#metoo VUW Student Blog
 

#metoo VUW
Student Blog

 
 

CW: Descriptions of sexual assault, harassment and discrimination

Click here if you need support or would like information on how to make an official complaint to the Victoria University of Wellington or Police.

Context

Students of all types, in all places, experience sexual assault, harassment and discrimination.

This #metoo blog is for us to tell our stories. Past and present students of Victoria University of Wellington are welcome to contribute. We welcome stories from women and men, LGBTQIA+, disabled, Māori, Pasifika and international students. This blog is a safe, anonymous and non-judgmental place to share.

At the start of 2018, students marched against sexual violence in the legal profession. We screamed from the top of our lungs “Ru-ssell Mc-Veagh Assaulting People Is Not Okay”, and Zoe Lawton’s #metoo blog provided a platform for those in law to share their stories. We are now seeing changes made for those working in law, through these actions.

The blog will be open for one month and then will be delivered to Victoria University and Wellington City Council. Like Zoë’s blog, our aim is to help shed light on the issue of sexual assault, harassment and discrimination and inform the university, the City Council, and the public of what needs to change. It’s in all of our best interests for students to be safe on campus, in halls, in class, in flats, in town, and at home.

If you choose to submit, you can share as much or as little as you like. It can be about your own personal experience or what you've witnessed of others' experiences. We have added tick-boxes which allow you to give specific information about your story. This information will not be published on the blog, as it might publicly identify people, but it will be compiled and sent to the university and the Wellington City Council so that they can use the information in efforts to reduce sexual assault and harassment Your name and any identifying details you provide to VUWSA will not be sent on unless you specifically provide consent.

This blog is anonymous and will not publicly identify the authors or any people discussed in the stories that are submitted. 

You can email us privately if you’d like to share your story, but not have it published on the blog.

We hope this blog is a stepping stone on the way to a university and community that is free from sexual violence.

 

Aroha nui

 

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submit

Submission have closed, VUWSA appreciates everyone who shared, email us at metoo@vuwsa.org.nz if you have any questions.

 

 

entries

 

This is where your entries will be posted. You can choose to provide your gender identity and age. We hope to upload your stories as quickly as possible within 48 hours of when you submit. If you have any questions email us at metoo@vuwsa.org.nz

 

 

My incident began at a party that the perpetrator and I both attended. We had mutual friends and were initially attracted to each other upon meeting. He began flirting with me and I welcomed the attention even though I had a boyfriend who was living away at home for the summer. We both went to town with friends and as the night wore on it became clear that he wanted me to go back to his house with him. By this time I was seriously considering my behaviour and feeling to blame for it having gone this far. Instead of just saying no I remember forming half hearted excuses about how I wasn’t sure, that I had to get up early anyway and I just wasn’t super keen etc etc. He went on to assure me that he wouldn’t try anything, to just come for an hour and smoke with him, that his place wasn’t far and if I wanted to stay I could sleep in his flatmates bed. I very very reluctantly agreed and in hindsight I know I should’ve just said no. Though I 100% own my decision to leave with him, it shouldn’t in any way minimise the behaviour that I had put up with or the behaviour that continued on his part. Anyone raised with an ounce of respect or empathy would’ve known that if I really wanted to go it would’ve been clear, that over an hour of relentless persuasion and excuses was not needed. As soon as we got to his house, (which was much more farther than he had described) it was abundantly clear he didn’t mean anything of what he had said (surprise). He began trying to have sex with me, pinning me down and kissing me, at one point he asked me to put my hands up above my head when we were on the bed. I immediately understood that if I had done that I would’ve been completely defenseless and that he most certainly could’ve raped me. I was scared in knowing that he had that power over me and that I was now considering the prospect that he might. I was far from home with no phone (another stupid decision) and needed to leave but I knew now that I was completely at his mercy so making him angry could leave me in a very bad situation especially as I felt he was already getting impatiently aggressive. I put up with his crap until I felt it was the right time to tell him now very firmly that I was finished with this and would like to go home. He became extremely upset and when I asked to use his phone to call myself an Uber he lied and told me he didn’t know where it was. When I found it beside him on his dresser he said I had to buy it myself which I agreed and then made excuses about how he couldn’t log out of his Uber account. All the while trying to persuade me to stay and that I could sleep in his flatmates room and that he wouldn’t try anything. Bullshit. I called the Uber and even as the Uber was pulling up he was still pinning me down on the bed and asking me to stay and getting upset. I pushed him off and grabbed my stuff and left in the Uber crying. When I got home my friend came and comforted me and noticed I had red marks all over my body from where he had been pinning down and throwing me around the bed. I felt stupid and I felt like it was my fault. To top it off, after confiding in another friend about what had happened he told everybody including the perpetrators friends and I was suddenly confronted with lots of people interested in my side of the story but doubting the legitimacy of my claims. I felt like because I consented to go to his house with him that I had signed an abuse waiver or something. Though he hadn’t raped me or successfully coerced me into sex ( I don’t personally see the difference) he most certainly would’ve if he could’ve. People made me feel like I had signed that abuse waiver or that I was at least partly to blame. They thought I was a liar or at the very least frigid for not going through with what he wanted. I felt like my friend had taken control of the situation and robbed me of my agency. As if to add insult to injury, the friend who passed this story around went back to the perpetrators house later in the year to celebrate his 21st birthday. I feel outraged that somebody could treat me this way and invalidated in how it was later handled. To this day it still feels like people think I’m a liar or that it was my fault that this had happened. I still haven’t told my boyfriend because I think in some way I partially believe them and that it would be classed as ‘cheating’.

Female, 18 - 21

I was in a Halls in 2015. I was out with friends, and I noticed this guy hitting on one of my less experienced friends, who seemed uncomfortable. I tried to take his attention away from her so she could leave. He started buying me drinks and flirting with me, and kissing me. He told me I was in the same halls of residence. He asked me to go home with him three times. The first two times I said no, so he bought more drinks. Finally I agreed to go home with him, but I was clear on my boundaries, which I repeated multiple times. One was that he had to use a condom. The condom broke, so he turned me over and inserted himself anyway. I tried to complain and he put his hand over my mouth and told me to be quiet. I was terrified. So I froze and just waited for it to be over.
I was in denial and pretended it was consensual for a long time. I had to see him around the halls and whenever I went for meals. I felt so sick whenever I saw him. I developed anorexia, severe depression, Ptsd, and became suicidal. I had to withdraw from some courses. I was terrified anytime I walked anywhere in the city I would see him, even several years later.
I have since found out that he assaulted another girl two months earlier than me. I know another girl was sent abusive messages because she wouldn't give nudes. These are just close friends of close friends, so I know there's more. He's never been held to account, and is out living his life while we suffer.
I never reported to the police, because I didn't think I was a good enough victim, and because our social groups were too interlinked. I felt it would do more harm to me than to him.
I told the halls of residence 2 years later, and talked to them about what they could have done to improve things for me to speak out.
I've graduated now, and working full time, but I still go to therapy, and still suffer

Female, 18 - 21

When I was 13 years old I had my first serious relationship, he was much older than me maybe 16/17. I was very innocent and had never done anything sexual past making out. He would sometimes sneak into my room late at night and we would hang out. At first we started slow just kissing and holding hands, but one night he grabbed my hand and made me touch him. I didn't feel very comfortable and wanted to stop but then he said we needed to have sex since we were dating. I thought he loved me and that this is what love in a relationship meant. He was in control of the situation and started to try penetrate me. I was a virgin at the time and was extremely scared. It hurt and I started crying and begging him to stop. He kept going at first saying it would get better then eventually after I kept pushing him he got off and went home extremely mad at me. After a few days he convinced me he was sorry and invited over to his house since no one was home. The same thing started to happen except this time he wouldn't stop when I said please stop.. so I just laid there not moving silently crying waiting for him to finish.

Female, 18 - 21


I'm not even twenty yet, but there have been far too many incidents already in my life. When I was eight I was chased and groped by a boy twice my age at a campsite while on a family camping trip - I never told anyone (I knew what they'd say - "he's just doing it to get a rise out of you", "it's because he likes you"). When I was twelve the elderly male leader of my scout troop grabbed my bum while I was helping to gather things for some sort of activity - and I never told anyone (who would believe me?). At fifteen I was catcalled regularly by builders while walking home from school, in my uniform. I hated walking past the construction site at the end of my street, but again, I never told anyone - because after all, "it's a compliment" and I should "stop being such a bitch", right? Despite knowing I was asexual, my first partner used to keep pushing for sex even on days when I'd made it clear I wasn't in the right headspace to deal with the emotional drain that sex puts on me. But if you love someone you're supposed to let them, right?
The thing that has made perhaps the largest impact upon me however was in my first year of uni, while living in a hall of residence. From practically the first day I was subjected to many unwanted comments about my body; was groped by drunk guys multiple times (despite not going out myself - they would return to the hall, and so I learnt to hide away in my room instead of studying with friends in the dining room on certain nights when I knew people would come back from drinking). When it came to light that I was queer I faced ongoing verbal harassment from a number of other residents at the hall, with threatening messages being sent to me on social media, often of a violent and sexual nature. At one point one of the male residents even said something along the lines of that I "just needed a good fuck" to "fix" me. Slurs were hurled, and my name-tag and other decorations were regularly ripped off of my door. I used to dread going back to the hall at the end of the day, staying in the library for as long as possible to delay the inevitable, before hiding in my room as much as possible.
I took all of this to my head of hall, who instead of providing support, or in any way reprimanding those responsible (and there was no doubt as to who they were, as the messages online weren't anonymous), told me that I ought to be "less open" about my "lifestyle", because "we have to respect other's views and opinions too" - in effect saying that it was my fault for daring to be openly myself; that by being true to myself I was inviting harassment, and so deserved it. Unfortunately, I am not the first person, nor the last, to have similar issues with that head of hall when it comes to getting support for mental health issues, and gender/sexuality based harassment.
We should never have to hide our true selves in order to be respected. We should not have to change the way we live our lives in order to avoid harassment. We should be listened to and helped when we speak out, rather than told that it's our fault. That we are somehow "asking" for it.
There have been other incidents, and I know I will almost certainly experience more. I plan my journeys so I never have to walk home alone at night. I always make sure I am wearing shoes which I know I can sprint 100 meters in. We live in fear, and we should not have to.

Female, 18 - 21


I had been working at a restaurant/bar for about a month. I had just turned 18 and the independence was intoxicating. During December, we had a lot of Christmas work functions. It was a Saturday night and we were hosting a building company’s end of year party. As the night wore on, the crowd got pretty rowdy – it was an open bar. It was dark in there, and the music was blaringly loud. I had to scurry around the tables, clearing beer bottles and glasses off the tables. Three guys sat around one of the tables as I cleared the bottles away. One guy put his hand out to me in a seemingly innocent way indicating I was doing a good job. I thought he was going to shake my hand. Instead, he seized my wrist and hoisted it onto his friend’s crotch. My hand was forcibly smeared around this guy’s penis like buttering up a baking sheet. An audible gasp escaped my mouth. I managed to escape his grip and I bolted quickly to the door. I told my manager straight away she acted fast. She kicked him out and his bosses at the function were notified. At the time I felt so guilty because I had potentially put his job in jeopardy.

