Sexual Assault - My Story

31.7.15

 
This has taken a lot for me to even write this sentence, never mind the title.
 
I wanted to share my story with you, as I know a lot of men and women (men can be sexually assaulted too!), keep quiet and don't report any kind of unwanted sexual behaviour they're suffering. But on this day, I spoke up.
 
I was sexually assaulted on a Monday morning in October 2013.
 


 
I was on the bus going to work in town. I remember it was freezing outside so I was really wrapped up, as well as being choked up with the cold. My usual behaviour on the bus was just listening to music and texting.
 
On this day, it was like no other, I got on the bus. I sat where I usually sat. The same people got on at the same stops. Nothing unusual. I already had my music on, and was texting my then boyfriend about the day ahead.
 
A man got on the bus. Nothing out of the ordinary, he was just like any other man getting on, my guess he was probably going to work. The seat next to me was free, so he sat next to me. I kind of looked around. I thought it was odd that he would sit there, even though there were many free seats at this point. I continued to listen to my music and text on my phone.
 
I noticed him spreading his legs out, at first I found this annoying as I didn't have much room, so I moved a bit closer to the window. But he continued to do it, so much so I was practically pinned to it. He put his backpack between his legs, not on the floor but to cover his private area. He started to touch himself.
 
My mind was on alert. I knew this wasn't right but I was too scared to do or say anything.
 
He then continued to touch and rub my legs and bum area. And rub his arm near my chest area.
 
If the person is getting a sexual kick from unwanted contact - it's sexual assault.
 
I looked around. I couldn't believe this person had the audacity to do this on a packed bus. Could people see this? Where people choosing not to help?
 
I text my then boyfriend and told him what was going on. He was angry but nothing could be done, I had to sit there. Then I had started to cry. I thought if I done this, SURELY someone will notice and stop this man? I was wrong.
 
An idea came to my mind. I started to text out a description in my phone. After 20-25 minutes of the assault, he got up like nothing happened and started to make his way off the bus. I took down every detail. His black trainers with the red writing on the back, his big horrible scaly hands..
 
I messaged this to my mum, and told her "keep this - I will phone you in a minute".
 
I was in shock. I needed a minute to get my head together to comprehend what just happened to me. As soon as I got off the bus, I was a mess. Hysterical even. I phoned my mum and explained what happened. She wanted me to go home, but I was to scared to get on a bus, plus a colleague of mine was on holiday that day and I didn't want to let my work down.
 
I basically ran to work. My colleague saw my tear stained face and asked what happened. So I told her briefly. I then went into a private room and reported it to the police.
 
I didn't call 999 as he was gone. So I called 101. The operator on the other end was very helpful and assured me everything was okay now.
 
About 10:30pm that night the police came. Unfortunately, by then, my cold really kicked in and I hardly had a voice, but they took my statement. But what they told me next horrified me.
 
Another girl reported the exact same incident two days before.
 
In a way I was glad I wasn't on my own with this, but I felt desperately sad that she reported it and yet he went on to assault someone else.
 
The next day, as you can imagine, I didn't want to go to work. I was petrified of getting on this bus. What happens if he's there again? What happens if he follows me when I get off? Would another assault be worse?
 
My mum had to come with me to work, and I had to get a taxi home that night. Luckily, I was off on the Wednesday. But not for the police..
 
The police called me asking to set up a trap. I was to get on the bus, as I normally would to go to work, while plain clothes police officers sat nearby. And if the man got on, I was to cough so they could grab him. I agreed to do this, as I didn't want anyone else to go through the mental turmoil I was.
 
So on the Wednesday, I got ready to go when I got a phone call. The police caught him waiting at the bus stop, for the bus I would have been on. I was so relieved I didn't have to do it but also scared at the fact I'd have to see him again.
 
Later that day, my then boyfriend and I met the police somewhere public. They showed me the clothes they had for him and they were the exact same he had on when he assaulted me. They also showed me some photo's of people, and I picked him out straight away.
 
I had to go back to work after the Wednesday, but my mum still continued to get on the bus with me as I was too scared. He was let out on bail.
 
Unfortunately, on the Friday, my now ex-boyfriend finished with me because of the assault. I think this is the most disgusting and cowardly thing any partner could do to someone suffering from any kind of assault. This is where my mental health started to decline.
 
I felt dirty, disgusting. I can't explain how I felt to be honest. I just knew I didn't want to be here, be at work or be on a bus.
 
I tried to continue life as normal, but bloody hell it was hard. Really hard. One of my friends, who started a college course, began to get on the bus with me so I felt a bit safe. I still had a cry at the thought of getting on buses, etc.
 
