Since the news of Weinstein broke, I’ve been shouting my feminist views even more so. In doing so, a frequent response I’ve had from men (be it on Twitter or a few I know) is that false allegations against men are extremely damaging.
I am sick of hearing this and it simply cannot be used as an apology / excuse for the culture that we live in.
Just because a person is found not guilty of a crime, this does not mean you have not committed it.
So whilst you (I’m looking at those screaming “not all men”) may know or be someone who has had a false allegation branded at them just stop and think before shouting your mouth off.
Where are the men reflecting on their actions following the outpours of women sharing their #metoo stories? A woman has nothing to gain from sharing her #metoo. Every single tweet I’ve read doesn’t mention the accused’s name. So it’s not about besmirching anyone’s reputation or making his life difficult (as many saying a false allegation is). It is simply to highlight the scale of the abuse that is all too common.
When you consider that for every #metoo, there is a man, or men behind it.
I knew a boy when I was 17. Knew, is probably pushing it a little, we met twice. The first time was at a Farse gig in Birmingham. I’d gone with a friend (A), and a friend of hers I hadn’t met before (B, female). Both girls were staying at my house (my dad’s) that evening. Now, the details of how we met this boy are beyond my memory, he may have been B’s friend, certainly someone knew him, as he ended up coming back to stay at my house too as it was nearer for him, and I wouldn’t have agreed to someone no one knew. We had some drinks, and ended up playing spin the bottle. Everyone had kissed everyone. A & B started making out for a bit, and the boy kissed me again. I didn’t think anything of it. He then whipped my boob out. I remember being slightly embarrassed, as I didn’t want my friends to see, so hurriedly ended it. A little later, the girls and I went to bed in one room and him on his own in another. There was a tap at our bedroom door a few minutes later; he was just in his boxers at this point and asked if I could show him how to turn a flashing light off. I followed him to the room he was staying in. He kissed me immediately and pulled his boxers down exposing his now erect penis, proudly pointing out how well endowed he was. I wasn’t expecting it. The room was metres away from where my dad was sleeping, and I felt extremely uncomfortable. I think I touched it briefly and said how tired I was and went back to the other room.
I didn’t think I’d see him again, until one night some months later, a group of my friends and I had gone to a local rock club, and I was particularly excited as there was a boy there whom I had the biggest (looking back, most horrifically embarrassing) crush on. I was at the bar and the boy from this previous night appeared. He seemed really pleased to see me. He said we should catch up where it was quieter. There was a little area next to the toilets in this club with some steps where we used to congregate and chat, so I naïvely thought he was taking me there when he led me aware from the bar. Except, we went straight into the men’s toilets and before I knew it, I was in a cubicle with him. Who knows what I expected when I took his hand and followed him, I can’t remember, but it wasn’t that, and I remember being uneasy and suggesting we not go in, but he said something (I forget what) and he had my hand so was leading the way. As soon as the door was locked, he kissed me. He was much taller than me and between the door and me so I felt extremely trapped. He quickly undid my jeans and put his hand inside my knickers. His penis was out of his trousers and he was asking me to suck it. I said no. He said if I did, he would go down on me. I didn’t want any of this. I wanted to get out of the toilet and go back to my friends, be flirting with the boy I actually liked, and not feeling this horrendous sick feeling in my stomach. I cannot remember how many times I said no to this; he had put his penis in my hand at this point. I didn’t take it off, I thought doing something he wanted would allow me exit. He suggested I bend over and we could have sex. I said no again, though it wasn’t a firm no, it was a nervous, shy, scared “no thank you/let’s not”. Someone in another cubicle threw some condoms into our stall. I remember thinking perhaps the only way out was to pull my pants down and let him have sex with me. He asked for a blowjob again, I lent over and reluctantly put it in my mouth, thinking at least we wouldn’t have to have sex if he was gratified. I left the toilet and wanted to cry. I was desperate to get home. I told a friend what had happened, but not in the way it did. That I’d got fingered and given him a blowjob, trying to own what had happened as an accomplishment rather than the hell it was. I was ashamed about it and frankly didn’t truly realise that he had assaulted me until several years later. I’m disgusted thinking about it now.
I never saw him again, but I know his name. He’s has several mutual friends with me on Facebook. I know through one of these that he has apparently bragged about bedding hundreds of women. When I heard this I shuddered as I wondered how many had felt like me when they slept together.
Now, let’s imagine I’d reported him of sexual assault. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we would have been shocked at this. Looking back I don’t think he would have thought he did anything wrong. I didn’t shout in his face, I didn’t struggle. I followed him; I put my mouth on him. Why? Because I was scared, because I couldn’t believe what was happening, because I thought maybe I was in the wrong.
If I reported it now, 13 years later, I don’t think he would even know my face, let alone my name. So he would be highly likely to believe this was a false accusation.
The point of me sharing this is that to those who think false allegations are indeed false, hopefully this may make you think again. The man who assaulted me probably thought he just didn’t get lucky that night (or did, depending how he looked at it). He didn’t attack a stranger, there was no violence involved, just a scared girl who gave in and performed a sexual act because despite saying no, felt she had no choice in the matter. If anyone sees that as consent, please take a good long hard look at yourself and imagine yourself in such a situation before judging.
Education about consent is the way to change this. Not just for men, but for women too. I didn’t know that this was assault. I just thought I felt a little icky about being fingered in a club one night. I did not consent to being kissed, fingered or performing oral sex on this man. A woman should not be responsible for not being raped, I’ll be clear on that; but if I’d been more aware about consent they’d I’d have realised what this was and perhaps reported it. Boys and men need to be educated that no means no. That’s it. Don’t keep pushing until you make a woman feel uncomfortable enough that she feels she has no choice. That’s still not consensual.