Cis Female, 22 - 25


I was raped in my first year, in my first week, of university by someone in my hall after a night in town. I was roofied that night and woke up groggy and confused the next morning. To this day I do not know for sure who it was because I was unable to see them. This haunted me for the entire year I had to live with this unidentifiable monster.

Female, 18 - 21


I was sexually assaulted at a very very very young age by someone I should have been able to trust. The problem with it happening when I was so young it that I couldn't remember it happening for a long time until last year. Along with the missing memories of the ongoing assault, I forgot most of my childhood. Unfortunately, the only memories I have are the ones that cause me to wake up choking, the ones that make me avoid sleep because I'm so afraid of the memories that used to only come back as nightmares. Now, they hit me at random moments. The problem is, I was so little that I was still learning the concepts of right and wrong. I was so young that I did not know it was wrong. Now I do. Every time someone calls me 'honey' I just shut down. Even worse, I cannot tell you if these memories are true, or if it's just my mind filling in the blanks. But they feel real, and I know the truth of what happened. There was physical evidence on my body of sexual assault. The case went to court, dismissed because I was too young and my version of events could not be trusted. I could have been coerced to say something by adults. But it did happen, I know it did. Yet, I still doubt myself.
Fast forward a few years and I've been groped, catcalled, overheard a conversation where two guys said I looked 'rapeable', had a guy masturbate in my direction we were the only two people on the bus. There's so much more, and sadly I don't think it will stop any time soon. I still struggle to call myself a victim of sexual assault for what happened to me when I was a kid, it almost doesn't feel valid when you can't remember what happened. But I know it did, even though it is only starting to truly affect me now that I understand rape and sexual assault. Rape culture is an issue I will rant and rave about. Speaking up is hard, but I will do it if it means one less person is hurt. Some of the stories my friends have told me about events that have happened to them reminds me just how big this issue is and why rape culture needs to end. Consent is so important and needs to be ingrained into society so rape culture can end and no one ever has to suffer like any victims/survivors have to because of what someone did to them.

Female, 18 - 21


I was sexually assaulted at a very very very young age by someone I should have been able to trust. The problem with it happening when I was so young it that I couldn't remember it happening for a long time until last year. Along with the missing memories of the ongoing assault, I forgot most of my childhood. Unfortunately, the only memories I have are the ones that cause me to wake up choking, the ones that make me avoid sleep because I'm so afraid of the memories that used to only come back as nightmares. Now, they hit me at random moments. The problem is, I was so little that I was still learning the concepts of right and wrong. I was so young that I did not know it was wrong. Now I do. Every time someone calls me 'honey' I just shut down. Even worse, I cannot tell you if these memories are true, or if it's just my mind filling in the blanks. But they feel real, and I know the truth of what happened. There was physical evidence on my body of sexual assault. The case went to court, dismissed because I was too young and my version of events could not be trusted. I could have been coerced to say something by adults. But it did happen, I know it did. Yet, I still doubt myself.
Fast forward a few years and I've been groped, catcalled, overheard a conversation where two guys said I looked 'rapeable', had a guy masturbate in my direction we were the only two people on the bus. There's so much more, and sadly I don't think it will stop any time soon. I still struggle to call myself a victim of sexual assault for what happened to me when I was a kid, it almost doesn't feel valid when you can't remember what happened. But I know it did, even though it is only starting to truly affect me now that I understand rape and sexual assault. Rape culture is an issue I will rant and rave about. Speaking up is hard, but I will do it if it means one less person is hurt. Some of the stories my friends have told me about events that have happened to them reminds me just how big this issue is and why rape culture needs to end. Consent is so important and needs to be ingrained into society so rape culture can end and no one ever has to suffer like any victims/survivors have to because of what someone did to them.

Female, 18 - 21


Most of my sexual assault was during my first and only romantic relationship. I was 16 at the time and this boy was a mutual friend and started chatting to me over Facebook once we met at a friends place. I wasn't particularly interested but he was so relentless with compliments that I continued to talk to him. I guess I was leading him on. We then went to a friends party and it was the first time I really drunk. He hung out with me the entire night and sat on the couch. I could feel him inching closer towards me. I tried to ignore this and talk to my friend next to me. Unfortunately she left and he pulled me over onto him and kissed me. I wasn't super into it but it was just a kiss, so I shrugged it off.
A lot of us decided to crash at my friends, including this boy. There wasn't much space so I reluctantly let him sleep next to me. I was drunk and I just wanted to sleep. As I was drifting off I felt him put shift his entire body to spoon me from behind. He then proceeded to unclip my bra strap (I was sleeping my clothes from the night before) and he moved his hands to grope my breasts. I tried to move his hands back to his side and clip my bra back. He had much more strength. He proceed to dry hump me from behind and kiss my neck. I tried to shuffle away and kept trying to move his hands away, but he kept groping and dry humping me. He tried to put his hands in my pants but my jeans were too tight. I eventually feel asleep as he continued to feel me in places I never want to be felt. At the time I had not been in a serious relationship nor had I drunk, so I shrugged it off as a normal thing that just happens at parties.
He continued to pursue me and when he wasn't drunk he was really nice so we eventually entered a relationship. I ignored all the negative signs because loneliness to me at that point in my life was worse. Over our relationship he continued to sexually assault me. Whenever I didn't want to have sex he would get angry at me and ignore me. He made me feel bad that if I rejected him it meant that I didn't love him. Anytime I was sick or tired it was just an excuse. There were also some sexual acts which I naturally didn't like. Anytime I said no he always continued to do so regardless and physical force me to performs act on him.
One day he got really angry at me over a silly argument and started to show a very violent and abusive side to him. We broke up.
After breaking up I tried to pursue a friendship. I met with him once at his place to talk things through. He lay down next to me when I watched a movie and without any notice started to ask for sex. He then started undressing me despite me saying no. I was stuck. He was my ride home. I continued to perform sexual acts as he had a really bad temper. I didn't want to risk the chance of him getting angry at me and being stuck on the opposite side of town.
I fully broke ties with him half way into my first year at university. A few months ago he contacted me again. He apologised for what he done. I don't know if I can ever forgive him. He's completely put me off relationships.
I just wanted other people to know that sexual assault can happen within relationships. No partner has the right to demand any sort of sexual act from you.

Female, 18 - 21


New Years Eve, 2017. It's meant to be a happy night filled with hope for the upcoming year, but instead it was a night that almost crushed me.
I was in the Mount, heading to a concert with my cousin and her friends. Had a couple of drinks, but nothing outrageous. At some point, my cousin and I headed to the bathroom, leaving our drinks on the table with her friends. When I came back, though, a group of guys were sitting at the table instead - one was a guy I'd been talking to earlier in the evening. We didn't think much of this at the time.
Later on, around 10:30 I think, my cousin got really out of it. She was acting so drunk, I just thought she'd had too much to drink. But that wasn't the case. She went home, while I stayed with the rest of the group - I was okay at that stage.
My memory goes fuzzy at some point after that, but I do remember enough to piece together what happened.
We were about to head home, so I went to say goodbye to the guy I'd been talking to throughout the evening. I was feeling pretty drunk at that stage, but I hadn't had anything to drink in over 2 hours.
He dragged me into the bathroom, and made me give him oral sex. I think I vomited from how harsh he was being.
He raped me inside that bathroom stall.
If that wasn't enough, he took me back to his place afterwards, I broke my shoes because I could barely walk. I found myself at his place the next morning, and had no idea where I was. This is where it gets really weird, and I still don't understand it - no matter how many times i go over it in my head. He walked me back to where I was staying, at around 6 in the morning, and then texted me (I think I gave my number to him early in the evening) the next afternoon. The only thing that makes sense is that he did this to make sure I didn't remember, and everything was 'fine'. I never replied, and changed my phone number asap.
Okay so basically I got back to my cousin's place that morning, and fell straight to sleep - I still felt drunk, even though I had less than a handful of drinks the night before. Apart from being confused as to why I had a one night stand (It's not something I'd ever done before), the first inkling I had that something was wrong was when I went to the bathroom and I was bleeding, and I didn't have any underwear on. I didn't quite know what to think, and my mind was in so many places, until my cousin woke up and told me she thought her drink had been spiked. I said nothing until my parents came to pick me up and take me back to where they were staying.
The next few days are a blur. I told my parents - they were the first people I told - and that was probably the worst thing I've ever had to do in my life. Especially since my memory had so many gaps in it and even I couldn't understand what had happened.
I was covered in bruises, I had a handprint on my inner thigh. Looking at those every day was torture.
I had to go to a strange pharmacy and get the emergency contraceptive pill that morning, while my memory was so non-existent that I didn't even know if I had been raped or not. That's not even mentioning the STI tests, those were extremely nerve-wracking.
I did not report this to the police. I know I should have, but I blamed myself so much for what happened to me that I couldn't bear the thought of telling my story over and over. Now though, nine months later, the flashbacks and nightmares of what happened that night have gradually put my memory back together like a puzzle, and I do sometimes wish I could have remembered everything straight away so that I would have had a solid report to make to the police.
After all of this, I can honestly say that he did not destroy me. He spiked my drink, he had power over me for that one night, but I know now that it wasn't my fault. That even though my story is haphazard and incomplete, that doesn't make it any less true. I am still in control of my own life, and no one will ever take that away from me. New Years Eve is supposed to be a great night, and it wasn't. Instead of celebrating at midnight, I was being assaulted. Nonetheless, you can be damn sure I'm going to have a great New Years this year - filled with family and people who care about me.

Female, 18 - 21

The first time it happened, It was my 16th birthday. He took my virginity. He was my first serious boyfriend. He took me for a picnic for my birthday, we hung out on the grass at a local park in the sun. It was a nice afternoon. After a couple of hours of sun and conversation he told me that he wanted to show me a spot that he used to go to as a kid, and I went with him. It was a short walk from where we were, he took me to a hole in a fence behind a local bowls club. When we climbed through there were a lot of trees and bushes with a little clearing and a nice view of the city. We started to kiss. He started to get a bit to carried away and I said I wanted to stop. He didn’t stop, he said “oh come on, I know you want to”. I was trying to come up with excuses so he would stop, I said I didn’t want to get my top dirty. He pushed me down and started to undo my pants. I kept saying so and trying to talk him out of it but he wouldn’t stop. He held me down and raped me. I knew it wasn’t ok but I didn’t want to tell anyone incase they said it was my fault, or that it wasn’t really rape because he was my boyfriend, so I kept my mouth shut. It wasn’t till a couple of years later that I realised that it’s still rape even if you are in a relationship with the person.

Na, 22 - 25

He was my first boyfriend, in high school. We broke up when we were fifteen and got back together two months later, but things had changed. He tried a few times to go further when we were making out but I always pushed his hand away. One day though, he sat me down and said that I had to change, that I had to compromise. I thought that because I'd said no so many times, I owed him a yes.
I hid my face every time because I couldn't pretend to enjoy it. I cried afterwards sometimes, but he would just get frustrated. I was terrified of telling him I was on my period because he treated them like they were disgusting medical conditions and that being on mine made me disgusting.
If I ever said anything about not really enjoying sex, he would stop talking to me - often for hours.
I dreaded every time we hung out at his place, but I loved him so much.
There were also subtler things. One day at school I jokingly cupped my own breast and he yelled at me that it was inappropriate, but then the next week he just straight up groped me in class. I was so angry and he couldn't understand why. He thought he owned my body more than I did.
After we broke up he told everyone that we'd had heaps of sex and that I was a kinky sex fiend. I was mortified but I couldn't bring myself to tell anyone my side of the story. I felt dirty.
The thing was, he had a physical disability. And who's going to believe that a guy in a wheelchair could ever force you to do anything? Anyone can be an assaulter.
I didn't really admit to everything that happened until a counselling session three years later where I just cried my eyes out. I'm so sad that this can still affect my relationships. Consent is not a compromise.

