Consent Violations: Speaking Up Matters
i had a consent violation last summer. i told one person about it…sort of. the person who i did tell….well, i told him very little. enough that he thought the best idea was for me to talk to the perpetrator. but i left a lot out, and what i left out was why i could not bring myself to face the person about what happened.
a very close friend asked me to call him the other day, and when i did he asked me to report what had happened to me to the event organizers. he called with almost no idea what actually happened, but he felt compelled to do so after reading multiple accounts from people recently about consent violations in the community and remembered overhearing me say i had had an issue with [someone] at [event].
i read those stories, i confirmed who they were about, and then i broke down. i did everything i could to stay verbal. if i’d had more food in the house i probably wouldn’t have left it. but i did leave, and i am so glad i did.
i told someone the basics of what happened, without many details, and he was outraged that someone who did that was active in the community and hurt that i had carried that for so long. he encouraged me to be with people, so i went to my partner’s house. that night and the next day my partner basically dealt with a toddler who ranged between silent and sobbing.
when i left my partner’s house, i went to see my best friend, and when i was curled up with my teddy bear and pacifier and gummy bears and water, he laid down and spooned me and i told him everything.
it hurt. and it was scary. and i was ashamed. and hearing it made it really clear what happened. that it was no misunderstanding. that i wasn’t at fault. and we talked, for a long time, about everything i was feeling. the guilt. the doubts. the fear. and he said everything right.
i am so lucky to have people like this in my life.
but….that’s not why i am writing this. i am not writing to out anyone, or to share my story of rape or non-consent or anything like that.
i am writing because the people who shared that they had their consent violated at a different event, a different time, a different place, gave me strength to message the event organizers about what happened to me at their event.
it gave my friend the idea to contact me and suggest i do so. that lead me to tell someone more about what happened. it lead me to talk about it. to really really talk about it. not parts of it. not pieces of it. but all of it. in detail. start to finish.
and that has made it so much easier to deal with.
i wish i’d said something sooner, for a lot of reasons. and i didn’t have to say much….simply that i had my consent violated by (person) at (event).
but it’s okay. because of others speaking up, i spoke up. and i hope this encourages any of you who are holding things in to speak up for yourself if you’ve been hurt by someone…whether it is to the people who run the events, those you call family, the police, your best friend, your lover…or if you can’t bring yourself to share with others, write in your journal or talk to yourself in the mirror. the last two may sound crazy, but do what you need to do to get it out of your head.
be conscious about who you talk to and how you share. but getting things out into the open can help you in your own healing process, it can prevent others from getting hurt in similar ways or by the same people, and it can help others find the strength to speak up for themselves.
Submitted by – irisenchanted