#metoo

My #metoo story

#metoo

To the man who tried to assault me,

I'm sure you don't remember me. After all, I was just a waitress in a hotel trying to get through the 6th Christmas party she'd served at that week and heading to get more cutlery at 1am while you were stumbling up from the bar. I was just 17 years old when you grabbed me by the waist so hard you left bruises as I tried to walk past you. "Oh baby... baby where are you going?" You slurred into my ear while pressing your erection against my hip. "You don't want to work tonight, come back to my room instead... you'll have much more fun" you smirked as you pushed me through a door and down the corridor. You shushed my protestations and, when I began to cry while saying "please no" over and over again, you grabbed my upper arm and told me to shut up.

But you were drunk, you probably don't remember any of that. This was over 3 years ago now and, if you do ever think of it, I'm sure you'll just remember me as the frigid bitch who wouldn't have sex with you.

I was lucky, incredibly lucky, that you were so drunk. Thanks to the amount of alcohol in your system, you didn't see the room service tray outside a room that tripped you over while you had my ponytail clenched in your fist and we're whispering aggressive and terrifying nothings into my ear. I was lucky that you fell because you let me go. I ran away and went straight to the toilets, threw up and cried and never told anybody. I didn't know your name or room number and I was just too in shock about what had almost just happened to me.

I was 17 at the time and now I'm 21, and although you've probably forgotten you even did this to me, it's an experience that has haunted me ever since. For a long time I completely detached myself from it, never spoke about it, never let myself think about it and for a while that worked for me. But the occasionally t it did pop into my head I felt like I was back there, I felt sick and dizzy and it was all too easy to remember the stench of your beer and cigarette breath on my neck and in my ears. I quit my job at the hotel as soon as I could and attempted to avoid all reminders of it. I even avoided talking about it (probably in the unhealthiest of ways) by going to college the next day and pretending that I hadn't almost been raped the night before and never talking about it since.

Since the #metoo and Times Up movements began over the last year or so, I find myself being reminded more and more of what you did to me. When I see another story of sexual abuse, regardless of how serious it was compared to this, I am constantly reminded how disrespected I was that night, how you decided my body didn't deserve your respect and that it only existed for your consumption. I am reminded what a dangerous place this is for a woman, and how living in a patriarchal society means that our bodies and our feelings don't matter as much as a man's sexual appetite. I am reminded that, thanks to the society of victim blaming we live in, I felt too ashamed of what had happened to talk about it. I was ashamed and humiliated that an adult male had made an underage girl feel his erect penis and, had he not tripped over, more than likely would have been raped. I was scared and confused and wanted nothing more to forget it ever happened. But I can't. Because now I am angry. I am angry that I was put in this situation in my place of work. I am angry with you for still having the ability to affect me in this way when I don't even know your name. I am angry with you for making me too scared to let a boy anywhere near me for 2 years. I am angry with you for all the panic attacks and nightmares you have given me. And I am angry with myself. I am angry I did not find out who you are and I am angry I did not make you accountable for your actions. I am angry I didn't tell anybody in the hotel and I am angry and terrified that you could have done this exact same thing to more underage girls up and down the country. I am angry on their behalf, if they are too scared to talk. I understand and I support them but most of all I hope no one ever has to go through something like this again, despite knowing that is not currently feasible. I wasn't angry before - I was shocked, terrified, hurt and, on some level, assumed I deserved it for wearing skinny jeans. But now I'm angry. And now I'm angry I will not be silenced again. I will add my voice to the crowd of male and female feminists alike, declaring Me Too and demanding justice and accountability for their attackers. Time's up.

body
Read next: The State
Megan Hindmarsh
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