If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, please seek help with a qualified counsellor or by calling 1800 RESPECT.
I haven’t been home for 18 months. Because it cannot be my home when he still calls it his.
I really miss my favourite Chinese restaurant, and its heavenly cashew chicken with celery. The people at the post office, the butcher and all the bus drivers knew me by name. The beaches were clean and mostly quiet, the movies only cost $9 and there wasn’t any traffic.
I had my first kiss there, in the national park and overlooking the water. I often picked my little brother up from kindergarten, and god out of everything I so miss that! There wasn’t much I didn’t love about my home.
I haven’t been home for 18 months, which means that people ask me constantly when I’m coming to visit. Friends lament that they miss me. I tell them that I’m busy with assessments or that someone is having a birthday. I tell them that I’m sick and that I need to rest. Maybe I’ve been ‘out of town’ when they’ve asked me to come.
These are all valid reasons for me being unable to visit but they are not ‘the’ reason. I have been dishonest about it for a long time now. I haven’t been home for 18 months because I don’t feel safe there. I don’t feel loved by the people who claim to care about me. I don’t trust my reaction if I ever see ‘him’ again.
People ask why I hate him so much, like it’s incomprehensible.
I hate him because he was supposed to be my BEST friend. I hate him because he should never have been in my bedroom in the first place. I hate him because he had a girlfriend. I hate him because I later found out he’d done the same thing to another friend. Also in my house.
I hate him because I never consented and never would have. I hate him because he moved my pyjamas down when I was asleep and started ‘playing’ with me. I hate him because he made me feel degraded and dirty. I hate him because he violated the parts of me that were only mine to share. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him because he made me a sexual assault victim and a statistic. I will hate him forever.
Even though people know all of that, they still ask why I hate him.
I stayed home a lot. I cried. I felt ill. I called into work sick. I stopped living and my friends barely noticed or cared.
After what he did I don’t want to come home because after it happened my friends did not stop by with hugs.
My friends sent text messages blasting me for not coming out anymore; like it was a surprise and that I should feel guilty for being unsociable. I hate him because my friends started calling me a bad friend. A bad friend to him for telling everybody what happened and a bad friend to them for ‘crying too much’.
Mia Freedman, Monique Bowley and Jessie Stephens discuss the practice of 'casual sexual assault' on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues...
It’s agonising to see him in their Facebook pictures laughing. It makes me feel like he is laughing at me. They all just told me to get over it and that it would die down eventually.
I cannot forget that the people I had called my closest friends throughout the whole of high school invited him out to join us the one night when I actually left the house. They found it funny when they all flocked to him like the holy messiah and left me speechless, alone and petrified in the corner.
How dare they persuade me to talk to him and ‘sort it out’ for everyone else’s benefit! I despise that I can’t go home. I want to go home. But how can I go home to the place where I was mocked in the street, and at my work? It is the place where no one defended me, where nobody took my side. It is the place where my insides ached with loneliness and rejection.
I haven’t been home for 18 months. I can’t bring myself to head back to a place where my friends made me feel so unwanted, unbelieved and unloved. ‘Home’ doesn’t feel safe because it’s no longer my home.
I hate that it cannot be my home because that happened there.
Mamamia’s Survivors of Sexual Assault Week is about providing support for the one in five women Australian women who will experience sexual assault in their lifetime. To read more from Survivors of Sexual Assault Week, click here. If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, don't suffer in silence, contact 1800 RESPECT or visit www.1800respect.org.au