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Rape Culture, it isn’t just about penitration.

After two events that happened to me in the last 24 hours, I feel forced to speak out yet again on this pandemic that is sweeping our society. People still do not take rape or rape culture seriously. They still often side with the girl asking for it, by how they dress and how they act. Or they say that it’s only a laugh, and a girl needs to get a sense of humour. Worst of all, they feel entitled to the sex they want from the woman even when she says no. Society paints this as a few jack the lads just having a laugh after a few drinks, and not a big deal. I can assure you from someone who has been sexually assaulted and raped multiple times, it is always a big deal and never a joke.

My first rape/sexual assault was at age 17 when an elderly neighbour and friend of the family decided when I was walking down my lane in the middle of a hot afternoon for some fresh air. That he would follow me, walking his dog and then push me over a stile in a field as I was stepping over and rip off my underwear in the skirt I was wearing. A long, baggy summer skirt I will comment. Nothing short, or revealing, just a cheesecloth skirt.

My second was at 21 when a ‘man’ older than me had been dating me a few weeks and decided he didn’t want to wait for sex any longer. Not that we had ever spoken about sex, nor had I ever shown any willingness to. While we were playing pool, I was wearing just a tee shirt not even clingy and baggy jeans. He shoved me over the pool table and tried to force me. Stuck his tongue down my throat before I fought him off by hitting him with the pool cue I was still holding. Getting the point it isn’t about the clothes or actions of the victim yet?

My next was when I entered an eight-year abusive relationship, which started nicely enough, but slowly turned to control and abuse. For the last two years of it, I was told if I wasn’t putting out to him then I must be to someone else. And told to lay there and take it or else. The else was violence. Some of it pretty bad. I would be held by my throat and pinned to the bed while he did what he wanted. In the end, I gave up fighting and just let him rape me as many times as he wanted. It got me hurt less. I went to the police in the end, when I finally escaped and tried to get a withstraining order as the man was following me everywhere. Turning up outside work, threatening me and others I knew. I was told once consent is issued, it can not be retracted so it isn’t rape. What a complete and total joke!

Years later, my next attack was by a female boss of mine. We worked in a hotel, she had just started so I was asked to give her a tour and show her to the room she would be staying in. I did as I was told, I went into the room to make sure the lights and everything was working correctly as she fetched in her suitcase. She shut the door and shoved me against the wall, sticking her tongue down my throat and her hand down my breast. I was wearing a black suit shirt and trousers. Nothing sexy there. I went to the police, with text messages and pictures she had sent me saying what she wanted to do to me. They did nothing, said it wasn’t worth taking it to court just leave the job and avoid her. She denied it had happened, and that I had led her on. Even with all the text message proof.

Six months later, I moved to a new town to escape her. Into a house share with four girls and the male landlord. He helped me move house, and settle in. On moving day he tried to kiss me, and I said no. After that, he constantly let himself into my room and sat on my bed waiting for me. Until I got home and told him to leave. When I cooked in the shared kitchen, he would always come in and brush ‘accidentally’ against me, in a huge wide open kitchen. Or he would reach for something, miss and grab my hand. Once I woke up and he was in my room, on my bed with me. Under the covers and holding me. I wanted to be sick. Because I wouldn’t sleep with him, he made me homeless. The police interviewed me and him and took his word against mine that he hadn’t done it and I had made it up for attention. Even after two more women stepped forward and said he had done things to them as well.

This is serious stuff, people are getting away with doing this because the law just isn’t taking this seriously. The police lady herself told me, that she knew he had done it but with limited public funds, they could only take a case of rape on if it was 100% going to win in court. otherwise, it was pointless. This is the problem when these things are reported nothing happens. So, they get away with it, they find it a game and then continue. Then in ten years, when the rape has turned to murder, and we have a serial killer on the run. Everyone is omg why did no one see the signs? We could have stopped him before he devolved. Hunni, I bet you 100 women or more did report him and nothing happened. Which is why he turned into what he did. Even a man who confessed to raping a woman (a story given to me by a friend) was not convicted! What actually has to happen for a rape victim to actually gain justice?

