After I was raped, the “friend” who raped me didn’t just leave it there. The morning after he raped me, I received a text remarking upon the “fun” time we had had. He turned up on my doorstep several times over a couple of years, and for years more he texted me on my birthday and at Christmas and New Year’s Eve. This only stopped when I cut all ties with all our mutual friends in real life and on Facebook and changed my number, and this finally ended it. It’s been three years since I last heard from him and now I’ve moved house I started to feel safer. I felt like it was finally over.
This morning. I discovered that a person I barely know, and who barely knows a thing about me nor my online usage, had been able to find my writing and Twitter, and had misunderstood and taken umbrage with something I had tweeted. I won’t go into the specifics about this, I don’t want to poke that hornet’s nest. But it has highlighted to me how vulnerable I am online. Since this happened, I haven’t been able to stop crying. It’s shown that my sense of safety was just a total illusion.
I’ve written about what the aforementioned friend did to me, the resultant Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and CIN3, the PTSD, suicide attempts and the anorexia which left me hospitalised in a psychiatric unit, this writing has appeared on both my blog and in other publications, including places like the New Statesman. Reasoning that there are seven billion people in the world I had managed to convince myself that, despite being read by many thousands of people, it would only be read, or heard, by people who don’t know me, or those whose attention I drew to it. I felt anonymised, despite my name appearing on these pieces, I had catharsis, I was sanctified. But now, this illusory world has crumbled around me.
I now have to accept that not only can he find me, but that he probably already has. In the horror film It Follows a girl catches a sexually transmitted monster. This monster follows her wherever she goes. It takes the form of those she knows, or anyone else, in order to lull her into the false sense of security which could get her caught and killed. That is the perfect analogy for how I now feel about Twitter. He could have taken any face and name. He could talk to me on a regular basis. He could enjoy reading my articles about how what he did effected my life in a massive way. He could be someone I confide in. As with the suited men in the Matrix he could jump into any identity.
Clearly I have been naïve. I allowed myself to think that I could safely write about these things because I had managed to cut all forms of communication, but of course I haven’t. In fact, I’ve left the door of my home wide open and he could walk through it at his leisure. I’m so lonely. I only see one person I’m not related to and they are my carer. Twitter and my writing has acted as both community and therapist. Now I don’t know if I can use either.
I have a target on my back whilst the Sword of Damocles hangs precariously over my head. I don’t know what to do. I let him control so much of me. After he raped me I went through a period of promiscuity, because of him. I had to have invasive examinations, because of him. I had to collapse due to the PID alone with my children, because of him. I had to have cancer in situ burnt off my cervix, because of him. My children have heard me screaming and crying, because of him. I can’t go out at night, because of him. I tried to kill myself, because of him. I starved myself to the brink of death, because of him. If I now leave my writing and social media it will be because of him. But I don’t know how to stay and let myself be vulnerable, because of him.