A reflection from SlutWalk Melbourne supporter: Anna Spargo-Ryan (Trigger Warning)

Triggers: sexual assault

When I sat down to write this, I thought, “I’ve never been raped. No one has ever had sex with me against my will. If anything, I have to plead with them. What can I add?” But then it occurred to me that the act of penetrative sex isn’t the only way that women and men are sexually assaulted, and that there is nothing to be gained by trivialising these other types of abuse.

At 18, I had my first real job in an office. My manager was in his mid-30s and I thought he was to die for. His girlfriend worked in the same department as us, but I flirted with him over the printer and hoped that one day I’d be invited out for work drinks. It was a few weeks before someone else asked me to tag along to a bar up the road, where spirits were three dollars and happy hour lasted till 10.

I wore a Fiorucci t-shirt with “I Wanna Bone” printed on it because how hot is that? and I threw back the clear liquid like water. My group of workmates gradually dissipated and I found myself alone in a booth with this man. I immediately realised this wasn’t my plan, that I wasn’t that girl, that his girlfriend had been by his side moments earlier.

But he had already forced himself on me, wrapped his leg around mine, pulled my hands behind his back.

“Come back to my place,” he slurred. “I’ll show you what I can do with my tongue and a red frog.”

The thought of it brought what might have been litres of alcohol into my throat. “No, get fucked.”

“I’ll buy you a new outfit on the way in tomorrow, so no one knows where you’ve been all night.” He was purring as though what he was suggesting was a delicious tryst, a night of unmatched passion. “You know you want it.”

Seconds or maybe hours later I felt his hand inside my skirt, inside my lacy knickers. Then his other hand was under my now shameful t-shirt and I felt waves of nausea and panic and anger at myself for sitting in such a very dark corner but my reflexes were so dulled that I did and said nothing. It wasn’t until I felt his erection pressed against my thigh that I turned to meet his hot gaze and vomited in his lap. That was my escape.

The next morning I called in sick and never returned. It didn’t feel right to tell them why. After all, I wore the t-shirt.

Anna Spargo-Ryan is a writer, social media strategist and supporter of SlutWalk Melbourne. You can find her @annaspargoryan on Twitter.

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