Combo Breaker 2018 (cw: sexual assault)
I don't know where to begin because there's just so much to talk about and I have so many emotions but I'll just let my thoughts fucking go off.
Combo Breaker 2018 was my first FGC major. I was convinced to go by my friend at the time, @Brooklyn_AIA aka Steven. I didn't play any of the games at the time, so I was mostly there as a spectator and for work. But Steven and I discussed that he would show me around. I mean, he really hyped it up, talked about all these cool things that happened and how he was excited for me to experience Combo Breaker.
I think around a week or so before CB2018, he had to cancel his plan to attend due to work. But then last minute, his work cancelled...? but he already cancelled his flight and what not to CB2018. The day or two before his flight, he decided to do a donation stream. He was a friend that I really cared for, so I donated to help so he can attend. I knew how much Combo Breaker meant to him, and from all the stories he told me about his past including his health issues, I wanted to support him as much as I could, even if I was really tight with funds.
Skipping the rest because it didn't matter (it was about experiencing CB for the first time) but Steven decided at some point to stay in my hotel room since I was closer to the venue than his hotel, my room was really big, and I had a pull out couch. He said something about us being homies, too. I didn't really think too much about it other than, "as long as we're not on the same bed because I don't want to cause trouble". Like I said, we were really good friends, he always seemed to respect me, so I didn't think it would be an issue considering he knew that I was in a relationship at the time.
Saturday night, Steven, a couple of friends, and I got drunk at the bar. I was more tipsy than drunk. He brought his friend over (I won't name her) and was hanging with her most of the time. I won't lie, some of the things I saw him do to her I thought was really sus, but I didn't question it because they were friends for a very very long time and felt it wasn't my place. Plus she didn't look uncomfortable. Later on, we took an uber back to the hotel room and I went to bed before he did. At this point I already sobered up, but I was tired enough to pass out asap.
Then, this is where everything goes to shit.
I woke up early morning to Steven cuddling me. I freaked the fuck out so hard and shifted away as far away as possible and turned so that my back faced him. He moved closer to me then started caressing my butt. I slapped his hand away and physically moved my body further away which were CLEAR indications to not touch me. Half of my body was practically dangling off the king size bed and he still continued to come closer to touch my butt with his fingers. I couldn't speak, I was dumbstruck, so I did the next best thing and got up to go to the bathroom. I remember texting my friend who was also attending CB2018 that I hung out with about what happened, but I don't remember them replying in any way that would have helped me. I'm pretty sure they told me that they'd meet me at the venue when I got there. I don't remember. But after a while, I left the bathroom, went to the couch, took an extra blanket, and hid underneath it, pretending to sleep, waiting for him to wake up, get ready, and leave. He did stand near me for a few seconds before leaving and that really made me nervous.
Later on that day after getting to the venue, I tried talking to someone about what happened and all they told me was "why didn't you tell him to stop?"
I didn't know what to do at that point. I was just scared. So I pretended like nothing happened. But Steven pulled some real shady shit afterwards. I remember passing out while waiting in the lobby after finals on Sunday because I was immensely exhausted, and he would go on to the people sitting around us about how he's letting me sleep because he's such a good friend...I was so sick to my stomach hearing that, but again pretended to not hear because I didn't want to cause a problem. It seemed like everyone got along with him.
What bothered me even more was how fake he was on twitter. Saying things like he was playing games until 6am???? He went MIA for majority of the day. He lied to his discord about his CB2018 placements, which could have been easily looked up. But no one questioned him. It also felt like he purposefully kept me out of his photos (except for one video where I played on a hitbox for the first time) and remember thinking it was really really weird? I remember mentioning all of this to someone and they pretty much told me that we basically had different agendas and that's why things didn't work out. That didn't sit well with me. That made no sense. It goes against everything Steven and I talked about, even before I confirmed I was going to CB2018.
For the past two years EVEN UNTIL NOW it always bothered me. I never told anyone because he was seen in a good light, it seemed. I didn't tell my partner at the time because I was just terrified. My partner already disliked Steven and we had a lot of arguments about him and I always defended him. But after that morning, I was fucking ashamed, I didn't have any time to process what happened, and just decided to keep quiet out of fear of being dismissed, especially after the people I decided to reach out to dismissed me. The fact that I couldn't remember what happened prior to falling asleep really added to why I never brought it up ever again.
So all I did was stay silent and pretended like nothing happened. I didn't want to remember either. But I basically deleted him from my life and that was the end of that. I felt like I hated him, but I was moreso just confused and felt betrayed. It's extremely hard for me to open up to people that I can say "I trust you" to and he was one of the last ones I let into my life.
My feelings? I was confused and sad. But now after finding out that he did the same EXACT THING in the SAME EXACT YEAR to someone else (@ghouleish), I'm just fucking angry. Angry that I felt like my compassion was taken advantage of. Angry because I wish I had more confidence at the time to go up to him and say, "Hey man, what the actual fuck????" Angry because I now feel like I should have listened to my partner at the time instead of defending him, making me feel like it was all my fault that this all happened to me.
Steven, you have no idea how much I stuck up for you.
I thought about reaching out last week just to have a conversation with him to have a better understanding of what the fuck happened because all the allegations on twitter recently really, really amplified my feelings about what he did to me. Plus, I also hate public shit like this, but since we literally haven't spoken since that incident, and I have no exact clear recollection of what happened except for when I was awake, I felt like it wasn't going to do me any good. Even now I still hesitate speaking out publicly about it because people still continue to "support" him. I don't know what he said before deleting his twitter, but I DO know what he did to me and no one can change that.
Now, I'm posting this because reading @ghouleish gave me true strength to finally speak up about something I've been literally dying to bring up. Steven was just one example in my life, but this is the first time I'm deciding to actually stick up for myself and making the choice to no longer be silent and work towards being a healthier person mentally.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading. I'm fine. Letting this go was exactly what I needed. I'm not asking you to cancel Steven or to hate him forever. I just wanted a peace of mind, and I now have that.