Anonymous Story: S&M (Sexism & Manipulation)

Anonymous Story: S&M (Sexism & Manipulation)

Editor’s note: the story below was submitted by a survivor who was attacked by a well known media personality who is currently charged with several counts of abuse in a case that is ongoing. She submitted his real name, but we agreed together to redact some of the details to avoid legal risk (my edits are indicated in brackets). She would like readers to know that she is interested in connecting with other victims. You can either contact her through the form here on WYR and I will forward it, or through her personal blog, The Personal is Political.

The women who have come forward – bravely – to share their personal stories about their experiences with [my attacker] all have many things in common. Details overlap. Timelines overlap. But most significantly, their stories sound exactly like mine.

I had no idea who he was and we met randomly (commonality #1), but his identity became more apparent over time. Quite quickly, I was receiving texts and phone calls from what appeared to be, a man interested in me (commonality #2). Our so-called relationship was never very serious. It had its moments where it seemed like it could really be something, but it ended as quickly as it started.

I remember the conversation about sex. I remember him explaining that he wanted me to be submissive to his dominance. He wanted to know if that was something I could see myself doing and promised that it would open up a whole new world for me. He promised that I would remain 100% his equal outside of the bedroom, but once in the bedroom, I would become his property. I complied, yes, I consented to this idea (commonality #3). Here I was, coming out of a long-term relationship (commonality #4) in a world of confusion and loss. I was trying to figure out who I was, without my past partner. I was dealing with being alone with a broken heart. This man offered me a lifestyle with a lot of perks, and an escape from my reality.

I went to Toronto and stayed at his house (commonality #5). There I experienced commonalities 6, 7, 8 and 9. I was hit in the head numerous times – so hard that I saw stars. I was choked. I was suffocated by his hand placed over my mouth and nose simultaneously. I was held over the railing of a staircase while being choked. I was bitten. I was forced into submission. I was called names. Sometimes this abuse was expected, you could see it in his eyes. Other times, it came without warning. I remember feeling scared. I do remember saying I didn’t like certain things and immediately those things stopped. He was able to convince me of trust by this. I trusted that he would never go further than I felt comfortable with. The problem was, I never felt comfortable with being punched or choked. But, I had already consented.

Why did I stay? Why didn’t I run away? Why didn’t I tell anyone? Why did I go back? Well, at that time, I didn’t realize what I was a part of. At that time, I was a young woman who had the interest and desire of someone. That someone was seemingly impressed by my writing and my career. He showered me with compliments. We cooked dinner together. We watched movies together. We talked about our families and our aspirations. We shared the same dry humour. We both were neurotic with anxiety. We seemingly had the same style. Or, so I thought. What I didn’t realize is that my reality at the time had been completely created for me, by him. What I believed to be true and what I felt about my experiences with him were shaped by him.

The commonalities I have with the other brave women who have come forward are what made me realize how wrong it all was. Reading the stories was like having my mind read. I sunk deeper with feelings of guilt and disgust. I was part of an intricate web woven by a man who was manipulative and powerful. I fell for every carefully constructed, tried and true line he fed me. He played his game with me as he played it with so many women before me. I was another woman to add to his collection.

I never saw his actions as abuse until I realized how methodical it all was. He is a serial abuser. He had a method to his madness and he had his plays drawn out to a tee. When the opportunity presented itself, he would start his calculated moves that he had been so successful with before.

Our friendship continued in a very casual mostly acquaintance form. He would text me from time to time and pout over whether or not we were still friends. He had always and continued to keep me at arm’s length, but still within reach.

I’ve read other articles about how his character was well-known around Toronto and in the entertainment scene. I wish I would have been privy to this information before I met him. I wish more people would have spoken up years ago so that I didn’t have to follow in the same footsteps and now be a part of this mess. What I find real disturbing are out of all of the people he introduced me to, no one ever warned me or mentioned anything to me. They watched me pass through his life as so many other woman had.

I’m happy that this situation has caused some light to shine upon rape culture and the stereotypes against victims. I’m relieved that people are believing the women in this story and there are trending hashtags to support them. This dialogue is important. The only problem is trying to heal when it’s so public. I still see his face in the media. Even the [media company] emblem is a trigger for me now. Of course social media is also a breeding ground for freedom of speech and unfortunately, a lot of that takes a negative spin. The bad and tasteless jokes, meme’s, Instagram posts, tweets, etc. These are only further perpetuating the problem. They don’t realize that what they’re doing undermines the severity of the situation. It reinforces those negative feelings I have towards myself, which can’t be far off for how it makes other victims feel as well. It’s a true window into where we stand as a society when it comes to violence against women, that the abusers become the butt of a joke or the most trendy costume on Halloween with zero thought or consideration for the victim.

This experience has changed me. It’s created a mistrust for men. It’s challenged how I view myself and the standards I have set for myself. It makes me questions the motives and secret lives of people who claim to be fighting the good fight. For a man who claimed that he was a supporter of feminism and women’s rights, who spoke on women’s suffrage, rape culture, and sexism, to end up being a driving factor of those things. You can’t claim to be a feminist and then close your bedroom door and beat women.

Author

WYR

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

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