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Boundaries Are For The Little People

June 18, 2013

This is a guest post by my friend Aurora.

[Content Note: describes sexual assault on a sex worker.]

It is late at night, after I’ve taken my medication. The necessary conversations have been had – he knows not to touch me sexually in my sleep, but cuddling is okay. We’ve seen each other for over three years now and slept together before. He knows my history, my struggles, my slow process of returning from the knife’s edge of mental illness. He pays me for my time, and I choose to have sex with him. Earlier in the evening we had played together enthusiastically, me using my erotic experience and skills to keep him melting with pleasure. We both know what the deal is. We both honor it. Except for tonight.

More than half asleep, I feel his tongue lapping at my pussy. I wake and his face looms in the cold light from the bathroom, greenish-gray, monstrous. We are in a tangle of limbs and blankets, but it never included blanket consent. I roll over and pass out, and wake in the morning thinking that it was a nightmare until he makes a casual joke over breakfast.

He is a rich businessman, a world traveler. I am a woman recovering from mental illness who sometimes moonlights as an escort. I tell him that eating my pussy while I was asleep was a violation of boundaries, and he dismisses my concerns about STIs and consent. He stopped, after all, and let me go back to sleep. There is no contest here because I haven’t yet been paid – I fake a smile over scrambled eggs and keep him company during the elegant activity he has planned for the day. As soon as I can, I take my money and move on.

He’d hired me for the night, so perhaps he felt entitled to my body when jetlag left him feeling bored. Maybe he’d hoped to wake me up and turn me on enough to play with him again. Maybe he was getting off on sexually assaulting me, though I don’t think that’s it – if I’d picked up that vibe, I wouldn’t have trusted him enough to share intimacy in the first place. I suspect that like many people grown used to wielding power without consequences, he simply didn’t respect my boundaries and choices as legitimate when they conflicted with his own desires.

I write this so that others who may have had similar experiences will know that they are not alone, and it is not their fault. I write this because like a skilled musician, I played a man a violin concerto, and later at night he put the bow in my hands and tried to make me saw away at it like a puppet. I write this because I am not a musician, but an escort, and that unlike other women we are assumed to be selling our bodies rather than our services when we choose to provide paid companionship. I write this because I was sexually assaulted, and I will not go to the police or prison-industrial complex seeking any type of justice, because like Sun Tzu I will not engage in a battle that is sure to be a loss.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2013 7:43 am

    We featured this blog post on our Spread Information fanpage our Facebook this week. Please stop by and say hi when you have the chance and thank you for writing. You rock!

  2. Jamie permalink
    June 26, 2013 12:35 pm

    “we are assumed to be selling our bodies rather than our services”

    Thank you. I often fumble for a good way to express this in the wake of fucked-up stories like sexual assault as ‘theft of services’ or a Texan’s right to shoot an escort if she didn’t provide what he felt entitled to.

    I hope you won’t mind if I borrow this explanation (and comparison) in the future (with credit/link online, and at least an attribution to having borrowed it otherwise).

  3. Miranda permalink
    July 3, 2013 9:37 am

    This is really beautifully written.

  4. donna permalink
    July 5, 2013 1:03 am

    I am not an escort yet i get raped this way on almost any date in which i kiss someone. There is always something taken, that is clearly not given. Always. I do all i can to not have to wait to “get through the day” til i am safe, before alolwing my anger to rise, because it is rarely safe to express it to the rapist, let alone anyone else. But there’s always tha t waiting period where i have to “not make a scene” and act like everything’s just dandy. i have instituted the policy of charging men to go on a date with me — which ends when I say it does — and the money having nothing to do with sex. Unless i post an ad such as this on the internet, i dont usually have the nerve to enforce this requirement with someone i have met face to face. And it’s always a mistake when i dont enforce it.

    • peaches permalink
      July 11, 2013 11:57 pm

      Jesus, how many times has that happened to you, Donna? I’m so sorry you’ve experienced that…

  5. donna permalink
    July 5, 2013 1:05 am

    and i love what you referenced by Sun Tzu. I have tried to read that book but gave up because it was so dense.

  6. donna permalink
    July 15, 2013 12:26 pm

    Peaches, are you a man or a woman? If you are a man, youre probably one of the ones that does it, to ask a question showing so much denial. If youre a woman, it is de rigueur. If you dont think it’s happened to you on 95% of the dates you’ve gone on when you have kissed someone, I am seriously worried about your welfare, to be in that kind of denial. (I was there once myself. I thought that if i didnt fight the male off, or i didnt get hit, then i wasnt sexually assaulted. There’s a great book on tihs, called ” Never Called It Rape.”

    • Anna permalink
      October 27, 2013 7:48 am

      Well, I’m a woman and after reading this post and the comments I have tried to go back and think about all the dates/one night stands/relationships I’ve had.
      And my conclusion; I have been raped by my ex-boyfriend, been sexually assulted on a bar three times (one guy lifted me of the floor after I had fallen down thanks to too much booze and pinned me against a wall and kissed me, like gee thanks…) .. but I can’t remember this being the rule, more like exceptions.

      I guess that it depends on where you draw the line. Is it all body contact without a verbal “yes”? Like, if the guy you’re at the movies with takes your hand without asking “is it okay if I take your hand?”, does that count? Or is it the guy who kisses you at the end of a lousy date when you have tried to politely but clearly show that you’re not interested? Or the guy who don’t respect that sex and sexual contact is between two active participants and start to grope on a sleeping woman?

      If it is the first; well, yes, then I have had it happening to me in 100 percent of all dates/one night stands I’ve had. But in that case I have also stepped over the line in like 100 %. Like when you dance with someone and lay your hand on their shoulder. Or when you walk home from the resturant after a date and lay your hand on the guys arm.

      But if it is the last one; I think I have only experienced it in bed with someone twice, making it a total of five if you count the assholes in the bar – but I skip them, since I didn’t initiate contact with them and left them as soon as the uninvited handsyness and kissing started, thus nothing making it a date, more like drive by-kissing by douchebags.

      I’m sorry that you have experienced it so many times and I hope that it never happen to you again. But I just wanted to point out that Peaches may not be in denial and someone you should worry about her wellfare just because she has been on dates that didn’t end in rape and boundary overstepping.

  7. donna permalink
    July 15, 2013 12:32 pm

    Peaches: to be clear, i was answering your perceived question of how many times the sexual assault happens on dates. And i’d love to see some of your other posts, or did you just join this board?

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