Here’s advice to a guy who wants to show someone he cares for her even though he forced her to have sex. CN – talks about rape but there are no descriptions of anything.
So, what if you make a girl hate you because you forced her to have intercourse with you a couple of times (of the age of course, for she is 18 and I’m 20), yet you want to show her you’re sorry and want to make it up to her? How can I prove it to her that I do care for her? Hope my question doesn’t strike you as utterly pathetic.
Thank you for your question. I don’t think it’s pathetic at all; I think that it’s good and important that you are thinking about this kind of stuff. I think you think you are making this about her, but I think you are trying to make it about you. So first of all I’m going to give you what we in the UK call ‘a bollocking’. Then I’m going to be a bit kinder towards you after that.
It is not up to her to forgive you and make you feel better about this. You’ve already forced her to have sex with you (also known as rape), so you really shouldn’t be trying to change how she feels about you. If she wants to hate you, she should be allowed to hate you and you should just accept it.
In fact, it should be entirely her choice about whether you are in her life at all. She may (understandably) never want to hear from you again. If you are in touch with her at the moment has she made it clear to you that this is something that she wants from you? Is she responding to you because she actually wants to or does she feel like she has to?
You should give her the option of never seeing you or hearing from you again. Don’t put her in the position of having to say yes or no to seeing you. The most consensual way of doing this would be ‘I can understand why you might not want to have anything to do with me anymore so I’ll completely leave you alone.” Then if she wants to be in touch with you, either directly or through a mutual friend, you are making this entirely her choice.
You made her have sex. Now you’re trying to make her not hate you. Stop it.
If you are in touch with her she may not want to talk about this with you ever again. When people experience any kind of violence against them (which any kind of non-consensual act towards another is) then they may feel trauma at the time, a bit later and/or for some time after. So if you do talk to her about it you may be putting her through some more trauma. This itself would be another non-consensual thing you would be putting her through.
She may also want to report you to the Police or to report what happened to a Sexual Assault Referral Centre. You should not be talking to her about this because this will make things worse for her. It will also make things worse for you if there is evidence that you have tried to interfere with her decisions about what to do after the assault.
You made her have sex. Now you’re trying to make her not hate you. Stop it. You need to recognise your power right now. Even if you tried to be super considerate and lovely towards her, that’s not possible because everything you do or say has a lot of weight and power.
If, at some point, she chooses, entirely off her own bat, to come to you (or a mutual friend) and say ‘what you did was awful, but I don’t hate you anymore’ then great. But that has to be completely her choice, because when you raped her you gave her no choice. You see this right?
[Update – by this point in my reply you’ve emailed me to tell me that she’s avoiding you, not replying to your messages and she was the person who actually sent you to Bish. So, I was right. You’ve got to leave her alone.]
The Bit After The Bollocking
Whilst you’re leaving her alone what you do need to do is to take responsibility for what you’ve done. This is something that you can not and should never forget about. That might be a difficult thing for you but actually I think that it can make you a better person — if you learn from it.
I think firstly you should probably just take a bit of time out to deal with your own feelings. Maybe you’re feeling ashamed, guilty, anxious and sad. Maybe you are also being really critical about yourself. If you are thinking and feeling these things then that’s good, you’ve behaved really badly. However to get through this you will need to do a bit of self-care and kind self-reflection. You can be kind and gentle to yourself, however you can only do this by being honest with yourself too. There’s more about this stuff here and here.
By spending time trying to find a way to deal with your feelings you might feel less inclined to be contacting her.
Once you’ve got to a place when you can accept what you’ve done and feel okay enough about yourself then you can start to do some work to be a better person. I think that you should spend some time learning how to do consent, how consent feels and understanding power. You should not have any kind of sex with anyone until you’ve done this work.
You can learn about how to do consent without having sex. There are loads of things that we do with other people that require us to consider the needs of another person, our own needs and figuring out ways to meet those needs. Think about how you arrange to do something with a friend. Can you ask open questions: “what do you feel like doing?” so that they are never in the position of having to say no (which is a very difficult word to say). Maybe you could give people options and ask where they are on a scale of -10 ———- 0 ———- 10+ Then you can think about ways to meet their needs as much as yours.
You can explore how consent feels by thinking about other kinds of ways of touching people that aren’t about sex. Handshakes or hugs or other ways to greet each other are a good way of learning about how to do consent but also how consent feels. Here’s an article by me about this.
Here are a few other articles that I think you should read too.
After you’ve started to learn some of this stuff for yourself, maybe you can start to teach some other people about this too? You might not know that 1 in 10 women report having had sex against their will (1 in 71 men). Can you get involved in conversations about power and masculinity? Can you listen to what women (and other genders) are saying about consent, sex and sexism? Can you challenge your mates when they treat people non-consensually? How can you learn about your experiences for yourself but also for other people?
A lot of this is going to be hard for you to do. Maybe if you get some support from mates they can help you (though this involves being honest with them) but under no circumstances should you ask for support from the woman you raped. There may be a sexual violence perpetrator group near you that you can contact and get support from.
So thank you for being brave enough to ask this question and thanks for reading this bollocking. I hope that eventually you can start to take my advice and that this works out well for you.
You may also want to read this Ask Bish from someone who is trying to overcome being raped.
© Justin Hancock, 2017