The stories from our sexual assault survey show that something needs to be done
These people spoke out about what’s happened to them
Over 5,000 people responded to The Tab’s sexual assault survey, and of that, an astonishing number said they’d been raped or sexually assaulted.
15 per cent — 18 per cent of girls and five per cent of boys — said they had been victims of rape, while a further 36 per cent reported being victims of assault. A further 87 per cent said they’d been groped in nightclubs, and 27 per cent said they’d been spiked.
Nearly half — 39 per cent — reported having sex without remembering what happened the next day, while 30 per cent admitted to having sex with someone after going back from a night out when they didn’t want to.
The survey had an impressive 5,357 respondents, but it was voluntary and anonymous, so its results are only indicative, and cannot be extrapolated out for all students.
But some of the stories submitted by respondents were incredibly powerful and brave, and we reproduce them anonymously here (names have been changed). They are a rare window into the reality of rape and sexual assault for British students.
It’s not often you hear someone in the news for raping the girl they are seeing, it’s usually an unknown attacker who strikes during the night in an unlit park or something, but that’s not how it was for me.
I would never have guessed my funny lovely guy would ever be the one that would be the one to make my life hell for a while, the one who gave me panic attacks when he looked at me in clubs and made me vomit when he passed me in the street. We were only seeing each other for a few weeks before it happened. He was actually visiting my house for the second time because I was ill and he brought me food. I was only 18 and he was 23.
When he attacked me it seemed to go on for a long time but it couldn’t have been longer than a minute, I consented at first and after a while it really started to hurt and it felt like my knees were about to pop out of place or something. I kept telling him how much it hurt and asking him to stop but he just said: “Shut up I’m almost there. Be quiet I’m about to cum”. My pleas didn’t stop him, and when I’d finally pushed him off me and told him to get out he left so fast he didn’t even close the door.
For such a long time I was convinced by friends and him that it wasn’t rape he was just being dirty, or that I was exaggerating. But a few months later I sat drunk and crying and realised it for what it was, I had been raped, he had gotten away with it, and no I wasn’t going to tell the police because I didn’t want to ruin his life. Consent classes are important to me now, because maybe if this normal average guy had went to one I wouldn’t have been raped.
When a guy knew I was really drunk on a night out, I asked if he could drop me home in his taxi. He made sure the taxi only stopped at his house, and since I didn’t know where I was, and couldn’t walk, I had to go inside. He blocked the door and got naked, since the assumption was that I would be easy and would not put up a fight since I was drunk. Luckily I could still push past him. I ran out and rang a friend to help me get home. It was disgusting and made me feel like it was my fault for being drunk.
I was on a sports social at a Russell Group uni, and since I had a 9am the next day I hadn’t intended to drink much. I felt tipsy upon entering the club, and ordered one last drink at the bar. After having this drink I don’t remember a thing, so I’m not sure if I was spiked or if everything caught up with me, but while mind-blanks are normal for me with alcohol, this was an extreme case.
I had just started speaking to and kind of seeing someone who was aware that I don’t have sex with people I’m not dating — and given that I’ve never been in a relationship, I was particularly protective. Despite this, I woke up in the morning to be greeted by him telling me we had slept together. I thought he was joking because I didn’t remember and I felt nothing. Normally even when drunk I’m in control of myself in those type of situations, and most importantly for me, boys normally respect my views.
It’s difficult to know how the night played out, but I know I wouldn’t have consented sober (even though we had started seeing each other it was too early on and we weren’t officially dating). He apologised and I let it slide but made sure to be more aware in the future. After he tried it on again while he was sober I stopped talking to him because I felt there was no respect for me or my views. Only when talking to my best friend did I realise that this could count as rape or sexual assault due to the lack of official consent alcohol creates, and wouldn’t be surprised if the same has happened to others.
I only spoke to friends about it due to the shock of it happening and the mixed reactions I received. Several boys I told essentially found it amusing and said things along the lines of “it takes two to tango” and “you must have been up for it at the time”. Even some girls said things like “you can’t pretend it didn’t happen because you regret it”, clearly ignoring the fact it was that I don’t believe I had control over the situation rather than just regret doing it. Other girls and boys were very supportive and gave me lots of comforting advice, and many don’t speak to the boy involved any more, especially after hearing other rumours about him. The people who said I was wrong to “throw about” the word rape put me off reporting anything even though I was fairly certain I was right. I was also quite upset and ashamed for a while.
