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  • Writer's pictureKiri Self

Shame, Blame, Guilt, Denial

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

Kiri Self

Here we are again. 3:30am this time, but I’m wiser to my mind games and I’m diving straight into writing to stop the thoughts festering in my head.

Shame, Blame, Guilt and Denial - the tools of the trade to keep any victim of sexual assault or abuse right where they should be. Silent. Just move on with your life and stop thinking about the past. It didn’t happen. If it did, that wasn’t abuse or assault. You were always a slut. You asked for it with all your flirting. You’re too pretty. They just loved you too much.

But this is my one woman fight against that. And I’m choosing not to fight it with anger and ranting (today at least, I do reserve the right to be angry at some point 😆), rather with compassion and understanding. Be the change you want to see in the world.

Some people may not fully realise what abuse or assault is. They didn‘t recognise or admit at the time that the advantage they were taking of a woman or a man or a child was going to have such a profound and devastating effect on their life. Lack of knowledge doesn‘t either make it ok or make the effects any less devastating. Intention doesn’t translate into a free pass.

The law varies by nation but an easy guide is that a child can never consent and a drunk or drugged person can never consent. That means that if you’re a man that has had sex with a drunk woman, you risk causing harm because you acted without consent being given.

If you’re one of the many guys that has had sex with me when I’ve been drunk, unless you were in a relationship with me then please know in the majority of the cases at a bare minimum I woke up the next day feeling like that’s not a decision I would have made sober. In a huge number of cases I felt violated and dirty. In some cases I felt used and passed around a group of men for their amusement. In other cases, you outright knowingly assaulted me.

Why am I still friends with you, and what can you do to make amends?

Well, people aren’t perfect. I’ve made some utterly hideous and monumental mistakes in my time. My mistakes and poor choices have consequences but depending on the scale of the mistake that consequence could be big or large. So, the same should apply to you. I’m friends with you because I probably see the good in you as well as the not so good.

Get in touch. Find out which category you fall into. It might not be an easy conversation but just reaching out and admitting you might have been at fault goes a long way to help me not feel so used or abused.

Don‘t try to argue, deny, or reason your way into a lower category. That’s not how it works. When a child hits us with a duplo brick, we tell the child hitting is wrong. We don’t usually entertain rambled toddler musings about why they felt it was ok to try and blind us. We take the brick off them, tell them it’s wrong, and attempt to coax some sort of apology out of them. Same applies here. There are only a handful of cases that I would consider involving the police for so really this is just going to be a potentially uncomfortable conversation for you. For me - the profound effect of you being open to having this conversation will help me. For which I would thank you.

Be gentle. My childhood experiences shaped me and I’ve always been a deeply vulnerable person. I still am. Be kind please.

Apologise. Straight up this is the one thing you can do that would have the maximum impact on me. Why? Because it might help counteract in some ways that voice inside me that tells me what a dirty and shameful slut I am. That it was my fault. That I shouldn’t have been so drunk. That somehow I coerced you. The list goes on.

If I was drunk, the law is specific that consent cannot be given. That law is there for a reason - it acknowledges the affect that lack of consent has on a person. Your act may seem fleeting but the impact can be whole life for the other person. You could be the voice in the night waking them, telling them they should be ashamed and that they are dirty and can’t trust or be trusted.

And finally, please don’t ever do it again. If the person is drunk or on drugs then tread very very very carefully indeed. Be sure that you understand the consequences. And if in doubt just please please walk away.

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