I am not a Victim.

I have been thinking about coming public about something for a while now and just haven’t been brave enough to do so. But I think now is the time. Not because I want anyone’s sympathy or attention but because I want to talk about my experience and potentially help people that have been through the same, or similar. I would like to just say before you start reading that this could be triggering to those that have been sexually assaulted, so if you don’t want to be triggered, stop reading.

Two years ago, January 2017, I was sexually assaulted. You are probably wondering why i’m not using the word ‘rape’, well to be completely honest, I hate the word and I don’t like to use it. 

I had decided to join Tinder, and started talking to a guy and he asked me if I was going out clubbing that night, which I was and he said he would come and say hey if he saw me. That night I was extremely drunk, and we bumped into each other. I don’t remember much from the night but I do remember him offering to walk me home, due to not being fully capable to walk back by myself. 

So anyway, he ends up asking if he could stay the night as his place was quite a walk away from where I was living and now I think about it, that was obviously his plan all along. As soon as I get into my room I collapse onto my bed not knowing what is to come. I remember waking up a few times, but I was so out of it I couldn’t do anything and I had no strength to shout or at least try and get him off of me. 

When I woke up I had no clothes on and bruises and hickeys all over my chest area. That’s when I knew that I had been sexually assaulted. 

I sat and blamed myself for days after. I believed that it was my fault because I had got so drunk. But being drunk surely shouldn’t excuse someone else’s behaviour?

I didn’t tell anyone about what happened for months, when people asked me how I got my bruises I just said I wasn’t sure. I was in denial. I couldn’t figure out if my experience qualified as sexual assault because it didn’t compare to some of the stories I had heard or read about on social media. Do I tell someone? Do I report him? Well he helped me make up my mind as he was constantly texting me, liking every photo on my instagram feed and when I blocked him, he would make a new account and follow me again. This has been going on for 2 years now, his name still pops up on my phone at least once a month with him trying to contact me.

I went to the police when he first started harassing me after the sexual assault and I finally came clean. But as soon as I told her that I was intoxicated, I could tell that she didn’t believe me. She said that she would contact the uni and get him to stay away from me and stop contacting me but nothing ever came of it. I have had zero support from anyone, I’ve just had to deal and move on from it. 

What makes it worse is that during the summer after it happened, I got a text from him saying that he hoped the marks he left on my body are there forever as it will remind me of him. I knew at this point that he was a nasty piece of work and had zero remorse for what he had done to me. Obviously my mental health spiralled out of control and I attempted to commit suicide because of what he did to me, I didn’t want to be constantly reminded of what happened to me like he was clearly enjoying doing. 

Discussing this is difficult, extremely personal and at points, upsetting because I can’t believe this happened to me. You hear about victims of sexual assault all of the time and never imagine yourself going through it. And for those who have been sexually assaulted there is a pressure to then be scared of men, sex and discussing the assault. But i’m not scared of men, neither am I scared of having sex, or talking about the assault. I am angry that still to this day, society has not educated us enough about sexual consent. Speaking about the assault should not label me as a victim of rape for the rest of my life. Yes, I suffered a traumatic experience but my assault will never be my defining factor. It is something that has happened to me, not who I am as an individual and it has taken me a long time to realise this.

I recently read something that I completely agree with;

‘It’s time we stopped accepting the normality of sexual assault and start acknowledging that our attitude needs to change. Once we have started to deal with the impact of our stories, sharing them could help someone else realise they are justified in their emotions. Just because your experience is not as severe as someone else’s does not mean to say it is invalid’.

So many people get away with performing sexual acts without consent and it needs to stop, which means more people coming forward and telling their stories. The best video out there to watch to be able to understand is ‘Tea and consent’ (Linked below, worth a watch).

So, that is my story. I don’t think of myself as a victim, but something that I shouldn’t of had to experience happened to me that I will never forget. 

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