Female, 18 - 21


He was my ex. I agreed to stay the night, and I knew he still had feelings for me, so I never thought I was ‘allowed to call it sexual assault’. We were together for almost 2 years in high school and broke up when I moved away for Uni. I quickly adjusted to my new life here but he had a harder job doing so as he stayed in our home town, he would message me often saying how he missed me and I would say I missed him too. I made it clear however that I had no feelings for him anymore before I came back to visit home in the uni break. I saw him at a mutual friends party (although neither of us were drinking) and he asked me if we could go somewhere and talk. I agreed and it ended in him distraughtly begging for me back. I sympathized with him so ended up agreeing to go back and stay at his for the night, not before making it very clear that we were just friends now. When back at his we started to watch a movie, during it he kissed me and I moved away - he could tell I was uncomfortable and apologised. About 15 minutes passed and he tried to kiss me again, this time also trying to put his hand up my shirt. Once again I moved away and told him I didn't want to do anything. About another 15 minutes goes by and he spoons me, making it obvious he is hard and trying to push it against me, AGAIN I move away and make a sound indicating I was uncomfortable. So the last time he starts telling me how much he misses me and if I could ‘just do this for him’. I say nothing. he starts kissing me again and i still say nothing. So I let him have sex with me as I just lay there, I remembered I started crying - not that he noticed. Once he was done he made me swallow it and then started cuddling me telling me how much he still loved and missed me. I was confused for a long time, not thinking I was allowed to call it rape and still have trouble calling it that now because I didn't ‘fight back or push him off me’ even though I made it very obvious not just leading up to it, but many times before this day that I was no longer interested in anything with him. I thought he just had a right to my body because of our past. But he didn't. I now realise that.

Female, 18 - 21


At the beginning of 2016, I was raped. And when this first happened I laughed it off. I woke up after that drunk night out, with a stranger in my bed, I went into the kitchen and I laughed about it to my friends like it was just a one night stand. Like I consented like I wanted it to happen. Because truth be told it was easier to make a joke out of something you hardly remember than to think about the seriousness of that situation or how you actually feel. The night before that morning was a complete blur. I remember hooking up with the guy that raped me - and being fine about that. But I told him I didn’t want him to come home with me. But he got in the taxi. I was scared. I didn’t know him. and I didn’t want him there. I knew I was really drunk, and I just wanted to go home and sleep. I remember snippets of him having sex with me. I could hardly move, let alone participate in what was going on. I bet myself up over this because I thought he probably thought it was okay because we were hooking up in town and I was probably acting as if I wanted it. It was probably my fault. - I told myself this for a really long time. I was so scared the next morning that I didn’t even look at his face - and then he left when I was in the kitchen. I don’t even know what he looks like. and I hate it. I hate that I could walk past him on the street and have absolutely no idea. That night just completely haunts me and it's completely changed how I view sex and men. I can’t help but feel used and abused and I have it stuck in my head that I’m just an object to men. All they want is sex - even though rationally I know that’s not the case. I’ve tried to let men get close to me since then, but it sucks. I don’t enjoy sex anymore and I want to. I wish I viewed things differently. I just don’t want to give them that part of me that this man took away from me almost 3 years ago.

Female, 22 -25


Before going to university, my romantic feelings had never been reciprocated, then, all of a sudden, they were. And there were other parties also interested. I was so overwhelmed and excited at the same time, someone liked me back!
A couple of weeks in, I had my first kiss and was kind of seeing this boy. But then things started going too fast and I thought he would want me to have sex with him, so I ended it before things even got started.
A couple of weeks later another boy came into the picture. He was happy to take things slow, or so I thought.
It did start off nice and slow, going at a pace I was comfortable with. But as the months went on, he wasn't satisfied and wanted to have sex. He wanted to have his time with someone who was also having their first time. I didn't want to.
As we kept navigating our relationship he became more sexually frustrated and I slowly gave in to more and more intimate activities. I don't really know if I wanted to, or if I just wanted to stop him banging on about how much he wanted to have sex. It became an emotional blackmail. It always felt like my fault. My fault for being innocent. My fault for being naive. My fault for not 'living'. My fault for not taking advantage of my youth. My fault that he hadn't had sex yet. Eventually, I broke up with him.
I always thought that although I hadn't really wanted to do anything, that I had consented because I let it happen. I still don't know if I didn't, but what I do know is that I didn't want to do it and I wasn't having fun.
At the time we didn't know it, but he was battling depression and demons from the past. I don't blame him. I blame the fact that we aren't taught how to respect someone's decision. We aren't taught what consent truly is.
I stayed true to me and got out of there. I am now in a healthy fully consensual sexually active relationship and I'm loving it <3

Female, 18 - 21


I was a first year living in a new city, and he was my first year tutor. It started with him buying a group of us drinks at the uni bar a few times. We all thought it was a bit odd, but because he was our tutor, we didn't question it. We were only first years, so what right did we have to say no to a tutor? After one of these nights, he invited himself back to ours. Nothing out of the ordinary happened that night, but I felt like something was not quite right. It seemed odd for someone of his age to want to hang out with us first years. A few weeks later, he invited himself to drink with us again. However, this time he decided we would all go back to his flat after a while. My friends seemed keen on the idea, so I went along with it. It was fine, until two of us decided to leave. We were going in separate directions, so the tutor decided to accompany me home. It was during this walk that he started trying to kiss me. I didn't know what else to do than to go along with it and let him kiss me. I knew I was almost home so I could get rid of him then. However, when we were almost there, he took my phone from me, and refused to give it back unless I let him come inside with me. We stood outside in the dark for at least half an hour while I pleaded with him to give it back. I was exhausted and just wanted to go to sleep, so eventually I gave in just so I could get inside and go to sleep. When we got inside he started kissing me more, and forcing me in the direction of the bed. He started touching me in places I didn't like, and tried to take my clothes off. This was when I started telling him to stop, but he ignored everything I was saying and kept going. It was clear he wanted sex, but I did not. This cycle of him trying to take my clothes off, me saying no, and him stopping for a few seconds before trying again went on for what seemed like hours. I pleaded with him to leave, even telling him he could come back another night just so I could get him out of my room for the evening. I wanted to scream at him to get away from me and to leave, but I didn't want to wake up people sleeping in the room next to me, let alone have them know I had let my tutor inside. When he realised I wasn't going to give in to him, he decided he would stay the night with me, and try again the next morning. He was strong, so he was able to hold me down next to him on the bed. He fell asleep almost instantly, but I lay awake in fear the entire night. In the morning, he continued pulling my clothes off, and trying to get me to have sex with him. After hours of me begging him to leave, he finally did so only because he had to be somewhere else. I had a long shower, and washed my bedsheets because I felt so dirty. Despite my best efforts to forget the whole incident, I continued to see him around university for the rest of that year. I never reported it to the university because it was my word against his, and I feared that because of this I wouldn't be taken seriously.

Female, 18 - 21

It all began when I started making-out with one of my closest friends. I was 17, he 14, and a little while after he turned 15 he asked me to take his virginity. I said no – that he was under age, that kissing was one thing but sex was another. He told me we were alright and that he respected my decision. About a month later I went to a party and a drunk classmate came up to me. He put his hands on my waist and said, “I’ve heard about you.” I was confused, thought it was just him being drunk but then he went on to say explicit things like how I apparently “cum hard.” He said my friend (I’ll call him Seven) had told them about how we’d had sex on the school field, about how I’d get on my knees anytime Seven asked for a blow job and more. None of this happened! I’d only ever had sex twice but suddenly my entire year thought I was a ‘slut’. When I started trying to tell people he had made it all up I was labelled a liar, I lost friends who sided with Seven, I had people message me saying I was just an ‘embarrassed slut’.
Seven’s dad was a teacher at the school and suggested that we see the school counsellor. Straight away the school counsellor took sides and said I needed to apologise, I don’t know if it was because he went to the counsellor first or his dad was a teacher but no matter what I said (like that I had screenshots of Seven admitting to another guy that he had started the rumours) she didn’t believe me. She left us in a room together to ‘talk it out’ and Seven came and sat beside and started trying to put his hands up my skirt. I pushed his hands away and then he tried to kiss me – I was completely gobsmacked he was doing this after everything. It ended up being a game of cat and mouse, I got up and put the table between us and he would follow me, around and around the table we went until I ran out of the room.
What this meant was later at university when I really needed to see a counsellor I couldn’t make myself go. I had no trust. I had a deep hate for counselling, and the thought still makes me uncomfortable even though I know rationally not all counsellors are the same. It also frustrates me that Seven didn’t, and still probably doesn’t, understand how stuffed up it all was – how much it hurt that one of my best friends betrayed my trust. I wish I’d never met him.

Female, 22 - 25


In the summer between high school and first year of Uni I went through a difficult break up from a long term relationship and began a 'rebound' fling with a guy. He was moving to Australia at the end of the summer and was determined to lose his virginity before he left. I told him I wasn't the right girl for it and wouldn't be comfortable sleeping with him after not knowing him for long and having just gone through a break up. It was the source of a lot of fights. I remember texting him and saying 'I understand that losing your virginity is really important to you and that's fine with me, if you want to call this off because of it I will understand but i just really don't want to do it', he said it was fine. It wasn't. He continued to bring it up and told me all his friends would 'think i was a bitch' if I didn't do it. He put so much pressure on me that one day I just gave up and let him do it. I just lay there and waited for it to be over. I've struggled with this so much over the years because I don't know if it counts as rape or sexual assault, I did consent to it after weeks of manipulation and I don't want to minimise anyone elses experiences by claiming mine is something that maybe it isn't. I wish he could read this. I haven't seen him since then (5 years ago) but I truly hope he has learnt about consent and that he never belittles a woman and her feelings in order to have sex with her like he did to me. Thanks for creating a forum to share this, I haven't until now.

Female, 22 - 25


I lived in the halls in first year. I had plenty of consensual sex that was enjoyable, but one incident comes to mind which was not. It was a normal weekday night, I wasn’t drinking and nor was he to my knowledge. A boy came over, I knew him. We were getting it on when I started to give him head. He then starts pushing my head down too much and I retaliate but then he pushes my head so hard, when his penis so deep in my throat that I vomit. I’m in tears. And he says to continue but I say I don’t want to. He grabs my hair and forces me to. He tells me not to tell anyone because I am an embarrassment. He leaves me in my vomit and tears.

