TW: assault
One Halloween, my brothers decided to occupy the garage roof and drop plastic spiders onto people who came to the door for trick or treat. My role was to open the door, and offer the bucket of sweets (which my Mum had also filled with toy goo, to add to the Halloween vibe). It was a lovely evening, and I was thoroughly enjoying entertaining the families in our village. Then, 2 teen boys came to our door. I knew one of them, he was the year below me (I was 16/17). The other boy, wearing a full body (including face covering) latex suit, stepped into our porch, where I offered him the bucket. He went to put his hand in the bucket, and exclaimed when he realised it was full of goo. I’ve forgotten, possibly through choice, what he said next, but he stepped further into our porch. He then, reached out, and groped my breasts, on my front door step. I was stood in the safety of my own home, and a stranger shattered that feeling with 2 outreached hands. I froze, and after a while he started laughing and walked off. I remember catching eyes with the boy I knew, and the silence. As they walked off, I shut the front door, and told my brothers that I wasn’t going to answer the front door anymore. My mum asked if I was okay, and I cried explaining to her what happened. I know she text the boys mum but I have no idea if the conversation went any further. I felt so violated, in the confines of my own home, by a faceless stranger who I shall never know. Every year since I have found Halloween a stressful experience, and have never regained the confidence I used to hold in my own home. 6 months later, I was sexually assaulted again, by my at the time boyfriend. 1.5 yrs after the second assault, I was assaulted again, in a nightclub. The nightclub was by far the least traumatic, the behaviour although abhorrent, so normalised that I felt oddly safe in the comfort so many of my friends had experienced the same.

I have often wondered which has affected me more, being assaulted by a stranger on the front door step of my home, or being assaulted by a boy who loved me in his home. I have battled for years with my feelings regarding the second assault- it took me a long term to realise it for what it was, and I still wonder whether he realised or realises that it was assault. On my way home from the scene of the assault, I was catcalled by 3 men in a van. This had a profound impact on me, as I could immediately recognise the wrong that is catcalling a girl (or anyone), but it took me years to completely recognise the wrong of the assault itself.
The eerie unknown of the stranger on the doorstep has always caused me to feel anger, repulsion and fear, with no doubt in my mind of what it was. The fact my family were mere feet away but oblivious, the fact he knows what I look like but I will never know his face, the fact he had the confidence to do it in my home, and laugh at my expression of shock. I don’t think I will ever again be the immediately trusting woman I once was.