Why science speaks a shocking truth - sexual assault story 


We empower women so often to speak so loud about their truths. We reassure others that it is never their fault, that they deserve justice. So why do we scrutinise ourselves, blame ourselves and science ourselves? 

10.07.17 is a date I will never forget for as long as I live. At 12 years and 11 months old my life changed forever. Changed by a relative, an uncle, a friend and a man who I loved and trusted dearly. On that day, I suffered mercilessly at the hands of a man I once admired, and endured things no human should endure no matter their age. 

6.04.20 is the date I first publicly spoke out. Almost 3 years of science was broken by a simple social media post. A post that tore apart the seams of my family, but which also tore down the walls that I didn’t even know were built around me. With a click of a button I felt a freedom I had never felt before, the freedom from the iron grasp my assaulter held over me. The freedom of owning my story and my shame.

But why did it take so long? Why for three years did I suffer in science? Where, most importantly, is my justice? 

Scared, confused and traumatised, I turned to my mother. The woman who birthed me, raised me and loved me endlessly. I spoke of the issue which I knew so little about; yet I do know I did not lie or exaggerate once despite her response. I was brandished a liar by my own mother, told that I was making up stories and that I should stop being a baby. Silenced before I could even speak up, before I could even process what had happened. And if she didn’t believe me, who would? So silent I remain. 

The #metoo movement captured my attention hook line and sinker. I was in awe of these beautifully brave women owning their stories and banishing any shame or self-loathing that came with this. However, the #metoo movement is also dangerous. Not once do people consider the decision making that goes into sharing your story, particularly if you story would put shame to your family name. I felt weakness for not being able to share my story like these countless other women had done, which only depend my shame.

As a 12-year-old girl these decisions were inconceivable, each one its own mountain which I carefully teetered on top of. For as long as I live, I will second guess myself and always ponder on the belief that I didn’t make the right call. But I was alone and young, I did what I had to do to survive the lasting effects of what had been done to me. 

You must consider this: I was young, he was family, it was another country, I had no hard evidence. The police wouldn’t have believed me if my own mother failed to. I couldn’t force myself to make my mother choose between her sister or her daughter. I couldn’t make my cousin see my uncle in the light I did. I couldn’t let my family be ashamed of me in the same way I was ashamed of myself.

So, the silence spoke to words I never could. It tells the tale of trauma, answers the questions I had to ask myself and it protected me from judgement and exposure of my darkest secrets. Sometimes a survivor’s silence is not weakness, it is their story spoken through words that a person who hasn’t endured that sort of trauma cannot hear. Their silence, my silence tells a story a thousand words couldn’t. Silence is not shameful. Silence is shocking. Silence is power.