When I was 17 I was in a relationship with a slightly older guy. From the beginning of the relationship it was clear he did not listen when I said no and this continued for duration of the relationship. He would say things like “you know you want to” or “you’ll enjoy it when we get started” and I would protest, but it would happen anyway. It was never physically forceful, just persistent, to the point of me going numb and just accepting that it was going to happen. The same guy once examined my vagina and accused me of sleeping with someone else because he confused my discharge with another man’s semen. I felt ridiculous. I know now that I should have gotten out of the relationship sooner, but at age 17, I was vulnerable and impressionable.

Like many other women who have shared their stories on here, I too have been a victim of sexual assault during my time at University. I can say this now, but if you’d asked me at the time when this happened, I’d have just told you that I thought it was normal. Throughout University I was touched up in clubs more often than I can count. So much so that, in the end, I stopped noticing when someone had groped my bum and saw it as just “something that happens”.

These instances and these memories make me feel extremely violated and extremely angry. These are not isolated incidences, and, even though I may not be being touched up in clubs anymore, I am constantly cat-called in the street. This cannot continue to be normal for women and this has got to stop.