Girl, 18 - 21

I was 19 living in a second year hall. First year was very lonely for me so I was so eager to have friends. I was at a party, we had been drinking and it was the most I had ever drunk. Slowly everyone left the party and it was just me and the host left who I was friends with. I offered to help him tidy up. He invited me to his room and offered me another drink. I accepted. We were talking about life on his bed. Then I was standing up, I don’t know why but I was. He started to hug me from behind and I felt so uncomfortable. He asked me if I wanted to kiss, I declined and I said I didn’t want to ruin our friendship. He kept asking me over and over again, trying to convince me it wouldn’t harm our friendship. I eventually gave in. I went to leave, but somehow he convinced me to stay. He convinced me to do a lot of things I didn’t want to do that night. He told me he wanted to fuck, I didn’t want to and I used the fact that he didn’t have any condoms to get out of it. Since I wouldn’t have sex with him he asked me to give him oral sex. As if I owed it to him. As if it was my duty to get him off since I wouldn’t have sex with him. He pressured me and kept asking me until I gave in. I gave him oral sex very reluctantly. I stopped. He still thought he deserved to get off. He told me to lie on the bed as he masturbated on to my body. He told me other girls liked this. I felt so disgusting. He walked me home and asked me if I was going to shower as I think he was hoping to shower with me. I told him I was too tired and that I was going to shower tomorrow. When we arrived at my flat, he told me he was sorry and that he had overstepped the mark. I said it was okay. It wasn’t okay at all. The next day I felt so dirty. I stayed in bed all day. Months later I read that consent must be an 100% enthusiastic yes and that what I had experienced was actually sexual assault. What had happened to me wasn’t okay and no-one should ever be pressured into doing sexual acts that they aren’t comfortable with. This is why it is so important for consent to be taught early on.

Cis Female, 22 - 25


I'd been with my high school boyfriend for about year when we went to the ball together, I was 16 and he was 17. We had a tiny party afterwards at my place (where everyone was completely sober) but he kept saying he was tired and he wanted to go to bed. So my friends went off to the spare room and we went to my bedroom. Almost immediately he started removing my clothes, I told him to stop and he pouted and laid down on the bed. I got myself undressed and he took this as cue to begin assaulting me. I kept saying no, but he ignored me telling me how beautiful I looked tonight. I eventually had to give up as he was beyond stopping. I closed my eyes and imagined nothing was happening, this worked as I have managed to block this memory out for the last three years. This boy stunted my emotional growth for two years and it's fucked that he has no idea how much he's affected me. Rape within relationships is so common but it's so hard to talk about without people dismissing you as overreacting. It feels good to share this.

Female, 18 - 21


Sometimes it's those who are close to you that you hurt you more. He was supposed to be my uncle. Sometimes when you have a night out, you just want a good time with family and friends and sometimes things just go over the top. This night started off as a memorable, enjoyable one. But, ended in tears and frustration. The point of family is to be there to support you no matter what, not be an addition to what hurts you.
That night, we were supposed to walk to the car where everyone else was. But, before we even got to the car, there was a dark walkway on the left side. That's where he dragged me into. and became all aggressive. Being so drunk, it was hard to fight back and push him because I couldn't even hold myself up. But, I felt like an Angel could hear me cry, because all I heard was someone walking towards us shouting out my name and before you know it, he let go of me. Who would've thought that helping an UNCLE to their car would end this bad. But, he apologised, but wasn't very sincere.. all i got was "Sorry, I was real wasted last night." That's all
If it were a random guy, there is a possibility it would not be as heavy as it is right now. But, it's not. It's hard speaking up because the last thing you want is your family to be divided and your families trust in you gone!!
I posted it on here to VENT and let go because talking about it in person will just bring all kinds of emotions out and I know for sure it won't be safe.

Female, 18 - 21


My friends and I were invited round to a beach house from a group of girls we knew from another school. I was 16 at the time and sober drove all of us over after we were ready. I had been dating a girl for 3 years who I was in love with but she wasn’t coming with us.
On the way over, my friends were drinking a lot and having a good time so when we arrived at the beach house I was playing catch up quite aggressively, skulling large amounts of vodka on an empty stomach. As a result, after a few hours I was comatose in the bathroom holding on to the toilet for dear life with the girls who’s parents house it was looking after me.
She was pleasant and I really trusted her that she was looking after me but when everyone else had left she stripped my clothes off and shoved me in to bed. I was blacked out and woke up periodically to her on top of me or her performing sexual acts on me. I remember her smacking my face when I tried to object and held my hands back by my head so I just lay there coming in and out of consciousness.
In the morning, I woke up completely naked, lying in my own vomit alone. When I had showered it started all coming back to me and the shower just couldn’t go hot enough to make me feel clean and stop from being so cold.
My friends didn’t take me seriously, thinking “how can a girl rape a guy? You’re a guy so you wanted it, you just regret sleeping with her afterwards. You’re a man so you could have stopped it if you wanted to.
My girlfriend thought I had cheated, my family and friends thought I had cheated. I’ve lost people I care about over this, I haven’t had sex or attempted a relationship since this incident because men can’t be raped by women.

Male, 22 - 25

He was my first boyfriend but to be quite honest I barely knew him at all. I had just turned 16 and he was nearly 18. I stayed the night at his house thinking it was what I should do, not really thinking if it was what I wanted to do. He was a self-professed alcoholic, spirits mainly, so being impressionable I naturally felt as if I should join him, keep up with him, when really I hated the taste and I had never had more than a couple of beers at a family function. I told him I didn’t want to have sex, that I wanted to wait, that I wasn’t ready. But he kept pushing and trying and touching me in ways I didn’t enjoy but thought I was supposed to. And then honestly, I got sick of him pressuring me so much so I gave in, mainly because I wanted it to be over. I lay there feeling violated, used, disgusted in myself, but also confused because wasn’t this something you did with your boyfriend anyway? I’ve since talked to him about it, a few years later, and he said he values sex so little and didn’t stop to think that maybe I didn’t feel the same. I still feel resentful that that was my ‘first time’ and it didn’t even feel vaguely enjoyable let alone special. I continued to see him though, and every time after that when we would have sex it would be the same feeling of necessity over pleasure, duty over desire. I’m not sure if I can call it rape, or even assault, as technically it was my ultimate decision that first time and every time after that, but it definitely doesn’t sit well with what I believe a healthy relationship should be like. Ultimately, it set me up to have a very conflicting relationship with sex and my body, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully forgive him for that. And I don’t even know if I should.

Female, 18 - 21

 

I was at the botans drinking with some travellers but got distracted by talking to some other people I knew there, so when I got back to my traveller friends, I quickly sculled back my whole bottle of wine to catch up to them... But then i decided to leave early because I had a 9am class the next day. On my walk home, the alcohol kicked in and i decided Tinder was a good idea (had ever used it in the past). I booty called this guy who decided he would come over soon, but just before he left, i messaged him again telling him not to worry cos I was pretty tired and was just gonna sleep. But he decided to uber anyway. When he got to mine I was still awake so I got up to meet him. He started hooking up with me on the street and I was thinking woah buddy that's a bit quick but whatever... Then I brought him inside, into my room but everything was happening too quickly, he pulled my dress off and undies down and started going down on me straight away. I said "no, no, stop I'm too drunk, I'm too drunk" and was going to tell him to go home so I could sleep but he said "okay okay It's okay, consent is really important to me" so I thought oh okay he's probably harmless then and I'm too tired to kick him out so I just let him stay here next to me... Woke up a couple of hours later to him spooning my now naked body, rubbing his penis on my bum, fingering me (vagina and anus) and kissing my neck.... At first I froze, thinking wtf is going on omg omg omg, pretending I was still asleep for a bit longer until I was ready to rage "WHAT THE FUCK! I WAS ASLEEP" i yelled at him...

Female, 18 - 21

 

Unfortunately my experiences with sexual assaults started when I was 6. I was raped at 15. I thought that starting a fresh in a new country would be the best way to heal. I was confronted with the reality that I was mistaken. Walking down to town one night with my then boyfriend, some guy stuck his hand up my dress and grabbed me. I was so stunned that this happened so "casually" that by the time I turned around the person was gone. My boyfriend's reaction should have been a hint for what was to come. Fast forward through various types of groping and harrassment in town, I thought I was past it as I didn't go out anymore.
Till my ex-boyfriends birthday.
We started drinking at our house with his mates that had come round and our flatmates. Long story short, we made our way into town. We got into a bar and headed straight to the dance floor. While I was dancing I started to feel hands going down inappropriate places, much to my horror it was one of my ex boyfriends best mates. His body was right up against me and I could feel everything. I shoved him off and tried to get away but it was so packed that I couldn't. I tried to tell my then boyfriend about it, to which he seemingly ignored. Finally, he decided that he needed to take his mate home. Phew, finally some relief. His other best mate proceeded to shove his hands in my underwear and under my clothes. I was stunned. I froze. Flashbacks from my rape started coming up. I knew I wanted to get out of there but my legs just weren't moving despite the fact I felt like I was going to implode from begging them so hard. My ex finally showed up again and I told him something had happened without going into the specifics. I started retreating and becoming a shell of a human. I was still living with one of the guys that attacked me. But because I was told that "they were just drunk" I felt stupid "making a big deal out of nothing" so I continued to keep my mouth shut. To this day my ex still hangs out with these despicable humans. He still staunchly defends them and reasons that they were just drunk. I still can't believe there despite him knowing my history AND knowing what happened (I finally told him when I broke up with him) he still defended them. The past five years with him ended up being destroyed. I still have flashbacks to this day. I haven't quite healed from it. I just hope to God he hasn't let this happen to someone else.

Female, 22 - 25

 

*I have used a pseudonym for the perpetrator*
I was a high school student. He was my Deputy Head Boy.
Hindsight is a powerful thing. I didn’t understand terms like “power” or “oppression”, and the impact the two together would have on your average 16 year old girl.
This is the story of how I was almost raped at 16 years old. Blue was a familiar face, perhaps even a friendly one. He was captain of the First XI football team and went to the same parties. Blue was always joking, but his girlfriend never seemed to like many of his jokes. My boy was on the football team and liked Blue’s jokes. Before Blue got his girlfriend, he had shown an interest in me. I was 14 years old when he took me into a room at my party. I remember being told what to do and how to position myself. I was incoherently obedient amongst the total darkness of a stranger's room. A light turned on and I remember being taken out by another girl. She asked if I was okay and I don’t ever remember responding. Blue was pinned against the wall, interrogated by questions like “Did you hurt her?”
I am now 16 years old. It was just Blue and I at this party. Our other friend had left, and Blue offered to walk me home. Relief - I was scared to walk home alone. Blue seemed very thoughtful - this was the complete opposite direction to where he lived. He must of really wanted me to get home safe. I felt safe. You are always told to get a boy to walk you home - especially after parties. But we were just friends, Blue. And I trusted you.
He walks me to the door and I say goodnight. I slump into bed and seconds away from unconsciousness I hear a knock on the door. Blue wanted to sleep on the floor - his house was so far away and it was very late. His parents would be upset, we were out late for a couple of 16 and 17 year olds. I gave Blue a blanket and pillow, satisfied that I was helping him out just as he had helped me out. After all, I wouldn’t have got home safe without his company. I made the mistake of turning out the light and going to sleep.
A soft touch - up and down, up and down my leg. Warmth. I could feel body warmth. I sat up straight and there he was - next to me in bed. Blue said he was cold on the floor and not to worry, we could top-and-tail. After all, we were just mates. We had boyfriends and girlfriends - don’t be so absurd. I rolled over and faced the wall. Again, a soft touch - up and down, up and into my pants. Fingers navigated through my underwear, and forced themselves inside me. It was hard to move - I tried to roll over and he rolled on top of me. “What are YOU doing Blue?” - “Please stop” - “Get off me please” - “Please stop, you’re hurting my wrists”. He fastened his grip on my wrists and whispered in my ear, “Let's finish what we started”. Those words still ring in my ears today.
After 20 minutes of his fingers inside me, I broke free a wrist and punched him in the face. Blue turned into Red. Blue was angry. He withdrew his fingers, and threw himself back onto the floor. I froze. I was paralyzed against the wall for protection. Clink, clink - I woke up to the sound of his belt buckle being put back on. I sat up and he was staring at me, “If you know what’s good for you, don’t say anything to anyone else”. His departing words haunted me for the next week. I called my boyfriend, my best friend and my other friend. My boyfriend asked if I was okay and then never followed it up - after all, he was one of the boys. My best friend said she believed me and then told Blue’s girlfriend I had sex with him on the weekend. My best guy friends response was “I don’t know if I believe you - Blues a cool guy and I don’t think he meant it like that”. It was a week after I was almost raped, and I was labelled a slut.
I wanted to get help. I wanted to talk to someone - the school counsellor. He was also the First XI Football coach and a family friend of Blue’s. I couldn’t tell him, so I did nothing about it. Blue avoided me at school - all I could focus on was his silver striped blazer and badges of glory. I watched him at assembly’s - reporting on the football teams latest win. Everyone cheered - I didn’t.
A couple weeks later and I’m in the cafeteria with my boyfriend. Blue walks towards us - I feel sick. I move out the way and he smiles at me. He stops to address my boyfriend and apologises for the other weekend. My eyes fill with tears. My boyfriend smiles and shakes his hand - lads. Blue had paid his dues, by apologising to my boyfriend for sexually assaulting ME. I can’t watch another football game without thinking of Blue. I can’t be friends with boys without thinking I am being sexualized or romanticized. I don’t feel safe if a boy is walking me home - everything is coloured in Blue.

