i was groped

Firstly, I don’t doubt that women – drunk or otherwise – throw themselves at you in bars because they find you quirky and interesting because I saw it with my own eyes, but I did not ask for this to happen. Not in any way, shape or form. And I don’t know what possessed you to think that it was – or ever will be – okay to sexually assault – because that’s what you did, sexually assault me – a woman in a bar.

If you only knew the things that I’ve had to endure over the past few weeks, as the victim of this incident – because lets not forget, this happened to me, I did not perpetrate it – maybe it will make you think twice about touching a woman without her consent ever again. As if being groped by someone isn’t enough.

I spent a lot of time mulling over whether or not to even report this incident for fear of what would happen to me, and what I would have to go through. How funny that I was the victim, and I was horrified about how I would be treated, as the victim of this incident.

I plucked up enough courage to call the police after I’d come down off the ceiling. I was asked why I hadn’t reported the incident at the time. “Why didn’t I report the incident at the time? What a stupid thing to do / I’m such an idiot. What if I can’t find out who he is?”

I gave a statement to the police who, as standard procedure, asked me how much I had drunk on the evening in question.

Getting ready for work on the Monday, I was overcome with anxiety about what I’d do if a man decided to accost me on the street. How would I defend myself? It’s dark / I don’t have a personal attack alarm.

I told some of my work colleagues what happened. One of them asked me if I was seriously pursuing the case. I heard various comments about this being a regular occurrence – “It happens all the time. [..] Why didn’t you punch him in the face/balls/break his arm?”

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that people’s attitudes to sexual assault are horrendous. Because men grope women all the time – and now you’re one of those men – that it’s in some way acceptable and excusable.

The next thing that happened that I’ll be forever outraged about was the question of whether, “There was any chance that it could have been an accident?” Was you groping me in a bar an accident? Like I don’t know the difference between you intentionally groping me and touching me accidentally. I didn’t hold out much hope of moving forward at all after that happened and began to seriously wonder why I’d ever reported the incident in the first place. If the police have such antiquated attitudes to sexual assault, what chance do I have?

Luckily enough, I’d seen this type of attitude coming because you aren’t the first man to grope a woman of my age, and I knew of people this had happened to before me. I decided to email [my school] to try and locate you. I knew you’d left school in either [year] or [year], and felt pretty confident that someone would have some information that would be of interest to the police. Thankfully, they did, and we found you.

I was asked whether or not I wanted you to be cautioned, or whether I wanted to enter into some kind of mediation session called “Restorative Justice”. I heard of how you felt so sorry about what you’d done and how it was all pretty shocking that the police had turned up at your house, how women throw themselves at you all the time and you’d gotten a bit giddy on the night in question and were a bit drunk and were mortified about what had happened. You were mortified about what had happened. You were mortified. Just think about how that sounds. You, who sexually assaulted me, were mortified. I had to decide what I wanted to do, and whatever I decided was absolutely fine. It was my decision.

My mindset became one in which I started to both blame myself for what happened, and give you a metaphorical pat on the back for sexually assaulting me, all because you’d admitted what you’d done. Admitted what you’d done – sexually assault me. Congratulations. Like you should be commended for admitting your guilt. It took me all of five minutes to decide it would be good to come and sit down with you to discuss this little incident and tell you how it made me feel – sort of like we would play happy families but a little bit different because you for some reason it was appropriate to touch an unknown woman’s breasts without her consent.  I’ll admit, for a time I thought, “Fair enough, credit where credit’s due, he could have lied and said he didn’t touch me, good lad.” But then I came to my senses and realised that you sexually assaulted me. I was trying to [make what you’d done acceptable] because you’d admitted guilt.

I went back and forward for quite some time and decided that I wanted you to be cautioned. I didn’t ask for you to touch me. To grope me. To sexually assault me. And I didn’t – and still don’t – understand why it is necessary for me to come and discuss it with you. Sit face to face across the desk and explain how it made me feel. Explain how it made me feel. How it made me feel. How do you think being sexually assaulted made me feel? You will never know because this did not happen to you. Without you, this would not have happened.

I had actually asked for you to be cautioned when – due to external influences – I began to be wracked with guilt. I discovered what a caution would mean for you if you ever want to do anything meaningful with your life. I felt bad for getting you into more trouble than perhaps I should. You sexually assaulted me and I feel bad. I was told about the myriad of things I’d have had to go through if this had gone to court, and how I would have been “ripped to shreds” because I approached you for a second time. The second time you called me over. The time when I thought you were going to apologise but decided to grope me again. How stupid of me to think you would apologise for being such a cretinous human being and degrading me in such a hideous manner. I would have been blamed for approaching you. Me. The victim. It would have been my fault. These are the attitudes that victims of sexual assault contend with every single day because of the actions of people like you. People like you who “get a bit giddy” on nights out and think it’s “a bit of a laugh” to touch women up after a few too many drinks. It’s not “a bit of a laugh” for us, because we have to live with the humiliation of men thinking it’s appropriate to invade our personal space and degrade us by touching us inappropriately every single day.

[ . . . ]

If I ever hear of you again, and that you have done this to anybody else, I hope they decide to press charges or whatever it is we can do these days, because you are [damn lucky] that it didn’t happen this time around. I am not looking for your gratitude nor am I looking for an apology, I am looking for you to understand what it is that you’ve done, how it has affected me and how it made me feel. Because I never want to feel the way you made me feel again.

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