sexual assault

Christina

When I was 16 I worked as a nurse’s aide. I was taking care of a woman. Her husband was around. I was very attentive to them- getting the things they asked for, speaking kindly. After all, I’m a good person, and this was my job. I noticed that the husband started touching my arm and shoulder when I was in the room. He later followed me into a walk-in supply closet and tried to kiss me. I pushed him away. He said, “I can’t kiss you? I thought you liked me.” I said no. He said, “I can’t talk to you now?” I froze. He didn’t leave the closet until an adult nurse walked in.

Abbie

I was very young, 7 or 8 (I do not really remember). I had always had a great relationship with my dad. We went swimming one day together. I was in the pool and he pulled up my bikini top and later pulled down my bikini pants. I thought it was a joke. I laughed but I also felt so angry. It was only until recently when I realised that it was sexual assault. He has also on multiple occasions, watched me get changed in my bedroom. I’m never going to tell anyone. I’m embarrassed and everyone thinks he is a nice man. I’m scared he will rape me when I’m older. I am 15 now and everyone is forcing me to have a relationship with him, they don’t understand. I will never tell anyone because it’s not that much of a big deal, it was only a small thing.

Ashleigh

When my boyfriend of over seven years and I started dating, I was really gung-ho about having sex. I’d had sex once before and it was excruciating, but my partner at the time was really understanding. It was me who pushed for it despite the pain and the utter bloody mess I was afterward. With my current boyfriend, I was the first initiator, but I still couldn’t have sex without it hurting terribly bad. I’d fake orgasms so that I could end it without causing a fuss or making a scene. Within our first year of dating, I was pressured into having sex pretty much every time after the first few, and I just didn’t have the language to stand up for myself (I was 17-18). On two occasions, he pouted so much and just wouldn’t accept that I said no. We’re still together, and our relationship is a lot different. I’ve been able to speak up for myself more, and even though I still struggle with the pain, I’ve never felt like I had to give in to sex that I didn’t want. The problem is, I don’t know how to deal with what happened, particularly with those times I feel I was coerced. I’m still with the same man, and I love him deeply. I feel like I can’t talk about it. Like if it was a big enough deal, I wouldn’t still be with him. I am afraid of the judgement of my own character, like how could I stay or let this happen more than once? Further, I don’t even know how to talk to him about it. Will it just put a rift between us? Will it make me feel better?

A

I was at a friends for her 17th birthday. There was just 4 of us, 3 girls and 1 boy. I knew the boy was a creep and had been in trouble in the past (apparently blackmailed a 14 year old girl to send nude pictures) so I was always wary of him but I promised my friend that I would be kind to him. I felt safe drinking with such a small group but of course I got way too drunk. I had never been that drunk before. We were all drunk (or so I thought) and were cozied up on the sofa. I grabbed his crotch and kissed him neck, slurring my words but at that point (while I would have never done that sober) I was comfortable. I started feeling really tired and so asked my friend if I could go to her bedroom. I asked the group if anyone would come up and cuddle with me. I have only admitted to one person that at that point I wanted it to be him. The girls wanted to stay downstairs so he came up. He took a while and I actually went down to call for him. I even took off my sanitary pad before he came up. However by the time he got into the bed, the alcohol really hit me and I was out of it. I felt like i was floating in and out of consciousness. He then started kissing me and grabbing my boobs. I distinctly remember slurring out the word no repeatedly and I was so frustrated that I couldn’t move. I still don’t know if that was just because of the alcohol or if I froze out of fear. He then attempted to finger me – I remember the pain. i don’t know how long it took place and if he tried to insert his penis. Finally I came to the point where i felt conscious again. I remember turning over to see him facing away from me and I thought he might be asleep. I felt down and my underwear wasn’t there anymore and I asked him what happened to them. He sounded tired and said something along the lines of “I don’t know you must have taken them off”. I started realising what had happened and panicked. I found my knickers, shoved them on and went to the bathroom. I then cried sat in the bathtub and eventually rang a friend – it was 5am. I don’t know how long we were talking and what I sounded like but I know I was sobbing and eventually she said she was coming to get me. I went back in the room to grab my stuff and he was asleep in the bed. I went downstairs and asked my friend to let me out and she almost refused but she could see how upset I was but I said i was fine. My friend was outside in the backseat of a car driven by her boyfriends mum with her boyfriend in the passenger seat. I cried the rest of night while my friend held me. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her. Eventually I walked home the next day and got a really hot shower. I told a friend who was close with him and eventually I told the friend whose house it happened at. Eventually i was forced to make a statement, by my head of sixth form, at the police who when I refused to tell them who did it made me go to social services because I was 16. My friend who picked me up went to every appointment with me and gave me all the cigarettes I felt I needed to stay calm. The man who dealt with my case was awful and implied it was mothers fault as she had a statement that was retracted about her to social services when I was 6. Then he said it was my fault for drinking. It was an awful experience and he kept threatening to tell my parents and the meeting were to see if I was mature enough to deal with what happened without parental involvement. He judged that I smoked and drank so I did everything I could in the months after the assault to prevent him from telling my parents. My mum has always believed that what you are wearing and if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs means you are at fault if an assault takes place so her finding out was honestly the worst thing I could imagine. Eventually it was dropped. It was almost be 2 years and I still really struggle with it.

