❦Clay Coloured❦

Bleak and bland, a bothersome blight.


To take with force.

Glasgow, 27/8/22

That is the heart of the narrative, wrapped up in one blunt word. I wish it had been taken from me. I wish the experience had been ripped from my hands where I held it hesitantly, unsure whether to embrace or bury, hide in a cardboard box until it became shrivelled and mummified or announce to the world that there had been a new clump of pain brought into it. To take. Pillage, rob, plunder, steal. A band of crusaders sweeping through a defenceless town and leaving it charred black, underskirts stained red burnt up and that particular hurt eradicated forever. It is not that I believe I’m not a victim – a crime was committed, my trust was broken, an evil, selfish decision was made, and I have suffered because of it – but maybe it feels too passive. To say that something was taken from me, I mean. If it was taken from me, clearly something else was left in its place. Or perhaps it feels like it evokes a cultural narrative which I find grating; there is something within Woman which can be owned by someone other than herself. It can be taken, sold, shared. I try to picture this something: a heart, a white bedsheet ghost, a small plaster figurine of the Virgin Mary, a carefully wrapped present, a neatly folded note, a pulsating mass of something unadulterated and pure and undefinable. I think we primarily associate it with the flimsy gauze of virginity, but it persists within the female body way past her sexual debut. I’m not sure I can describe how it shows, because it is bordering on all-encompassing. So much of a woman’s worth (though I must say, I don’t agree with the practice of preceding personhood with societal, economic or any other kind of value) lays in her perceived sexuality – ‘perceived’ because what she experiences or believes of herself does not matter to the Other. Why can a man steal it with his unwelcome cock? Why can he weigh you down and rob you of something entirely invisible through corporeal breaking and entering? He didn’t take jack shit from me. With force, he cracked me open with such violence that the adrenaline rush made me leap to my feet, run and fetch glue and piece myself together before he ever had a chance to reach inside. It was a haphazard job, fixing myself, and something feels askew, but all of me is here. All of me is mine, and I hope he dies.

I will describe it to you. Hesitation when he messaged saying he’s in town, can he pay me a visit? A slight giddiness at the promise of, perhaps, free drugs and company for a few hours. He nodded to his well-worn boots, and I fell to my knees to untie them, quiet and subservient and with my innermost, truest self turned mute and deaf all at the same time. My ghost crawled outside and went for a night walk while my body churned on mechanically. One small bump because I felt unsafe while he worked his way through perhaps three or four over the next two or three hours (he forgot the £20 note on my bedside table and I spent it as soon as I had a chance to). I don’t remember very much else. He pushed his cock down my throat when I breathed out at one point. He’s stocky, below average height and covered in long, flat, dark hairs. He sweated a lot and I loathed feeling it drip onto me from above, hated feeling the wet tendrils of his hair – longer than mine – trailing over my arms and chest like sluggish leeches or suffocating eels. A black curtain pulled around our faces, forcing me to hold his gaze within a fabrication of approximated intimacy. The agreement that because I have not done the necessary prep work, it was off limits (I had very deliberately avoided doing the necessary prep work because I did not want it to happen). Him pushing inside and groaning while I repeated, feeble hands pressing at his rounded shoulders, ‘stop, don’t, no, stop’. I have had men lie to me about forgetting to use a condom despite being sexually active for years and years, but this was something else. ‘I didn’t realise, I swear’. When he pulled back and out, I fell back, limp and cold, into the pillows. It is fascinating how distress exhausts you. He made a joke about me not using a safe word I had forgotten many months ago. I think he apologised a few times, and I couldn’t respond, then he finished and probably fell asleep. I remember reading about induction hobs and waiting for him to leave. Several months later, in September, he came knocking at my door in the middle of the night. Twice within a week. He texted saying he was staying in my area and I was terrified of going outside lest I bump into him until I moved, around nine months later. That is how it went.

When I told people – well, warned people – several people offered to help. If you need to talk. I have a lovely cottage with my partner out in the countryside. Teach him a lesson. I’m so sorry; I had a similar experience when. The cottage one was the worst. He, a complete stranger in his early 50s, was the first person to message. He asked for the additional information I had offered to provide in my initial post, then proceeded to tell me how sorry he felt for me and if I wanted to get away, he and his partner (no, specifically his little) have a wee house far out on the Yorkshire countryside with no one else around. Complete stranger. I told him, ‘time and fucking place’. I cried and cried, thinking more shitheads would see this as the entry point for compassion-turned-manipulation. I hated the women telling me their experiences without asking if I wanted them to, I hated the suggestions to report it to the police, I hated the people wanting to take matters into their own hands even though they did not know me, what had happened in detail or what the person in question is like. I hated the pity and the genuineness and how my friends wouldn’t look at me when I told them. How they’d quickly move on to a different topic. I hated that the first person I told didn’t say ‘I’m sorry that happened’ and I hated that I wanted him to even though I knew he has never cared about me or my wellbeing. When I quite recently finally got in contact with a nurse about my mental health issues, she asked if there had been any recent events that might have exasperated things. Like finally dislodging a massive boulder blocking a channel: ‘I was raped’.