I was fresh out of a messy six-month-long relationship when I decided to see what Tinder had to offer.
Lucky for me, all the good swipes came up first shot and before you knew it one really attractive guy messaged me. I open the conversation and found that he sent me a GIF of Joey Tribbiani saying, “How you doin’?”
Not sure if it was the fact that I love Joey – no one can resist that line – or if I was super pleased he sent me a Friends GIF, I responded with my own GIF of Rachel. Back and forth we sent Friends-related GIFs for about an hour and then he finally send me a proper message. He asked for my Snapchat, which usually I don’t give out… but I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to end up on the next episode of Catfish.
Within 24 hours of being friends on Shapchat, I was thrilled to report that there were no gross penis photos (an anomaly, in this day and age) and that he definitely wasn't Catfishing me. After a couple days of Snapchatting, we organised to meet.
One rather unfortunate allergic reaction (that gave me lips of Kylie Jenner proportions) and two bouts of sickness later, 15 days managed to pass before we got our act together; 15 days of talking, bonding and getting to know each other.
It was a Saturday night, and I had a cold so bad I had to take the day off work and bail on a 30th birthday party. He had work and was then going out for drinks with his mates. Around 10pm I started to feel slightly better and less clogged up.
“I really wish you could have been out tonight," he messaged me. I so wished that too. I messaged him saying I could just use a cuddle, and he said, “I’ll come give you one later." It was 12:30am and I was still awake when he messaged me.
“I’m bored, I’m going to come see you."
I was full of mixed emotions. I mean I wanted to finally meet him, but like this? Half-snotty, middle of the night and not looking great? Not exactly ideal.
"You can come but only for a cuddle," I replied. I sent him my address and got ready; changing into a cropped casual top paired with some pyjama shorts so I looked comfy too. I chucked on some How I Met Your Mother - he had told me it was his favourite show - and waited.
When he arrived we didn’t hug, which I was kind of expecting, instead just exchanging a 'how are you' and 'welcome'.
He had no hesitation and went straight to my bedroom without being shown where it was or where to go and I felt my stomach flip. He laid down on my bed and mentioned how he loved the show and so I laid down next to him, keen to watch an episode together.
The show had barely started when he pounced on me.
This was confronting because he KNEW I was sick, and yet he still proceeded to grab my face, turn it towards him and make out with it. The taste of mint was overwhelming. Whatever amount of air I was managing to breathe was being masked by a scent which was now unbearable.
I was trying to comprehend what was happening while also trying to figure out how to breathe.
Before I could react, he was on top of me. I wasn’t fully comprehending what was happening until it was already happening.
I didn’t say no. I didn’t say stop. I was more baffled than anything, trying to figure it all out.
What struck me most is how it was all very… well thought-out. He knew what he wanted now, and knew what he wanted next, and moved me around like a rag doll to get it.
His grip on my hair was so strong it felt like my hair was being pulled out. When he was choking me, it didn't feel kinky or fun. It felt threatening.
I am a tiny woman. A little over 5 foot and barely weigh 55 kilograms and he was a bigger guy, he was so strong. But once again: I didn’t say stop, I didn’t say anything.
I just let it happen.
It’s the next part that angers me the most, though. He flipped me onto my stomach, and was behind me. With hindsight, I realise he did that because he didn’t want me to see him, or, more importantly, what he was doing.
This was the ‘final act’, I guess you could say. Finally he finished and it was all over. I had no satisfaction, I was just relieved and couldn’t wait to just go to sleep. I rolled over onto my back. That’s when I realised something was up.
I knew this familiar feeling. I had experienced this with an ex-long-term boyfriend who I occasionally had sex with without a condom. This man - this stranger - came inside of me.
I looked up at him and he had this smile on his face as he handed me a tissue. A smile that sort of hinted this wasn’t his first time doing this to someone. I didn't say anything. What did he just do? I went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet, holding back tears. I had left my phone on my bed so I couldn’t message anyone asking what to do. He was wearing protection but obviously took it off, without so much as asking me.
I had read an article about this earlier in the year. As Mamamia reported about the phenomenon in May 2017:
Stealthing is a new term used for people who secretly remove or damage a condom during sex and do it in order to specifically deceive their partner into believing it’s still on. Stealthing, so we’re clear, is the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex.
When my friends and I discussed it at the time, we talked about how easily it could happen to a woman without her knowledge.
And it did happen. To me. With a guy I thought I could trust.
This wasn’t a random hook up with a girl he had met at a club, this man had invested weeks into this.
When I was back in the room, I turned the light off and curled into a ball away from him. I was awake most of the night. He slept. I didn’t cry. Instead, I laid there awake, angry with myself. Ashamed, too.
The next day, after he had left and I had called into work sick, he messaged, asking me how I was feeling. I didn’t reply. I was seething.
Secretly, I was hoping he wouldn’t message me after that night but the most confusing part to me, even now, is that he did. That's when it dawned on me - this man wasn’t looking for a one night stand. After treating me the way he did, he actually wanted to date.
Is it now considered okay and normal to do this to women? What has happened?
The importance of wearing a condom should not be understated; not only because of the risk of unwanted pregnancy, but what about STIs? After the incident, I went to the doctors to get checked over and luckily I am physically fine - this time.
But I can't stop thinking about how many others has he done this to. How many men in Australia do this to unsuspecting women, every single day?
I still feel violated. And I know that I'm far from being the only woman this has happened to.
Listen: Tracey Spicer joins Holly Wainwright and Rachel Corbett to deep dive on why the #metoo movement has kick-started a new way of thinking worldwide.
My plea is ladies, please be careful. Let’s start discussing this. There isn’t much discussion in Australia about stealthing, and we need to change that. It’s obviously a secret trend out there amongst men that needs to be brought to attention and stopped.
Especially now with the #MeToo movement, we need to keep bringing these muddy stories of sexual coercion and assault to the public eye.
It has now been almost two months and I’ve only told a handful of people what happened to me. I still haven’t talked to him about what he did. I have only told my closest friends. Maybe one day I will have the guts to do it but right now I still feel like vomiting just thinking about it.
If I talk about it, it means I have to think about it, and that's something I now understand.
I always wondered about the women that come forward a long time after their sexual assault. I was one of the people who asked “Why now? Why not then?” but I get it ladies.
We need time to heal, to process and to move forward.
If you or a loved one is struggling with the issues raised in this post, Mamamia urges you to contact 1800 RESPECT.