Assault, Rape

I didn’t tell anyone I was raped at university. I’m not alone – Hannah’s Editorial

Too many sexual assaults go unreported on campus. I set up my campaign #RevoltSexualAssault to give survivors a voice

 

When I was a student, I was pressured into having sex. Like many others, when it happened I believed the entire experience was my fault and wasn’t serious enough to share. I said no to him multiple times, but I still felt responsible. I was left feeling dirty, violated and ashamed.

Continue reading “I didn’t tell anyone I was raped at university. I’m not alone – Hannah’s Editorial”

Assault, Harassment, Rape

‘There’s still a blood stain on my family’s couch, where he pinned me down’

The first time I experienced sexual assault was when I was 16 years old, when my boyfriend at the time raped me in his spare closet.

The second time I experienced sexual assault was when I was 17 years old, when after dropping off a boy at home, he forced my face into his bare lap.

The third time I experienced sexual assault was when I was 19 years old, when a boy at university trapped me in his room and raped me.

The fourth time I experienced sexual assault was in the past year, I am 21 years old.  A coworker came to my home and raped me.

Continue reading “‘There’s still a blood stain on my family’s couch, where he pinned me down’”

Assault, Rape

Victim blaming, Kevin Spacey and why aren’t we changing the narrative? – Hannah’s Editorial

This video was the first story I heard during the campaign. It turned into one of many that I would go on to hear that fitted this narrative. So why is it one that we don’t hear about all the time?

Sexual assault. Those two words side by side are enough to send a chill right through you. Say it aloud and two words become a powerful statement, with potentially serious consequences. Yet the report rate for both sexual assault and harassment is staggeringly low.

We’ve been taught since a young age to assume a singular narrative of sexual assault – if you’re out alone, late at night, you’re putting yourself at risk of an attack.

Because of this when most people think of sexual assault or rape they think of a dark alley, with a hooded stranger waiting in the shadows.

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But when you talk to someone that has suffered a serious sexual assault about the issue, 90% of the time they think of someone they know.

Sexual assault is happening. Everywhere. Regardless of lighting conditions, or familiarity with the perpetrator or whether you’re in a baggy t-shirt and trackies or dressed to the nines. It’s happening in the comfort of people’s homes, in everyday settings, carried out by loves one you are supposed to be able to trust.

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The problem starts with education… When you think back to your sex education, do you remember learning anything about consent – other than no means no?

I don’t. I remember a banana and a condom, and the predictable response to that from a room full of teenagers. But what good is knowing how to put a condom on, if you are then ‘stealthed’ by your sexual partner?

For some reason the assumption that if you are unfortunate enough to experience sexual assault or harassment, it won’t be from someone you know, is both dangerous and confusing.

These myths and misconceptions about sexual assault lead many of us to not realise or even acknowledge that we have been sexual assaulted.

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The frequency of victim blaming, especially when the survivor is female, is waaaaaay too prevalent. Why was she out alone at night? What if she was wearing more appropriate clothing? Should she have been drinking?

These, quite frankly, ignorant comments have resulted in a huge epidemic of self-blame, saturated in every account of sexual assault that I have been told throughout the campaign. ‘I shouldn’t have drunk alcohol’, ‘I shouldn’t have gone home with him’, ‘maybe I encouraged that behaviour?’

Going home with someone doesn’t mean you have to sleep with them if you change your mind. Even going home with someone and sleeping with them does not mean you have to consent again. And it certainly doesn’t mean you have to have sex with them WHILE YOU’RE UNCONSCIOUS. Because that’s rape. And I shouldn’t be having to remind these brave women that this is the case.

That’s what these casual, victim blaming remarks, are brainwashing women to think!

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If you’ve not been hiding under a rock, you will have seen the allegations that have surfaced against Kevin Spacey. It’s so refreshing to see so many males coming forward on this issue, as it is equally as hard for them to speak out about assault, and its abuse that affects both genders.

While victim blaming is prevalent amongst both sexes, when in the extensive media coverage of these accusations against Spacey, where have you seen/read/heard off-the-hand observations about the clothes that the male victims were wearing, or the amount of alcohol they had consumed? I’ll tell you where, nowhere.

When someone tells you they were mugged, how often do you tell them they were reckless for walking alone, or asking for it for wearing a watch?

You might however have seen commentators try to explain, even justify, Spacey’s behaviour by claiming he had too much alcohol. We are always quick to assume the perpetrator who carries out acts of sexual assault has some explainable ‘excuse’.

So in the case of sexual assault, why do these insignificant details take centre stage over the huge trauma a women has just experienced, or the support that she needs following her bravery in coming forward?

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Assault, Rape

‘Rape is a real thing and so is the way I was treated after’

Third year student.


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‘So, I was out with my friends in first year and the next morning I woke up in bed naked with a stranger and I had a black eye, bruises all over my body.

My drink had been spiked and I had been raped vaginally, orally and forcefully.

The stranger turned out to be another student at the university, in my year, in my faculty.

I reported it to the police and the university.

He couldn’t explain the bruises and the black eye, but there wasn’t enough evidence to continue so they dropped the case.

The university sent me a letter regarding the ‘serious allegations’ I’d made against another student. It made me feel like I was the criminal.

For example, it’s me who has to check whether I share an exam hall with him and if I do I have to explain, normally to a new member of staff, what happened so that they change the room for me. I had to change gyms, I’ve never been on the university ski trip.

Rape is revolting and so was the way I was treated after. Something really needs to change.’