news

'I remember crying on the grass.' When Rachael Gouvignon was 21 she was raped at a party.

Warning: This article deals with an account of rape and may be triggering for survivors of abuse. 

Former The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise contestant Rachael Gouvignon has shared her story of being sexually assaulted as a 21-year-old at a house party.

Now 33, Rachael spoke on her podcast Keep It Real with fellow Bachelor alumni Tiffany Scanlon about her experience, which she had kept secret from everyone except two ex-partners and a psychologist for more than a decade.

Rachael explained she attended a house party with a group of friends when she was 21.

Watch: The hidden numbers of women and violence. Post continues after video.

Video by Mamamia

“A few of my girlfriends were hooking up with boys and one of the boys, I wasn’t really interested in him but he pulled me around the side of the party in a very dark alley and sexually abused me,” she said.

Co-host Tiffany asked her to clarify what she meant, to which Rachael replied: “He raped me”.

The out-of-control party was raided and shut down by police, but while everyone else fled the house, Rachael remembered staying there, alone, after being assaulted.

“I just remember sitting on the grass, all my girlfriend’s had gone, and I just remember crying on the grass.

“Everybody just dispersed from this party, I just remember everybody running out, everyone was so scared of the police. And I just remember sitting there on the grass crying, like ‘What the actual f*ck just happened?'”

Rachael went on to share why she didn’t report the assault or tell anyone about it.

“I didn’t think anyone would believe me because I was so young,” she said. “I just thought people would ‘Oh she’s just making up a story’ and you know what boys are like, they’d be like ‘Oh yeah right’, they’d just back up the boys.

“I don’t have a close relationship with my dad. I was too scared to tell my mum because my mum was also from a very religious background and so for her to think of me like that, I would think that she would also be disgusted of me.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I feel anytime there’s anything about sex or abortions or anything like that, my mum frowns upon it so I’ve never felt comfortable… It just creates an environment where if something like this happens, you can’t share it.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Keep It Real Podcast (@keepitrealwithrachandtiff) on

Prior to the podcast, Rachael said she had only told two past boyfriends and a psychologist, who helped her see how the assault impacted her life.

She said she knew of other women who had been sexually assaulted who had fallen into tough times, taking up drugs and other habits to cope, but she was fortunate to not be affected in that way.

“I have seen a psychologist to deal with it and I know that it has had a massive, massive roll on effect into my lack of trust in men and the way that I see a lot of men, like tunnel-visioned, in a way.

“I also haven’t really been exposed to many positive, influential men in my life, really. I’ve never even had a male teacher.”

Rachael explained that she struggled with people feeling sorry for her, which caused her to downplay the experience.

“In my head I still feel like ‘Oh no Rachael, you’re making this up. It’s not true’, I don’t know, for some reason I do still try and deny that this did actually happen. I really downplay it a lot… because I want to shove it under a rug.”

After the episode was released, Rachael thanked fans on the podcast Instagram page for all the support she had received.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I have been overwhelmed with messages from sooo many friends and followers,” she wrote.

“It has been like opening a locked box I have hidden away in the deepest, darkest of places. I firstly want to say that these last couple of days haven’t been easy as it has taken me back to ‘that’ place and wounds have reopened for me which I am currently dealing with. I don’t have the emotional energy to respond to everyone, but I am so thankful that this story has been shared, talked about and possibly help those who have also dealt with this trauma.

“For anyone who has experienced this I would suggest to speak about it sooner rather than later. I believe this has had a huge implications on my life and I only wonder if things would be different if I spoke up earlier on.”

She said the support “means the world” to her, and shared images with advice on how to support a victim of sexual abuse and what to do if you have been sexually abused.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Keep It Real Podcast (@keepitrealwithrachandtiff) on

Mamamia has reached out to Rachael for comment.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home. 

00:00 / ???