Written by a Scarlet a current 1st Year Childhood Psychology NTU student
Warning: This story mentions sexual violence, which could be triggering to some readers.
1 in 5 women get sexually assaulted (20%), compared to 4% of college aged men. I was one of those five women.
When you look at these statistics properly, you realise the number is far too high. And when you compare those statistics to others – for example, only 5% of sexual assaults on campuses is reported, that number is so, so low. Take me, for example, I reported mine. However, whilst mine was reported, 95% of assaults wouldn’t have been. There are a few reasons why people don’t report the assaults or violence they were victims of, (which is completely understandable):
- Fears of not being believed.
- Terrified it’ll be blamed on them – (it is NEVER a victims’ fault.)
- Feeling ashamed.
- Worried it won’t end in a prosecution.
- Worrying it will affect them long term.
- Not wanting people to know – talking to a member of authority is a lot scarier than telling your mum, I get it.
- Worrying about the aftermath regardless of whether they report or not – such as losing friends, falling behind at work or school, developing mental health issues, et cetera.
- Not wanting to think / talk about what happened – some people may bottle it up, whereas others may talk about it a lot as they feel it consumes their life.
I know far too many people that have been victims, and with every 6 sexual assaults that happen in the UK, only ONE of them is reported. Whether a person decides to report their assault or not, is completely and utterly their decision, I cannot stress that enough. Regardless of whether an assault was historic or recent, everyone deserves support. I hope, that by sharing some of my story, it encourages other people to reach out for support or to get the justice they really deserve. I know it can seem scary, like the world is against you, and you’re petrified of the outcome. The time after an assault can be the strangest, and the darkest, I know, as I have been there myself.
I felt so alone after mine. I’m sure I am not alone in that feeling. So many of us tend to isolate ourselves after a traumatic experience. But I’m here to say, you’re not alone. So many people have felt the way you and I once felt, and it will never be a permanent feeling. You have to realise it’s okay not to be okay.
When I got informed about this blog and I agreed to write it, someone suggested to me that I share my story. I was reluctant but then I realised that my story will be similar to many others that have been in the same situation. I was 16 when it first happened. But no matter the age, it is not right, never has, and never will be. One thing someone told me after my assault, was that it was not my fault. I found that so hard to believe. Now, I realise that the victim is never to blame.
I agreed to write this blog as I hoped that I could be a light at the end of the tunnel, that I once could not see. That I could prove that everything will be okay.
You may be at rock bottom after tragic experiences like this, but it does get better. If someone had told me 3 years ago, that I’d be at university now, I wouldn’t have believed them. You have so much potential. I didn’t let my assault destroy my life. I kept fighting, proved people wrong, and I got better, and I know you can too.
Every situation is different, but the feelings, thoughts and questions are usually the same. I remember blaming myself after it happened to me. I still remember what I wore every time it happened. But over time, waking up every day got easier. I began to smile again. In time, you will be the same. I promise. If you are reading this, and you have been in situations too similar, there is support available.
You will be okay. Here is some support and information to set you on the road of recovery, so you can start to smile again, and that your eyes can shine a thousand more times.
NTU SEXUAL VIOLENCE – Sexual violence support (ntu.ac.uk)
SARC (Sexual Assault and Rape Centre) – Contact 111 for details in your area.
SAMARITANS – Call 116123.
SHOUT – Text SHOUT to 85258.
PAPYRUS – Call 0800 086 4141 or text 07860 039 967.
Remember if you have been a victim of sexual violence or assault, there are people out there to help.
You’re not alone.
For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
- Support from NTU
- Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
- Health and Wellbeing resources
- NTSU Information and Advice service
- Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
- Student Minds or Student Space
- 10 Keys to happiness