This kind of attitude is breeding rape culture. The slap on the ass of someone passing by, the grope of someone’s breasts in a bar. The sexual comments at work, it is all part of normalising rape. Leading to mass shootings in America when a man is spurned by a woman. If she won’t fuck me, then she won’t fuck anyone. She is dead now hahaha, I won! The laws being spoken of talking about consensual and non-consensual sex. No such thing, you wanted it or you were raped. Stop giving it a term to help the person how decided to violate another person for fun. Don’t blame, drink, drugs, or anything else on why you did it!

People blame clothing, wrong. Rape was just as common in Victorian times when women didn’t even show ankles. It is just as common in women who wear full body covering clothes like Muslims. It is still just as common in children. Just as common, if not more so in men getting raped by other men (and women) who don’t even bother speaking out about it as they won’t be believed.

I have covered only the key attacks in my life here, I have ignored hundreds of touches, gropes, threats to fuck them or they will hurt me. But, now I will list a few as examples from the last few weeks.

Standing at a bar with three female friends, a young man comes up to me. Grabs my hand and pulls me away. I’m okay. Can I help you? He says outside. So, I step carefully over the thresh hold staying right by the door so he can say what he wants to say without the loud music. He doesn’t say anything, just tries to pull me towards a taxi. I said no, pulled away and turned back to the door. He grabbed me again and told me “Come now, we fuck” (a Polish man I now discover). I said no again, and tell him not to touch me. He storms back over to me, takes out his wallet, throws money at me and says again “We fuck!” Unsurprisingly I slapped him. I report him to the bouncers and the police. I get told it is just a cultural misunderstanding. No, it doesn’t matter if you are black, white, Muslim or a frigging alien from Mars. This is England, my country, with my rules. And my laws, say you don’t have the right to rape a person or try to force them into anything they don’t want to do. It is not ‘a laugh’, it is not ‘just banter’, it is not ‘just someone being overly sensitive’ it is wrong, end of. Stop thinking otherwise.

Monday, I was on a bus in Manchester looking at the sights. A Muslim man gets on, sits next to me even though there are loads of empty seats. I sigh and move away from a little as he has literally sat on the edge of my outfit pushing against me. I move, he presses more against me. This happens like five times. So, I turn more so my back is facing him and just the side of my hip. So, he rests his arm on my hip and keeps dusting his shorts so his fingers can slip onto my leg. I got up and left the bus. Complaining to the male driver, who told me I was being racist. Oh sure, its racist to say don’t touch me! I waited for the next bus, ten minutes. Only to find he had also got off the bus, stood in a doorway to watch me where I couldn’t see him. Then got on the bus with me, again sitting next to me. I shoved my bag between us this time. He again starts pushing up towards me. Tries to touch me and I move my bag into the way. Then shoves his phone at me, with it typed out ‘I like you, can we fuck’. I told him to fuck off and leave me alone. He got up and left the bus moaning about rude English women. Talk about the most creepy man in the world!

Then today, I dare to walk five minutes down the road to the post office wearing shorts as it is very hot. On the way back, a man with a van. A man old enough to be my father or even grandfather. Shouts after me, ‘Get in.’ I ignore him and keep on walking, after a quick glare. Got shouted at again ‘Get in, you are coming home with me’. Disgusting that anyone thinks this is an okay way to speak to another person!

I am so sick of myself, my female friends being hassled when they go out like this even in the middle of the day. I mean, it’s barely even lunchtime. I am tired of my male friends, and my gay friends of all colours of the rainbow being treated this way. In short, I am tired of rape culture in every single one of its forms. It needs to end, right now. Full stop! No one should ever feel pressured, no one should feel scared to go out because of rape culture.