16

I was at a friends for her 17th birthday. There was just 4 of us, 3 girls and 1 boy. I knew the boy was a creep and had been in trouble in the past (apparently blackmailed a 14 year old girl to send nude pictures) so I was always wary of him but I promised my friend that I would be kind to him. I felt safe drinking with such a small group but of course I got way too drunk. I had never been that drunk before. We were all drunk (or so I thought) and were cozied up on the sofa. I grabbed his crotch and kissed him neck, slurring my words but at that point (while I would have never done that sober) I was comfortable. I started feeling really tired and so asked my friend if I could go to her bedroom. I asked the group if anyone would come up and cuddle with me. I have only admitted to one person that at that point I wanted it to be him. The girls wanted to stay downstairs so he came up. He took a while and I actually went down to call for him. I even took off my sanitary pad before he came up. However by the time he got into the bed, the alcohol really hit me and I was out of it. I felt like i was floating in and out of consciousness. He then started kissing me and grabbing my boobs. I distinctly remember slurring out the word no repeatedly and I was so frustrated that I couldn’t move. I still don’t know if that was just because of the alcohol or if I froze out of fear. He then attempted to finger me – I remember the pain. i don’t know how long it took place and if he tried to insert his penis. Finally I came to the point where i felt conscious again. I remember turning over to see him facing away from me and I thought he might be asleep. I felt down and my underwear wasn’t there anymore and I asked him what happened to them. He sounded tired and said something along the lines of “I don’t know you must have taken them off”. I started realising what had happened and panicked. I found my knickers, shoved them on and went to the bathroom. I then cried sat in the bathtub and eventually rang a friend – it was 5am. I don’t know how long we were talking and what I sounded like but I know I was sobbing and eventually she said she was coming to get me. I went back in the room to grab my stuff and he was asleep in the bed. I went downstairs and asked my friend to let me out and she almost refused but she could see how upset I was but I said i was fine. My friend was outside in the backseat of a car driven by her boyfriends mum with her boyfriend in the passenger seat. I cried the rest of night while my friend held me. I don’t know what I would’ve done without her. Eventually I walked home the next day and got a really hot shower. I told a friend who was close with him and eventually I told the friend whose house it happened at. Eventually i was forced to make a statement, by my head of sixth form, at the police who when I refused to tell them who did it made me go to social services because I was 16. My friend who picked me up went to every appointment with me and gave me all the cigarettes I felt I needed to stay calm. The man who dealt with my case was awful and implied it was mothers fault as she had a statement that was retracted about her to social services when I was 6. Then he said it was my fault for drinking. It was an awful experience and he kept threatening to tell my parents and the meeting were to see if I was mature enough to deal with what happened without parental involvement. He judged that I smoked and drank so I did everything I could in the months after the assault to prevent him from telling my parents. My mum has always believed that what you are wearing and if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs means you are at fault if an assault takes place so her finding out was honestly the worst thing I could imagine. Eventually it was dropped. It was almost be 2 years and I still really struggle with it.

Louise

I was at a concert at 16 years old in the standing area in front of the stage and some guy started groping my bum and stroking me up and down my legs. I moved away to try and escape him but he followed me and started doing it again. Had to literally push through so many people to get away from him because he wouldn’t stop. I felt so embarrassed and rude for pushing past all those people but I had not other choice.

Human

My friend text me just over a week ago panicking – She didn’t tell me why straight away, but kept repeating that she “didnt mean to” and that her boyfriend “is going to hate [her]”. I found out the next day that she had been raped by her ex. He had randomly text her (knowing she has a boyfriend) asking her to meet him. She had debated for about an hour to go or not before going, and I dont know what happened until it happened. She kept telling him “no” and “I dont want to” and “stop it”, but he just said “I dont care” and “i love you”. Their relationship had been very manipulative, towards my friend, and she had sort of convinced herself that he was telling the truth. She told me that she “shouldnt have worn such a low cut top” and that she “must’ve looked like a slut” and how she thought it was her fault and that her boyfriend would hate her because she had “cheated”. I just kept telling her that it wasnt cheating cause she didnt want it, it wasnt her fault, hes a d*ck, etc… She still hasnt told her boyfriend because her mom told her that he would dump her if he found out. Her ex’s mom is a teacher in school, which doesnt help, and she keeps saying that she’s lying about it being rape because her son “wouldnt do that”. The police have said he probably wont get charged because he’s only 17 (she’s also 17), but I looked into it and he could get up to 8 years (because there was an aggravating factor) – they just cant be bothered to sort out another young girl. Her mom sent her to her dads, because it was too stressful for her, without even considering my friends feelings. I’m the only one that knows who isnt her family, the police, or her ex’s family. The main points from this are: – A girl was raped, but the police dont really care. – She is blaming it on what she wore, not the person, because of what others have said. – She wont tell her boyfriend because she thinks it was her fault. This isnt okay.

