Why I support SlutWalk: A story from Lisa Dib

Before we share this important story with you, it’s important to note a trigger warning for the content below – in particular, for rape and assault.

This story was shared with us from Lisa Dib, one of the organisers of the SlutWalk 2014 team. We’d like to thank Lisa for sharing her story with us, and giving us permission to publish it on our page.

Although the bulk of my youth has faded into the memory ether (it wasn’t that long ago, I just have a rubbish memory), I recall that night with a clarity that only regretful replay and anxiety can conjure.

At one point in my life, much like many other women, I took out my teenage rage and boredom on my own body, by filling it to the brim with noxious booze and loud music. It was these days that I look back on with a cringe: doing all-nighters and jumping on the first train home in the morning; walking home in a t-shirt because I had spent my “cloaking a jacket” money on bourbon and coke; wandering in an intoxicated haze around nightclubs, trying to talk to people but usually just dancing on my own or watching the hazy, pulsating crowd. These were nights that I don’t necessarily look back on with fondness (especially when I imagine how annoying I must have been on the train ride into the city: drunk on Passion Pop and singing Good Charlotte) but a neutral embarrassment. I hadn’t ever driven drunk, or wandered into traffic, or given out my credit card details. Fairly harmless.

One night (or, rather, one morning) a friend- who will be called Anne for the purposes of this tale- and I made our way back to her house to sleep off the night’s partying. As we made our way onto the train and out to the wide-open suburbs, we somehow took on some stowaways. Two young men, around our age (that, is 19-21), had joined us for the ride home. I was briefly calmed by the fact that Anne said she knew one of them, though I am still, years later, wondering if that was true.

As we made the cold walk from the train station to Anne’s house, the boys lingered. They chatted amicably; I was too tired even to acknowledge them. It took every inch of my being to drag my sore feet and throbbing head through the streets. Sleep, I thought, I bloody cannot wait. Finally, home; the four of us went upstairs and made some banal conversation I cannot remember. I do, though, recall wishing the boys would leave, or at least sleep downstairs. Why had they come with us, I thought, eyeing them critically but exhaustedly. To my surprise, Anne disappeared into another room with one of the guys. The other made laughing mention of, ahem, “gobbies” (his use could be the root behind my bile-raising distaste for the term) and I ignored him. I said something about my desperate need for sleep and fell into bed without even taking off my belt or shoes.

By the grace of some brilliant timing, I awoke god-knows-how-long later to find that, not only was my bed-mate still beside me, but I could feel his hands working awkwardly to get my jeans off. Several things worked in my favour here: the tightness of my jeans (glorious stovepipes), my facing away from him at the time and his pitiful stupidity (he hadn’t bothered to undo the buttons.) I sat bolt upright, the way they do in movies after a nightmare, and asked him what he was doing. He smiled some goofy grin and muttered something inconsequential. He groaned as I leapt from the bed and went downstairs, taking them two at a time.

I sat in the cold, sunny lounge room with a glass of water until my heart stopped beating so damn fast; I wasn’t sure whether to tell Anne; she became a former friend for a reason, since her constant bullying of my timid, awkward demeanour since early high school had left me resentful of her and, though we were technically friends, I was afraid she would brush off my worry and fear with her usual brashness.

I waited for the others and, for reasons unknown to me still, climbed into the car with the two men. Anne was driving; she was babysitting and wanted me to keep her company. We got McDonalds and my bed-mate had neglected to give me the sachet of syrup from the bag, and I didn’t want to request it. The dudes sat in the back and guffawed; I forget where we let them out.

If you need to access support right now you can call the Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) on the after hours Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACL) 1800 806 292 or you can email SACL at ahcasa@thewomens.org.au

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