The Lynn News provides a platform for victims of sexual harassment in West Norfolk to speak out
Since the launch of Chief Simon Bailey’s website Everyone’s Invited, the Lynn News is asking West Norfolk victims of sexual assault and abuse to come forward.
This is a space designed to show the scale of the sexual assault, harrasment and incidents that have charecterised the childhoods, teenage years and adulthood of a high percentage of women.
We want to show that this is your neighbours, friends, sisters and mothers.
We don’t want these voices to be lost in statistics. We want them to be heard.
In the UK 20 per cent of women and four per cent of men have experienced some form of sexual crime.
This can range from coercion, rape, unwanted attention and revenge porn.
Every person has an individual account that has affected them, and in some cases, have carried with them for years.
Many victims blame themselves or feel guilty about what has happened to them.
Some have even questioned that what they went through was even considered a crime.
Many have had to work with, go to school with, or see their abusers on a daily basis.
Now is the time to stop being silent.
These are the voices of the women you see on the street every day, buy coffee from, the woman who smiles at you at the supermarket checkout.
She is the girl getting on the school bus, the woman walking home at night with her keys clenched in her fist.
Read their stories here (all names have been changed).
Sadly I’ve been sexually assaulted twice in my life.
The first occasion was a family member, it was my cousin who was about three years older than me. I was only about 10. I visited his house with my father and we was playing on our own in his bedroom.
Out of the blue he said “let’s play a game” I was waiting for him to say what game it would be I presumed it would be a board game or video game however he literally forced himself on me, I froze in shock whilst he tried to pin me down and touching me, I managed to fight him off and ran for the door however he was quicker than me and locked the bedroom door.
I screamed for my father to help but he couldn’t hear me.
Eventually he let me go as long as I promised to keep quiet. I never went to the police as I feared if I spoke out the shock would kill my grandparents.
It mentally caused a lot of damage, I grew up having huge trust issues with anyone. Then when I was 14 after school one day me and my best friend went round one of our male friends he also had a friend round too.
No adults were there, in the house was a display cabinet and it had a pull down door and inside was alcohol, he offered us all alcohol and I kind of felt a bit of peer pressure and agreed. However the drink went to my head and I felt sick.
I went to the bathroom and the two boys barged there way in and my best friend stood there whilst the two boys tried to rape me, they both tried to pin me down on the floor and tried to tear my clothes off me, I kicked and screamed and desperately tried to fight off the two boys who was at this stage kicking me and I hit my head on everything in the bathroom as they swung me round trying to get me back on the floor, all this time my best friend just stood there watching. eventually they heard a bang outside so they panicked and let me go. I again never told anybody. I feared I wouldn’t be believed.
I avoided my friend and left school a year later as I had a nervous breakdown. Years later I’m now an adult and have an amazing partner and we have 3 children, I eventually told my partner my story and my mum who both have been amazing support.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.
I don’t think people realise that sexual assault is a varied thing.
For me, it was my ex-boyfriend not stopping when I asked him to, and boys standing next to me and going out of their way to touch me and make me uncomfortable, even yesterday this happened, putting arms around my shoulder and touching me even though I asked them to step away.
But for others it’s more obvious like an attack in public, but it’s one of the things that can happen to anyone, of any gender. I worked in a pub, and even during a pandemic I still had men touching my thighs and waist while I was handing them food and drinks, obviously inappropriately.
I know it may not be the obvious sexual assault, and it may not even be considered sexual assault in this case, but I want to help raise awareness where I can.
I’ve had instances where men have gone out of their way to harass me when I was leaving work, trying to follow me home and the only reason they didn’t is because my dad would pick me up and they wouldn’t go near a girl that had a man with them.
But it shouldn’t be like that. I don’t want to think about what might’ve happened if my dad wasn’t waiting for me.
I experienced sexual assault at the age of 16 but I didn't realise it was until years later. I got an older boyfriend, in his 20s, as the pub where I live used to let underage in if they behaved. It was many years ago. I'm 42 now. He used to get me drunk and then take me back to his house and I'd wake up to him having sex with me. I thought as he was my boyfriend it was normal.
Many years later, at the age of 31 I was working abroad in a small French village in the alps and left the pub earlier than other staff...I felt safe. Small village, freezing cold, no one would be lurking. I got dragged down an alley and he tried to rape me...the wet and snow along with my screaming and fighting made him give up. The French police treated me like I deserved it, English and walking alone. I even wondered if they believed me. The next week he tried it with a different girl but had a knife.
My point is ... I 'm pretty careful but I had it happen to me. Why should anyone be careful or fear a short walk. I never walk alone in the dark...ever! But that's the reality. And I'm not even sure, as a woman, it won't ever happen again
My new boyfriend had sex with me in the morning. I woke up to it. After it was over he said: “Thank you for doing that, I know you didn’t really want to”.
My first boyfriend pressured me into sex at the age of 16, I just lay there and allowed him to do it, with tears streaming down my face.
He then proceeded to tell all his friends how ‘rubbish’ I was in bed. I felt ashamed and started acting out after that. It’s given me a complex until adulthood.
He dumped me shortly after, citing my lack of willingness to have sex as a reason.
A boy I knew asked me to send him pictures when I was 14, I felt we were getting into a relationship and didn’t want to say no.
I liked him a lot and felt flattered by the attention. He told me how beautiful I was and the next day they were printed off and plastered around all of the school notice boards. I don’t feel like the teachers even cared about how I felt.
The boy in question got clapped by the school football team, including the sports teacher. I heard about it at lunchtime.
At the age of 13 a man approached me online. He was 20, he told me his girlfriend was 14 so I was only a little younger than her and that it was fine because I acted so much older than I was.
After speaking for a few weeks he asked to meet and at the first meeting he asked me to carry our sexual acts on him.
This continued for a very long period of time. This man would pick me up from school in his car, he would lie to his work friends every time I had a birthday so they
couldn't figure out his dirty secret.
Even to this day he still thinks he did nothing wrong, he continues to lie and manipulate the truth. It's taken me a while to deal with how two different accounts
can be so different but after healing myself understand now that although on the outside no remorse is shown deep down he has to live with that daily.
That's something that will never change and I know what happened and I always will.
I won't ever stop telling my story despite attempts to stop me. It's so important that we tell our children that no adult should ever have an interest in children.
Despite how special they may make you feel there is something very wrong with someone that grooms and actively finds children to become
romantically involved with.
As I sat on the bus a man was touching me up, I was too scared to say no as I was 18 and he seemed very drunk. Luckily a kind man came and sat nearby and eventually shooed him away.
It's not all men. I had experiences with two men that night and they couldn't be more different. One made me terrified of travelling on the bus alone for the next few years, and the other made sure I got home ok
and explained to my parents what happened before making his way home to his wife. Thank you to him for that.
All the boys I went to school with had an entitled, strange attitude towards women. They used to openly critique us to our faces. They used to comment on us like pieces of meat at a butchers.
I still to this day have body issues because of the vile things they said. Looking back at pictures there was nothing wrong with me, but being treated like an object has ruined my body image