Things I could tell you

Posted on 4 December 2012


I could tell you how we dated for a few weeks and how he treated me a bit shabbily towards the end.

I could explain that we have lots of mutual friends so we ended up at the same party one night.

I could tell you that he attacked me after almost everyone else had left. My voice would probably change.

I could show you the photos of the scratches and bruises he gave me. I could tell you how whenever anyone wraps their hand around my wrists all I can think of is how his handprints were bruised into them for a week.

I could explain that no matter how hard I fought him, he was stronger, so instead of escaping I tore a muscle in my shoulder and couldn’t sit or stand up straight for a fortnight.

I could tell you how he said I was being a bitch and so deserved it, and how the only witness – a woman – agreed with him and told me so.

8215758381_f35082a6f0_bI could try to explain what it’s like to feel like a strong woman and then have someone completely take that feeling away from you by throwing you at the ground and then holding you there. Then letting you up and throwing you again.

I could tell you how I can only remember the incident in snatches and how my psychologist tells me I’ll probably never be able to stich them into a whole that makes sense.

I could detail all the habits that have appeared in the last few years: wearing figure-hugging clothing because anything that flaps in the breeze scares me, placing my phone on soft surfaces so it doesn’t scare me when it vibrates, growing my hair long so I have something to hide behind, walking down the street close to walls so there’s less opportunity for someone to grab me, fading out of conversations and into anxiety for no apparent reason.

I could talk about how it took me years to bring myself to acknowledge that having been attacked was part of my story, that my attacker will always influence who I am, even though it makes me sick.

But I don’t have to tell you all those things, because you know them first-hand, or you’ve heard them before.

Women being attacked, suffering as a result, and then being blamed for it is nothing new. It’s so ordinary it’s almost boring.

And that’s the saddest thing I could tell you.

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