I lie down on my belly and slowly rewind, covering my body with a cosy towel, listening to the calming music and thinking about the bliss that I’m about to experience in the upcoming hours. Finally, the door opens and I hear a friendly and calm voice say, “alright then. are you comfortable? … relax.” It starts off as a completely normal massage treatment, feels utterly relaxing and has me almost doze off in a dream within minutes. Until …
Until he grabs the towel that has been covering the lower part of my body and puts it off me, hands gliding down all the way down my hips, my waist, only to stop at my ass. I start to tense up, not entirely sure that it’s what’s supposed to happen but force myself to believe that full-body massages are supposed to be like that. He doesn’t stop there, focuses almost the entity of the time I’m paying for to touch my arse until he asks me to turn over. Too confused and perplex to do anything else, I comply, still thinking that maybe I got it all wrong and it’s supposed to be like that. Until then, I had only had a female masseuse, touching me way differently so I think that maybe I’m just feeling a little uncomfortable because it’s a man doing the therapy this time. I force myself to loosen up and just enjoy …
Until he goes on, starting to touch my breast, muttering how “damn beautiful” my body is. I freeze. At this exact moment, it all comes down to me. I cannot breathe, I cannot move. I want to cry but for some reason my entire body is frozen in place, forcing me to silently sit it out until the 60 minutes are finally over …
I’m angry. I’m disgusted. But most of all, I feel ashamed.
I pay my bill, all the time looking at the floor and run back to my room at the hotel. I jump into the shower and let the warm water rain over me for more than an hour, half hoping it would wash away everything that just happened. I’m disgusted by what happened and feel like I need to scrub myself clean of his touch, of his words, of the utter misuse of power I just witnessed. I’m horrified by the confidence with which this grown-up man has just openly assaulted me. I’m repulsed by my lack of courage and mute suffering.
# Metoo – let’s talk about sexual assault
Originally, I never wanted to elaborate on what happened to me openly, let alone publish it on the internet. However, the # metoo debate on Twitter has both encouraged me to share my story and saddened me in a way that I cannot put into words. I have sat down multiple times and tried to talk about this “experience” but it never felt right to put something like this out there for everyone to read. I do not want to be pitied because, although I felt like it at the moment it happened, I certainly am not alone in this.
There are countless stories being shared on Twitter. Many of them much worse than what I experienced. And these experiences women, including me, had to live through should not become (or rather stay) the norm.
I think it’s incredibly important to become vocal about these things and shed a light on the sheer and utter misuse of power that men are allowing themselves on a probably daily basis. And no matter what, a discourse is always the first place to start. By publishing our stories we can encourage others to do so too and make those oblivious to the maltreatment of women all over the world to open their eyes to what is happening to girls all over the world on a goddamn daily basis.
I have to admit, I do not hate men, or think they all are evil. Far from it, to be frank. I’ve gone to an almost all-boys class for eight years and got to meet these genuinely amazing young men in various settings. I can understand, though, why some women are turning their backs towards men after suffering through horrendous sexual abuse and harassment.
There obviously also is a problem right in front of our eyes that we intentionally chose to ignore because it’s just so hideously ugly. And we absolutely NEED to talk about it. It makes me sick to my stomach to look at the ever-growing amount of tweets under the # metoo hashtag and angers me to no end when friends tell me about their experiences.
What happened to me was utterly necessary and should not have happened. The worst of it all, however, is that this wasn’t the first time something like this happened to me, nor will it probably be the last.
This is for everyone out there, needing to use the # metoo hashtag
These courageous and brave tweets have encouraged me to share my experience to. To step out of the darkness and let my thoughts pour to paper. I often reminiscence back to what happened and am disgusted by the whole thing. I wish I would have been braver back then and not brushed it off the way I did. I wish I has spoken to the manager and had gotten the man suspended because who knows how often he did that to women like me? Thinking of it now, this might be one of the big regrets I have in my life.
I cannot change the past.
What I can do, however, is talk about the things that happened and show others that they are not alone in this. And I realized that is what I want to do with the voice that I have been given. I have this amazing platform that I could use to post shallow content, or turn it into an encouraging safe heaven for everyone experiencing sexual assault, sexism or anything else. Because in the end, we are all in this together.