Cis Woman, 18 - 21

 

I was sleeping with a friend who was my neighbour last year. One night I was very very drunk but he invited me over so I went and told him 'I'm too drunk to do anything though.' He said that was fine but when I woke up in the morning I knew something had happened but I didn't remember anything. I then went back and stayed at his flat again a few weekends later and the same thing happened except I remember what happened and I remember that I kept passing out while it was happening and that I couldn't hold my head up because I was so dizzy and drunk and that I cried afterwards and he didn't seem to care. I feel so guilty for going back and for being stupid enough to trust him but I thought he was my friend and I was in such a lonely, vulnerable place.
I have only just started talking about it and working through it and it's so so difficult but getting it off my chest has felt like such a relief I didn't even realise how much it was weighing me down and affecting my relationship. I don't hate the guy but I do hate what he did and I wish there was some way of protecting other girls from having the same thing happen to them, because so many of my friends have such similar or worse stories.

Female, 18 - 21

 

I was working in a restaurant over Lion's tour weekend a few years ago. I was taking a tray of drinks over to a table of young British guys, when one pulled me into his lap and asked me to come sit down with them. I immediately stood up, left the drinks and told my manager. She told me they were "just being lads, British boys are just like that" and not to worry about it. I quit not long after that.

Female, 22 – 25

 

I was 14 years old when a friend of mine invited myself and a couple of friends over to his has to drink. I had been friends with this male for a while and trusted him completely. I had to leave early because my dad had to get up earlier the next day for work. I told my friend that I was leaving and proceeded to head out the front of the house, to which he followed me. He sexual assaulted me and told me that since I liked other boys I should like that. That I had been flirting all night with him and that I wanted it. My dad quickly arrived and I jumped in the car to drive home and never think about that incident again until my 18th birthday. At first I didn’t understand that what happened to me was sexual assault because I believed him when he said, it was my fault. But now through therapy and counselling I understand that it is my body and I am in control. Thursday’s in black are important to me because they remind me, I am not alone. That I am understood and that people believe me. My attacker has also come to Victoria University with me and I do see him around quite often. So I hope he sees Thursday’s in black and realises what he did was wrong and can learn from his mistakes.

Female, 18 - 21

 

In first year, I was living in a hall of residence. A group of us went to a flat party and a guy from my hall noticed that I was upset. I was also drunk and feeling dizzy. He comforted me and took me back to the hall in an taxi. When we got back to my room, he stayed and wanted to have sex. I really just wanted to go to sleep. Afterwards I felt disgusting. I told him - I'm going to have a shower, and when I come back I want you to be gone. I took a shower and scrubbed a lot. I never told him how I felt about what happened because I didn't really know what had happened to me and I didn't want to cause trouble in our hall. I wanted to move on and forget about it. Put it down to bad sex. I found out later that other people had said that this guy had slept with other girls when they were drunk and upset. My mates told me they thought it was assault, but I felt I didn't remember well enough to say for sure. And to say you've been assaulted feels really scary and serious. I wish it hadn't happened.

Cis woman, 22 - 25

 

When I went out one night, my friend got us talking to this guy. We had drank a lot, and also taken some drugs.
He was really friendly and wanted us to come with him and his mates back to his place. He took us on a bit of an adventure round town - and we eventually ended up at his mum’s place - just me, my friend and him. He didn't turn on any of the lights - it must have been like 2am. While my friend was patting his cat and looking around, he pushed me into his toilet and kissed me, and kept fumbling under my skirt. I kissed back because I didn't really know how to say no and I didn't want to push him off in his house or cause a scene. All pretty silly reasons I feel now, but it's so hard in the moment. I decided I wanted to leave and told my friend. I said I didn't want to get with him (or at least I think I did). She bought him back to our hall with her. Said they were going to watch movies together in her room.
I didn't really trust the whole situation - so when I left them to go to bed in my room, I kept my door unlocked so she could come in.

It was him that came in though when I was asleep. He kept pushing his fingers past my pajama pants and inside me. When he kissed me I still sort of kissed back I think (sorry this is all really fuzzy and I was sleepy and drunk - my memory has missing bits). I feel really bad about not having been clear with my body language at the time - but I also know I was drunk and asleep and he came in my room without my permission and it's not my fault. He kept getting on top of me and at one point he took off his pants. He was erect and he kept trying to push inside me. I kept saying no and that I was sleepy and that I didn't wanna do anything without a condom anyway. I'm not sure how long this whole interaction lasted. I kept half falling asleep and then waking up and pushing his hands and stuff away. Eventually I remember getting up to try wake my friend up but she wouldn't get out of bed. Instead I told him I had class really early and he should go. He did leave. I can't really remember after that until I went to my lecture the next day. It's a really complicated scenario and I don't hate him or anything - yeah it just sorta is what it is. It shouldn't have happened though. I've never really reached out for support on this or anything - it took me a long time to understand that it wasn't just a bad experience but something a lot worse I guess.

Cis woman, 22 - 25

 

 I'm a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.
Sometimes I feel like I'm not wanted at this university because of how poorly it helps people like me.
I'll give some context. Survivors of trauma like this often feel like they have been let down by their family, or other authority figures that seem to have failed to prevented them from being abused. So when I get to university, an institution and an authority figure, and it fails to protect me or help me, it goes straight to that fundamental feeling of being failed. It’s simple and obvious, but people don't seem to know it. It's why, as far as I'm concerned, the university has a duty to be proactive and protect trauma victims. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because for many of us when we get let down again and again it is crippling.
I'm a law student. This year I sat a test where I had to write about if people who don't prevent child abuse should be criminalized. The question said to focus on the harm that was being prevented. Before the test I was so, so scared that something like this would happen, that in an already scary exam scenario I would be brought down to tears because of the trauma that I've survived. I couldn't escape the ridiculousness that the harm that I was being asked to write about was the harm that was crippling me at that very moment. I don't know if tests like this should be written, but I do know that it didn't help that the faculty don't seem to understand trauma.The course outline says to contact them if you have concerns about the material. I did. The response was nice in a superficial way, but had no substance. Everything that was said I could have figured out myself. This is bad, and understanding why requires a bit more thinking about what child abuse does. It's incredibly hard to out yourself as a survivor. Many people who have had to do so would fear not being listened to, or nothing being done as a result. That was how I felt. I had outed myself to an authority figure, who had said some nice things but nothing I can use. The energy and the emotions that I had gone through to do so had been pointless. Absolutely pointless.
The university needs to improve health services. There are also many things that can be done for students like me that can come before counseling. From my perspective, it’s better to stop me from ending up crying myself to sleep after a lecture than giving me counselling for it afterwards. Things like trigger warnings, recorded lectures, better communication from lecturers all seem pretty easy to do to me, and would do so much to protect students who have suffered trauma. Today there is a lot of discussion about sexual violence and abuse. That's good, but it is also tiring for survivors. I appreciate and support actions that deal with prevention, but we cannot forget about people that have already been injured by sexual abuse and harassment.

Female, 18 - 21

 

I was sexually assaulted on my way home from a party. The details aren’t important. I mean they are, but not to this specific story. When I got home to my hall I cried and cried and cried into my friend’s shoulder and my friend was told to shut me up by a member of staff. In the morning I went to see a hall staff member. They asked me questions like how much did you have to drink, what were you wearing, had you taken any drugs as if it were my fault. They told me that if I didn’t know who it was, there wasn’t much they could do and the best thing for me to do would be to move on. I couldn’t, not then. I got no support from the university and spent years blaming myself for something that wasn’t my fault.

Female, 22 - 25

 

It's hard to know where to begin on something as personal as this is. I guess we will start by saying my assault was very much a long time ago. I was 11 years old at the time and I barely knew what was right and what wasn't when it came to anything to do with sex or relationships, I went by what my parents told me. What I did know was that how I was feeling feeling during the assault was wrong, and I should not have had to feel that way, especially not in my own bed in my home. My father was a drug addict and alcoholic, and I still believe to this day that the drugs are what led him to do what he did to me. The typical phrases were ingrained into me the night of the assault. ‘’It's our little secret’’, ‘’Don't tell mum’’, ‘’ If the police find out it will destroy our family’’. I spent the entire night shaking, and when I woke up the next morning I felt dirty, like what had happened was my fault because I let dad into my room or because all I did was cry and stay silent. I showered constantly hoping that dirty feeling would go away or that my newfound hatred for men and for father figures would somehow fix itself. I hated my father, but I wanted to protect my family from finding out what he did to me. What I didn't know was that he had done the same thing to my two older siblings; that they were going through the same pain as I was at the time. A few weeks after the attack I couldn't remember what happened to me, I had clearly pushed it so far down as a coping mechanism to move on and continue life as I had known it before the assault. That was until the social worker came. It was then I found out that I wasn't my father's only victim, my older sisters had been through something in the same manner as me; only the oldest wasn't only assaulted, she was raped, not once, but regularly. She too thinking that it was something he was only doing to her. They had gone to the police after speaking to each other about their experiences; and it was a long hard road to get my father convicted of assault - I know that I am in the lucky few who managed to get justice for what happened to them, and I also know now that talking about what had happened to me could have prevented my older sisters from suffering as long as they did. I have been in and out of counselling ever since, and recently diagnosed with PTSD, I am trying to make it work as I continue through my university degree, but there have been many setbacks and challenges - now that I know why I am having so many panic attacks I can start to learn how to work through them and adjust when they happen. I have come a long way since I acknowledged what had happened to me; but there is still a long way to go. The biggest thing I want people to get out of my story is that it is okay to ask for help, and that asking for help does not mean that you are weak but quite the opposite. Staying silent is the easy thing to do; but it is not the right thing to do.

