I don’t remember all the faces.
It’s a fact I get stuck on sometimes. Can I be traumatised if I can’t even recall all their faces? Shouldn’t I be able to recount every second of being raped in vivid detail? I can’t. I can only picture two of the men, and one of them is hazy.
I’m struggling to write these next details, but it’s important to understand the context of the violence. The first time I was raped, I was fifteen. I was picked up, literally carried, by three men into a bedroom at a party while I struggled. When they shut the door, leaving him and I in the darkness, I knew what would happen to me. I remember his face and his name like they are my own.
Another guy. First year of university. I invite him over, which I know would do me no favours if I ever tried to report it. When I go to get the morning after pill, I answer “yes” when they ask their standard question about rape. The nurse won’t give me my medication or let me leave. She wants to call the police and only settles for social services when my friend and I have argued for an hour. I have never felt less in control. It’s like being raped again, and she hasn’t even touched me.
The next three times are all similar. They involve men who have paid me for sex, which could be enough of a reason for you to click off of this article altogether if you’re the kind of person who believes that means I’m either asking for it or unrapeable. I sort of remember the first guy, but not enough to turn him away if he showed up at the brothel where I work. The other two I cannot picture at all. The stories are all similar. They are nice until I say no to something, and then it doesn’t matter what I say at all.
I have never reported my rapists to the police. I know the full legal names of two of them. I have medical evidence and witnesses for some of them. I have the men at my brothel on CCTV. I also know that my case would stand no chance in the Criminal Justice system, and that, even if there was a 100% chance of conviction, I don’t want my rapists to go to prison.
I am not a particularly forgiving person. My position is nothing to do with seeing the good in people, or letting go of what has happened to me, or even being able to move on without court dates hanging over my head. I have…