In light of the recent Harvey Weinstein case, thousands of women have taken to the internet with the hashtag #metoo to show solidarity and to expose their plight at the hands of sexual predators. That being said, it’s not only women – and it also shows that this is a rampant issue regardless of gender, frequently swept under the rug. Of course, the issue in itself has its share of backlash with users being brigaded by #NotAllMen apologists and others angrily decrying the hashtag, asking the greater world wide web why survivors have to relive their trauma in order to make this issue known.

Locally, we know we have a problem. Less than half of all rape cases go unreported and it seems to be only when things are truly dire that something is actually done about it. Recently, Twitterjaya has been up in arms due to some users defending sexual predators if they happen to be friends and family. There’s loyalty, and there’s blind stupidity. An example would be the Duggar case, infamous among reality TV: the victims in question, Josh Duggar’s sisters, defended their brother. Studies show that in most cases, their abusers are known to them and furthermore, it’s more disgusting when it happens to be a family member or someone in a position of authority.

There are many stories I could pull from the internet, but instead – I’ve asked survivors to send me their stories. Admittedly, it hurts to read and transcribe this into an article but they deserve to be known:

25, Female

When did it happen:
When I was 17.

Did you know the person?
Yes. He was my high school sweetheart’s close friend.

 

 

What happened?
I was lured over to his place with the promise of drugs. I trusted him because he was my high school sweetheart’s close friend. I was a naive addict, running on three days of no sleep. I don’t recall knocking out, or how, but I woke up with me naked and him on top of me. When I pushed him off, I found my clothes neatly folded in a corner. I ran out for help, and was sent home by a friend.

Somewhat unrelated, but two years later – I found out from my then boyfriend that [the perpetrator] had recorded the entire ordeal and showed the video to him and his friends at a local cyber cafe. He was disappointed because the hidden camera had somehow fallen down and knocked out of the vantage point. He is apparently known to do these things and record them. To this day, he still messages me as if we’re friends.

21, Female

When did it happen?
Last year.

Did you know the person?
Yes. He was my ex.

What happened?
My ex and I were together for a year. He was my first sexual partner. During the first time, he agreed to use a condom but ripped it off halfway and wouldn’t stop. This continued throughout the relationship with unprotected and painful sex since I was never really willing. Us having sex was never really agreed upon, it just happened in his house when his parents weren’t home.

When I finally put my foot down, he agreed to be respectful and gentle but instead, took nudes of me without my consent. We eventually broke up for other reasons, but I wish I never met him. I learned to accept that I kind of allowed it to happen.

Newest #metoo cover @newsweek / creativedirector @mgoesele artwork #justinmetz

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22, Female

When did it happen?
September 2016, and April 2017.

Did you know the person?
In 2016, yes. In 2017, no.

 

What happened?
I was seeing someone in 2016. It was only a few months, but it was a very physical relationship. That being said, I told him that I was a virgin and not comfortable having sex with him. But he kept insisting.

One day, he came over to my house and we were just chilling in my room, but things started to get out of hand. I told him to stop, but he didn’t. My parents were in the next room. I should have done something, but the thought of my parents finding out in that way just horrified me. I kept quiet and waited for it to be over. After that, I told him to leave and he didn’t understand why I was upset. When I finally managed to verbalize it to him (because apparently, it needed to be explained to him), he laughed and called me a psycho b*tch.

In 2017, I was dancing with a friend at TREC and I felt a hand go up my skirt. I shoved it away, and I saw the guy smiling at my way – this story has a much more satisfying ending. I panicked and told my friend, who proceeded to punch the guy in the face.

33, Male

When did this happen?
When I was 14,18 and in my early 20s.

Did you know the person?
Yes.

What happened?
It happened quite a few times actually with different people.

The first time was when I was in high school. I was 14. I was first groped by a female senior pretending to play hide and seek in school and both of us hid in the cupboard. She just touched me and asked me to keep quiet. Then it was my male discipline teacher who wanted me to become a prefect and asked me if i’m up for it. He just grabbed my balls and was smiling while doing so. I accepted the offer but luckily nothing more than that happened.

