No means no

Greetings, and welcome to another blog.

Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while. Those close to me know I work full time and study, and I have been very busy with assessments and exams for uni. Thankfully, it’s all over now (well, until semester two *eyeroll*).

This blog is going to be an extremely personal one, and given the sensitive topic I feel the need to issue a TRIGGER WARNING before I get into anything. If you are easily upset by the notion of sexual assault or rape, please do not read ahead for your own health and well being.

I haven’t told this story to many people. I decided to keep quiet initially as I was incredibly humiliated about what I had experienced and I didn’t want to be seen as “attention seeking” if I shared my story. I want to clarify that in no way, shape, or form is a woman or man “attention seeking” if they share their story of sexual assault. In a lot of ways, I think this will provide me some closure and possibly help someone out there who may be suffering in silence.

This is my story.

On the 17th December 2016 I attended a Christmas party, as many people do during the festive season. It was the Christmas party of my former employers, a company at which I had worked for 4 years prior. I am choosing to not name the employer as I’m not keen on getting sued, but lets just say I only shop at Coles from now on lol. There was a bar tab at this event and most people were getting pretty drunk, however I wasn’t drinking much as I was still recovering from the night before. Later on in the evening I was in a conversation with 3 of my former colleagues, one who had been my absolute best friend since we were 11 years old. People can be sexually assaulted by men AND women, but I would like to establish all 3 were men. All of a sudden, they started to get physical with me. They thought it was a joke, but I certainly did not. Next thing I know I’ve got a hand up my skirt from behind and 2 boys at the front grabbing my breasts and grabbing me. The whole time I was screaming “stop, what are you doing, stop” but they did not stop. I dropped to the ground and put my hands over my head to protect myself. I thought this would stop them, but they kept going even when I was on the ground. One of my friends heard me distressed and pulled me out of the situation and sat me down away from the men. As I walked away crying, two of them high-fived each other in celebration, however I did not find this out until police had obtained the CCTV and informed me.

Understandably, I began crying. I didn’t know how to respond or react. One of the men drunkenly attempted to apologise for “offending me” but I was too traumatised to even look at him. In a panic I sprinted out of there and ordered the first Uber home, I knew I needed to get myself somewhere safe. I went home to my mother and cried my eyes out. I felt so worthless and embarrassed that this happened to me, especially in front of everyone.

The next day, I received messages from 2 of the 3 individuals. These messages were filled with words that put the blame on me. One of them told me it was my fault for “being too flirty” and “giving them the wrong idea”. Fuck, anyone that knows me knows I’m a flirty person; its just part of my nature. They told me I was “making it out like I was raped” and that I’d do “anything for attention”.

NOBODY deserves to be sexually assaulted. No means no, and any absence of a yes is still a no. I decided to report this incident to the police as I was worried one day another girl might experience what I did. Luckily, the assault was captured on CCTV and they were charged 6 days later.

I ended up agreeing to a Justice Mediation as I knew a court hearing would be damaging to my mental well being. This is something I never ever want to re-live. These people had been my second family for the past 4 years, and I knew deep down that they were good people who made a dumb mistake. I have forgiven them for what they did, and I know they understand the severity of what their drunken reckless actions caused. We had the mediation on the 29th of April this year, 4 months after it happened.

I went through a lot of emotions and fear after the assault. For a long time I was scared to be near another male, especially alone with one. Lots of tears were shed, but I am finally at a place where I am able to accept it and start to move on with my life. Things will never be the same for me. I will always have that memory burned into the back of my brain.

I want to make it very clear to everyone that there is no excuse for sexual assault. It doesn’t matter how drunk you were. If you can’t keep your dick in your pants when you drink, don’t drink. It doesn’t matter if she has slept with you previously (although in this situation I had never slept with any of the men, I have a strict “no dating in the workplace” policy). It doesn’t matter if she isn’t wearing a bra and you can see her nipple piercing through her top. It doesn’t matter how flirty she was or if she gave you the impression something would happen between you. NO MEANS NO, AND ABSENCE OF A YES IS STILL A NO.

If anyone reading this has gone through anything similar and needs someone to talk to, please don’t be afraid to reach out to me. Nobody should ever feel scared to talk about a sexual assault.

Stay safe, and stay golden

Brooke x

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