When I was in high school in the UK, I did an internship with the Chinese Red Cross Foundation during summer vacation. It was 2008, and the Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan Province had left countless people displaced and homeless. I went on a Red Cross sympathy mission to Wenchuan as an accompanying videographer to see and document the rebuilt process after the disaster. At that time, there was a government leader who took care of me during the trip. I don’t remember his name, only that he was a middle-aged man in his 50s and the pungent white wine he forced me to drink that burned my throat during a banquet.
At the end of the internship, I went to his office to say goodbye to him. He suddenly offered to hug me, and at that moment I subconsciously felt a little weird. But I made a mistake. I did not refuse him.
I came back to China again during winter break. The supermarket was quite crowded before Christmas, me and my mom were picking out some Christmas tree hangings. My mom was non-stop about how that leader of the Red Cross often asked her about me, “Look he is still thinking about you, get in touch with him! You can maintain a good relationship with him in the future.” She said so happily. I was actually quite touched at the time and sent a rather long text message to him. Soon, I got an invitation to an annual conference in a hotel at the outskirts of the city for the weekend.
I don’t recall much of what happened that day, but there was a conversation I remember very clearly. A fellow lady was arranged by the leader to take care of me. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, she said to me with a half smile, “You’re special, I haven’t seen the leader treat anyone else like this before.” Unfortunately, I didn’t understand what she meant. So in the evening when he asked me to come to his room to talk about something, I didn’t even hesitate to go over. I really wanted to smack my stupid self in the face.
The room was small, dark and filled with the smell of alcohol. He invited me in with a smile, and walked with flimsy feet towards the room. I started to feel something was wrong and stood in the foyer and asked him what he wanted from me. He sat his butt on the bed, then patted the spot next to him asking me go over. The atmosphere was strange to the point that I finally got scared. I remember took a step back towards the door, but it was too late. He suddenly rushed in front of me and pulled me over, then started kissing me.
All sense was far away from me, I felt like in those nightmares where I examining myself as a third person. In the mirror opposite I saw my face, half blocked by him. A wave of nausea rushed over me, but I didn’t know if it was to him or to myself. He started to push me down hard I couldn’t break free at all. For a moment I felt like it was the end of me.
A sudden phone call interrupted him, it was his wife, she and his son were almost here. He instantly entered the role of a husband and a father, chatting with his wife as if nothing had happened, but his face was smiling at me. I shook him off and fled the room. Maybe he followed me out, but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t dare to turn around. Back in my guest room, I began to shower frantically. Dirty, that was the only thought I had at that moment. I didn’t sleep that night and sat in the hotel courtyard until dawn, at least the cold air would freeze me until I was numb.
The next day I took the earliest shuttle bus out of that hotel. He texted me later that day asking me why I left and contacted my mom several times after that, but I never replied ever since.