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May 21, 2018 | by  | in Features |
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Six Stories of Assault

CW: Descriptions of sexual assault
We’ve got a great team here at VUWSA, including some strong women that I look up to and often turn to for advice and counsel. They asked me to write a lil something to make sure they know I back them, and I do. They’ve decided to share some pretty personal stuff with us today, and I’m really proud of em. These stories are difficult to read, but aren’t meant to challenge you, they’re simply a few real life experiences and thoughts that are all too common in our community.

BETH PATERSON

Let’s go way back when to first year. My memories of this are hazy and more rooted in feeling than fact. I was drunk at the time — at least a bottle of scrumpy down. We were going to a flat party from our hall. I’m not sure why, but I was upset, lonely.

A guy from my hall noticed I was wispy and took me home. Once there, he lead me to my room and didn’t leave. We had sex, his idea. He wanted to finish all over my belly. Mark me. I wanted to go to sleep. I was drunk and sad.

After, I felt disgusting. I told him that I was going to take a shower, and when I returned, clean, I wanted him to be gone. I scrubbed hard. When I got back to my room, although he was gone, I still felt a strong pull to nest under the covers and just stay there, eyes closed, feeling small.

Later, I would hear people talking bout how he kept looking out for these upset chicks on town nights, and that they would end up with him, just like I did. From then on I largely avoided him — a difficult task in a hall — but I didn’t really know what to make of my experience.

Things changed when, four years later, he apologised. In passing he said, “I’m sorry, I was a dick in first year”. I had no clue what to say or think.

What did he mean “I’m sorry”? I thought I was the only one of the two of us who thought that it was wrong. I’d figured he was ignorant about it, or didn’t give a shit either way. But he’s sorry. Does he think it was assault? Why do I care what he thinks? What do I think? Did I consent? Should I have done something about it? Should I accept his apology?

I don’t have any deep answers. Just that it’s fucking confusing and scary not really knowing if you were violated. My friends tell me that they saw it as assault. But then, what do you do with that? What do you do when you don’t trust your own memories? To say you’ve been assaulted feels serious and severe and more scary than just not knowing. That’s stigma for you. Whatever the label, it shouldn’t have happened. He should have put me to bed, turned off the lights, and left the room.

PADDY MILLER

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 were sitting around one of the tables, and I started to clear their empty bottles. One guy put his hand out to me. It looked as if he was going in to shake my hand, indicating I was doing a good job. Instead, he seized my wrist and hoisted it onto his friend’s crotch. My hand was forcibly smeared around this guy’s crotch like buttering up a baking tray. An audible gasp escaped my mouth. I managed to escape his grip, and I bolted quickly to the door. The men’s laughter followed me out of the room.

I felt dirty and disgusting. I had to force a smile on my face as I attended to other tables in the restaurant. In a quiet moment, I told my manager. She acted fast. She informed the man’s bosses, who had organised the Christmas do, that she was kicking him out.

I didn’t realise that his bosses would be told. I immediately felt a pang of guilt because I had potentially put the man’s job in jeopardy. Perhaps I was being dramatic? It was just a joke right?

Looking back today, I know that what he did was wrong. He crossed a line. Unfortunately there were many similar experiences in my hospitality career. The fact of the matter is that there is a power imbalance in the field of hospitality because “the customer is always right”. On numerous occasions, a customer has said/done something that has made me uncomfortable, but I’ve always had to suck it up for the sake of my job.

RHIANNA MORAR

I’m not going to lie, I like to fuck.
But this doesn’t mean I like to fuck on any other terms than my own. If you didn’t know, women are prophets of sexual power. This is important because there is a common misconception among young men that, when it comes to fucking, we are powerless. Or at the very least, this is something I have experienced.

So here it is.

I was about to have sex with this guy, and I asked him to wear a condom. He looked at me kind of baffled — I probably should have picked up on his shadiness at this point. Anyway, he begrudgingly put it on. We had sex. Well, I thought we had sex. Sex is consensual. For sex to be consensual, you have to know what you’re consenting to, right? Well, I thought I was consenting to having sex with this guy, with a condom. It turns out we didn’t have sex, we didn’t have sex at all. This guy had assaulted me.

So, you might be wondering — how? I consented to having sex with this guy and he put on the condom. At least I thought he put on the condom. Afterwards I went to the bathroom, as you do. I noticed there was an unusual amount of fluid coming out of me. Huh — weird. I looked at the condom on the floor before I put it in the bin. Oh — there’s nothing there. The condom was empty. His cum was inside me. Without my permission.

What if I wasn’t on the pill? What if I hadn’t noticed? What if I believed this guy and then three weeks later I found out I was pregnant? I was mad. Sad. Confused. Was this assault? I mean, it feels like assault. Well, I consented to the “sex”. Just not without the condom.

