Better late than never – here’s my stories…. When I was 16 I had a boyfriend who I “loved”, a lot, I thought he was my world. He would hold me down and rape me. I stayed with him, I would cry and he would apologize. I thought it was ok because we had had consensual sex in the past. I didn’t realize at the time it was rape. I realize it now.

When I was 17 I had a booker at my modeling agency, he had a thing for me but I told him time and time again I had a boyfriend (a different one). One night he kept giving me drinks until I was far beyond my limit, he told my friends he would take me back to the model apartment, as I was drunk. I woke up with him having intercourse with me. I left the country a few days later not giving the agency a reason why.It took me six years to trust a man again.

When I was 18 I had a man put his hand up my skirt and into my underpants at a busy intersection while I was waiting to cross the road with my girlfriend and a friend. He was so fast by the time I spun around I had no idea who it could have been in the crush of bodies waiting to cross. I was horrified and mortified. My friend laughed it off. I defiantly did not laugh it off. I felt humiliated and dirty.

Many years later when I was working for an airline I had a gay male colleague pinch my nipple with a towel tong (the tongs used to hand out the hot towels) He thought it was ok because he was gay. It wasn’t ok. Working for the same job I had a male passenger grab my bottom during boarding. When I reported it to the purser he told me this is ok and not to offload the passenger as he might disagree with what I had said and it might be a big problem. I had witnesses! I told him off myself and got into trouble for it. Same airline I looked out of the galley while having lunch with a colleague to see a man masturbating while watching us eat lunch. Nothing was done!

Compared to others these stories are pretty tame. But it doesn’t make them any less real or damaging. It took me six years to trust a man enough to be intimate. I’m still very careful about how I dress and how I act as to not give men the wrong idea. Although I don’t agree with how Muslims cover their women up, I understand it. They are protecting them from other men, keeping them protected, hidden away. As women we shouldn’t need protecting or hiding away, we should be free to dress how we want, to wear what we want and to drink alcohol, have fun, socialize. These things shouldn’t be risks.