Written by Buttertoes
Cases of sexual assault against lesbian, bisexual and queer women in Bangladesh are almost never acknowledged neither are discussed.
In 2012, when LBQ women used to find dates through different sites instead of the modern-day dating apps, I lived through an experience that I will never forget. I got connected to a girl named “R” and eventually we exchange numbers and started talking over phone. After a few days of talking and getting to know each other, we set a date to meet up. She wanted that we meet up at her home, but because I was not comfortable with it, we decided on a restaurant in Gulshan. On our date-day, as I was almost about to reach the place, “R” called me up to say that she was late due to an issue at her home and requested me to come over as she got ready, or otherwise I would need to wait. Since her home was near to the restaurant, I did not mind and went to her place without thinking much.
After I reached her home, “R” took me inside to her room which was pretty big and fancy. I was waiting for her to get ready, but instead, she asked me if I would like to smoke up some “A-grade” weed. As I was on a date and first impressions mattered, I wanted her to think that I was cool and chill. I took the invitation and lighted up the joint together in her washroom. It was not the first time I was smoking up and I knew my tolerance to weed was pretty high. However, it was different that time. Only with 3-4 puffs, I started to feel extremely dizzy and disoriented and it only got worse. With the risk of losing face, I kind of excused myself out, went back to her room, and just threw myself on the bed to stop my head spinning. I was really out of my wits because weed had never affected me like this. I tried to sit up but was completely unable to do so, and I could feel the ability to properly think was leaving my body.
A few minutes later, “R” was back and I found her creeping up to my side. The next moment, she kissed me and got on top of me undressing me as well as herself. I did initially respond to her kiss as more of an involuntary reaction with my defenses completely shattered. After around a minute I stopped her being extremely disturbed by the fact that she made a move on me when I could not even move my limbs properly. I knew she could not physically empower me as I was bigger than her both vertically and horizontally. But even with me saying no, she tried to provoke and entice me in different ways so that we could proceed. I did not budge from my decision and eventually mastered up enough strength to stand up. When I wanted to leave, she took me out and in her car, making another move on the way to see if anything happens, and when it did not, she dropped me at Gulshan 2 circle. I somehow managed to take a CNG and I went to a friend’s place in Dhanmondi where I slept for 4 hours straight to get that dizziness off me. When I got up and discussed what happened with my friend, we came to realize that whatever I smoked up might had been some kind of drugs to get my defences off. Afterwards, I cut all ties with that girl and kept the incident to myself because, well, whom should I have gone to?
The reason I explained the incident to such great details is to make some noise around the abuses LBQ women face from their partners. I never imagined that I would be sexually abused by a woman before that incident because I had no idea something like this could happen in same-sex dating. But as I grew older and connected more with the community, I heard about multiple instances where LBQ women and self-identified transmen have forced women to kiss or have sex with them. However, in all cases, people have let go of these abusers thinking that the incidents were “not as bad” as it would have been with cisgender men. Not only sexual abuse, intimate partner violence and emotional abuse are also prevalent in many queer relationships including that of LBQ and pansexual women, trans non-binary and transmen. This should not be this way as abuse is abuse and is not dependent on who the perpetrator is. We need to identify abusive behaviour and hold abusers accountable, regardless of their sex, gender or sexual orientation. Otherwise, we too are perpetuating the rape culture that has engulfed the entire nation.