 

UPDATE:

Literally, two hours on from posting it, I am finding my friend list divided between those in support and those who are enjoying telling me that its just banter, and not a big deal. You can’t class it as rape culture. Yes, you can. Rape culture is everything from the very first bad seed, all the way through to actual penetration. Until people start seeing that. Until people stop saying well this is ok, but this isn’t. Until people make a stand and rise up, terming all this crap together as wrong. Nothing will change, as I am seeing on my friend’s list on my personal account today. People who are just completely patronising my past experiences like they don’t matter at all like I don’t matter. Something that has left me very upset. This is exactly why I never reported my first two rapes/sexual assaults. I didn’t think people would believe me or take it seriously. This is why so many rapes, sexual assaults and sex crimes are not reported.

Change starts with you. So make it.

 

 

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Withdrawing from Hydra Productions

Since signing up to five short story collections and a novel with this company, some matters have come to my attention which has left me concerned about working with them. I will not give any more details. I never signed any contracts with them, and will not be doing so. Anyone still working with the company, I wish you all the best.

I urge inexperienced authors to check the fine print very carefully. As well as looking into the public and personal feeds of the company before signing.

Onwards and upwards.

 

Sarah

Until my Dying Day now live!

I have been excited for this, for months now.

Rainbow Romances, launched yesterday for National AIDS Trust, already gaining storming reviews. I am so proud of all my writers on this collection and everyone’s hard work in putting this together and publishing in just three months! I never thought we could do it. Already there are plans underway for a huge collection next spring for Rainbow Fantasy. More than twenty authors have signed up to date.

So, my story in this collection shows Francis. A young man who ends up losing everything. His mother dies of cancer, his family drift away from him, his father hates him, he has to move away from the Res he has called home his whole life and adjust to city living. In a school, where he is bullied relentlessly for not only being gay, but non-white. We see him smashed down until he has nothing left but suicide, or so he feels.

But, this is not a doom and gloom storyline. Francis meets a young man called Xander who does everything he can to keep Francis alive and teach him how to live and love again. As he slowly makes his way back to recovery. We cut between the past, of how things happened to him and the brighter future where he is engaged, a father and now speaking out against bullies to try and help the generation behind him.

This was a very personal story for me to write, one I wasn’t sure I would ever share with others, but I am glad that I have. I hope that it helps people on their road to recovery as well.

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Early reviews:


I absolutely loved this entire collection of fantastic stories. Each one is a variation of the theme of love struggling to overcome adversity. Some were snarky, some were sweet, but Until My Dying Day by Sarah Beth James literally tore my heart apart, leaving me bawling like a baby, and going through tissues faster than a speeding locomotive. The author’s heartfelt ending left me sighing with happiness. Please one click this ASAP!

 

 

Until My Dying Day: This has been the most powerful story yet. I cried a lot. No one deserves anything that this young man has gone through. To be in the mind of someone whose life is so bad that they feel suicide is the only solution is mind blowing. To understand how it only takes 1 person or maybe even one moment to help someone without even knowing it, makes me want to be a better person.

 

 

Until My Dying Day (5 stars) is a beutiful, emotional, deep story about emargination, depression and the healing power of friendship and love. This is also about family not being a matter of blood, but a matter of choice and love.
It keeps you reading with a lump in your throat, and most of the time you just want to punch everyone that let Francis down in the face, and you get so angry you want to scream, but let’s not forget that this is actually reality, and unfortunately these things happen in real schools and between real people.
I love Xander’s strength, Francis willingness to heal, and also his attachment to his roots.
Sarah Beth James is a new to me author, and I have loved this short story so much, I am gladi t was not too short; as a matter of fact, I think I would have read and loved a full-length, 500-pages book of this story!

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your stories are well written & come from the heart and are full of experienced truths

Order today on Kindle:

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Paperback:

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How gay is gay enough for socity?

Written from the POV of a female bisexual.

I’ve been going to gay bars since my twenties, long before I questioned myself and came out when I was 30. Why? Because they are safe! I went with gay friends,  it was a good night out and they were super accepting of everyone. Plus, no hassles from weird guys getting hands-on or demanding sex. Although I did get asked out by a few girls and had to politely decline. Which, never caused me a problem.