KII SMALL

There is nothing more I hate in this world than assumptions.
Assuming I’m finished with my meal, assuming I’m from the hood, assuming I want something that I don’t. I always believed there was a switch in someone’s mind where they see you as either a neutral human being or as a sexual object; a place many people want to sit in between. Playing on the border is lustful, and can often appease most people.

I can remember sharing my bed with someone on a very cold night. In the early years of university, every moment tended to smell like alcohol, whether you were sober or not. That’s what this scene smelled like.
I met her through a mutual friend. She had great conversation and an appealing sense of fashion. I thought I liked her. After a few weeks of hanging out, she invites herself over to my apartment to stay the night (for the first time).

She is drunk. I am not.

I wake up to her getting into my bed and removing her jewellery and make up. I think nothing of it and drift back to sleep.
I wake up in another moment with a hand on my penis. I don’t know what time it is, and am confused as to whether I trust this person — so I wake up. “No, not tonight” is the only statement I remember saying. I intended to add something about how we don’t know each other well enough yet, but I couldn’t be sure if I got that point across. She loosens her grip and I turn over to head back to sleep.
Interrupted again by her hand reaching around and grabbing it. She climbs on top of me and starts to kiss me. I grab her face and ask if we can just go to sleep. She claims “I want it”, but I don’t. She proceeds to tell me what I want, and grind on me, causing me actual pain.
I throw her off me. She hit something but I didn’t want to check. Put on my clothes to the girl behind me calling me a “useless cunt” and an “asshole”, and headed out for a walk. Slurs were directed at me, but none were responded to.

I came back in an hour and she was passed out. I slept in my flatmate’s bed and called our mutual friend the next morning to tell him what happened.

We never talked about it again, but I see her every other month.

SIMRAN RUGHANI

A girls’ night out typically consists of girlfriends getting together, dressing up, doing their makeup and each other’s hair while listening to loud music and bitching about life, then hitting the clubs and bars in town. It’s a good time. Or at least, it’s supposed to be.

The first time I went to a girls’ night out, we took a male friend of ours with us because we were too nervous to go by ourselves. We thought we would be safer with him around. After that first night, it became a joke that he would come out with us every girls’ night because he was “one of the girls”, but we all knew it was also for our safety.
A year or so later, some other girlfriends of mine wanted to go out but had never been before. I thought as the (relatively) seasoned party-goer I was, that I would go with them to keep an eye out for trouble. I forgot the real reason our male friend came out with us, I thought I would be enough. That was the first night I was touched without my permission. Someone grabbed my butt from behind and when I turned around to try and figure out who it was, everyone looked away. My body is my right, no one has permission to touch it unless I expressly give it to them. It is sad that people need to be reminded about this.

ELLA HUGHES

She was 8, I was 13, on a bus.
Man across from us — showing us porn.
A woman, big tits, fucked on her knees.
He turned, he tilted the screen.
Wanted two children to see — grinned, leered.
I felt disgusting. I couldn’t protect her. I couldn’t move.
He won.
Billy. I met him on acid.
He convinced my friend we should go back to his place.

Well, his mum’s.
A hippy haven. Walk past it everyday on my way to the chippy.
Pushed me into a toilet. His tongue and his fingers inside me.
I wanted to leave. My friend brought back Billy to our hall too.
I said he’s not with me, he is with you.
But left my door unlocked for her, I didn’t trust him.
I was right it seemed.
I woke up to him pushing my pyjamas down.
He was erect and on top of me.
I did say no.
I shouldn’t have had to. I also said “please not without a condom”.
Idiot.
It was a battle against sleep. Everytime I came close to passing out, fingers snuck in and gained ground. I tried to pacify him by rubbing his dick. It didn’t work. I did get up, and I did leave. Bear in mind this whole time I was in a drunken, drugged haze.
I promise it wasn’t my fault.
I’ve seen people in my past, who see sex as more,
It is ego, it is value, it is self esteem.
To deny sex is to deny all three.
If you don’t want it, you’re calling love into question.
They’re ugly, unwantable, uninteresting, not special.
Love can make “no” impossible.

IF YOU NEED SUPPORT

Contact:
• Victoria University of Wellington — VUW has a number of different support avenues, details are on their website
• VUWSA advocacy service — Erica Schouten; 04 463 6984; advocate@vuwsa.org.nz

• Rape Crisis — 04 801 8973; Crisis line 0800 883 300
• Lifeline — 0800 543 354
• Women’s Refuge — 0800 733 843; Crisis line 0800 REFUGE
• Shakti New Zealand — Crisis line 0800SHAKTIFREE
• Youthline — 0800 376 633
• Wellington Sexual Abuse Help Foundation — 04 499 7530; Crisis line 04 499 7532
• Hutt Rape Counselling Network — 04 566 5517; Crisis line 0800 22 66 94
• Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trust (MSSAT) Wellington — 021 118 1043

If you’ve experienced a sexual assault you can report
it to NZ police by dialing 111, or learn more here.

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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