If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, please seek help with a qualified counsellor or by calling 1800 RESPECT.
It was a Tuesday. Just before 4pm.
The day was as ordinary as they come. If it weren’t for what happened, the day would have been entirely lost to memory.
My twin sister and I had done some grocery shopping and were walking home together.
As we talked, I made eye contact with a fairly normal looking young man heading towards us. I gave him a nod of acknowledgment. It’s strange how we do that – almost as a primal instinct to assess our environment for potential danger.
Even in retrospect, I know that this man did not make me feel uneasy. I didn’t flinch or consider crossing the road. In my mind, I existed in a bubble – even though I was occupying a public space, my body remained private.
And then it popped.
The moment of approach was, to this date, the most terrifying of my life. I do not recall what he was wearing, his height, or what he looked like, but I will never ever forget how that moment felt.
As we went to cross paths, as we must do with strangers hundreds of times each day, he darted. It was animalistic how quickly his direction changed. He went from walking so normally, like just a young man on his way to the bus stop, to violently imposing himself onto me.
He charged at me and grabbed me by both arms. My sister screamed at the top of her lungs. I thought “he must want my wallet” and I remember saying “take it, take it” as I desperately tried to hand him my bag.
I then remember realising that he wasn’t at all interested in my wallet.
The look in his eyes was unlike anything I’d ever seen. It was almost as though he wasn’t human.
Mia Freedman, Monique Bowley and Jessie Stephens discuss the practice of ‘casual sexual assault’ on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.