End Rape Culture and Victim Blaming!

Today I need to write about something I feel very strongly about. Of course, as I am a big activist and feminist, I have lots of topics to choose from, but the first one that came to mind was the problem with victim blaming and rape culture. Throughout this article, I am going to be explaining what problems our society has with victim blaming, going into my own and others stories of why we don’t speak out, and why there’s so much stigma around being sexually assaulted. This is quite a heavy-hitting topic so a trigger warning for anyone who is sensitive towards sexual abuse and the topic as a whole. Stay safe, I love you all, and let’s raise awareness about our shitty society! This article took me a super long time, researching, putting all my thoughts into words and making those words actually make sense. This is probably one of my favourite blog articles because I’m so proud of it so please let me know if you prefer articles like this which are more structured and informative 🙂

How can we get rid of #RapeCulture ? - Forum - Know My Rights Clothing Co.

What Is Victim Blaming and Why Is It Bad?

For anyone who doesn’t know, victim blaming is, quite simply, putting the blame of what happened onto the victim instead of the perpetrator. In the UK, only 15% of people who have been assaulted reported it to the police. There are many reasons why people don’t say anything and why the #MeToo movement was ground breaking as it showed that lots of people have suffered from abuse without speaking out. As you can see in the image above, those are some of the most common reasons that people are afraid to speak out. The world we life in presents such a stigma around being sexually assaulted, that rape culture and victim blaming is a common thing.

After my story was reported, I had lots of people ask me extremely personal questions, and try to put the blame on me. this is not ok. This promotes the fact we live in a society which sexualises people for what they wear, claiming that “if you wear a skirt that short, you are clearly asking for the attention” which is total bullshit. Wear whatever you want, do whatever you want, as I always say, as long as you’re not harming yourself or others in any way, go wild, do whatever you want. If it makes you happy, do it!! It’s despicable the amount of victims who haven’t been taken seriously because of what they were wearing, their alcohol intake at the time, and if they were flirting or not.

Some Photos To Think About:

Vancouver student Rosea Lake's photo etitled "Judgement" has gone viral, with more than 280,000 people liking and re-blogging it on Tumblr.
"Não meça o valor de uma mulher por suas roupas"
"Não meça o valor de uma mulher por suas roupas"

The way we dress doesn’t mean yes!

Literally every single woman, ever.

Those Who Assault and Why Many People Don’t Come Forward

Unfortunately, being assaulted is something you have to constantly be cautious about. If you are a female, I’m pretty sure you’ll know the fear you get when you walk alone anywhere. If I even hear so much as a patter of footsteps, I completely freak out and my brain goes full panic mode. The most worrying fact is I’m no longer fazed by catcallers and people yelling out to me, it’s an occurrence I’ve being mostly desensitised to. In the recent years, people (mostly men) who have either yelled abuse, cat-called me or said/done something inappropriate to me – a minor – is staggeringly high. It’s gotten to such a bad stage that when my friends see something like that, they freak out in situations I just shrug off. I used to love walking alone, putting in my headphones, listening to Taylor Swift, feeling like I was in some sort of music video, but now my friends (bless their little overprotective hearts) always make sure I’m not walking alone, or that if I am, that I message them once I’m home. They like being there to protect me and, even though I’d never admit it to them, I feel a lot safer with them around.

However, in many ways, being catcalled by someone who you have never met before is so much better than being sexualised or made uncomfortable by someone you know. You know that society has a problem when I have to choose one of those to nightmarish situations as a “preference”. God our world is f*cked. Statistics show that 90% of victims knew the perpetrator prior to the abuse. (Leaving all links to my info at the bottom of this so you all know I didn’t pull these percentages out of thin air). This is one of the reasons that I didn’t report as I was afraid I would be seen as provoking him. That’s the problem with being abused by your childhood friend, no-one will believe you because you still act as if everything is fine and dandy because you’re just so desperate to go back to how things were, even though you know there is no hope of that ever happening.

After My Story Was Told – My Experiences

I remember the entire day that everything came out like it was yesterday. I’ve spoken about it multiple times now and if you’re new around here, welcome and you can check out all of that here. As you know, the case never got convicted, which is a very common occurrence. Conviction rates for rape and sexual abuse are so much lower than other cases, with only 5.7% reported rape cases ending in conviction. We can’t expect to be taken seriously when almost all cases are acquitted before they’re even opened.