When I moved to the Peak District, there were no gay bars or gay events. BOO!!!! So, I had to stop attending for two years. I moved back into the city last year (Sheffield) and also have a few trips to Manchester’s Village. The first time I went to Manchester, I messed up. I admit it. I had zero ideas up until that night, that there were Pride bars that accepted all, gay bars and lesbian bars. Nowhere I had lived had either. So, when I went to the village, I was wow where do I go? On my own, as I was up for the night to see a show, I walked down Canal Street and picked at random a bar that wasn’t too busy and had good music on, ordered a drink and sat down with it.

After a few minutes of funny looks, one of the bar team came over to me and politely asked if I knew what kind of bar I was in. I replied rather innocently, this is the pride village, isn’t it? I’m not straight, I’m bi and I just wanted to have a quiet drink. He smiled at me and asked if I was new to the area. When I said yes, he very nicely explained to me that certain bars on the street were for certain people, and I had walked into the wrong kind by accident. Horrified, I apologised and promised to finish my drink fast and leave. A few minutes later, another bar member came up to me and I told him I was sorry and I would leave in a couple of minutes. He handed me a second drink and told me that they had spoken to the guys there (and yes, bless them, they had asked personally every guy in there if they minded a like-minded lady joining them and none had) and I could stay as long as I would like. As they knew I wouldn’t try to hit on any of the men. In fact, more than one of the guys asked me to dance, until I eventually moved on to a bar with more open policy. Kudos for the bar, taking a bad situation and dealing with it in a non-offensive inclusive way.

However, not all Pride bars are like this. After that event, I have taken more care to stand outside the bar a few minutes. Check who goes in and out, and make sure that I don’t offend anyone by popping into the wrong place. I don’t even go to vanilla, as it is a lesbian bar and I don’t think it is right. Although I have been told I would be welcome. Lately, I am finding Pride bars are giving me an attitude of disgust. Even one I am a member of. The case or the glare up and down as I get to the door only to be told, This isn’t a straight club. Or told I pass for straight, so I shouldn’t be there. One night last summer, in bar pop with dozens of other women there watching the drag show. One guy decided to tell me to get out of ‘his’ fucking gay bar cause he didn’t want no straight bitch in there. He tried to hit me, and thankfully two gay guys defended me and the bouncers kicked him out. Thank you to those guys, I never did get your names. They stayed with me and danced with me all night.

I’m finding this whether I go to bars alone, or with a group of friends. I am constantly having to defend my sexuality and my right to be inside the bar. I understand since what happened at the Pulse Nightclub, that gay bars are tightening up security, but this is just insane. We are pushing people out of our community and our safe spaces!

Last night, I had a terrible experience in a local pride bar. I went alone, I should have been meeting someone who didn’t show up. Not a big deal, people are friendly enough there and soon enough I was invited to dance with several groups of people. I really do love how welcoming people are, or most of them are. There was a young gay guy there, who had also been stood up and was a bit upset his boyfriend wasn’t there. He was also young, (early twenties) and a little drunk talking to me. He asked me to dance for a while, so I did and we shared a few drinks and had a blast. Then he kissed me and apologised for it. I told him that it was fine, I knew he was gay and that it meant nothing.

It’s very much not the first time that a drunk gay guy has kissed me at a Pride or in a bar. I get on well with gay guys cause I give the banter back, I don’t mind dancing and the odd kiss, I don’t touch anything I’m not invited to, I don’t take it that a kiss means we are gonna have sex. I know its just friendly. Also, being a good ten plus years older than him, I felt kinda obliged to make sure he was okay, so when he got a little drunk I took him out for some air and he got some water. Kissed me outside in the smokers area, then he grabbed my hand to dance me back inside for one last dance before we both got (separate) taxis home. One of the doormen, who wasn’t a regular (and yes, I am in this bar enough I am a member and that the regular door staff tell me off if I haven’t been for a while) decided to shout at me that the guy I was with was gay, he was always in here with guys and that I should stop pressuring him for shit cause I wasn’t gonna get anywhere. I was just floored by it. I shouted back I damn well know that, and so what if he is gay we are just dancing. The guy shouted back at him too, but after that, I just felt too disgusted by what had happened to stay.