Not long after, my best friend also told me she was sexually assaulted by the same man, the Saturday before I was. I just felt numb. Why her? She was 5 months pregnant at the time. I asked, basically pleaded her to tell the police. And she did.
 
So now there were three. But there were more..
 
By the December time, I still hadn't told my work what was going on or how I was feeling. I mean, I told a colleague that day and the girl who came back from holiday as they weren't just colleagues but friends too. I asked how I would go about telling our boss, who's male, what happened as by this point, any male who wasn't my dad didn't get anything from me. I refused to speak to male's or be in close vicinity to them, even though it was hard to even do this. So I penned a big email out to the lady in HR and explained everything, with a note at the bottom asking if she can let my boss know as I couldn't do it myself. Not long after, my boss spoke to me and apologised for what happened even though it wasn't his fault.
 
By Christmas, I knew I wasn't myself. I was becoming a hermit. I managed to go to my friends for Hogmanay and plastered on smiles, but the days after New Year I was a mess. I wanted to die.
 
I told my mum how I felt and we got a doctor's appointment booked. The doctor was really helpful and gave me time to think about going on anti-depressants, as well as arranging counselling. I was a bit hesitant at first, but I knew this was the only way.
 
I got a letter in the post end of January/early February, saying he will be going to court in April 2014 and I needed to go. I've never been to court before, so with Victim's Support's help, they arranged a court tour so I could familiarise myself with the surroundings. I thought this really helped.
 
In March though, a glimmer of happiness. Calum and I started dating (even though I found this really hard!)
 
So April came around. Luckily my best friend was there too, so we went together with my mum. My dad didn't come as he might have done something silly, so we phoned him with updates. When we were in the witness muster room, we met the other girl who was assaulted the same weekend. We then discovered that two sisters were assaulted by this man, one when she was only 14, and another girl who was 18. I felt physically sick. We were all young girls.
 
A court official then shouted this disgusting man's name, we thought this is it, it's time. But no, he was "ill" so was now pushed back until September. Another mental blow for me.
 
Over the months, we all kept in touch. I really didn't understand how they all coped. Why was I the only one suffering here? I still didn't have any counselling. I lost count how many organisation's I have met to get counselling from and not heard anything back, not even to this day.
 
So September came round, we were all back at court, this time with Calum in tow. He looked upset to see this man that assaulted me. Not upset as in crying, but upset as in he wanted to keep me safe and give this man a good kick. The court session went ahead.
 
I was the last witness to be called up because of my last name. I didn't have a screen so he could see me. I wanted him to see me. All of a sudden, I had this almighty feeling of anger, to get this man put away for what he done to me and the other girls, and probably his many more silent victims.
 
I stared at him throughout the trial. I willed him to look at me. He did a couple times, he smirked. That made me angrier.
 
The next day, we heard his side. It was all a pack of lies. He said he didn't know us, and hadn't seen us before. Then his face drained when the CCTV of one of his assaults on the bus came onto the TV screen. There was no way he could get away with it now.
 
It was time for sentencing. I wanted him deported so I'd never seen him again. He got 8 months in prison and 10 years on the sex offenders register. 8 MONTHS. That's it. I went through this hell for nothing. He would only do 4 months as that's how the Scottish Justice System works. I was absolutely gutted. He would be out by January.
 
So I got on with things again, still on antidepressants, still waiting for counselling. I had a total melt down just after New Year 2015. I couldn't cope, I knew he would be out soon and he lived close by. My mum started to ring all the counsellors again to get me fast tracked to counselling, so had another few appointments but still nothing.
 
I was too scared to go anywhere myself. Too scared to go on a bus. Too scared to speak to men..
 
I couldn't go on like this. So, I was put forward to see a Psychologist.
 
In March 2015, I bumped into him. I froze. He was at my work. He knew it was me. Luckily for him, I was outside my car at this point, because if I was in it, I would have mowed him down. I didn't care about the consequences. He smirked at me and bent down and read my number plate. I ran into the office and told my manager (I moved jobs by this point!) "he goes or I do". So away he went.
 
Since then, I have seen him a good handful of times as he stays in my area. I have asked the council to move me and my mum so I can feel less anxious and stressed, and so I feel safe. But they said as I wasn't raped, so it's a no. This is the most disgusting thing I've ever heard. Am I not allowed to feel safe in the area I've always lived in?
 
So now, I see a psychologist every week, I've currently came off my medication (fingers crossed I don't relapse) and I'm slowly managing going somewhere myself, even if its ten minutes. Even though I'm off medication, I know my mental health conditions will always be there - depression, anxiety, OCD and PTSD.
 
I'm not a victim, I'm a survivor.
 
*please note, all images on this post are from Pinterest*

Blog Design by Get Polished