Female, 18 - 21

 

 I was in a relationship for two years with someone who never let me have control over any situation or decision. We lived together. He never listened to me, and respected me enough to even hear what I had to say, let alone consider that what I was saying might be useful, or helpful in someway. He believe that my word meant nothing in comparison to his and I believed it, because I was too blinded by him saying what I wanted to hear. It was always his way or the highway. Sexually it was no different, it was always on his terms.
If I wasn’t interested in having sex with him, there was no leaving me alone until he got what he wanted. No matter how many times I said no, he’d keep coming back soon after and start feeling me up, until eventually I would have sex with him just to get him to leave me alone. Eventually I was no longer interested at all, but it kept happening, and I couldn’t afford to move out due to him being unemployed. I’d try and stay out of the house for most of the day just so I wouldn’t have to. Eventually, I confronted him and told him that coercively turning a no into a yes is not consent. He replied, “well it works.” We broke up and I moved out soon after.
No one has the right to turn your no into a yes, you don’t owe anyone anything. No matter how much you think they love you. It’s easier to change you belief and blame yourself for letting it happen, than it is to stand up for yourself. I did for a very long time, because that’s what I thought it was worth.
Be strong and get out of manipulative and emotionally abusive relationships. You are worth more.

Female, Under 18

 

I was sexually harassed by someone I knew and trusted.
I was nearly 18, and I hadn’t even had my first kiss.
I sat next to this boy, whom I was friends with, on a bus home one night. It was late, and we were in traffic for hours, so he let me sleep on his shoulder. Then he held my hand. Then he kept trying to move it towards his crotch. I kept resisting, but he just got more forceful, forcing my hand down on him. I was innocent and naïve, and I was confused, and didn’t want to believe what was happening because I really didn’t understand.
I told him to stop, and he didn’t. He kept coaxing me, making me feel guilty for not doing anything, like it was no big deal. I held my hands together in my lap firmly, and he gave up, but kept whispering in my ear, ‘encouraging’ me. I didn’t make a fuss because everyone on the bus was sleeping, and probably wouldn’t have helped me anyway.
The next day, on a 14-hour flight, I ended up next to him. I assumed he would just leave me alone. I told him to stop the day before, and made it clear I wasn’t interested. But he didn’t take the hint.
I spent the majority of the flight avoiding his wandering hands, and trying desperately to make him stop, while I just couldn’t make the words “no” or “stop” come out of my mouth. I was terrified. I felt so trapped.
He progressed to putting his hand down my pants. I immediately said that I felt sick and needed to go to the bathroom.
I sat in there shaking and trying not to cry for half an hour, then we hit turbulence. I stayed in the toilet, but an air hostess knocked and told me to go back to my seat.
I didn’t think anyone would have helped me, or even believed me, so I said nothing.
What’s the cherry on top?
The adults I told from the organisation I was travelling with, said to me (a year later) “You’re a pretty girl. It’s not a matter of IF it happens again, but rather WHEN.”

Female, 18 - 21

 

I’m 23 years old, and I was raised in Taranaki. I was fortunate enough to have a good life, a loving family and a great education. I often get told that I’m beautiful, but they don’t say it nicely they spit it at me, as if it’s a bad thing. I wish they didn’t think that because as long as I can remember, men have tried to take advantage of me and more often than not- have succeeded. When I was a child I was abused by a family friend and neighbour. Then in high school, the abuse came in different forms, and hid its head in the form of peer pressure from teenage boys. I willingly surrendered my virginity at 12, after having been abused already. As an adult, I was abused by my partner, who was often also violent. The last time I was raped, was at 21 years old, 2 days after my daughter was born. I can’t explain what it was like. I’ve felt tainted and tarred my whole life. The very first incident shaped the way my life has been so far. I’ve never told anybody this for fear of judgement, and fear that they won’t believe me. It feels so good to get it off my chest. I’m happy now, and safe and my babies are loved. Thank you for providing us with this platform. Nobody would know it, but my whole life it’s affected #metoo.

Female, 22 - 25

 

I was 7. My cousin was about 12. Every time we visited and stayed with his family that year he would kiss me and touch me, and guide my hand to his penis to touch him too. It was 'our little secret.' After months of this happening I finally broke down and told my mum, and ended up going to counselling for several years. He was young and probably didn't understand what he was doing, but I know he knew he shouldn't have done it. He's a father now, and I don't tend to talk about it because it's family, and it could make him look bad. Still, from the age of 7 he made me part of a statistic that shouldn't have to exist.

Female, 18 - 21

I was in town meeting a close friend at the bar and having some drinks, there was a new guy there I hadn't met before who was bragging about paying off straight boys for sexual favours which was a red flag to start with. He offered me money in exchange for sexual intimacy in the bathrooms and I politely but firmly declined on multiple occasions.
At the same time there were some issues around a guy who was harassing and intimidating a girl he had been with the night before. The friend of mine was intending to bring the guy home with her but the girl he was harassing was staying with her at the time and didn't want to be around this guy. I offered to the girl being harassed that she could stay at mine if she needed because I live a short walk from town and I'd sleep on the couch and she could take the bed and just get away from things and feel comfortable without being around the guy who was giving her trouble. She accepted and the person who had offered me money earlier insisted on walking with us back to my place to "make sure she got there safely".
After walking back to mine he invited himself in. He then decided after a while that his house was too far away and it was too late for him to walk home so he would stay. I wasn't happy with this however the entire point of going home with people was to give the girl I was with a place to stay where she felt that she was away from sexually intrusive men so I felt compelled not to raise the issue thinking I would still sleep on the couch and wouldn't have to deal with him making further advances.
After an hour or so of conversation I told them it was time to try and sleep and set myself up on the couch. The girl I was with hadn't noticed the advances of the guy so she felt bad for making me sleep on the couch and insisted we all slept on the bed. Again not wanting to draw her attention to feelings of sexual harassment in any way I said okay and came in to sleep.
At this point the man had noticed that my living conditions and financial state were sub-par so he upped the amount of money he was offering me so that it would be harder for me to say no, I still did.
I was positioned on the end of the bed closest to the wall and he was in the middle. During this time he kept moving closer until he was practically pinning me against the wall, whispering sexual statements and requests into my ear, I continued to say no until he was literally begging me. If it were just him there I would have explicitly told him to leave but I felt like I couldn't say anything about it because I was trying to make the girl I was trying to help feel comfortable. So I didn't say anything but "no", "not tonight", "maybe another time" and other things including pushing his hand away from my body in an attempt to diffuse the situation and make him stop.
It took me hours to get to sleep because every time I started drifting off I would wake up with his hand in my pants or trying to hold my hand or jerk me off, I still have no idea if he did anything to me when I was asleep.
The next morning I had to be happy and cheerful to the girl who had no idea anything was happening. She thanked me for making sure she was safe and comfortable, which was a bit of twisted irony to say the least. The entire morning the guy kept up the same as the night before, asking and begging and offering money for sexual favours.
After I told a mutual friend about it I got a message from him some weeks later about how he did nothing wrong, and that the situation should have been kept private. He then blocked me.
I couldn't sleep in my own bed for a week after that happened.
He was taking advantage of my need for money and my noticeable attempts to NOT talk about sexual assault or raise a fuss at that time. He also made comments that 'clearly I couldn't be that poor if he was offering me money and I refused'. I'm usually an outspoken person who will call people out on predatory behaviour however in those moments I was completely unable to do anything to help myself without ruining the idea of safety and comfortability I was trying to keep the girl in.
It's a bit of a weird twist of fate that in offering to help someone else with issues of sexual assault and harassment I was subjected to the same thing and unable to get out of it.

Male/non binary, 18 - 21

 

Summer of 2014-15. I'd just finished high school and was on my first night out in (Auckland) town. Me and two of my female friends were walking down Queen Street. We see a man on the pavement approaching us. We're standing at the lights, waiting for them to turn green so we can run across and escape him. The light is too slow- he comes up from behind and gropes our bums.
The light changes and we run away. In the moment, I thought to myself "Oh well, what can you expect, that's so normal, can't complain or make a fuss". It's only several hours later when I'm lying in bed at home, and realise how f**ked up it is that I tried to be cool with it, tried to justify it - when that, my friends, is sexual assault.

Female, 22 - 25

 

When I was 19 I was raped by my flatmate and her boyfriend. It broke me and I became severely depressed, suicidal, and have suffered with anxiety ever since.
I decided to become an RA because of my experiences. I wanted to be there for people who had experienced sexual assault. I thought there would be one, maybe two, people who needed me. I was so wrong. I spent hours sitting with young girls crying after being raped. I spoke to a young girl who had been raped by family members from a young age. I witnessed someone about to be raped and if I hadn't been in the right place at the right time then she would've been changed forever. The hall I worked for brushed it off. They didn't want to know, they didn't report anything for fear of media attention or losing their contract with the University.
In the end, I am stronger now because I survived all of it. But so many people won't survive and that's not okay. We can all do more and all it takes is asking someone if they're okay, pulling a mate to the side and asking "Do you want to have sex with them?".
I tell my story so that people around will see that talking about rape isn't taboo, talking can help.
Thank you for starting this blog ❤

Female, Under 18

 

In 2014 I was in a hall of residence in Wellington . It was my first year of uni. I began a casual relationship with someone on my floor at my hall of residence. We were told from day one to ''not screw the crew'' but we were never told how to handle it when it went wrong.
He became violent and controlling, starting to psychologically abuse me until he began to rape me . I denied it to myself it was rape because I didn't want to think of myself as weak or broken. I tried to keep it under wraps. As he continued to ostracise me from my pairs I told one person in my hall. Who advised not to go to the Ra since they was useless anyway. I felt that the hall wasn't going to support me because they made it clear in the previous months that it was on us (residents) to keep the drama to a minimum. There was a rape culture that no one talked about. I spent the rest of the year living with my rapist as he continued to abuse and intimidate me.
The next year I would see them at uni until I just stopped going and eventually dropped out, I continue to suffer from PTSD .
Protect students, most people in halls of residence are young, straight out of high school, naive and innocent.

Female, 22 - 25

 

I was 16 when I got into my first relationship in high school and at the time, unlike the rest of my peers, I was still very, very pure.
We lasted for 8 months and in those last 3 months we realized those would be our last before we both head off to pre-u (I to New Zealand, and him to London), so we wanted to make the most out of it by spending most of our time we could together (me heading to his house whenever he was home alone).
That was when things started to change, he started to try all these things to try "spice" things up in our relationship. Sooner or later I realized that the guy I was with was a hardcore porn addict. He would make me watch every kind of porno you could think of; bear traps, whips, all of it. And then he'd want to re-enact them against my will. And with all that I still kept my mouth shut and went with it because I thought it was a normal thing in every relationship.
Then, it happened. We were showering together one day after a swim still in our swimsuits and he started turning up the heat of the shower, getting the bathroom more and more steamy. I started to feel panicky and couldn't breathe properly. I tried to leave the shower multiple times but every time he blocked my way, cornering me, ignoring my "no's" and cries of discomfort and eventually pressured me into revealing myself nude to him. He held my wrists against the wall and began kissing me and touching me everywhere without my consent and then, he forced me to perform oral sex on him until he was done.
Ever since that we've never had the chance to try having a long distance relationship and he's never tried to contact me. It's like I never happened.
I wish I had talked to someone about it when it all took place, I wish someone would've helped me get out of it and tell me relationships aren't like that.

