Let The Record Show…

Image

It has come to my attention, in the past few days, that my ex appears to feel that I have made false allegations against him, and that I am not only a liar… but also an abuser myself.

(Yes, before anybody asks, I have read it. The comments, too. No, I will not tell you who was responsible for bringing it to my attention, only that I sincerely thank them.)

For a long time, I’ve avoided this topic in detail except with my closest people. I still don’t particularly want to hash it out in public space and I am not writing this in order to demand that anyone picks a side, but I feel that I must defend myself. This is not a counter-attack, but a defence against the things I feel I have been accused of.

I will not be quiet.

I’ve told enough anecdotes over the almost-year of writing this blog that I think you guys should have a pretty clear picture of what things were like from my perspective.

I was, and still am, willing to let some things slide as mistakes of youth, the result of growing up in such a fucked up culture without any positive role-models to learn from. Where is the line between emotional abuse, and just two people far too young to have an adult relationship saying nasty things to each other? The line is where you know the other person’s weaknesses, and deliberately exploit them… even admitting to doing so. Mistakes were made on both sides, and I absolutely acknowledge and regret the times when my own behaviour was less than perfect. Which was often. However, I felt on many occasions as though I was being systematically emotionally abused and manipulated deliberately.

Yes, I lost my temper and screamed at him when I found out he cheated on me for six months. I did not then, and have never in my life, raised a hand to somebody in anger. I am not a violent person and I was deeply shocked and surprised to learn that he was apparently afraid of my lashing out, when my memory of that particular situation involves me very quickly going into overwhelmed silence and leaving because I could not string a sentence together.

I speak the absolute truth when I say that I was repeatedly pushed, coerced or forced into sexual activity which I did not want, and to which I was not freely and enthusiastically consenting. I remember one particular occasion of being fucked while I was crying, after being told I

was unloved and unlovable. Another, I was thrown out of the house for refusing sex. Yes, we were in a relationship. Yes, we had had consensual sex on many occasions. We can argue semantics about whether situations like this are really rape-rape or not , but that is how it is in my experience. I believe, I know, deep down in my heart and my body and my soul, that I was raped. That is the trauma that I must live with.

I am deeply afraid to speak this aloud (at least in written form.) I am afraid that he will bring legal action against me, I am afraid that I am going to lose a good chunk of my friends and a community that has meant a lot to me over the years. I am even afraid that no-one will ever want to date me again, in case I accuse them of horrible things after we break up. I understand, okay? I understand that nobody wants to take a side in this.

He’s given you his side, and from the comments, I can tell that a good amount of people believe it absolutely. Perhaps he truly believes he did nothing wrong; but the scars I bear are evidence of how deeply traumatised that entire experience left me. He’s given you his side, and now I give you mine.

Do with this information what you will; even if that is “nothing.” Even if that is unfollowing my blog, and unfriending me whether virtually or in real life.

I ask for nothing. Only to be heard.

I am many things, but I am not a liar.

I have a mental health issue, but I am not crazy.

I am sometimes irrational, but I am not delusional.

My experience was my experience, and nobody can take that away from me – much as I might wish somebody would just make it all go away.

Look, I never wanted any of the fucked up bullshit to happen, and I wish that it would go away now. But I am finding myself feeling silenced and I must speak up.

I will not be bringing legal action into this, I have no interest in ‘revenge,’ and I will not be contacting him directly in any way (including face-to-face at OpenCon this weekend.) From here on out, my aims are to find happiness in healthy and fulfilling relationships, and I do not wish to lose friends over this, nor is my intention to force anybody to respond in a particular way.

I am afraid. More afraid than I can tell you. But I am speaking out in defence of myself, because I cannot let it be known on the record that I made it all up, because I did not.

About these ads

27 thoughts on “Let The Record Show…

  1. Jessica Burde says:

    I am so sorry that you have to go through this. Wish I had some advice or help to offer. Whatever else, you will get through and this mess will pass eventually.

  2. anon says:

    I believe you. If a woman can speak out so clearly in a society that does everything it can to convince women nothing was ever abuse, no man ever raped (except the bad men – over there – not here), that’s more than enough to believe.

    Thank you for speaking out, sister. Every time one woman does, five more gain the strength to do the same. By speaking like this you don’t just strengthen yourself but you make all women stronger. And all women who’ve spoken out themselves are going to be right alongside you.

    Wishing you safety and strength and friends who will give you support.

    • missamaranth says:

      I don’t know who you are, or if I know you in real life, but thank you for writing this. It took all my strength and energy to speak out, when my gut reaction was to stay quiet, but if it gives just one other woman the courage to do the same, then it will have been worth it.

  3. Emy says:

    You’re a strong girl, and you can get through this. You have people around you that will support you, and it will be okay. For what it’s worth, I believe you and I’m here any time you need a quiet ear or a shoulder to lean on. Thank you for speaking out. I know how hard it is to speak about any kind of abuse, particularly when it’s sexual in nature, in this society where sex is seen as a taboo. And I know it’s hard, and I know this is really cliche, but it gets easier with time. It really does. Sure, there’s times when you’ll cry yourself to sleep and can’t get it out of your head, but eventually the days where you don’t think about it will outnumber the days that you do. You probably know this already, but I thought I’d add my voice of reassurance.

