The beginning of a healing
For many months now, I wanted to write an article about a subject that touches me personally but also a numerous amount of people : non-consented sex within a couple. At the beginning, I wanted to write this article with testimonies from people on twitter. So I started, I was searching for testimonies of victims to show how much it's common, but I also wanted to have testimonies from people that subjected non-consented sex in order to « understand » where the problem comes from. Without any surprise, the research of people that subjected non consented sex was useless, since I only was able to get one testimony so I had to write my article based on the stories of the people, in most cases girls, that went through this. I realized that this way of writing wasn't what I wanted to do because my point will not be stressed. That's why I chose not to publish those testimonies, even if throughout this article they will help me to illustrate some of my comments.
At the beginning I wasn't able to start writing, I didn't know how, where I wanted to lead my thoughts, I was asking myself loads of questions such as : Why do I want to write this article ? Is it to denounce a way too frequent event in our society ? Not really. Is it to bring my opinion on this subject ? Kind of. Among these question, there is one that made me realize the importance of this article : Am I writing for a personal need ? Completely. Am I then legitimate to write such an article when, for me, the aim of it is to heal me on a psychological level ?
It has been a whole year since I underwent through non-consented sex. Necessarily, this « aniversary » period puts me right back in it and reminds me of many hurtful memories. That's why, one year later, I've finally decided to write about it.
My goal will not be to denounce something we all are aware of, something that some people don't want to assume it's real and that some don't dare talking about. My goal will be a demand. A demand towards the victims but also towards their families, friends and loved ones.
Throughout my harvest of testimonies, I was told all kind of different stories, each one being shocking and distressing. Among all of them, there is one testimony that touched me in particular. It was about a girl that told me about the relationship she had with an older boy. She was telling me that in order to « impress » her boyfriend, she would « give herself » to him. When I asked her if it was consented sex, she told me that she used to always yield because she was afraid of losing him. This girl also said to me that she shared her story with me in order to read my article about it and to understand her situation and words through an objective point of view. She wanted to understand if what she shared with her former boyfriend was consented or non-consented sex. I felt like I needed to do more than just quote her story, so I based my article on a discussion we had together.
I am asking the ones who went through such ordeals to speak up for themselves, just like this girl did. You have to speak up, whether it's with a close one, a friend, your family, some adults you know or with feminist medias and associations that will give you advices while keeping your testimony anonymous, lacking any judgement. Why do you have to speak up ? Because speaking up is the first step to your mental freedom. You can get helpful anwers to your questions and so, you'll feel lighter. I think (and this is my personal opinion) that from the moment someone question itself about consented intimacy in its relationship, if the relation is healthy or not, it's that there is a problem. The questions and feelings one can have about a bad experience in a relationship are heavy to carry. Even if you feel ashamed, or think that you cannot be considered as a victim, you have to speak up and to share what you feel. And I am insisting on the fact that speaking up can help you to go on no matter how much time it'll take. I am not saying that it is an easy thing to do. It requires some courage, but I know that each person can find the strength to fight for the truth. The most cowardly person isn't the victim but the molester. On top of the testimonies, I think that some medias can help you find answers to your questions, or make you understand more this topic through other point of view (among all of these medias, I am thinking of PayeTaShneck, Voxvulva but also the well made podcasts on QuoiDeMeuf or Yessspodcast). They are many more of course but I cannot quote them all. There is also a documentary that helped me a lot in the show infrarouge by France 2 intitled : « Sex without consent » that you can find easily on Youtube.
On top of that, I would like to write some lines to the loved ones of a victim. Whether you are a friend, a family member or someone close and someone puts you in the confidence of the situation, listen to them. Listen and don't be judgmental, be caring and open-minded, do not question yourself about the testimony you were provided with. As I said it earlier, It requires courage to speak up, so don't destroy the effort that this person is making in order to « heal » itself in a path full of ordeals. You have to listen and care, these are the basics things which will enable the victim to feel « safe » with her inner questions. I am not assuming that the victim will be more at-ease with its inner questions. First of all, it is useless to answer « What weren't clear about it ? » or also « You didn't had to yield », it is usually frequent answers that do nothing to help. The answer is easy : Sometimes people don't dare to refuse, are afraid, don't want to hurt, they yield to be in peace, and many other reasons, but none of the reasons can be used to throw a stone at the victim. You have to understand that each person on Earth lives every experience with its feelings and its thoughts on it. No one is legetimatly allowed to say « It's not that big of a deal », « don't be so sensitive, it happens », « it is a blurry context you know, it's no one's fault », « he/she is a clumsy person, it wasn't was he/she was attempting to do », « It is a starter mistake ». It is not up to you to determinate if a person is a victim or not, It is what this person is feeling that is important and not taking it seriously does not help the victim to carry on. It is not necessary but also absolutely unthinkable to search for reasons or excuses to minimise the situation.
All along my research of testimonies, a girl explained to me that she felt « guilty because people said that : « you yield » or even « Yes but you were turning him on by text messages before it happenned ». Sometimes, the victim can confess to you and you can be aware of who the molester is. In most cases, we are going to feel compassion for the victim but most of all, we are going to be strongly disappointed by the molester because it is easier to do so. It is of course a delicate situation. I think (and still, this is my personal point of view) that it is not a case in which you have to pick a side. Anyone is free to pick a side or not naturally. But be aware that everyone is different in a groupe of friend and in the intimacy of a sexual relation and so it's hard to be objective. The task is not simple, but from the moment you know that someone is a molester or part of non-consented sex, you have a part of « responsibilites ».
From the moment you are put in the confidence of a victim that went through non-consented sex, and you know the molester, you have to act (I am not talking about decisions of law) by opening a new conversation. If the denounced person is a friend, it seem adviced but not as easy to open a debate about it. Can you imagine if this person is not aware of what she did ? You can easily imagine that they'll do it again. The idea is that we are in an era in which speaking up is encouraged. A guy confessed to me that he did things to his girlfriend that she didn't want to do, he wasn't aware of the gravity of his acts, he explained to me that « It is later, when I was hurt by our break up that I had a subjective opinion on my behaviour during our relationship ».
The questionning is in fact possible, but not always instant or useful, then why not act and help the molester in this process of inner questionning ? The less taboo there is, the more there is dialogues and sensibilisations. I think that if we all did a little something to educate people, we could easily evolve morals, mentalities and ideas on sex and relationships.
The aim of this article isn't to moralise the readers, but to express a thought, an opinion on a type of tragic events such as non-consented sex that are way too recurrent in our society. The opinion ennounced in this article is fully personal and illustrated by testomines of victims and also a past and feelings that are mine about what I've been needing and lacking of.
With hopes that your reading was positively driven.