Something else which my abuser did after he started abusing me is he claimed to be gay. God, the poor LGBTQ community, you get enough hate as it is. He claimed to be gay two months after the abuse began, and continued to be vocal about “how hard it is to be homosexual” – when he’s… ya know, not. I learnt something the other day when I was watching stand up comedy which honestly made me laugh so, so much. Now I’m writing this I’m still laughing because it makes me sick and I can’t deal with it any other way. I found out that Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein – two of the most notorious Hollywood sex offenders – decided they were now also gay because their lawyers were failing them. I have no issue with famous actors and actresses who are gay, but when they fake it so they can avoid sexual assault charges? Oh, sweetie, someone will be getting hurt and it’s not going to be me.

Why I’m Still Shouting This From The Rooftops – Statistics Which Make Me Shudder

A third of people believe women who flirt are partially responsible for being raped (Amnesty, 2005)

Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men (aged 16 – 59) experience rape, attempted rape or sexual assault by penetration in England and Wales alone every year; that’s roughly 11 of the most serious sexual offences (of adults alone) every hour. 

Approximately 70 women commit suicide every day in the US following an act of sexual violence.

During 2019, 13% of all women in California were victims of rape.

A quarter of male victims of sexual assault were under 10 years of age.

Infographic showing the number of people victimized in one year. Number broken down by inmates (80,600), children (61,000), general public (284,000), and military (18,900).

Take This Away:

If you take anything at all away from this article please bare this image in mind…

I snapped 🌪🌬 – Daddy's little angel

Remember: It’s not your fault, it never was, you shouldn’t have to be held accountable for someone else’s actions.


Information:

https://rapecrisis.org.uk/get-informed/about-sexual-violence/statistics-sexual-violence/

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/scope-problem

“You’re peng but…” What Someone Told Me That I’ll Never Forget

I have a feeling this is meant to be positive and heart-warming, but who has time for that crap? I’m fuelled by insults and hate, it’s what makes me rise up and grow stronger.

One day, someone said to me – pre warning this may make you feel very uncomfortable because it’s sexualising a minor – and I quote

“Tati, you’re hot, peng and you have great tits [something which he has never seen, considering he’s only seen me in my school uniform]. But, the only way I’d date you is if you shut up about your opinions and let the men talk. Also if you dressed less like a whore then people may feel more sorry for you when you say you were sexually assaulted by different guys.”

I remember exactly who said this to me, what had caused them to say this, where I was when they said this, how I responded and why I never forgot it. So, without further ado, let’s delve in and analyse this quote!

Who: Of course I won’t expose this person by name because that’s not what I do. It just promotes more hate and fuels the cancel culture this society feeds off. However, we shall call this person… [brb currently looking up random names which don’t have any relation to me] Kronos! Kronos was someone I knew from school who added me on Snapchat to ask for help with schoolwork.

Where and When? This time last year ironically! It was the start of the summer holidays (after the sexual assault allegations surfaced) in 2019, just after I’d finished my year ten exams.

What caused Kronos to say this? We were on the phone just chatting, as I do with many of my friends, and I was jokingly complaining about how no-one likes me and that I’m going to die alone. [I swear to be overdramatic and true too Taylor!] So, of course, Kronos decided to be “helpful” and give me this lovely… boost in self-confidence? Constructive criticism? Just plain insult? Who knows?!

How did I respond to this? At the time, as ashamed as I am to admit it, I pretty much just said “oh, okay” because I didn’t really know what to say. However, it’s safe to say I cut off almost all contact with Kronos because he made me so uncomfortable. If he said this to me now though, I’d most likely roundhouse kick him into another dimension.

Why I never forgot. As a 14 year-old, vulnerable girl, I should not have just shrugged it off like I did. However, as bad as it is, it’s just part of the job description when you’re a girl. You have to deal with boys saying things which make you squirm, as wrong as it is. Even though I will never ever stop fighting the good fight of pressing on with my feminist agenda, I have begun to accept this sort of thing as a part of life, which is just so wrong. Please take this into account before you open your mouth and say something which involves making someone upset, degrading, telling them what to do, sexualising them or even simply calling them peng.

Thanks for reading this light-hearted but kinda important feminist article. I’m going to be cheeky and pretend it’s a Friday so I can say it’s a Feminist Friday post! Love you peng people, xo baby, Tati xoxo

Manipulation

Hey guys, welcome back to the second of my sexual assault awareness posts.  This will almost definitely be the most difficult to talk about as I have not spoken about it to anyone except for the police.  I’ve began this article on the 9th October 2019 and I guess we shall see when it’s done.  In this article, I’ll be going into the ways the individual manipulated me until the point of sexual assault.  As always, I’ll remind you that viewer discretion is advised, and I do not recommend reading if you are easily triggered buy any of the topics that come up in my other article: “An Overview of my Life Since 2018”.  Stay safe, I love you all and never forget you are not alone.

