason other than because she wants to attract men. And if she wants to attract men, touching her is okay isn’t it? That’s what she wants!


And if she does, she will make it clear.

As females, we should be permitted to dress and look however we wish. We are, literally speaking, but we should be able to look how we feel at our best, without it giving men the assumption that we are their property. If a woman is a man’s idea of attractive, she is no more there for male entertainment than a woman who isn’t.

In my case, the above assumption is made even more bizarre, but more blatant due to the fact this man ‘knows’ I am a lesbian. I put ‘knows’ in inverted commas because, this is irrelevant to him. My sexuality is erased because he believes his wants and assumptions trump it. 100%.

He believes my appearance negates this. I look like I do for men, no matter what I say and demonstrate in my behaviour. What I perpetuate about who I am, doesn’t count. My girlfriend doesn’t count. Following on from this happening, he actually discussed with peers of ours that something had occurred, and that it was consensual.
Consent is consent regardless of sexuality however, I find his erasure of my sexuality in this case is important. The entitlement is prevelant-he has ignored who I am completely to even believe that implied consent is believable.

Do I think he would have done this if I was straight?


If I were dating a man?

Probably. But the point is I’m not. This is because I don’t want men to touch me ever. I obviously sympathise with anyone this sort of thing has happened to, regardless of their gender, sexuality or any aspect of who they are. But I believe the fact that It’s obvious and often made obvious to him that I’m not into men and don’t want them to touch me, makes what he did worse.

Regardless of this, I was unable to consent, because I was asleep. He knows this. This man is far from stupid.

If any men read this, I hope you read it and think ‘What a wanker’ and not ‘Ugh, what he did wasn’t THAT bad’.

But if it is the latter, you know what, I agree with you, it wasn’t. I am not traumatised by it or especially upset even. I am not in shock. I am not injured or incapacitated by it.

And this is not a good thing. I should be traumatised by it. I should be shocked. I should be overly upset about it because it should be the sort of thing that’s unheard of and never happens.

The reason we think it ‘isn’t that bad’, is because we’re also thinking ‘He could have done worse’ or ‘That’s nothing, my friend went through a much more violent assault’.

And I have absolutely no doubt in my mind, that had I put loose pyjamas on, been more drunk, or slept naked, he would have done ‘A lot worse’.

Men, please do your gender a favour and don’t do things like this. If you’ve read this and are thinking ‘I did something like that once’ or ‘He didn’t do anything so bad!’ Have a think about this.

This information could be spread.

You could be reported to the police.

You could lose your job.

You could lose your friends.

You would be made to look like a wanker to anyone who finds out you’re labelled as a sexual predator.

Your reputation could be tarnished.

Your daughters could find out.

Your wife could find out.

Your female friends could find out.

Does this illustrate to you that It’s wrong? I won’t go down the route of It’s illegal because It’s wrong, or wrong because it’s illegal because frankly some things are illegal that if pressed I might think shouldn’t be.

But it is illegal regardless. What he did was a crime.

And it has reinforced my misandry which I struggle with already because of many experiences with men me and my female peers have had.

Women don’t want to distrust men.

We don’t want to dislike men.

We don’t want to have to cross the road when we see a male walking in the opposite direction.

We don’t want to watch our backs when we go into a public lavatory alone.

We don’t want to not feel safe in our own homes.

We don’t want to assume our voices aren’t heard.

We don’t want to be afraid.

It doesn’t make our lives easier to be like this.

I don’t want to label men as all the same. I don’t want to be afraid of them, careful around them,watch my behaviour around them and be disappointed in male friends like I am with this one, whom I will now never give my business to again, socialise with again, or sympathise with again. I don’t want to be a man-hater.

I have men in my life who I love.

But when they do things like this, it makes things difficult.

Thank you for reading.


It doesn’t bother me that I used to date men*, so why does it bother straight people?

*Okay, it does a bit. But not for the same reasons it bothers them.

I guess I feel a little disappointed in myself that I wasn’t one of those people who knew myself earlier in life. I knew I was queer from an early age but, I didn’t know I was gay.

Thinking on this though, if I had never dated men, I wouldn’t have had a lot of the good times I’ve had, I wouldn’t have my excellent business partner who remains my best friend 15 years on, I wouldn’t have had the experiences I have had, and I am betting I wouldn’t have avoided being in more scrapes than I managed anyway 😉

However I don’t understand why such a substantial number of straight people in my life (and not in my life per se but whom I’ve met) seem to have an issue with it. They seem to think that my sexuality isn’t valid because I used to date men. And don’t get me started on straight men with whom a conversation can go one of two ways depending on my mood;

‘So, have you never slept with a man?’

‘Yes, I have’

‘If he was the right man you wouldn’t be gay OR you’re not gay then OR was it a bad experience and that’s why you’re gay?’

Huge fuck off to ANY of those responses.

OR, sometimes I lie.

‘No, I haven’t’

‘You can’t know you’re gay then’

My playful side emerges, with  this when approached with this question and is something I get a small amount of enjoyment out of . If I tell this lie, and put it back on them. I ask;

‘Have you ever slept with a man?’

