Why I Slutwalk: Lauren

When I was about 12 years of age, I knew I was different to ‘normal’ boys- I realized that I liked other boys. So I went online to find answers to questions I didn’t even know yet. Very early on, I found this guy who was about 19 at the time. Over the next three years, he would help answer questions I had about myself, as I felt there wasn’t anyone else I could go to. He would sometimes ask for sexual pictures and I would send them. He would then send some to me. He would also ask to try and organize a time to meet up. I was a little unsure, but by the time I was 15 and thought I was ready to meet him.

I invited him over to my house and we performed a few sexual acts. Shortly after, I immediately regretted it and suppressed the memory. We lost contact almost immediately. Due to my age, it counts as statutory rape. Then, when I was 16, I started having flashbacks and nightmares of the time. I really struggled with it and I would find myself crying all the time and fell into a deep depression. It was also at this time I started to question my gender. It was really hard to get through the next six months as I went to see three counselors and confessed to a few people.

I was so embarrassed and I blamed myself for everything that happened: I blamed myself for letting this person into my house; I blamed myself for sending pictures; I blamed myself for not ending it when I didn’t feel safe. I decided not to go to the police at that stage, but I struggled to continue with the thought of other people going through exactly what I went through, so in June 2014, when I was 17, I filed a report. The interview was one of the most scariest things I have ever done. I was underage at the time, so they informed me that the recording of the interview could be used in court. That thought scared me. Then, after the interview, the police asked to see if I had any record of the messages. Luckily, I didn’t delete the conversations between myself and the guy.

The next 14 months was hell; I became suicidal and had a few attempts shortly after I went to see the police. They informed me that he confessed to it about a month after I reported it, but that didn’t make it any easier. I still carried the shame and embarrassment of what had happened. Then, in May 2015, I was contacted by the Office of Public Prosecution. I met up with the prosecutor and they informed me of what is going to happen. August 2015 was the Plea Hearing. Luckily for me, he decided to plead guilty and I did not have to go through a trial. He did not get jail time, but a large amount of community service hours (which, in a way, I prefer because he won’t just waste taxpayer’s money in jail, and he will be giving back to the community); I read out my Victim Impact Statement in front of him and the judge at the plea hearing. I knew this would be the hardest thing I could ever do- if I could to this, I knew I could do almost anything.

I read the statement as best I could. I was told I did a great job by a friend who came for support and the prosecution. Then I broke. I still blamed myself and hated myself for putting myself through this. The next day was sentencing and I decided to go so I knew what he got the second it happened. The judge quoted part of my statement that hopefully one day I will realize that I am not to blame, that I was the child. After the sentencing, the prosecution even told me that there was a reason that there were these laws, to protect people like me, because a child is not capable of making that decision. Even though a part of me still blames myself, I do know rationally that it is never the victim’s fault. When I look back and change me with another person, I see that I did no wrong. I was manipulated, and groomed by someone for sexual activities. This experience just makes me want me to go around and tell any victim who may blaming themselves, that it is not their fault. It is not your fault.

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