The next incident was during a skateboarding demonstration we did for Convent Peel Road School. I was 18 at the time. They had this haunted house where I was invited by the students to go in. It was dark and two students out of nowhere groped me and put my hands into their bra and one of them kissed me. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy it at all.

#sexualassault #sexualassaultawareness #rapeculture

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When I was in my early twenties, I had my own apartment and always had friends over. I know, you must be thinking ‘why would a guy not want to have sex when an opportunity is presented to them’. Too many female friends would insist on trying to sleep with me when I’ve firmly made it clear that I don’t want to, and I don’t see them that way.

One got really drunk and start to undress herself and forced herself on me when I tried to push her away. Eventually it happened, I didn’t dare do anything or even attempt to force her off me because as a man, she could just twist the story around and accuse me of raping her instead. I really feel violated by these girls. They can be really fierce and they will just force you even though you don’t want to.

One of them had the guts to try to talk me into it the whole night and I kept telling her no until i fell asleep. I slept on the floor and I let her have the bed. I woke up with her naked on top of me, and yes. I was raped.

The point I’m trying to make is that rape can happen to men as well. As long as it’s a nonconsensual sexual act, it’s rape. I felt violated and disgusted because sex (to me) has to be something you do with someone you love, or have a connection with. Out of all the incidents, I was forced into relationships with two of them. I couldn’t say no – they threatened to tell people that I raped them.

25, Genderfluid

When did this happen?
My first year of college.

Did you know the person?
No.

What happened?
I was sexually harassed on my first year in college. I was studying in a very remote area in Negeri Sembilan, and this college is kind of “notorious” among locals because of how many African students there are. My parents warned me beforehand to keep away from them before I left for the college.

The first time it happened, I was walking home alone, then there was this guy who approached me. Tall, bulky. Asked for my number. I said I’m rushing and I need to go home, but he followed me all the way until the gate to my local hostel, continuously pestering for my number and even had the audacity to insist that I be his girlfriend even though I told him I already have a boyfriend. In the end I had to give him my old phone number. Then I immediately blocked his number when I got home. That was like, the first thing I did.

Second time, I was eating with my friends at one of the local restaurants. Also like the first one, pestered me for my number and made these gross remarks about “my sweet curves” and “soft body”. Even after the restaurant owner (who was always chummy with his customers) told him to not disturb me. I ended up giving him my number after that. I didn’t block him, but in the end I respectfully told him to back off, and he got the message. Never heard of him ever since.

Third time was when I REALLY started to feel scared for my life. It happened again when I was walking home alone. It started with a guy saying hello to me at the supermarket around college,  and I ignored it. Like, fool me twice shame on me right? When I walked home, I felt someone was following me, and I took a glance back once in awhile. It was only when I was CLOSE to the stairs in my apartment when I heard someone said “why are you ignoring me?” I got so scared I ran all the way up. It was a good thing my neighbour was outside then, and their fiancee offered to check if the harasser was still there.

He stalked me again one afternoon and I got so scared I called him out and made enough of a commotion that the shopkeeper told him to leave. Later the shopkeeper said I shouldn’t walk alone.

Honestly I felt these occurrences greatly affected my performance and worsened my depression. Like how do you continue studying in a place where you just feel unsafe? It doesn’t help that no one I talked to about these listened to my feeling unsafe: they focused more on the fact that my harassers were African and how “bad” they are, not to mention repeatedly warning me not to go out alone again or else they will harass me again. The only ones that really listened were my African coursemates who happened to also be members of their student society, and they promised to make sure I felt safe in my environment. One even gave me their number that I can call if I ever need someone to accompany me anywhere.

I feel like people seem to care more about this sexual harassment if it’s from “outsiders” — foreigners like Bangladeshis, Africans, Indonesians etc. more than if it’s from people we know — and even then they don’t care about how the victims feel. My dad’s comment, when I talked to him about my harassment, was “You have a black belt in taekwondo! Why didn’t you just punch him?” How can I if my assailants are at least 6 feet tall and are bulky in frame?

I stopped studying there in 2015. Looking back, I realize I didn’t like the place because I felt unsafe there. I don’t even dare go out by myself at night now when I used to have no problems going out at 4 am by myself in my younger days. I wish they didn’t affect my life and how I feel about going out anywhere so badly, but it does.