Female, 18 - 21

 

I was walking home from work, a couple of months ago. It wasn't late, perhaps around 8:30PM through the CBD, I took the well-lit path home. I bumped into an acquaintance of mine, a friend of a friend of a friend, someone I hardly knew, but I stopped to say hi. He forced me down an ally, and too scared to not comply, I followed. I've tried to block out the next sequence of events, but he forced me to have sex with him, in public. There was no consent, I screamed, and I cried, and I told him no a hundred times. I don't know how long I was with him for, I don't know how long it lasted, but eventually, he had enough and let me leave. I wasn't far from home, but I could barely walk. Eventually, I got my things, got home, I spent probably two hours in the shower, scrubbing myself clean, washing my hair over and over, and trying to get the smell of him off of me. I tried to forget about it until a month or so later I was drunk with a friend and he was walking me home, he came up to make sure I got home okay, and I broke down. I told him what had happened. He was kind, and understanding and sat with me for a long time holding me whilst I panicked and sobbed on his shoulder. I will always be grateful for him, and the time he spent with me that night, without it, I'm not entirely sure what I would have done.
I found out recently, that I am part of the exceptionally small statistic of women who end up carrying their attacker's child, and I am in the process of having a termination so I can try and move on with my life, and from this part of it. I tried to report my assault to the police, who had little empathy for what happened and told me there was little they were prepared to do to help me; now, I am too scared and too ashamed to tell anybody what had happened.
I wish there was more law enforcement would be prepared to do, or that I could do, or that I could rely on the university doing. My attacker attends the University Victoria, and I see him around often. I wonder if he knows what he did was wrong, and the horrendous impact it’s had on my life.

Women, 18 - 21

 

A few years ago I lived in a hall of residence. Overall, I felt that it was an unhappy and unsafe environment to live in and that the hall management were unresponsive to resident complaints and concerns. One night I entered the girls' bathroom on my floor and a male student came in after me, tried to forcibly kiss me and then chased me to outside of the building, asking me to go on a date with him. It made me feel upset and scared. I dreaded the thought of seeing him again, which was unfortunately likely considering he lived on the same floor as me. Initially, I did nothing, however a few weeks later some other girls told me that he had subjected at least two other girls they knew to similar behaviour, except worse, scarier. They locked their doors all the time as he would enter their rooms without their permission and refuse to leave when asked. He would become obsessed, refuse to take no for an answer and become angry and belligerent when he was rejected. As far as we were concerned, it was a matter of when, not if, he would assault or rape someone, if he hadn't already. I felt like I had to do something, both for myself and for the girls who his behaviour made scared and unsafe, but also for the young man himself, who was really just a socially-awkward teenager, who didn't know how to appropriately express feelings or understand the basics of what consent was, and what it did and didn't look like, particularly when alcohol was involved.
This isn't a happy story. Unfortunately, it was the hall of residence which did the real harm and damage to me, not the boy. I contacted my RA for help, and they referred my complaint to the head of the hall. She expressed her relief that someone was finally willing to make a formal complaint and stop this person from continuing his behaviour. The people I spoke to at the hall were empathetic and understanding. Ultimately, I was told that the hall could not do anything, not even inform the boy that a complaint had been made about his behaviour, unless I filed a complaint with the Police. I found out later that this was a complete lie and I still do not really know why I was told this. I explained that I was not willing to involve the Police, that I didn't feel the harassment I had experienced was significantly serious to involve them, but that it did involve a violation of the hall's and the university's codes of conduct. I was told that the decision not to take action was final unless I involved the Police. I felt like this boy needed education, not punishment. I was offered counselling, which I appreciated and which was kind, but ultimately it was him who needed it, not me. It felt like I was being punished for being victimised, for speaking up and for making a fuss.
I didn't make a complaint to the Police and I continued to live meters away from someone who was likely unaware of the profound impact his behaviour had had on me and of how afraid I was. He continued to pursue me in a way which made me uncomfortable and scared long after I had left the hall: he would come to my workplace and try to talk to me, waiting for half an hour to try to get my attention while I desperately tried to avoid any contact with him; he would add me on social media sites repeatedly, even after I had declined his requests, until I eventually blocked him; during my brief foray into the world of dating apps, he managed to find and "superlike" me. It was creepy and scared me but, more than anything else, it frustrated me that there had been an opportunity for the hall of residence to do something about him but they chose to force young women to continue living with someone who preyed upon them. He might have harassed me, but the hall was complicit in allowing it to happen and their response caused me far greater distress. I find it very upsetting to think of the number of people in that hall who likely suffered sexual assault, rape or harassment, who, after building up the courage to report such a horrible incident, would all have been treated the way I was. I believed in the process, but we were betrayed and let down.
I subsequently experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, which I did not even bother to report, I just resigned. I assumed I would be treated the same way the hall had treated me, that my experience would be dismissed and I would be hushed up, made to feel powerless and victimised all over again. The consequences and the harm which resulted from the way the hall treated me have been far-reaching. I often wake up in the night just to check that the house door, bedroom door and windows are locked.
After the stories of the clerks who suffered sexual harassment at Russel McVeagh came to light, the Law Faculty offered an information session and guidance on what to do if you suffer sexual harassment in the workplace. We were told that we could bring such an incident to the attention of Victoria staff, who would provide assistance. I am very grateful to the Law Faculty for demonstrating their support for their students and their willingness to advocate on their behalf, however I felt very uneasy and untrusting considering that Victoria had mishandled my complaint, just like those of the summer clerks. I decided to make a complaint about how my initial complaint was treated and I would urge anyone who has had similar experiences to consider doing so too.
Please, don't be afraid to speak up about these experiences. I know that it's difficult, perhaps one of the most difficult things you'll ever do, even more so when you are treated how I was. But you do have a voice, and the greater number who stand together to call for change, the louder the voice gets. If you are unwilling not able to speak, please know that you aren't alone. There are people who care, who understand how you're feeling and who will raise their voices on your behalf.

Female, 18 - 21

 

During my first year I stayed at a hall of residence and very early on I began an on/off casual relationship with someone in the hall. It only ever happened when we were drunk after a night out, and initially I was okay with the scenario, but eventually lost interest. He would still come to my room and basically refuse to leave until I gave in and had sex with him. He had an aggressive streak so I was scared to say no.
In the middle of all this, one night another guy from my hall had been messaging me during a night out. I got home and nearly passed out on my floor, I was probably the drunkest I'd ever been. He came into my room in his underwear and got into my bed and told me to join him. I did, and he said 'I bet you do this all the time'. He asked to have sex and I said no. He wouldn't leave, and kept commenting on me having sex with other guys, implying that I should have sex with him too. I was so drunk I could barely process what was happening, but I know I eventually I gave in. He slept in my bed and I lay awake the whole night slowly sobering up and feeling like a piece of shit. He told his close friend that he was sober throughout the whole thing. It took me a long time to address this - whether or not there was anything wrong at all. For a long time I blamed myself for just making a bad decision, and even though I've recognised it might be more complicated than that, it still makes me uneasy and upset.

Female, 18 - 21

 

The stories on this blog are so overwhelming, and so brave. I hate how common such extreme abuse is. I was raped by my boyfriend and later by a male at my hall. It took me years to go to the police and they weren't interested. University staff and counsellors were good to talk to but there doesn't seem to be any perception that rapists are dangerous and need to be stopped before they harm others, people just comfort victims and don't want you to actually do anything about it.

22 - 25

 

Halls are wild. So much hallcest and floorcest. The gossip environment makes first year a great time laughing and drinking and telling stories about what the other residents have been doing late on Friday nights. It wasn't until I had an nonconsentual experience and heard the same stories about me that I realised what "rape culture" really meant. I feel I'm able to live with the actual event happening, distressing as it was, but the lack of concern people have for asking for further details about these stories or calling people out for sexual assault is the most disgusting part. I've lost close friends over the incident and some that recognise the abuser's actions didn't want to call them out and are still mates with them. There definitely is a culture of accepting and sometimes encouraging rape in NZ and it's gross that there's no cultural justice on the same level.

Male, 18 - 21

 

Raped by another law student at a university a related social event

Woman, 18 - 21

 

I have 3 experiences to share regarding sexual violence and I want to thank you, VUWSA, for allowing my voice to be heard, for providing a platform for other people to share their stories, and letting us know that we are not alone in this.
2017: My first experience was a trip with some friends and some friends of friends - people who I had never met before. There was a guy that had expressed interest in me in the days leading up to that night but I tried to make it clear that I just wanted to be friends. He was pouring drinks for people, he poured me a drink that was 70% vodka, 30% juice, and told me to finish the whole drink. He kept pouring more and more drinks for me until I could barely understand what was going on. He brought me down to the beach and asked me for a kiss, I can't remember if I said yes or no. I don't remember a lot of things from that night but I can remember him pushing my head down to perform oral sex on him and feeling so horrible and helpless. I felt like it was my fault for accepting the drinks, and for allowing myself to get that drunk, and I felt that no-one would believe me if I told them, because I "wanted it". I pushed these feelings down for so long because I didn't like feeling this way. I now avoid going to certain places if I know that I will have to see him there, because every time I see him I get the same feelings of helplessness and regret. I still don't know if he knows what he did or how it has affected me. Why are we so scared to say no to things if they don't feel right? I have felt this so many times and have said nothing, and I regret what I could have prevented happening if I had just voiced these feelings and said no.
2017: My second experience was while I was walking home from uni one day. It was still daylight outside, and I was listening to my headphones not really concentrating on my surroundings just focused on getting home. I was 3 minutes away from home and as I walk past a van parked on the side of the road I see a man standing there. He had his pants down and was touching himself and making dirty remarks at me. I was scared and started walking as fast as I could. I cried and felt so dirty and violated, no one should ever be subjected to something like that. I called the police when I got home and they said there had been 5 other reports of the same man doing that to other young girls around my neighbourhood. They tried to follow it up but I ended up hearing nothing from them. I can't walk home alone any more for fear of this or something worse happening.
2018: My third experience occurred at a flat party. I was dancing with my boyfriend and some friends and a person who I had never met or seen before started feeling my boobs, my butt, and my thighs. Unlike the previous times, I called him out for it. I asked him what he was doing and he tried to act surprised and innocent. My boyfriend talked to him and made him come apologise to me. His apology to me was "I'm sorry IF I did anything", "I didn't know you had a boyfriend", "I'm drunk I don't know what I'm doing". I was so angry and upset, because it seemed to me like noone believed me when I called him out for what he was doing. I later found out he had been groping other females at the same flat party and no-one had spoken up about it because "it's normal, it happens all the time".

Female, 18 - 21

 

I was 21. They were around 18.
I had been travelling with my partner who came down ill, so I went to have dinner alone. I was walking back to the hostel at 8pm in a busy public space when three boys came down the footpath in front of me.
They were laughing and joking with themselves and I felt uncomfortable so crossed the road to avoid them. They met me in the middle of the road, surrounded me and all 3 young boys proceeded to grope me in the middle of the street. They found it amusing, bantering to themselves while I swore with rage. I showered and scrubbed for an hour but I couldn't shake the dirty feeling. It's been 4 years and I still feel yuck thinking about that violation of my body by 3 strangers in a public, well-lit space. Nobody around did anything to help.