Cleo

Im a pretty smart girl. I get A’s in all my classes, especially math. So, I became a tutor at my high school. I love helping people. But, some things have happened during my time there are unacceptable. I will list them now. 1) I was helping this senior with calculus (I was a sophomore at the time) and he kept claiming that I was doing it wrong, and took over and so helpfully “explained” calculus to me. It’s important to mention that everything he said was completely wrong, and when I pointed this out to him, he claimed that I was just pissed cause someone proved that I was just like all the other dumb blondes. I never tutored him again and am smug to report that he didn’t graduate. He was one credit away. Calc. 2) This junior kept making sexual innuendoes throughout the lesson, even though I made it clear that I was lesbian. When the session was over, he grabbed my ass as I was leaving. I slapped him across the face and I almost got suspended for unprovoked assault. Unprovoked my Ass. 3) A sophomore attempted to rape me after a tutoring session 4) This douchey junior kept mansplaining the trigonometry to me, even though he was the one flunking trig. I know that a lot of these are just minor offenses, but still thought I’d share. Women, just so you know, high school tutoring involves a LOT of douchebag stoners who think they’re better than you because they have a dick and you don’t.

Kellie

I was in nursing school at a state university at the time the event happened. As part of my studies, I had clinicals at a local hospital and cared for patients directly. While I was in the ICU for clinicals, I had a negative experience that stands out to me. To adhere to HIPAA, all information will be de identified, and the patient in question will be referred to as “John Doe.” Mr. Doe was a post stroke patient, out of the proverbial woods, but still weak on one side. It was a textbook CVA case, and I was initially glad to have an “easier” patient. I started to feel uncomfortable, however, when I did my assessments and regular checks. Mr. Doe asked if I was in a relationship, if I’d date an older man. He called me “pretty,” “sweetheart,” and “hon.” I didn’t like it, but I was used to being harassed as a young nursing student. Later that day, I had to help transfer Mr. Doe for an imaging test. Essentially, I had to support his weak side so he could move safely to a wheelchair. During the transfer, Mr. Doe groped my buttocks and genitals over my clothes with his weak hand. I couldn’t get away from the touch without causing a fall, so I had to move Mr. Doe to his wheelchair while his hand was between my legs. I felt dirty and used. I was a nursing student. My job was to provide healthcare and to make sure my patient was safe and healthy. Instead, I’d been treated like an object there for an old man’s sexual gratification. I handled the situation as I was trained to do. I reported the incident to my preceptor. She told me, “Older men like to flirt with the younger girls. It makes them feel young again.” I was appalled. My safety and well-being was clearly less important to my preceptor than my patient’s ability to assault me. Unfortunately, I did not report the incident to the hospital or to my university. Sexual violence against female healthcare providers is so common, it’s seen as part of the job. Nearly half of first year nurses leave the profession, and we have a critical nursing shortage nationwide. With experiences like mine commonplace, it’s not hard to see why.

Lili

A few years ago I was sexually assaulted on the street. It was four o’clock in the afternoon and I was minding my own business when I was attacked by an opportunist taking advantage of the fog and the winter light. The incident left me traumatised, especially as it happened in my own neighbourhood. When I found out that a number of women had been attacked via the local newspaper , but worried women in my area seemed to be uninformed, I took matters into my own hands and contacted the local press (Nottingham Evening Post) anonymously, telling them that I wanted them to run my story, in the hope of raising awareness. I wish I hadn’t. First of all, they clearly had no concern for my own safety, wishing to print a photo of me on the front page. When I said they could photograph me from the back only, then they took me to the place where I had been assaulted – which was of course traumatic – and took a photo of me from behind. As a result, I felt reduced to a ‘victim’, stripped of my humanity, with the readers lapping up the tale of my distress. They also changed my age to make me younger than I am, supposedly because this gives them a ‘sexier’ sexual assault. They ignored the details of how I had fought back and even chased after my attacker, trying to punch him to the ground and keep him there until someone could come and help. Instead they repeated the juicy details of how he ‘had a mad look in his eyes and seemed totally out of control’. I foolishly didn’t learn my lesson from this, perhaps traumatised at the time by the fact that more women were being attacked and wanting to do something to help, and so when a women’s magazine (Glamour magazine) contacted me via the paper, I agreed to talk to them too. The female journalist on the phone gave me a ‘girl power’ type speech about how I’d be helping other women to convince me to do it, but they repeated the same kind of reporting style as before, all sinister horror movie details and ignoring the practical advice I gave about carrying a rape alarm, taking self-defence classes etc. I am writing this to warn women now, not to ever speak to the press if they have been the victims of a sexual attack unless they are absolutely sure of what the journalist will print and have a power to veto. I was left thoroughly disgusted with their treatment of my case, and I know many women have had it a lot worse.