It began with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it things.  First there was the pushing and shoving.  That was never out of the ordinary – I had other friends who I played “rough and tumble” with.  But there was something about the way he did it, how he did it, which I felt was much more forceful and almost threatening.  It felt like a constant reminder that he was strong; he was powerful, and he easily could hurt me.  One day though, one day he very nearly could have killed me.  I still have nightmares and flashbacks to this day; I’m still scared to walk down the place it happened.  I was walking back from school with him one day and we were messing around, insulting one another, as friends do.  Then I said something, it wasn’t even anything that bad, but it angered him.  It angered him to the point that he shoved me in front of a moving lorry then laughed and said it was a shame it didn’t hit me.  I have a feeling some of you are wondering why I didn’t just ditch him as a friend then.  And honestly, I’m not sure why I didn’t.  I guess it was because I’d been friends with him for so long, and I couldn’t bear to lose that.

Then came the not-so-subtle digs at me as a person. Now, for context, I’m not the smartest most academic person in the world.  I get by in my lessons, but I’m not top of the class and I’m mostly just average.  I’m overall quite happy with where I rank in English, could possibly manage to scrape a pass in Maths, Science if I put in the effort I could potentially pass, and the others will hopefully all fall into place behind that.  However, at the time, I felt as though I wasn’t smart at all (which is totally crazy looking back at it because I was in either top set or second set for everything and I was mostly average).  I once confided with him that I felt as though I would never be smart enough to pass my GCSE’s and so he used that to his advantage.  He’d constantly “poke fun” of me about it to my friends, making me feel inferior, insecure and unintelligent.  He also knew one of my dream professions as a child – still is now to be fair – was to become a lawyer and help others.  However, anyone who has investigated that career path will know it’s an extremely hard job to get into, and my grades did not show the right potential at that time.  He’d make snide comments about how I’d never amount to anything, never get the grades to do what I wished to and even said that the only way I’d be able to go up in the world is by sleeping around.  It still shocks me he said things like that because the most “sexual” thing I’d done was hold hands with someone!  (Sorry Mum and Dad – what can I say, I was a catch!)  It made me feel disgusted, self-conscious and just all around horrible.

Then he somehow turned so much worse and controlled me as though I was a puppet on a silver string.  He told me what I could and couldn’t wear because it could make me look like a “whore”, what I couldn’t do in public – small things such as walk around with other boys; it could only be him.  He decided who I could hang around with, when I could hang around with them.  Only now while I’m typing this can I see how horrific this was which baffles me.  He also put me down about the way I looked, my weight, my face, pretty much everything he said translated into “I’m not good enough” he said it so much that I began to believe him… And even therapy is struggling to change that.

His manipulative ways have affected me in ways I don’t even notice until concerned friends point them out to me.  I feel like I cannot say no to people, like even if I try, they just won’t listen as that is what happened with him.  If ever someone compliments me or is even a decent human being to me, I develop a crush on them very quickly – it’s honestly such an issue at this point it’s now a running joke between me and a good friend.  I guess it’s because I feel so deprived, so starved of love and confidence that anytime someone is nice I think they love me – this has been horrific because I’ve gotten into my fair share of toxic friendships/relationships which is crazy – I’m fifteen for crying out loud!  Finally, the worst effect of the manipulation is that I go through phases of refusing to speak to friends.  Anyone who knows me in real life will know all my closest friends are guys – with a few sporadically placed girls here and there.  Every so often, I get so paranoid they will turn out like him that I refuse to even look at my friends in the hallway.  Once this got so bad, I refused to speak to any of my friends for about a month and if they touched me, even accidentally, I’d have a panic attack.

I feel like this is quite a heavy topic and although it is, I do want to assure you there is a light at the end of the tunnel!  For me, I now have an amazing group of friends (a massive thanks to all my friends who have helped me through this and stuck by me – especially but not exclusively Thumper and my Big Bro.  You are both amazing, I love you and I doubt you’ll ever know how much you mean to me.)  I am now doing EMDR therapy which is quite effective – I will be explaining about all the ins and outs of it soon!

I’ve been asked by a friend of mine how to know if you’re being manipulated and, truth be told, I’m not sure.  All I can really say is look after yourself, if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable on more than one occasion, keep some distance and stay wary.  My friends are an extremely big help in this aspect, and they can normally see the red flags before I can so if you do get worried, speak to someone you trust about it.  Most of all though, no matter how long you’ve known them for, people change – and not always fore the better.  That’s one of the main ways he was able to manipulate and take advantage of me, I’d known him for so long!

