I Didn’t Realize it Was Sexual Assault Until Later

WARNING: This article contains a description of sexual assault.

There is no moral or silver lining to this story. I don’t really have a take away message for you, I just have my experience to share. 

It happened at a house party in high school at the hands of a boy I didn’t really know, but having an established relationship clearly wasn’t a deal breaker. Crossing paths in a quieter, less populated part of the house, he managed to stop me and jam his fingers inside me. I didn’t understand what happened, but I knew it was disgusting and awful and not right. I had no idea what to think beyond “wow, what a pervert” and I left the party shortly after in pain and very creeped out. 

Even now, reflecting on what I know were my own feelings at the time, I find it hard to believe that I was so relatively unaffected. Fast forward 3 years, learning about assault charges in the context of the Criminal Code of Canada, and it clicked. What happened to me that night, so long ago, was rape. It was a disgusting experience I had sort-of made peace with, but putting those ideas together ripped that wound wide open again, maybe worse than the actual experience had. I was angry. The type of anger that blurs your vision and makes you sweaty. I was angry at him for doing something so despicable. I was angry at myself for not understanding the gravity of what happened at the time. I was angry that it was far too late to do anything. And I am still absolutely enraged that I grew up in an education and social system that gave kids and teenagers so few resources that I truly had no idea what rape could be… even though it happened to me. I was angry that I thought I couldn’t have a voice about it, because (thankfully) it wasn’t his penis he stuck inside me without any consent.

It’s something I’m sensitive to now, that I wasn’t before. Hearing about sexual assault on the news or in academic settings is hard in ways it didn’t used to be. I actually appreciate trigger warnings when they’re used on necessary content. I was a virgin and being assaulted at this party was one of my very first sexual experiences, that was a very sad realization for me too. Without getting preachy, everyone heals at a different rate. Everyone might need varying degrees of help, but I promise you that you still need help. We aren’t meant to deal with sexual assault on our own. If I was willing to be vocal about that night earlier in my life, maybe I could have started my healing process sooner too? I don’t know and trivial “what if’s” aren’t helpful, anyway. If you are in a place that you need help – I’ve gathered just a few local resources, many are anonymous and confidential.

 

Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis 24 Hr Crisis Line: (519) 836-5710 or 1-800-265-7233

Guelph-Wellington Care & Treatment Centre for Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence (Guelph General Hospital): Daytime: (519) 837-6440 ext 2728 After Hours: (519) 837-6440 ext 2210

Support Services for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse: 1-866-887-0015

University of Guelph On-Campus Sexual Violence Resources: https://www.uoguelph.ca/sexualviolence/resources