‘No’. (Usually accompanied by a lot of ‘eeew nos’ and/or ‘ugh why would you even ask that’s.

‘How do you know you’re straight then’.

Without decking myself out in top shop, getting a lot of botox and remembering how to giggle as I used to before I became a cynical old crone, I have no chance of participating in some covert observation of adolescence and knowing for sure how much things have changed. I know they are changing for the better in western culture at least, however if I wasn’t so adverse to talking to the twunts who spout the crap I have just written down,  may spend some time explaining the following.

I had never heard the word ‘gay’ ‘lesbian’ or any words relating to queerdom until I was about 13. My friend said Jason Orange’s new haircut made him ‘look like a poof’. I naively thought she meant a ‘puff’ as in something puffy that you may find in a make up bag or on a sitting room floor, and laughed (because it was quite true).

Gay was NEVER mentioned before that, at school, at home, or anywhere else I frequented. It wasn’t a thing.

Society may be changing slowly but surely now, yet remains to have an underpinning ideology of straight being the norm. For most people of my generation, older and slightly younger, this wasn’t an underpinning ideology for us, it was the way it was.

There was no social media but had there been, I think it would have reflected this. Advertisements on TV never reflected anything other than straight couples. Films seldom featured gay characters, unless they were for the purpose of ridicule or to add an ‘edge’.

Forms to fill out didn’t have options for different sexualities. In short, there was never any mention of any sexuality other than straight, and this was reflected in EVERYTHING a human being would see, unless they frequented the covert bars, clubs and societies that were squirrelled away in the undergrowth.

Being gay was weird, it happened to abnormal people. It was a bit odd. It was something that happened to ‘others’. It was something for teenagers to joke about. It was something I, aged about 7, never knew about my uncle. I knew he was different and I knew my family made incomprehensible (to me) digs behind his back, but I didn’t know why and I would never had dared approach the subject.

My one feeble attempt at approaching the subject that I remember, was mentioning my feelings aged about 11, to my Mum, in a way that was humour masked as reality. She just laughed back. She had caught  me looking at Linda Evangelista posters and smiling!

Society is less accountable for one aspect that affected me, but for me personally, it simply was not an option to be anything other than straight.

Nobody ever discussed the possibility. In fact nobody ever really spoke to me about relationships, hetero or otherwise. My Dad wasn’t involved much with me despite living in the same house and my Mum  I guess thought I’d do what teenagers do and go out and snog boys and be daft etc etc. But that was about it, there was little input or guidance.

I developed feelings for girls as a teen, with hindsight. I was particularly protective over girls younger than me. I looked at girls I thought were pretty and was in awe of the tomboyish, confident ones. I developed an attachment to friends which was more than friendship. It was obvious or would have been if I was my parent or a prominent adult.

Hindsight is underrated. I remember my feelings back then but, being a loner and an only child, had nobody to share them with, and I perhaps wouldn’t have anyway given I didn’t realise they had a meaning I was unfamiliar with.

So I was caught in a sort of crevice between ignorance (if nobody tells you chocolate exists, you won’t know  you like it) and not realising what feelings mean because I wasn’t brought up with the self-esteem or awareness to understand them. Eventually I  knew I had feelings for girls/women, I didn’t know this meant I was gay. I thought it meant nothing at all. Or that I was weird and a bit quirky, which I knew already (and this WAS validated often enough)!

What I *did* realise, is that I had these feelings. But I had no way of validating or invalidating them, until I was much older and had shaken off he indoctrinated values we have placed on us.

If I had those types of reasons to not recognise I was gay in my young years, others have the same reasons.

Others have different reasons of which there are so many I would break wordpress if I tried to delve into them all.

To briefly revisit what I wrote in my first sentence, yes, I wish I had have realised and acknowledged my feelings sooner, of course I do. I feel that, had I known myself well, I would have, but I didn’t. And I can’t blame myself for this, I can blame society, wider, as well as the immediate society I was brought into.

As a result, I dated men. I dated girls too. I was queer I knew this. It actually scares me that, despite the bad times I had with men, I didn’t realise sooner. Indoctrination is an extremely powerful thing.

I speak to a lot of people about a lot of things. One thing that stands out to me that relates to my own personal experience is, some people, no matter what their background or upbringing is like or, whatever myriad of other factors is at play, find the confidence and assertiveness to be themselves. I didn’t.. .I didn’t know who I was.  This isn’t anyone’s fault (including mine) and all I can be grateful for is I did when I was relatively young, and let me tell you, the feeling of liberty, I am sure it made a huge noise as it whirred through my brain.
Closetting is damaging. It damaged my relationship with my family. It caused me to drink too much and question EVERYTHING to a dangerous extent. It estranged me from good friendships and pushed me into negative ones.
It stopped me developing largely due to denial about who I was-how can someone embrace their abilities and strengths, and recognise their weaknesses with such an incongruence about who they are?

It shuts people down.
I cannot stress enough how comforting it is to be myself now.

I wish all of you on the same journey, the best of luck in the world.