    PS. Not sure if this will change anything for you, but at least it might give you some peace of mind, or something. As of the late 90s, despite you being in a consensual relationship, what you describe would definitely be classed as rape in a court of law. (That was for married couples, so it’d definitely apply to you.) Not that I’m telling you to go to court or anything – that’s your decision and an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone who wasn’t 100% sure they wanted to go through with it. Just wanted to let you know.

    I hope you’re okay, and keep smiling!

  4. Fae says:

    Having been in a similar situation myself, I can really feel for you. I’m just glad my ex and I moved in different circles after I asked him to leave (and he finally left), so I only really heard whispers of the lies he said about me.

    Thankfully I had my family afterwards, having had my friends driven away during the 2 and a half year relationship. At least they didn’t have to choose/take sides.

  5. Chris Boyle says:

    I don’t know the context, but go you for speaking out, and *hugs* if wanted.

  6. Anything that was done to you without your FREELY GIVEN consent (without coercion, threats, or emotional blackmail) was RAPE. You have every right to be furious at the one who treated you this way. And no matter how he tries to twist the truth and make it seem as if it was “your fault”, it was NOT your fault. Ever. *HE* is the abuser, and you were abused. And anybody who believes otherwise is just plain wrong, and you don’t need them in your life any more than you need the abuser.

    • Nomad says:

      *applauds* You will not be surprised to know that I completely agree with you on this, Ace!

      I am sorry that Jess felt forced to come forward now, because Alex had resorted to the usual perp tactics of rape denial and had pre-emptively accused her of lying. However, I am also proud of Jess for standing up and telling even part of the truth of what she had to endure for six years. When the breakup happened, just over a year and a half ago, she was barely able to tell _us_ what had happened… and we are family. To be able to speak the truth widely took a lot of courage… but I’m betting that it is a relief, too, to not have to carry this alone anymore.

      My concern now is the community response. In the UK, both the polyamorous and bisexual communities talk a good talk about wanting women to feel safe and having zero tolerance for rapists. Unfortunately, it is all too common for such words to be nothing but talk; when an actual situation with an actual rapist develops, it becomes too easy for people to “not take sides” and “not want to get involved” because they “want to stay friends with you both”. Especially if the rapist is, as such abusers often are, a charismatic and well-liked person.

      In cases of rape and abuse, a policy of doing nothing always supports the perp. Society at large is reluctant to take action, which is why most rape cases are unprosecuted. More disappointing is when a community that is supposed to provide safe space takes the same approach of tolerance towards rapists.

      Already, some evidence of this typical “turn the other way” response is occurring. Alex’s Facebook post where he accuses Jess of lying is very clever; it starts off by saying that he agrees we should believe the victim and that he doesn’t want to be the person who says you should “believe every case but mine”. He then goes on to argue precisely that — believe every case but his. The replies, sad to say, are all too supportive of the rapist. People have sent hugs and good thoughts and shock that anyone could ever say such a thing about him, because of course they know that he would never do such a thing.

      Jess was systematically raped and abused by Alex for six years. Now that Jess has come forth and told some of her story, I hope that people as individuals will come forth and support her. I also hope that her communities will make good on their talk about having zero tolerance for rapists.

      So, bravo, Jess! Good on you for having the strength to speak up for yourself! As for you, Ace, I look forward to seeing you again for The October Gathering… tomorrow! Hooray!

    • missamaranth says:

      Thank you. It took me a long time to learn that all this is true, but Gods what an empowering realisation that was!

  7. Boldly Go says:

    Thank you for writing this and sharing this with us. It took a lot of bravery and I appreciate the fact that you took this risk, especially in such a personal and public space.

    As a friend of your ex, I really did want to believe that he has done this without intention. But what you are saying here and the omission of the information about the cheating changes things. I’m going to see what he has to say personally about this. I sincerely hope he chooses to publicly atone for it and take steps towards addressing this behaviour. If he doesn’t make that choice… well, then I will have to make one of my own.

    I do believe people can change their behaviours and I hope so for the sake of one of my good friends that he is dating that he has and will take responsibility for what he has done.

    I’m so sorry this has happened to you. And I am so sorry that this has to be so public. Please know that you have my support.

    • missamaranth says:

      Thank you for that. It really means a lot to me. I appreciate what a difficult position his friends, and friends of his partners, are in right now, and I am glad that at least some of them are choosing not to ignore or disregard what I have said here.

  8. Margot says:

    I have never met you nor do I know anything about you besides your blog. However, I love following your blog. Thank you for having the strength to speak up. From reading your blog, I know you have people who truly care about you now. Be strong and know that even if we never meet in person, there are people out there who believe in you and want the best for you.

    You are right. From a legal, ethical, moral, etc. standpoint, you were raped. Anything less than clear absolute consent is rape regardless of relationship status. Thank you for being strong. You are an inspiration to others!!

  9. bumblybee says:

    Jess, wow. So much respect for your strength and courage. Know we believe and support you in whatever choices you make.

