The last thing Emily* remembers about the night she was assaulted is standing near the bar at a Gold Coast pub and looking down at the ice cubes clinking in the bottom of her glass of water.
The rest she had to piece together. She'd been out with colleagues for a birthday celebration. (They later told her she went to the bathroom and never returned.) Blackness. Then she'd woken up somewhere she didn't recognise.
It was the bedroom of a Gold Coast apartment, sparsely furnished, with just a computer and a bare mattress. A man was asleep beside her; average build, a similar height to hers, with thin, downy hair, almost as if it was regrowing.
With the gap in her memory and the pain deep within her wounded genitals, Emily knew she had been drugged and raped.
That was nearly 14 years ago now, and Emily says she has largely healed from that stranger's violation.
But the trauma of how police handled her report lives with her still.
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Speaking to Mamamia, Emily said that she attended a police station in the Gold Coast region the day after waking up in the stranger's apartment.
By then, she'd been to the hospital where she had been supported by a social worker, given IV antibiotics and had undergone an STD screening.
She hoped reporting to police would leave her feeling understood and empowered, and that it would mean she could begin the process of bringing a predator to justice. Instead, she said the officer dealing with her allegations suggested she had invented them, pressured her not to pursue criminal charges and made her feel like she'd brought the attack on herself.