Tuesday, 13 March 2012


~ Samantha Mawdsley, 2008

Hot breath leers at my neck
I blink my eyes
The darkness is thick from my slumber
I should be safe in my bed
Am I still asleep?
Am I dreaming?

His eyes swim in the darkness
they drink me in
In the moment I see that hungry look
too many unwanted touches…
I am remembering
I am repulsed

I don’t understand
why this man is standing over me
And yet my innocence knows
exactly what brought him here
But he is family
You trust family

His own family, his stepdaughter
lies sleeping beside me
All I can think is please not her
don’t let her see
or understand
or sympathise…

He tells me he couldn’t sleep
He needs me
I watch his face contort and relax
He asks me to kiss him
I repress
I forget

I don’t want to remember that Christmas…

I used to have nightmares when I was a child
And there was a monster
I woke up…

I lived a nightmare when I was seventeen
I woke up
And there was a monster

I copied and pasted that from my DeviantArt account. I don't want to reread it. I don't want to go back to that place. But that is the starting point for my story.

Today on Twitter I came across a hashtag, #IDidNotReport & people were detailing why they did not report being the victim of sexual violence or abuse. It began because of a poor attitude to rape. A player on a team might say "Man, we raped the opposition Friday night." This is casual. So when a girl is actually raped on Saturday night, no big deal. I know this is a very extreme view, but forgive, I was knocked unconscious in a football game last night & thinking too much hurts my head.

Many people believe sexual assault or violence is not that common. Because according to the statistics, it's not. But what #IDidNotReport actually shows is just how often victims do not report the crimes against them. I don't think I have an IRL girlfriend who does not have their own #IDidNotReport story.

@A_hectic_bloke #ididnotreport because he was ~respected~ in the ~scene~ and I didn't want to lose friends. Or upset his fiancĂ©e.

@Stubbornella #ididnotreport because I was too little to know I had any right to my own body... to say no.

@elmyra #ididnotreport the guy who groped me on the train home, aged 14. Thought I had to deal with it by myself.

@TheFatGirlGuide #ididnotreport because ppl think because you're plus size, you should take what you get.

@Princess_Sassy #IDidNotReport but told my family what my "uncle" tried to do. Nobody in the family talks to me anymore even though every girl said 'me too'

You get the idea. And yes, the last one is me. So why didn't I report it? I'm comfortable enough in myself to talk about many things - my mental illnesses, my experience with domestic violencemy phobias & I'm even brave enough to post near naked photos in the interests of loving your body. Well I did tell somebody. I told my mum. The "uncle" & his family wouldn't have been at the end of our street before I was running into my mum, calm tears pouring down my cheeks, telling her what happened. This was two days after the event. I was eighteen. They were staying with us for Christmas.

Why didn't I run straight into my mum's bedroom after it happened? Better yet, why didn't I scream when he tried? I didn't want to wake my cousin, his stepdaughter, who was asleep beside me. I didn't want to cause a giant fight with my uncles and aunty's, cousins and my grandmother. I waited until everybody left - two whole days of playing happy families - before I admitted what happened. I thought of everyone but myself.

I have two female cousins on that side of my family. One of them admitted straight away he had tried it with her too. The other, his stepdaughter, kept quiet for a few weeks. Then one day when her mum dropped her off at school, she turned around and ran back to the car. Wordlessly she shoved a note at her before running away. She was also a victim but she had to live with him.

My brother wasn't told. I just asked my father if I told him or not. Apparently my brother told him - many years later when he found out. Mum said she would handle it. That involved not telling my brother or father because truth be told, they very well may have killed him. I just apologised to my father for not telling him.

I don't talk to that side of the family. I was asked to please be civil and go to my real uncle's birthday party even though he would be there. They tried to coax me, admitting it was a surprise wedding. I still refused. So my "uncle" went. I did not. I cannot keep the peace, I just can't. I demand to be treated with more respect than that and they didn't like it. I am a pleasant and amicable person but people do not like those rare days when I grow a back bone.

I have cousins and young friends who may be reading this. And I hope they are. I want them to know my advice - talk to me. Talk to someone. Do NOT suffer in silence. Do NOT put yourself through anything to protect somebody who would hurt you. There is NO reason you should feel you should be silenced. Talk about it. And do NOT, and I can't stress this enough, DO NOT be ashamed.


But sadly, and as much as I wish I had, #IDidNotReport

Miss SAMawdsley xx

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