Thank you so much for reading this.  My last post on sexual assault has gotten 110 views currently and I couldn’t be happier.  I finally feel like I am making a difference thanks to all of you!  So, thank you so much for taking the time to read an “angsty teenagers” blog, I feel as though I have a platform which I can – and will – use to my advantage.  This is the one thing in my life I feel as though I can control so it means tonnes you are all reading this!

I love you all so much, stay safe and remember:

“You can change the world when you change your mind”

Kinky Boots the Musical

xo baby, Tati xoxo

An Overview of My Life Since 2018

So, quite simply and bluntly, I was sexually assaulted for around a year in total by someone who I considered a close friend before this.  I will be raising awareness for this and I will be writing articles to try end stigma around assault in general – particularly with teens and young adults.  Due to the fact I’ll be writing about it so much, I feel it’ll help if you read a general overview about the whole situation and it saves me from having to write an essay before I can get into the actual article and I don’t do clickbait.  Although, please read with the reminder this may not be suitable if you get triggered by reading about sexual assault, depression and suicidal thoughts.  I won’t go into the horrific details, as I find that still hard to talk about myself but just remember these themes will be involved throughout the article.  Stay safe and I love you all x

After the sexual assault began (for a timescale it began spring half term 2018 – when I was in year nine.), my mood began deteriorating extremely quickly.  My best friend who’s been my rock – Thumper – began noticing and one night I explained to him about what had been happening with this individual.  Thumper was so supportive and gradually encouraged me to tell the friends I’ve had since I was about six. 

Around six months later, my parents noticed I wasn’t acting like myself; I was more closed off, wouldn’t talk as much, and I was not motivated to get out the house.  My parents – the amazing people they are – took me to see a psychiatrist to review my mental health (I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder when I was 11 but this seemed different).  I didn’t tell her about the sexual assault and so she diagnosed me with having a depressive episode – no real trigger points known.

Fast forward to September 2018 – I began Year 10, my mental health totally unstable and taking a turn for the worse and the abuse still occurring.  I didn’t go to any lessons because I didn’t see the point – I wasn’t going to have a future anyway.  By the time it got t Spring Half Term 2019, I was on 150mg of Sertraline, I was avoiding him at all costs, and I was going to therapy.  Then, I met this guy.  He was nice, he was cool, we hit it off, we started dating and life was going okay – except for the constant low moods and suicidal thoughts.  I had a boyfriend and I found a new group of friends and I felt slightly better (spoiler alert yet again: they were bad news but what I needed to get away from my abuser)

Fast forward to May 2019 – I had been dating this guy for about a month and one night I felt like I confided in him about how I was getting sexually assaulted by someone for eight-ish months and he promised me that he wouldn’t tell anyone unless it happened again.  Just so my explanation makes sense, I need to clear something up: my boyfriend doesn’t live near me, but his friends do and they go to my school.  This will make sense shortly. 

So, a few weeks went past and my boyfriend told no one about the assault but then one Wednesday afternoon, I decided to walk home from school with a few of my friends.  One of the “friends” who was there was the assaulter himself.  Now, before you jump to conclusions, nothing had happened since around October 2018 and I missed my friendship with him – I’ve known him since I was 5 for God’s sake!  I’ll explain more about the manipulation I faced with him another time.  So, as I was walking back with my friends – there were four of us in total – it was fun and there were a lot of laughs.  As my friends dropped off one by one, it left me and the abuser.  I won’t go into detail, but he did it again.

I ran straight home and phoned my boyfriend straight away – I felt so guilty!  Even though it was non-consensual, it still felt as though I cheated on him and I felt dirty, disgusting and gross.  My boyfriend leapt into action right away, contacted his friend straight away who planned to report it to school the following day.  I freaked out, I didn’t want anyone to know how weak I was, I didn’t want my parents to find out and there were so many other reasons I didn’t want anyone to find out.  I went to sleep that night feeling panicked, stressed and depressed.

The following day (fun fact it was my Dad’s birthday so guessed who ruined that for him…  Sorry – I’ll make it up to you next year I promise J) I had my final end of year exam and my boyfriend’s friend came up to me promising he wouldn’t report it to the school – to say the least I was so relieved.  I felt like I didn’t have to worry about it ever coming out.  However, as happy as I felt, I felt as though something wasn’t right – I just couldn’t work out what it was.

By the end of the test, I got let out of the exam hall and I waited around for some of my friends.  Suddenly, my boyfriend’s friend came up to me and told me he was reporting the whole situation to our safeguarding teacher and there was nothing I could do to stop him.  I was gobsmacked.  I felt as though he betrayed my trust, didn’t care about how I felt whatsoever, and I didn’t know whether to scream at the top of my lungs or just curl into a ball and cry.  Of course, I now know he did it because he was looking out for me and wanted me to be safe – I appreciate that majorly.

