Your body, your choice.

I never thought I’d ever be writing a post like this. . . but here we are. It’s weird. When I think about what I thought being in an unsafe situation with a guy would feel like, up until the point I actually knew, I just thought I’d never be in that situation. Unless some extraordinary circumstance was to happen, I just wouldn’t be that girl. Why would I? Truth is. None of us think we will be ‘that girl’. Until we are. I hear about sexual assault and inappropriate behaviour in the media ALL THE TIME. A horrifying amount. I am a confident, strong woman. It was still me.

I had a date this week. It was with a guy I met him through an online dating site. This was our first date and we hadn’t really spoken that much beforehand. I met him in Notting hill, as arranged. We walked and talked, he was nice and polite. We went to a pub and talked some more. Then we went for another walk so I could see more of Notting Hill (It’s so pretty. If you haven’t been I highly recommend it), somewhere along a residential road he stopped me and we kissed. It was a good kiss, we smiled after and continued walking to the next pub. In the next pub we sat closer and he had his arm around me most of the time. Normally I wouldn’t like it at all, but I was being polite so I let it slide. He told me he liked me, that it felt like he’d known me for ages. I wasn’t feeling the same. We kissed some more. He was the one who initiated it again.

After our second drink we walked again, this time back towards the station where I had met him. He started to walk past and I asked if he had somewhere else in mind to go for a drink. At this point I was ready to go home, but didn’t want to be rude. He was chilled about it and said we could find somewhere else. I thought another drink would be ok, so I followed him, until he stopped outside a house. He told me it was where he lived and that we could go for a drink there. I instantly was apprehensive. I met the guy about three hours beforehand. . . Honestly I chose to go in because I didn’t know how to say no. I didn’t want to upset him (I honestly don’t really know what the hell I was thinking. How unsafe is it to go to a guys house, alone, where nobody knows where you are?!). We went in and he got me a drink. We sat on his bed (it was a studio flat so there wasn’t anywhere else to sit). We talked a bit, then he initiated kissing. I stopped him and told him that I didn’t want to have sex. He proceeded to say he didn’t have any expectations and that he wasn’t desperate enough to just sleep with someone on the first date. He said that he liked me and wanted to ‘see me’. At this stage alarm bells were going off in my head. I didn’t feel comfortable. We kissed some more and he started putting his hands under my dress and tried to put them in my underwear. I pushed his hand away and told him no again. He stopped and he told me the same things. He really liked me. He wasn’t desperate. He was attracted to me and just wanted to ‘see’ me. I explained to him that it didn’t matter what he thought, I didn’t want too. He then went in at a different angle, asking what the difference was between having sex then, or the next day if we were to meet again. He was feeling good and in the mood, so what did it matter. Big red flag! Let me point out that at this point I had told him no twice, maybe three times when his roaming hands wondered, and then I had said I didn’t want to because that was my choice. He then seemed disappointed and sat back. I felt bad for disappointing him. He spoke some more, just repeating what he’d already said. He then said he was hot and took his shirt off. I asked him to put something on. I felt so uncomfortable and I have always really struggled with leaving social situations. He put a t-shirt on and sat back next to me. He rubbed my leg and tried to kiss me again. I asked to use the toilet and took my phone. I messaged my friend and she told me to leave asap. When I went back in I said I was going to go. He came close to me and put his hands on my waist. He kissed me again. He said he had really enjoyed spending time with me and wished we could do more. I made my excuses and left.

The way I’ve written this is how it happened. However at the time, I wasn’t tipsy and he didn’t make me uncomfortable, until he did. Explaining this to a friend afterwards, I said, if I had been more tipsy, he probably would have convinced me and I only would have because I felt bad FOR HIM!! FOR HIM! I wouldn’t have wanted to let him down and would have ‘performed’ for his pleasure. I realised in that moment how conditioned women are to not be taken seriously when we stand up for our bodies and our rights. Having not been in a. siatuaiton like this before, I guess I always thought I would be taken seriously. I told my friend that I had felt bad for him and that I felt guilty about dampening the mood. Thinking of this situation but with slightly different circumstances, a man would have convinced a woman to have sex with him for his benefit. How utterly awful is that?! I am extremely grateful I had the courage to leave when I did. . . .

The guy did message me the next day saying he wanted to see me again and he hoped I hadn’t felt uncomfortable. I thought about it for a couple of days, then I replied, explaining that I had in fact felt uncomfortable and pressured. His reply was an apology. But to be honest the whole reply said to me that he didn’t care.

As I said in the beginning, I really thought I wouldn’t be in that situation. Granted, in comparison to a person who has been sexually assaulted this may be nothing. But when we are having a conversation about consent, there is NO COMPARISON. To me, this was the first proper experience of a man making me feel pressured to have sex. In the same conversation with my friend I also said, if I knew I had made anyone ever feel uncomfortable during an intimate situation, I would be horrified. There are parts of this story you can say were my fault. I shouldn’t have gone into his house. I should have left when we got to the station. But I was enjoying his company up until the point on his bed. AND! NOBODY SHOULD EVER make you feel pressured, or uncomfortable, or feel bad, because you don’t want to do anything physical with them. Ever. There is NO EXCUSE for this behaviour.

I wanted to share this story with you because perhaps it has been you. Perhaps you know someone who has been in a similar situation. You aren’t alone. Unfortunately these instances happen to a lot of girls and women everyday. I am taking this as a big lesson and am grateful I am telling you about me feeling uncomfortable and then leaving, and not anything worse. If you find yourself in a situation you don’t feel comfortable in. YOU DO NOT NEED AN EXCUSE TO SAY NO. It is your body and you get to decide what happens to it. It is not your fault if THEY feel disappointed. It’s not your responsibility to make them happy and pleased. I truly hope you never experience what I have, or worse. I hope you have the strength to listen to those ringing alarm bells and leave a situation when you aren’t happy. Tell people where you are going and who you are with. Have the courage to speak up when you don’t want to go somewhere. Never feel guilty for letting someone else down because you don’t feel comfortable about doing something physical with them. That goes for holding hands to having sex. It’s YOUR body. YOUR choice.

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