I previously believed in no sex before marriage so this wasn’t an ideal way to lose my virginity.
I met lovely guy in smoking area during Freshers’. We went back to his but said I didn’t want to have sex. He was determined though and started pushing me and holding me down to try and keep me still so he could get it in. We struggled like this for about five mins, none of his flat were in to hear. I got away but had bruises all over my boobs, which are still here a week later.
I was just 18 when I was assaulted at a friend’s gig in a club in Liverpool. All my friends from my youth club and an awful lot of my school friends were there. One of my friends introduced me to a guy I vaguely knew from the local boys grammar school which my sixth form was closely involved with. I knew him by reputation and by name but had never really met him. At this point I was still in the closet a few of my friends knew I was Bi but because i was very heavily involved in my local church I thought that coming out could well have ruined me socially.
But this guy and I got talking and he asked me to go out to the smoker’s area with him and then he started overtly hitting on me. At first I was OK with it — he was fairly good looking after all and only the year above me at school. He got me to go down the alley with him because he didn’t want to be seen smoking as his parents wouldn’t have approved. At this point in the evening I was already pretty drunk so when he pushed me up against a wall I wasn’t able to fend him off in a way I otherwise would have done. I tried to tell him I didn’t want to do anything more than pulling and it was then he started to get rough with me telling me if I didn’t do what he said not only would he hurt me he would out me to everyone I knew which at this point was just about the worst thing he could have suggested.
There in the alley way, despite me telling him no time and time again he raped me . Then when it was all over he waked away and I had to go back into the club and pretend nothing had happened because more than anything I was ashamed. I didn’t want my friends or family knowing what had happened. I didn’t want them to know about my sexual orientation, and somehow for an incredibly long time I blamed myself. I never went to the police because I knew the chance of getting a conviction would be very low and that going through the worst night of my entire life in a courtroom would have done untold damage to my mental health, and it took me a long time to even admit what had happened to my nearest and dearest.
Four years have passed since that happened and not a day has gone by it doesn’t affect me, I’ve got PTSD, I don’t trust people, being in a city late at night without people I know and trust gives me panic attacks. But I’m getting better. I told my family what happened and I’ve seen a psychiatrist. I’m telling my story because I want other people — especially guys — to know there isn’t any shame in being the victim of rape or sexual assault. It’s not your fault and it doesn’t reflect on you as a person. You’re not weak or stupid and it’s never your fault.
In many ways it affected me at uni because it took moving away from home to really get the distance from everything I needed to come to terms with it. My PTSD and subsequent anxiety, and at times depression, have made coming in to uni difficult and nights out can be a challenge. I don’t like being too close to people and although I like to drink I’m still really paranoid about other people.
I was assaulted after a night out in Belfast. I was dancing in a club and started talking to this guy — we kissed and danced and I ended up leaving early with him to go back to his. That was all fine, we had sex and then we were laying in his bed about to fall asleep when suddenly his door starts banging. It was his friend he was at the club with. He let his friend in and he came and talked to us for a bit, although he was very, very intoxicated. His friend then went to the toilet. I asked the guy I came with to order me a taxi home at this point as his friend clearly wasn’t going to leave us alone.
His friend then returned from the bathroom completely naked and got in to the bed beside me. I got up to get dressed and get my taxi when suddenly his friend pulled me back on to the bed and suggested we have a threesome which I declined. I tried to get up and the friend held me down. The guy that I came back with just got out of bed and looked out the window. His friend then got on top of me and began to have sex with me. No matter how many times I asked him to get off or said I didn’t want to, he wouldn’t listen. I just lay there helplessly while I was raped and the guy I came with just ignored the whole situation as if nothing had happened. Once the friend was finally done, he tried to cuddle with me but ended up falling asleep straight away.
The guy I was with finally came back into bed and also tried to cuddle with me. I lay there so stiff between these two guys, scared to move in case I woke the friend up or the guy I came with decided he wanted a go. Suddenly my phone rang, my taxi was outside. This was my perfect getaway. The guy was happy enough to let me get my taxi. I put on my clothes the fastest I’ve ever done and ran out the door and into the taxi. I’ve never been so scared in my life.
After a night out a boy I was seeing, but hadn’t slept with, came back to my house. Things were fine and I said I didn’t want to sleep him and he didn’t overly try to pressure me. The next morning however we were kissing and he got carried away and, although I told him not too, put his penis inside me. I tried to push him off but it was too late and he came. He then got annoyed at me when I said I wasn’t on the pill.