Please Note: This post may be very triggering for survivors of sexual assault. If you are in any way triggered, please call NSW Rape Crisis Centre on 1800 424 017 or National Sexual Assault, Domestic & Family Violence on 1800 737 732.
I’ve written about my story before.
It’s not an easy story to tell.
It’s not a story that would gain media attention.
It’s not shockingly violent in the physical sense.
He wasn’t famous or a great high school athlete or a stranger.
I wasn’t drugged or drunk or bound to a bed.
I was 13.
He was my much, much older neighbour.
I was alone in my house.
He did come over when he knew the phone lines were down.
He did hug me, try to kiss, grope me.
He did threaten to come back if I ever told anyone.
I was 15.
He was my best friend’s boyfriend…and then he was my boyfriend.
I was in love with him.
He spent months making me believe that he loved me.
I spilled all my secrets and fears and hopes and desires to him.
He did send roses to my school.
He did mess with my mind.
He did promise to always love me, to marry me, that he would never, ever hurt me.
He did slowly make our relationship more sexual.
He did tell me I should like it.
He did call me hot, but he never called me beautiful.
He did force me to my knees in a public toilet.
He pinned me to the bed, his hands on my wrists and didn’t stop until he was spent.
I was silent.
I wish this wasn’t my story.
I wish 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men in Australia didn’t have stories that mirror my own.
I wish the media would stop printing articles about how to ‘lessen your risk of sexual assault’ and perpetuating the myth of the stranger in the dark alley who make an opportunity attack. (Although, if that is your experience, I am truly so sorry for you).
I wish that we, as a society were better informed about what consent means – and what is not consent (For the record, unless it’s an enthusiastic yes given freely by someone who is complete control of their mental faculties…it’s not a yes. And if it’s not a yes, it’s a no. There are no “blurred lines” in regards to sexual consent.)
I wish we were able to see other people – all people – as….people.
I have nothing hopeful to add at the end of this, except to say that it does get better.
The pain has lessened, my anxiety has decreased.
It has taken 10 years, extensive therapy, an eating disorder and people who love and accept me…but now I know it’s not my fault.
IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. IT IS NEVER YOUR FAULT.
Sexual assault is a crime. It can happen to anyone and is never the fault of the victim.
I will never stop trying to help people understand that.