I am not straight.

I have a right to be in a Pride bar.

I have a right to mix with my community.

I have the right to make a new friend and dance with him without staff making comments I am to straight or trying it on with a gay man.

I am not a slut, I don’t sleep around.

Even if I did, what the fuck is it to do with them when it is two consenting adults?

And btw, what about the two lesbians making out on the dance floor?

What about the two guys almost having sex in the cage?

What is so offensive about two gay people dancing if they are a man and a woman?

Pride bars, LGBTQ* community, you have a very long way to go before the B is safe in your community.

A M/F bisexual couple is not a straight couple!

Just how gay must I look before you will accept me?

I am annoyed.

 

Sarah

Joining Hydra Productions

I’ve said for a little while now that I had a small publishing deal, yesterday Hydra produced the following artwork so I can finally share more details with you.

Originally, I signed to Hydra this spring to work in several short story collections due out over the next 18 months.

Deal With the Devil.

For The Love of the Gods

Reapers Anonymous

and

Mayhem on all Hallow’s Eve.

 

Two weeks ago, I pitched the first story in the Unhappily Ever After series to the company and received an acceptance. Which I am very excited about. The reviews and positive comments from people on the first story I put out last year made me want to put out a full collection of these twisted fairytales. Which, I hope to have out for Halloween 2018 or at the very least, end of the year.

Thank you to Hydra for accepting me, I look forward to seeing where this journey will take both myself and my writing.

Love Sarah

Hydra

Rainbow Romances: Preorder now!

After three months of hard work from our team, we are pleased to report that Rainbow Romances collection is ready for preorder. Raising funds for National Aid’s Trust.

With stories that include MM, FF and bisexuality, we are sure you will fall in love with each and every one of our couples in this collection. The stories are sweet, loving, caring, heartbreaking at times and full of highly relatable characters. Showing that love really is love, whoever the subject is.

My own story, Until My Dying Day, shows Francis struggling to deal with moving from the reservation into a normal white city school when his mother falls ill. Dealing with bullying, death, homophobia and abuse before he meets the boy of his dreams in Xander. Who does everything he can to bring a little joy into Francis’s life. Cutting between current day, and their relationship with the past and how they got to be where they are. We follow a painful, yet fulfilling journey of how Francis’s life improved.

Preordering on all Amazon stores

UK

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Rainbow Romances: Until My Dying Day.

Here we are again, talking about my charity collections for NAT.

Rainbow Romances is a passion of mine and around 20 bloggers, writers and creative people. We want to bring together two volumes (this year) of LGBTQ characters finding love and happiness, even if it takes some time to get there. To help spread a little positivity into this dark world as well as raising awareness for our community. Love really is love, whoever is the subject.

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My story (Until My Dying Day) focuses on a teenager (Francis) from the Alabama-Coushatta reservation in Texas, about 100 miles outside of Houston. Born to a white mother and Native father. When his mother becomes sick, they have to give up their life at the res to move into Houston to get her the medical care that she needs. Which is a huge upheaval for Francis. Not only has he got to deal with a dying mother, he has to deal with being the only Native in a public school. Bullying, homophobia and his own inner turmoil. His mental health takes a downturn and he ends up in the hospital for some time after giving up on the world. Finally, in there he finds himself drawn to another student. Who wants nothing more than to help Francis and a chance to escape the pain of his past that doesn’t include addiction or death.

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The beta readers are loving this story. Jessie was moved to tears. Extra scenes are being put in to extend the touching love story that shows even through the worst of times, there is always hope for something better.

Coming June 2018

Love Sarah

With thanks to Nerdy Designs by Jessie for all the teasers and artwork.

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