Female, 18 - 21

 

I was at a house party, where an acquaintance told me, “if you were drunk right now, I’d fuck you so hard”. I begged my friends for us to leave, and so we did. I still see them around at uni from time to time. I now isolate myself from parties in order to prevent myself from being harassed.
I was at a music festival, and I had my ass grabbed by random men multiple times throughout the day and night. I was dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, I was dressed in a way where I couldn’t be told that I was ‘asking for it’. I thought, ‘there’s nothing I can do about it’.
I was in an elevator, alone with a man. He leant in and told me I smelt good, and asked me where I was going. I felt trapped, and counted down how many floors I had left until we reached ground floor. I was leaving work late at night, it was dark outside and I was scared.
I was once part of a jury. I angrily shouted at a juror who blamed a victim because of how much she had drank that night. He told me to sit down and shut up. Because of the case, I worry about being sexually assaulted at the hands of someone I trust.
These are my stories just from this year, and I have heard many more, some much more horrific, from the people around me. This should not be the way we have to live our lives.

Cis woman, 18 - 21

 

It was first year. I was doing well in first year law, and another student asked for some study help pre test. Trying to be a good person I agreed. I had an open book test for my other degree that evening, so had a giant chemistry text book with me. He offered to store it at his hall while we studied at a cafe together. Maybe I was being naive but I really did think it was just study.
We had coffee and looking back, he didn’t discuss the upcoming test at all, and maybe he thought it was a date. We finished the coffee and went back to his hall. I thought I was just going to collect my book.
Once we got to his room he locked the door behind me then lay on his bed, motioning for me today lie with him. I opted for the chair next to his desk. He didn’t give up. He came over, removed my glasses and told me how pretty I was without them. It was the kind of phrase that gets thrown around in movies and the movies show it making a woman feel special, but that day, it made me feel ill. He began to kiss me, feel me.
I was in shock. He began to undress, and tried to undress me.
I’m lucky. I was not raped. But. It was wrong. I got out of his room. Went to sit my test that evening. Still in shock.
For the next few years, he made a point of trying to sit next to me in lectures. He made sure to touch me in any way possible. On the arm, leg and my butt.
He was an international student. I told friends, they told me it might be cultural and that I shouldn’t worry. But I did. It’s now five years ago, and I still have a panic attacks before a first date. I’ve only just started to stop flinching when someone I care about touches me. I got out that day where so many women haven’t been able to, but the scars are still real. I’m lucky it was the middle of the day, and I was sober. I’m lucky I threatened to call the police there and then. But maybe that’s some of the issue. I see myself as lucky to not have been raped and blame myslef for not letting my sexual assault go.

Female, 18 - 21

 

My first rape happened when I was 14. I was staying at my best friends house, and my boyfriend at the time who was 18 was at a party close by. I received a text saying he was outside my friend's house (which was a few houses away from his own) and that I should come out and see him. My best friend was asleep so I agreed. When I went outside, he picked me up and threw me over his shoulder and carried to his house, where he proceeded to hold me down and have sex with me despite me saying 'no' multiple times.
I knew what had happened felt wrong, but I didn't realise it was rape. I believed it was my fault for agreeing to see him and for sneaking out. I also excused his behaviour, because I convinced myself it was the alcohol that made him do it. But this particular incident turned out to be the first of many sexual assaults by him.
In my first year of university, we learned about intimate partner violence and sexual violence in one of my classes. It was at this point I fully understood the gravity of the situation I was in and knew I needed to leave him.
Although I'm thankful I had chosen papers that discussed issues such as consent and emotional abuse, I really wish I had been taught about these issues in high school because perhaps if I had, I would have left sooner and the abuse wouldn't have gone on for so long.

Female, 22 - 25

 

Over the past year, I have been sexually assaulted 3 times.
The first time was around this time last year, I was drunk at a high school party. One of my friends wanted to talk to me privately, so he dragged me up to a bathroom. From there, he would not let me leave the bathroom, he coerced me into sitting on his lap, would not accept 'no' as an answer for why I did not want to kiss, and made me justify every move. He asked me multiple times to stay the night at his and eventually took no for an answer. Afterwards, I confronted him about it. He told me he was drunk and did not remember anything, he did not apologise or seem sympathetic. Responses I got from other people were 'why didn't you shout for help?' 'why didn't you just tell him no and leave?'.
The second time I got sexually assaulted was my first night out in town. I was leaving a club and someone slapped my ass then gave me a thumbs up.
The third time I got sexually assaulted was at my friends flat. Her drunk roommate got me into his room, grinded against me and was rubbing his hands all over me. I kept on telling him 'no' and 'this makes me uncomfortable' and 'stop'. The first time I tried to leave his room he pulled me back onto his bed on top of him. He let me leave the second time. I told my friend about this and she talked to him. He was upset with his actions and wants to make himself a better person and understand more around consent.
The biggest problem is people feeling entitled to someone's body, and not understanding no as answer. If someone tells you no, don't ask them again, if they change their mind they can tell you. If you continue asking them then you are coercing them into something. No one owes you their body.

Female, 18 - 21

 

The group of university hall staff were out buying items for a hall event, some of which included costumes. We walked into the clothes shop with our team and started trying on themed clothing. I chose something that I was comfortable in and thought fit my personality, body and style. It was fittingly modest, which was good as I would be representing Victoria University. I surveyed the dress in the changing room and decided that it was the one. Walking out, one of my bosses found me and blocked my path to the cashier, I showed them the garment. She pressured me back into the changing room to give her a "fashion show". She didn't like my choice and handed me several other garments that were increasingly revealing, tight and questionable for the nature of the event. I refused to even put them on, yet she simply snaps back at me to manipulate me into getting what she wants. Guilt-tripping, or make comments about my 'nice' body to try and "boost my confidence" so that I would oblige with her wish. Because she was my authority and employer, I felt like I couldn't say no. With everything I had to try on for her, I would stand, uncomfortably in front of the mirror with the garments on, my eyes hollow as I wish I could escape before having to parade it for her outside. It was horrid and invasive. Although I have resigned because of her, I still live under her authority within the Hall of residence. I feel like an object, I feel like some thing thats only used when someone needs to get off. I constantly feel watched and sexually, emotionally and mentally unsafe within the hall. I freeze when I hear her laugh down the corridors but it is my word against hers and the boss always wins don't they?

Female, 18 - 21

 

I don't if this right for this blog as it didn't happen at university. It happened in high school but it effects me today. Also. Just so you know I have therapist and support network. I am not suicidal anymore, I am the physically and mentally healthiest I have ever been. My story is down below
I went to boarding school in New Zealand. I am member of the queer community. I was corrective gang-raped in the boarding house I lived in and not once. I am not the only one. The cover-up was brutally. They told my parents lies and then kept lying after being caught in their lies. I was kicked-out and the other boys got away scot free. The school and the boys caused me irrevocable damage. I used bleach to try forget everything. They caused my family damage. I am better now but not healed. I saw one of them this year on a poster. It freaked me out so much that I didn't have energy to study for exam which I failed. What angers me is see people who knew at university and the allow culture of silence to keep perpetuating.

Male, 18 - 21

 

I was in a relationship for a couple of years with someone I loved.
We started off really passionate and things were going well. But I got really stressed, anxious and depressed in second and third year - uni, friendships and everything else were getting to me and I had poor coping mechanisms I think. It got to the point where I would feel anxious and get panic attacks putting my feet on the ground in the morning when trying to get out of bed. I didn't want to face anyone, or admit I wasn't coping.
This meant I had like no sex drive. I didn't like my body, or myself much really either. My partner still wanted to have sex, but there were a lot of times when I really didn't. I thought to myself during that I felt gross and didn't want to be doing this. I would brush off their affection a lot of the time. I think this really hurt them. I didn't want to hurt them and so I would have sex anyway when I didn't want to.
But this turned out to be a really bad way of coping. I started to have panic attacks during sex, or even leading up to it. I remember sobbing on the floor in a ball a number of times. I didn't want to start leading on intimate moments, even if I was okay with that, because I didn't want to have to say no later and have them be disappointed. Then even their touching me at all would make me feel anxious. I felt so so guilty about saying no to sex because I know it hurt them and they wanted to. I felt like a bad partner. I don't think I treated them very well.
In the end I saw a psychiatrist at uni (although I had to wait a couple of weeks to see them because they were so busy). I felt a lot of shame in getting to this point and it took a number of break-downs to admit that I needed to go. It was really hard to talk to friends about this issue because I didn't think anyone would understand the girl who was having panic attacks having sex - not that relatable I didn't think. The psychiatrist's advice was to go through an active consent process each time with them asking me on every step of the way whether I wanted to keep going. This gave me an opportunity to have control at each point. I was reassured that I shouldn't feel guilty for saying no, and actually that the guilt would be making the panic attacks worse. This active consent helped a lot. But they told me that they felt bad about having to do this each time. I felt guilty about making them go through this again. I was being selfish and this was all too over the top.
I never really got back to a good place with our sex life. The anxious feelings didn't fully go away and I'm not sure if they understood that. But after we broke up I felt more control with other partners. There was less guilt of hurting them if I wanted to say no. I am so glad not to be broken (as I thought I might be) and to not have panic attacks anymore.

Cis Woman, 22 - 25

 

I was sexually assaulted by an RA. I still blame myself, I still don’t talk about it because I don’t know how I feel about it. I had always joked around about wanting to get with him to my friends in the hall but never thought it would happen, that’s why I blame myself. Because I would flirt with him. I was drunk and blazed and it was my 19th birthday, I came home around 1am to the hall and neither of my roommates were back from town yet so I left the door unlocked Because that’s what we always did. I was woken up by someone standing over me, It was an RA from my hall, he was drunk and got into my bed I was confused but was in no state to make sense of the situation. I don’t really remember much of what happened because I have suppressed it so much. We talked and some how we ended up kissing and he was on top. I hate myself for kissing him back, I hate that I wasn’t more forceful about not wanting anything but he was an authorative figure and told me this is what we had been waiting for because he knew I was flirting with him. Things got more serious, and it got more painful. I won’t go into more detail but he left eventually. The next morning I couldn’t remember it until my friend asked me how my night was. At first I thought I should be happy with myself for getting with the RA I had joked about but I wasnt happy, I felt disgusted and scared. I spent the rest of the weekend so paranoid, eventually I told my head of hall, he was stood down. I was offered counselling by a woman who “might have some time after talking to another student” I felt like I wasn’t taken seriously, my head of hall didn’t talk to me again. One of the worst parts were the rumours, everyone found out in the hall and I could tell people were being nicer to me than usual and staring at me in the dining hall. I went to the hall advisor about this but nothing changed. I would like to mention this happened a week before my exams. I had to seek an agrotat on my own, I could also only get an agrotat for 1 of my 3 exams. The same day my incident happened, something else terrible happened to a boy in my hall. He didn’t have to sit his exams because his incident appeared more serious. I am appalled by how the university treated me and dealt with this. I felt completely belittled by the institution, when I saw a uni councillor last year to deal with my anxiety and PTSD I have suffered since the incident, they were shocked to hear my story and how little had been done to help my case.

Female, 18 - 21