A school day had never gone slower for me, each time someone came into my classroom, I froze and had a panic attack.  I couldn’t deal with the stress or tension I was feeling.  Finally, at the near end of an agonising day, I was told to go to one of the many safeguarding offices in my school, and I found out this wasn’t just a school issue and that the police had been informed and were coming over to my house later on that evening.  The school would contact me the following Monday to discuss what I should do about school going forwards.  Once I got home, the police spoke to me and told me I had to make a statement.  Then, the school called and said I wasn’t allowed to go into school until further notice for my own “safety” which was honestly even more ridiculous than when I found out Donald Trump was going to be president of the US (yes, I am getting political).

That following week was the total definition of bittersweet, sometimes I felt higher than the clouds but then other times I felt lower than the lowest I thought I could feel.  Although there were some good things which came out of that week, for example, I managed to speak about things I thought I was going to take to the grave, I found out I have the most supportive family in the history of the world (thanks Mum and Dad) and that I had the most amazing friends I’ve ever wished for.

Of course, I was bound to crash back into reality after being in Neverland for so long and I crashed when I had to go back to school.  I had people forcing me to answer questions I didn’t feel comfortable with, had people turn against me, had people corner me in the halls, had people ask me to do unspeakable things for them and so much more.  But I somehow miraculously got through it.  I also got through the last few weeks of year ten feeling kickass with some newfound support.  Of course, it was still extremely difficult to have to see him in school every day, but I wasn’t ever going to give up that easily, I’d come so far and the summer holidays were just around the corner.

The summer holidays were truly amazing, they were the break I desperately needed from school.  I went back to school in year 11, ready to run the world.  I hadn’t heard anything from the police but then out of the blue, on a Sunday night, my parents got a phone call which said the police have decided to drop the case due to lack of evidence.  I was mortified, it felt as though all the work I’d put in, the hell I’d gone through had all been for nothing.  I got no closure, no satisfaction, nothing.  I became completely numb.  But thank God for my lord and saviour that horrific evening – my friend came over straight away and managed to help me through the storm and I don’t know where I’d be without her.  The biggest positive about the case being dropped though is that I now have a platform.  A platform to spread the word about how stuff like this does happen and how cases get dropped almost daily.  They say we should speak up when all they do is silence us.  But anyone who knows me will know I don’t do silence.  If someone tells me to be quiet, I’ll shout it from the rooftops and even though I’ve had so many people try to shut me up, they’ve not succeeded, and I have no plans for that to stop anytime soon.

See you all soon, stay kickass and don’t conform with what society pushes upon you.  Fight back – viva la résistance!

xo baby,

Tati xx

Girl Love

Tina Fey once said “You have got to stop calling each other sluts and whores. It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores” and that’s one of my mantras in life. Girls are always so well known for being two-faced, shady and just plain mean – even my Mum has said to me since I was younger that people are mean, but girls can be the worst. I’m not here to tell you to love all and Hakuna Matata your way through all your issues but I am here to try get you to love and support your peers.

With everything going on in the media in the past years, with the #MeToo movement and the abortion laws changing across the world to name a few, us girls should stick together now more than ever. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. I’ve had my fair share of girlfriends who’ve left me in my times of need, called me an “attention seeker” when they learnt I was depressed, said I was “asking for it” behind my back when I said to them about how I’ve been sexually assulted by someone. I just want to make it clear: as horrible as what they’re saying is, you are strong, beautiful and powerful and you can change the world. These girls are idiotic and it’s clear there is nothing going on in their sad little lives so they decide to take it out on you. That doesn’t make it any less horrible or mean and that won’t change how you feel about them, but time can heal these wounds.

I’m not saying we should love the people who screwed you over in life just because they’re females – at the end of the day they did screw you over. What I am saying though, is you shouldn’t spread gossip about someone just because you’ve fallen out with them, it’s totally unneeded and rude. However, I do want to encorage girl love: give compliments to other girls, tell them what you think, bring them up not down. If a girl seems upset, go speak to her and try help, you never know, you could make a new friend. If you hear gossip or anything mean about someone that’s painfully untrue – call the people who are talking about it out! Tell them what they’re spouting is total rubbish and totally unneeded. These are just a few ideas but you’re all imaginative and unique so I’m sure you have other plans on how to show girl love.

Just remember, you are strong, you are brave and you can rise above it all. Go out there and kick ass, take the high road, it’ll look better on you in the long run and it won’t impact your mental health as negatively – more details about what negatively impacts your mental health soon!

xo baby,

Tati xx