Hey guys. So… it’s been a while since I’ve written about myself –- partially because not much has happened in the last month and partially because I don’t know how to follow up on my last post. Let’s just get that squared away so I can move on with my life, shall we? (Not that I have many followers who are paying attention that much anyway…)
Here’s the backstory‘s TLDR version: L and I are acquaintances. We were swing dancing and he slid his hand across my chest, barely touching the bottom of my breasts, which is considered sexual assault. I said and did nothing at the time because I was so shocked.
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A few days after it happened, I woke up in the middle of the night and realized that it was sexual assault. I immediately decided to call him out on it. From the moment I decided to call him out, I was very excited. I’ve been sexually assaulted many times, and it’s always bothered me that they don’t understand the full magnitude of what they did to me. Now I had the chance, however slim, to really make a person understand that what they did was wrong and why. It was also very empowering because by doing this, I would be making him carry some of the burden. I wouldn’t let him get away with this.
I barely know him, so I didn’t care what he thinks of me. It would be sad if he refuses to accept responsibility, but I will at least be able to rest easy at night knowing that I tried to save other women from going through what I did.
After a few days of mulling it over and revising my message, I sent him this message on Facebook:
I’ve been thinking a lot about what happened last weekend at the blues house party. We were dancing and during a free spin, your hand slid across the front of my chest, touching the bottom of my breasts. I was so shocked that I didn’t do anything. I didn’t say anything. I wanted to pretend that it wasn’t a big deal and that it didn’t bother me. My first impulse was to give you the benefit of the doubt, but it’s become very clear to me that what happened was no accident. If it were an accident, you would’ve yanked your hand away rather than letting it slide across the entire length of my chest. You would’ve stopped in your tracks, looked at me with a horrified expression on your face and said “I am SO sorry. Are you okay?” You did none of these things. People have accidentally touched my chest on the dancefloor in the past, so I know what an accident feels like. In addition, you have been dancing longer than I have. You know that it’s not normal in dancing or in daily life to touch a woman anywhere close to her breasts without consent. No one has ever purposely touched me there during dancing. Especially not during a free spin… which is supposed to be hands off. I just wanted to let you know that what you did made me super uncomfortable and it wasn’t okay.
His reply came sooner than I expected. He apologized right away. He didn’t remember the specifics of what happened, but said that he didn’t intend to touch my chest. Regardless, he said he was sorry that it happened and that he made me uncomfortable. His words seemed sweet and genuine, but I called bullshit. It didn’t feel like an accident.
My chest has been touched many times by accident on the dancefloor and people have always noticed it and immediately apologized. And again, literally no one drags their hand across a follows chest during a free spin. I don’t understand how you could do that without realizing it.
In reply, he said “I know nothing I say will necessarily change your mind,” and then went on to explain how upsetting this is to him. He doesn’t want to be the “creep” in the dance scene and wants dance to continue to be a safe and fun atmosphere.
At that point, I was very conflicted. On one hand, it’s not even remotely normal or acceptable to touch someone’s chest during a free spin. And if someone accidentally touches another person inappropriately during a dance, they always stop and apologize if it’s an accident. Yet here he is, giving what sounds like a sincere apology. I didn’t know what to believe. It’s so hard to tell over Facebook messages whether or not someone is being truthful.
I’ve been fooled by fake apologies in the past after being sexually assaulted and didn’t want to be fooled again… but he sounded so sincere. You know what one of the hardest things about this is? Being a survivor already, I tend to fall into my old habits which complicates things (wanting to act like it wasn’t as bad as it was, telling myself it was an accident even when the evidence is to the contrary). But at the same time, those experiences are somewhat useful because I have experience with people who have purposely and accidentally touched my chest. And I have experience with people who have and haven’t been sincere when apologizing. It’s so hard for me to be objective after all I’ve been through.
I told him that I wasn’t sure what to believe anymore, so I won’t go around telling people what happened. Innocent until proving guilty. In one of his messages, he mentioned that he should pay attention more while he’s dancing, so I suggested that he did that. I reminded him that what he did scared me and that I don’t want anyone else going through it. Dance should be an escape, so it’s important that we keep a safe and fun atmosphere.
That’s the last time we spoke.
Since then, I’ve barely thought about what happened or talked about it. It was such a strange, confusing experience that all I wanted was to put it behind me. Even now, two months later, I still don’t know what to believe. And frankly, I don’t care that much. I’ve been through much worse, so this hasn’t affected me very much since the first week after it happened. I thought it would throw me for a loop, but I often go days if not weeks without thinking about it.
I’m enjoying some of the best mental health I’ve had in months. Sure, it helps that I haven’t been triggered much — but even when I do get triggered, my response isn’t as strong as it used to be. I’m so lucky that I ended up being so resilient.
Thanks for reading this post. You can find my full backstory here.