A Grey Area

Following the recent overturn of Ched Evans conviction, Ruby Towers details her experience on the other side. [br]I didn’t want to get involved. I really didn’t. I’m aware this is an incredibly touchy subject and the last thing I want to do is offend victims.All I wanted to do was to stay off social media for a while, isolate myself and wait for the recent news concerning Ched Evans to pass. Since the moment I saw the story come back up on my newsfeed my heart dropped. I couldn’t help myself, reading every last comment people had left underneath. “The girl should be sent to jail for lying.”It’s been two years since a man, who I thought was my friend, molested me in his girlfriend’s bed. It sounds like a TV show, I know. To this day, I don’t remember much. I remember having a party, I remember getting really drunk and I remember getting into bed and passing out. From that moment on, things are foggy. I won’t go into details on the fleeting images that haunt me. Let’s just say there is something there, something that I didn’t dream up.I remember being in denial for a few days. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, every night, and feeling like something was wrong, something was missing. I remember having my first real panic attack on the Berlin underground surrounded by strangers because I had just said goodbye to a friend and I was alone for the first time since the incident. I remember getting on my flight home. I remember being numb. I wasn’t excited to be seeing my family and friends for the first time in a year and I wasn’t sad to be leaving a place where I made new friends and memories.I remember writing. Writing was the only thing that kept me grounded. I wrote several letters. Some to myself and some to the man who I thought hurt me. I was still confused. I remember getting home and falling into depression. I was starting university and I felt like everybody was out to get me. I remember missing countless classes, crying in the UCD bathrooms (Newman basement was my favourite) and I remember my overwhelming fear of being alone. I found it very difficult to make friends at university.My course was big and I rarely spoke to anybody. I know many others have shared this experience, especially in such a big university.I remember meeting a new boy. And as wonderful as he was (is!), the relationship brought out the worst in me. I couldn’t quite work out if he was an enemy or not. I developed a huge fear of abandonment. One minute I was head over heels, he was my hero, the next, he was a monster and he was planning to kill me. It got to a point where he couldn’t even leave the room to take a piss without me getting upset.I remember having dissociative episodes. I remember having suicidal thoughts. I remember slashing my legs, arms and stomach with a razor in the shower. I remember starving myself some days and binging other days. I remember sticking my fingers down my throat sometimes five or six times a day, sometimes I threw up blood (yum).I remember when I told people what happened, their first question would be “were you drunk?” I remember being told that “all girls experience this at some point.” I remember it being labelled as “unwanted attention.”I remember falling behind on my work. I remember my grades slipping. I remember feeling lonely and confused. I remember seeking help from a student advisor. I remember trying to apply for extenuating circumstances, trying to salvage my education. I remember being told that “it’s not a crime if you didn’t report it.”It’s a difficult topic. It’s certainly not black and white. If I didn’t even know what happened, then how the hell is anybody else supposed to? I am not going to attempt to assess this Ched Evans case and neither should you. What I will say though is that “not guilty” does not make the girl a “liar.” Try to remember that.