I was brought up to believe that having feelings for someone was wrong. A girl can’t have any emotion for a boy, or she is dirty. I watched my mother go from man to man, but no, I was dirty just for becoming a teenager.
At 16, I had a friend who was a boy (I struggled with female friendships). As we lived in the country, if a friend came to visit, they often stayed over due to travel distance. One night, this boy stayed over and we were alone, as my mother had gone to a friend’s house in the hope of dating her brother. My friend decided I needed to lose my virginity because it was holding me back from being popular. I said that would never happen; I was proud of who I was. I didn’t want to have sex like the other girls in my class. He held me down and stripped me naked; I was still small and he was a huge rugby-team member, and I fought all I could to no avail. Just before he raped me, my mother came home without warning and ‘saved’ me. My attacker was outcast, but my mother said it was my fault, I was probably cock-teasing and had become a slut. Our relationship never recovered. She said I couldn’t call Police, because I was probably asking for it by having male friends. I did all I could – set the rumour around our country town, so everyone knew what he had done to me. Strangers believed me more than my own mother. I promptly got beaten up by a pack of girls at school for not having sex when I should have.

Throughout my adult life, things happen – being called a bitch or slut for having an opinion is classic everyday occurrence. I was out running a few months ago, and three men offered to fuck me in the removal truck for exercise. A man, who I see dropping his daughter at school when I’m there, decided to show me his penis when I jogged past a bus stop. I’ve been groped, leered at and insulted all over the world.

The worst came last year at Countdown Botany, when a man followed around the store saying ‘women were holes the needed to be filled’. I stood up for myself, and as a result, he followed me to the car-park and attacked me, trying to drag me to his car. With an elbow to the groin and a fist in the mouth, I escaped. Nothing was done; 40 year old white guys in suits don’t do this, they said. Now I walk past my attack site every time my family needs food. It’s my word against his, and my word seems to mean nothing, just like that night when my mother thought I was a whore.

I have never been raped but came close twice, and I wish there was something I could do to stop this behaviour of all women, no matter the crime, no matter the situation.