Well, fuck. I’m so sorry.
Because it sucks.
So, first, be kind to yourself. It happens to all of us.
Next, talk it out with a trusted friend. Someone that you know will be on your side, and who will keep a level head.
Between the two of you, determine your next step. There are a lot of options from small things to taking legal action.
ONLY YOU can decide what’s right for your situation. And a calm friend to help you work through things will be a huge boon, here.
Bring in another trusted friend. Sometimes, two people don’t feel like they’re enough to make an important decision. It’s OK to talk to others. Just make sure you feel like you can trust them to have YOUR best interests in mind. Some people are always on the lookout for the next rumor or drama, and that doesn’t help in making the right choices in an emotional situation.
Talk to an authority. Take your concerns to a community leader. Hopefully someone you not only feel you can trust, but who you believe can be impartial. They often have experience handling situations like this, and could maybe help you get clarity. They also might have a network of people who can help out, give advice and so on. They could also act as intermediaries in the situation.
Journal about it. Sometimes, writing things out will help organize your thoughts coherently. It also allows you to add detail over time, as you remember, if things seem a bit fuzzy or out of order.
Approach the person who broke your consent. This can be a difficult choice to make. After all, having your consent broken can feel like a violation, and leave a lot of mixed feelings, including fear. Sometimes, this is the right choice to make. Sometimes, it might be better to go through an intermediary.
File a police report. Let me be very clear: This is a personal decision. Going to the police and sharing full details can be a terrifying experience. It can also be empowering and uplifting. It’s hard to say which it will be for you. Some people ONLY believe a claim if it has been reported and officially filed.
Talk to legal counsel. Sometimes, talking to a lawyer could help you make the right decisions for you.
Get therapy. There are debates on the efficacy of therapy, but if you feel like it might help you to find a support group or to go to a therapist, do it. Sometimes, just talking with people who have been through something similar, or who can understand and offer advice is a big help.
Forgive. Again, this is a personal choice. Sometimes, the only thing we feel we have control over is our reaction to and processing of a violation. And so, our only choice is to forgive or not. Some feel like forgiving is not for the one that hurt us, but for us, to heal the harm, and to move forward.
Whatever you choose, I wish you the best with it.
I ask again that you be kind to yourself, and gentle. That you decide the best way for you to heal for yourself, and that it brings you a measure of peace.
Excerpted from So, What Is Kinky, Anyway?, Feb 2020