    Nomad, I understand you love Jess and feel you have a stake in this but I don’t think it is OK to use any names Jess has not. To me that is way out of order, and entirely unfeminist. This is her story and her choice, All control over it should be hers.

    As yet I am not aware of there being a policy on abuse, which is why it is being discussed at open con (and hopefully subsequently).

    To me the “zero tolerance” approach is really unhelpful because it helps drive abuse underground. Not all offences are the same, nor should all responses be.
    Zero tolerance leads to denial and perpetuation of abuse, not just in our community but also where ever else the abuser ends up (and there it may be even harder for anyone to call them on it and hold them to account.)

    When people have the space to say “I fucked up” and not be austrasized for it they will be able to do so and learn and grow, and not do it the fuck again, because they know people know and can and will call them on it.

    I want people to know what’s healthy and what’s not. And to build a community where survivors know that their community will support them with criminal charges if as and when they want to take them.

    In our community I want no secrets. I want survivors to be supported to do what THEY want to do, when THEY want and are ready to.

    Give survivors the respect and power of appraising their own situation. Support them with THEIR choices.

    I wan’t people who have abused to be accountable, and it to be acknowledged that abusers are people. Because when its thought they are monsters they are soo much harder to spot and deal with effectively.

    Jess so sad to know you experienced horrible things, Your strength shines through and I wish you every happiness and success.

    Thank-you again for speaking out, you are making a difference.

    • missamaranth says:

      As I’ve mentioned to you face to face, I did tell Nomad that he could speak freely about the situation, so I don’t feel he has done anything wrong in naming names here. He did clarify with me what I was and wasn’t okay with having said publicly, and given how public this whole debacle has been, I said that pretty much anything was fine at this point.

      Thanks for your kind words on the rest of my post.

      • bumblybee says:

        Thanks for the clarification Jess. Our face to face was after this post. Apologies Nomad perhaps I ought to have spoken to you directly.

        I have spoken to Jess and asked her permission to add that I feel this miss communication may highlight how explicit acknowledgement of consent in discussion comments could be helpful (particularly around this kind of topic in public).

        Apologies again for my misunderstanding, and thanks again for airing this really important topic.

  10. kerran says:

    Jess, the last thing you should have to worry about at this point is what other people think. The people who are actually your friends will stick by you, the people who stick by the person who abused you would probably not make the best long term friends anyway. It’s sad but mostly because I’m guessing some of those individuals will be people you thought you could trust to be intelligent.

    Ultimately, if you weren’t happy with what was going on then he should have picked up on that and stopped. I find it hard to believe that there was any way he could have been in doubt about your feelings, shot of being a monumental idiot. (disclaimer – I had to re-write that several times due to all the swear words that kept creeping in. I really want to call him something infinitely more imaginative and crudely biological but I’m being good and even handed.)

    Even if he’s given the benefit of the doubt and we assume his IQ is sub room temperature then how is he justifying the “locked out of the house” episode, or for that matter the “cheating on partner for 6th months” issue?

    Alex will probably try to explain away what happened, because no-one likes to believe they’re and abuser. People will believe him, because no-one likes to believe they could be friends with an abuser. Neither of those facts changes what happened, or the part he played in it.

    /hugs

    • missamaranth says:

      Thank you. Yeah, he’s doing exactly that – trying to explain it away because “we were young” and “mistakes were made on both sides.” Yes. Mistakes were made. Stumbling over someone’s boundaries by accident, when acting in good faith, is a mistake. Locking your partner out of the house, (in the first few weeks in a strange new city, no less!) is not a mistake. Casually cheating on them for six months, with someone who was pretending to be their friend, is not a mistake. He’s not actually stupid – he’s very smart in some ways, which is how he gets away with all this. He knows what lines to pull out and when, to discredit my version of my experience.

      This whole thing has been very telling as to who is really my friend and who is willing to sit this whole thing out (or, even worse, offer him support and still think they can pretend to be my friend.) Perhaps the worst thing of all is seeing other people who I KNOW to be abuse survivors, supporting him because of some unrelated issue they have with me personally. Not liking someone isn’t a good enough reason to be best friends with their rapist!

      Thank you for omitting the swearwords. This is a family-friendly blog, after all! Oh… wait…. no, it isn’t! Feel free to swear as much as you like, and to call him whatever crude names you feel are appropriate. Bashing Jess’s evil exes is totally okay in this space! *Ahem.* *Silly grin.*

      /hugs back/ thank you.

  11. Styx says:

    100% support from here, Jess. I can’t even begin to imagine how tough this has been for you, but I do know that you’re a wonderful person that entirely deserves /much/ better treatment than you’ve talked about here.

    *hugs*

    • missamaranth says:

      Thank you. The support from people who’ve been willing to step forward and stand with me on this has really kept me going through it all. I also really appreciated the chat we had at OpenCon about all this (among lots of other stuff.) So thank you!

      *hugs back*

  12. River says:

    Kudos to you for writing this post. It is totally shitty that you should have to fear consequences to you for speaking out.. Don’t need to know the context to say that you are brave to do that and I wish to send you hugs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s