When I was six, my uncle ejaculated into my mouth while I was half-asleep in his house. It happened at least twice that I remember and probably more often. Children sleep so deeply that sometimes not even such a disturbing event wakes them. In the morning,
I vomited my Corn Flakes and milk over the table the next morning. This was interpreted as homesickness, believe it or not. In the white vomit, there were sticky globules whose exact consistency I remember to this day. Semen also has an unmistakable smell. It was mixed with the milk that I disgorged and I drank milk only reluctantly after that.
When I was fifteen, I became severely ill. No medical reason could be found for the illness, which caused me to lose 17kg of body weight in two weeks. I was delirious at night and began to wander in my sleep, screaming incomprehensibly. Children did not have nervous breakdowns in those days so such a thought would have been ludicrous, despite the fact that there was not a single medical abnormality to be found. After the episode, I told my mother that I no longer liked milk. I have never drunk milk since. She assumed that it was a side effect of whatever frightening illness I had just escaped and counted her blessings and mine.
My uncle had come from outside the family and was somewhat revered by many within it. My uncle and aunt had no children at that time and used to entertain me in their home at the weekends. This was viewed by my parents as a sort of training for when they had children of their own. It is not difficult to persuade a six-year-old to stay the night in a strange house. I was given a present of a toy car each time I agreed. To a six-year-old, the threat of the removal of a new toy is enough to ensure their silence and so I did not tell anyone what was happening. I had absolutely no doubt that I would not be believed.
Harvey Weinstein has been exposed. However, even after he had made out-of-court settlements with numerous women and the New York Times had published the famous article, Oliver Stone and others said that they would not denounce him until it had been proven in court that he had perpetrated the crimes of which he was accused. Even Harvey Weinstein could be heard referring to his entitlement to a second chance. After a half dozen out-of-court settlements, it would actually have been a seventh chance. Only when the evidence became overwhelming did Oliver Stone finally denounce Weinstein. His statement referred to overwhelming evidence. It was not the quality of the evidence or of those giving it that finally swayed him, but the sheer amount of it.
When faced with irrefutable evidence from a sting operation by the NYPD that involved a young model, the New York district attorney judged that there was no case to prosecute. Because the evidence came from a single individual, it lacked the weight of multiple testimonies, even though it was so obviously damning.
In this age of information, we have all fallen into the habit of disbelieving what we read or hear until it is corroborated multiple times and with sufficient consistency in terms of method and opportunity. If one person speaks up, we simply do not believe him or her.
This was the situation in which I found myself as a six-year-old. I was alone in a world of adults, one of whom was doing things to me that I could not comprehend. Adults became the group that I feared most of all, so I could not look to that group for help.
Sexual assault is a difficult situation to explain. The best that I can do is to compare it to the deposition of a filthy, indelible black mark on the soul. The victim whom nobody believes has nowhere to go but inside him- or her self, where the filthy black mark resides. They gradually assume possession of this foreign object and take it in as their own, for the simple reason that it will not leave. They provide a haven for filth that is not theirs, but is something that they have inherited.
The mark is indelible, as I have said. It never goes away. The best that any of us can do is to learn to live with it, get it out now and again and look at it and try to derive some meaning from it.
Nobody would have believed me if I had tried to speak forty-eight years ago. It does not matter now. What matters is that the next time you hear a single individual cry foul, try believing them first and not ignoring the cry as fake news.
I applaud all of the women who spoke out and the journalists with the New York Times, not only for their courage, but for their understanding of human nature. We do not believe the lone voice in the wilderness any longer. We need a chorus of voices. We do not even rate stories of individual personal harm when there are so many stories of genocide and human suffering on a colossal scale. We only have time for the big symphonies.
I am a part of another very large group of humans who can’t get together in one chorus because their stories concern many individual predators. They lack that resounding choral harmony that makes their stories palatable to the court of public opinion.
I am very happy that the women whom Harvey Weinstein abused have one song to sing because at least they are getting justice. At the same time, I also know that there are others who may not sing very well and who have no accompaniment. In this great Britain’s-Got-Talent competition for fairness, we do not even make it past the door of the regional trials.
The man who assaulted me is still alive and living a fine life of retirement by the sea. He has gone unpunished. When I thought about reporting the incident, a very nice, calm barrister who was a friend of a friend came to my home and spelt out the hurdles that we faced in gaining a conviction. The assault had taken place thirty years previously and a child’s memories are not always reliable. It would be my word against his so the Criminal Prosecution Service would probably not even entertain the case. There was even a chance that the man would take pre-emptive action and find a friendly member of the media who would expose me as a hysterical fanatic. He was not imagining these events and warning me. They were recounted as historical fact.
In the end, I decided not to take things any further. The single biggest problem with my case was that the evidence came from one person. If even one more victim had come forward, the case would have been a more likely prospect. I needed a harmony line for my song to make it palatable.
The person who ejaculated in my mouth and ruined some very important parts of my life for forty years has never been punished. He may even read this article and decide to sue me for libel. Frankly, I could not care less. I am no longer afraid. I am still a weirdo, but I am not a frightened weirdo. If he took me to court, others might find a voice and then we would have a choir to which people would finally listen. I am sure that there are others out there who have the same song to sing. The evidence of the Weinstein case shows that this sort of animal is a recidivist.
Isn’t it about time that decent people started believing each other as a first option?