An anonymous series where real people share their interesting life stories and experiences.
Note: The following article contains discussions of sexual harassment that some readers may find discomforting.
We spoke to an 18 year old Muslim girl who got real about her experience being sexually assaulted by a close male friend. In this interview, she talks about what happened on the day, why she could not scream for help despite people being around, the feeling of shame that plagued her during that period and how the experience changed her.
The conversation has been edited and condensed.
How Did You Meet The Person That Assaulted You?
We met in ss3 at a tutorial center. Him and I had a lot of mutual friends so we automatically became friends.
Then You And Him Got Closer?
You know after about a year of friendship, we talked about lots of things and became good friends. Even my mum and siblings knew him. At a point, my mum thought we were dating but we were just friends.
Prior To The Day He Made Attempts To Violate you, Did He Ever Behave Inappropriately Towards You?
Yes. But it was after that incident that I noticed that he had been dropping off some signs. There was a day we were walking together and he said he liked my “tits’, but I heard teeth and said thank you.
How Old Were You When The Incident Happened?
I was 17.
Can You Tell Me About That Day?
One weekend I was in school for a tutorial and I finished early (we both attend the same Uni). It was close to exam period so I stayed back in school to read with a female friend. Where I was reading wasn’t far from his dad’s office (his dad is a lecturer in my faculty). I saw him come out of the office so I texted him that I wanted to say hi and just see the office, as I was already bored from reading. I didn’t even go with my phone because it was charging.
What Happened Next?
Honestly when I saw him, we were just gisting then he began to tickle me. I was surprised and told him to stop which he did. I hadn’t entered the office then, we were by the stairs. We got to the office and I decided not to sit after the stunt he pulled earlier. He sat, but I stood far from him.
So the way the office is built, there’s a waiting room and then the main office. We were in the waiting room and he had his friends in the main office. While we were talking he got up and came really close to me asking if he could kiss me. I said no. I managed to push him and told him I wanted to leave. Unfortunately, he locked the gate. He apologized and asked that I stay for a while that he had something important to say.
What Was Going Through Your Mind At That Moment?
I was really naïve.
I waited and he came close to me again and held my hand tightly. He said he always liked me ever since he saw me at the tutorial center. He started to try and make me touch his balls. He was already hard by then. Each time he tried to move my hand to his balls, I just made them stiff. He wanted to kiss me but I kept moving my face.
He Was Doing All This While His Friends Were Around?
Yeah. I’m sure you’re thinking why didn’t I scream to get the attention of his friends in the office.
Well I didn’t scream because I was embarrassed, his friends were playing music and I was scared they wouldn’t help me. I was so embarrassed with myself that I just stood there, no power to move. I was just crying inside of me. Luckily for me I had a pin in my scarf, so I took it and started using it to poke him. Even though he was in pain, he still continued touching me and trying to kiss me. I was begging and he didn’t even listen.
After spending like 45 minutes in the office, I don’t know what came over him. He opened the gate and said he couldn’t see me off because he had a hard-on.
Yes I remember now, he made me promise to come back before opening the gate. I also played along and fled.
When I got home that day, I scrubbed my body a lot. I threw the gown I wore away (luckily it was an old one) but still kept the scarf as it was new.
I’m Sorry You Had To Experience This.
Thank you. I never told my mum about it because I didn’t want her to be sad, or be too strict on my siblings because of me.
Did You Tell Any Other Person Though?
At first I told my best friend. The experience nearly cost me my exams but she helped me a lot even though she was in another state. Earlier this year, I later told the rest of my girlfriends who were friends with the guy.
How Did They Take It, Did They Doubt You?
Not at all. They were pissed I didn’t tell them earlier. They blocked him as soon as I told them.
I’m actually glad it happened to me and not my other girls that don’t wear the hijab, because I know that I may have doubted them.
After That Day, What Was Your Relationship With The Boy Like?
I didn’t block him immediately, I thought he would apologize but he didn’t. About 3 weeks later he “tried” to apologize and I asked him who he told about what had happened. He said he told his best friend. I lost it, I insulted him and told him to never speak to me again. Then I deleted his number.
I think he wished me happy birthday on my birthday. From the display picture, I knew it was him but I acted like I didn’t know him. He then said “Are you still angry because of what happened?” with laughing emoji’s.
I just knew at that point he wasn’t okay at all.
I really didn’t expect it from him because he is a Muslim and has like 2 or 3 sisters, and we used to be so close.
Has Your Experience Changed You In Any Way At All?
Yes. I don’t take jokes from anyone about my body. I’m busty so people tend to say things. Also, I trust no one wholeheartedly and I am always at alert. I have also become more open-minded.
Before then, I always thought that when a lady is in such a compromising situation, she should attack the guy but after what happened to me, I began to see things from a whole new perspective.
Is There Any Other Thing You Would Like To Share?
Just that I hope every girl learns from my experience and that no one is a saint.
If you are a survivor of sexual violence please know that you are not alone. Seeking help? You can reach out to these organizations .
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