CONTENT NOTE: Contains mention of sexual harassment, assault and online harassment. Reader discretion is advised.
Recently, I read Coffee & Kink’s post about fear and posting when it comes to sex blogging. So much of it hit me, and it’s inspired me to write about my own fears, as so much of what she said regarding her fear parallels my own.
Fear is a very real thing. Tackling some fear every day in the form of living with anxiety, this isn’t my first rodeo dealing with fear. Fear and sex blogging seems to go hand in hand at times, albeit in an undercurrent, bubbling below the sexy words and erotic prose.
As you know, I don’t post nude photographs of myself, here or on my social media. One: Because I’m self-conscious about my body in pictures to begin with with clothes on, let alone clothes off. I hate the idea of nasty comments about something I feel not too great about as it is (bad body-image day, bear with me). And two: It leaves a permanent trail on the internet. As well, this is more my boyfriend’s fear than my own, as he was vehemently against the idea of my posting nudes online in the first place.
Let me explain. This doesn’t come from some archaic ‘your body is only mine to see’ thing. It’s more from two reasons. One: He just prefers that intimacy being between us two, which I can understand and to be honest, I quite like. Writing about my sex life on the internet, it’s nice to preserve a bit of privacy in that way. Yeah I’ve posted pictures, but the full boobs and pussy are off the cards. His opinions aside, I’m just not comfortable with it.
The second is the main reason: He doesn’t want me to be treated badly by shitbags on the internet. As we know, when it comes to nude people on the internet or in films, a lot of people see that as a green light to treat you like that’s all you’re good for. They feel that sense of entitlement over your body and treat you like you’re worth less because of it. Generally speaking, my experience of the sex & erotica writing communities are good at appreciating nudity while not treating the person like they then own them. The world outside? Not so much.
When I was performing more in my early 20s, I said no to full frontal nude scenes for that reason, as there are those in the industry that like to take advantage of that. My boyfriend didn’t want me to be treated like that, and given my own reasons in the acting industry, I could understand that. The mere thought of someone acting like that to me because of a picture of my boobs on the internet was enough for me to go “Yeah…nope!”
Something else Amy talked about was abuse and facing one’s perpetrator of your assault in court. This one hit me like a punch in the gut. I’ve spoke before about the lecturer who sexually harassed and assaulted me when I was 18, whilst our class was on a residential trip in the country. I’ve shared my experiences of sexual harassment and assault online and like many survivors, I have been scrutinised, questioned or dismissed. Last year, after six years of being too scared to say anything, I reported him to the Police. The male officer and team who saw to my case was amazing (something a lot of survivors don’t often experience) and I had the chance to press charges against him for sexual harassment and assault. But I didn’t.
Why? You might ask. Despite having multiple witnesses to corroborate and his patterns of behaviour, I was terrified. Not long after said event happened, one of the other witnesses, also subject to his harassment, didn’t want to come forward. As well, other older female students who had been harassed by him (Turns out he had pattern of getting drunk then harassing female students while they were on residential trips, often in the middle of nowhere. As you can imagine, we are trapped and cannot escape to raise the alarm.) were to my knowledge also, too scared to say anything.
So on that front, I was on my own. As well, reliving what happened in court during a cross-examination, being asked what I was wearing, what manner I was dancing etc. and also where my sex blogging could and would be used against me to try and paint me as “asking for it” and “just a slutty bitch who lies“. Along with having his disgusting eyes on me again, it was enough to scare me stiff.
I was scared, like I was when this lecturer was still grading me afterwards, that he would try to intimidate me again or worse. He’s the type where, if he feels if he’s not getting the respect he thinks he deserves, he will treat you like crap unless you stand up to him. So, when you’re wondering why survivors are too scared to press charges, these are some of the many reasons why.
I explained this to the officer dealing with my case, who was completely understanding (Honestly, I can’t thank that man enough.) and he told me I’m welcome to come back to him should I wish to pursue charges. We agreed to pass it to the other appropriate authorities (without charges, there’s only so much he and his team could do) to launch an investigation.
To my knowledge, those authorities have done nothing. This makes me sad and angry. Angry at them for not investigating, and angry at myself for letting my fear of him and the justice system’s terrible history of treating survivors win in that moment. I felt and still feel at times, that I’ve let other survivors down.
The thought runs through my mind even now: what if he finds my writings, twigs it’s me and tries to find me? But fuck him, he has no power over me. He knows when faced, I’m not scared of him. He doesn’t like that of course, but oh well, my heart bleeds for him *note the sarcasm*. I showed him that not long afterwards when he tried to make suggestive comments about me in class. I shot him down there and then and he didn’t bother me again after that.
Maybe I will overcome that fear and face him for what he’s done, but like many survivors, the longer it takes, the more you are called in question. We are routinely stuck between a rock and a hard place of the terror of facing our abusers again and being questioned and dismissed because we dare to not take what happened to us lying down.
Like I said, with fear it’s something I face every day. It’s not my first rodeo with it.