I’ve yet to post about this publicly, and I don’t know if it was the shame that made me keep it to myself, or if I still needed time to come to terms with it. But now I’m ready to talk.
2017 started off badly for me, I hoped it would be better now I was living with my partner and away from all family dramas (that’s another post for another time) but I was wrong. I won’t post names, or contact details or even locations of who, what, when and where this incident occurred, as that won’t help anyone.
TW; Sexual Assault
Growing up I’ve always been very independent and fine with my own company. Which is why after I had attended a gig in January with my partner and his friend I was happy to make my way home alone as it was only 20 minutes away. Now, I suffer from emetophobia (Phobia of vomit) ((I know it’s a natural thing but my head can’t hack it)) so when my partners’ friend began to throw up after the gig I was to make my own way home whilst my partner looked after his friend. Yeah, this was annoying because I had drunk over twice the amount the friend had and I was his partner and he chose to stay with him, but that’s also understandable. I had a lot of anger at this at first, but I realised he could not predict what was going to happen.
I live in a place where Uber is a widely used form of transport and have used it many times before, so I was used to it and trusted it. As it was a sold out gig there were many drivers in the area, so when I found an Uber which was not intended to be mine but had not been booked, the driver and I agreed on me getting in his car, and searching again for an Uber on the app so he could accept me as his passenger. Now, it was very busy like previously mentioned so whenever we both tried to search it would not connect us to each other so he said it would be okay to pay in cash and not do it through the app.
That should’ve been my first warning. However, I was drunk and upset from the vomit and just wanted to get back into my own bed so I agreed. On route, I asked him to stop at a cash point so I could get out some money to pay him for the journey. After this had occurred the driver began to tell me I was pretty and was trying to stroke my leg. Drunk, alone and terrified I didn’t know what to do. I had no idea where I was and every time I went to use my phone he’d seemingly get angry. To stop his wandering hand I held onto it so I could keep it on my leg rather than the other places he was trying to place it. Some people show reactions when I’ve told them this that imply they think I should not have done this, but if I had not his hand was going to worse places so it kept me safe.
As we carried on driving he was telling me I was beautiful. I just laughed off these comments as I was sweaty and drunk so I assumed I looked like a mess and he was joking. However, as we went further on he removed his hand and tried to place it down my top. He asked me if this was okay and I told him explicitly no and tried to remove his hand. He continually tried this and I continually refused. When we got to the destination he asked me if someone was waiting for me, so I lied and called my friend and pretended she was waiting for me to meet her inside. I paid and tried to leave the car but he asked for my phone number and he wanted to check it worked before I left so I wouldn’t have given him a fake one. I was trapped.
I had to give him my number or else I couldn’t leave the car and would risk more harm. And began crying as soon as I walked into the flat, not looking back at all. I text my boyfriend a quick message to explain to him what had happened. Despite him realising the emotional pain I was suffering already, he bought his friend throwing up into the flat and stayed with him whilst I cried in bed. I just wanted to sleep and pretend it hadn’t happened, if I pretended it didn’t then maybe I wouldn’t feel hurt. In between looking after his friend he called the police for me, as he wanted me to report what happened.
I had finally felt safe in my own flat, and then my boyfriend bought my fear home with him. It was even worse the friend being a man as I was scared to leave the flat because of a man, and now I was too scared to even leave my bed because of a man. Awful is an understatement of how I was feeling. I spent until 3am in the morning talking to the police, having to relive the event several times over whilst they took multiple statements.
My boyfriends’ friend carried on being ill the next day and refused to leave our flat. He suffers from seizures and had two in 6 hours after not having one for months. Both times an ambulance came out for him and they wanted to take him in for testing but he refused to leave. I was paralysed by fear, I couldn’t even have my boyfriend sit on the bed with me without jumping. 36 hours I went without going to the toilet or leaving the bedroom. I didn’t eat, I didn’t do anything but sleep and cry. Broken like pinky promises of friendships lasting forever from childhood.
Over the coming months I lived in this fear. I wouldn’t go to University, I wouldn’t go to work and I would not be alone at night outside of the flat. I had my anti-depressants doubled, I became volatile towards men and I blamed myself. Kept thinking what I could’ve done differently. What if I hadn’t have worn an open body suit with a short skirt. What if I hadn’t have gotten so drunk. But that’s bullshit. It wasn’t my fault that he was sick, it wasn’t my fault that I became a victim to a horrible plague that occurs across the whole world.
Sadly, the Crown Prosecution Service refused to take my case to court, even with having proof of him trying to contact me after the incident (tried calling and texting me for several days after) and him admitting in the police interview he had given me a lift and contacted me, only denying the touching. Anger swept through me, they had all the evidence there yet they didn’t think I had enough to get him for ruining my year.
Doubt was all I had. Shame consumed me. If the police didn’t believe he had done wrong enough to be convicted, then maybe it was my fault? My head was in a dark place for months, and only now 7 months on am I able to finally talk about it in public. I’ve worked hard to regain my confidence, I’ve taken huge steps towards accepting that was had happened had happened, it was the past and not my future.
I was a victim, but I will not let myself be just that. I am strong. I am brave. And I know I did not do wrong, but he did. Even if others did not see it that way, I know it now and it’s better late than never.