As most of you will know, over April we worked with Stories of Note on a series of short videos with the intention of amplifying survivor voices. Not everybody who we spoke to was able to have a video of themselves published, but we still felt like it was incredibly important to allow these people to share their experiences and be listened to and believed. So, we’ve published a transcript from a person who we spoke to who was subject to an assault. Their identity will remain anonymous, but we strongly urge you to read their story and stand in solidarity against sexual assault and transphobia. If anyone reads this and would like to participate or just wants to voice their experience, don’t hesitate to contact us. We believe you, we are here for you x
I was on the receiving end of a transphobic sexual assault in the summer.
So I work as an out-of-hours warden, and I’m at university, so I live in halls. Over summer I was working as the warden, and the building is a gated facility, but during the summer people stay and come on holiday.
What happened was someone came to drop off clean linen, and some other guy must have come in as I opened the gates for the laundry. That’s the only way I can think it happened really. It was all a bit weird, because he was reading me this email at the time, which I guess kind of made sense, and he sort of got talking and said ‘Oh, I saw you last summer, and I’ve been thinking about you all year’ and I’m thinking ‘who the fuck are you?’, and then he asked me out for a drink. I said no thanks, I’m a guy and I’m straight, so no. He looked really confused, and I think probably he was a bit concerned that he was gay and had just asked out a guy, I think that was the case.
He went off, and I thought that was it. I thought that he was a guest or something that I just hadn’t seen. Obviously he wasn’t a guest.
So the next day I took my dog out for a walk. It was a bit stalker-ish, as he must have known when I was going to take my dog out because I attach her to my bike and I cycle a lot. It was about ten or eleven in the morning, I was going down a very quiet country lane that is so barely used that there’s grass in the middle, it’s almost a track.
A van pulls up and stops right in front so I can’t go forward and then a car pulls up at the other end so I can’t get back either. They took my dog off the bike and put her in the car. There was three of them, so he’d come back with two friends, and he basically threatened to kill me if I didn’t do what they said. And then they assaulted me in the back of the van. At the end of it all they just pushed me out of the back of the van and off they drove.
I didn’t go to the police or anything like that because it was really layered, as it was all very transphobic. There were lots of things that they said that were really transphobic and I didn’t really want to go to the police about it because i didn’t really want to encounter more transphobia.
It has really fucked me up, I started drinking pretty much straight away, so for two weeks I just hit whiskey, and I was just pissed for two weeks. Then university started again, so I had to pull myself together a little bit, but I didn’t stop drinking really. I mean I’m not drinking excessive amounts, but I have yet to go a day without drinking any alcohol and I have tried. There was a period of time where I kind of thought I was okay about it, but the last few weeks I’ve been having nightmares and have been quite hypervigilant. My dog is also traumatised, so every time she sees a white van she tries to run away, that’s quite crap. It’s been awful. The things they said just go over and over in my head, there’s a lot of shame around it i guess, and shame around stuff that I didn’t have any shame around before that happened. So yeah, the bastards have fucked me up a little bit.
I told a friend, I told a couple of friends, but not really. I didn’t know that there were places you could go when you’d been assaulted where you don’t have to tell the police and they take loads of evidence and then they freeze it; then you don’t have to do anything with it until you want to. I had no idea these places existed until it was too late.Otherwise I totally would have done that. I am gutted, because I think now that I would quite like to do something about it, but obviously there’s probably little point. I mean there will be CCTV footage of him being in the building, but what actually happened happened outside. There’s no CCTV footage of that, so it’s probably a waste of time. At the time the last thing I wanted to do was go to the police, but yeah I haven’t really told anyone because i think it’s complicated. If that had happened before I’d come out I think it would have been easier to talk about, but I think as a man, you really can’t be talking about being assaulted, it’s really taboo – so much more than if you’re a woman. So I do feel particularly silenced, because I suppose it’s not really supposed to happen to men. And i guess that’s quite specific to my situation as a trans man.
I go over it a lot, but it must have been premeditated. At the very least, it was premeditated the night before, if not before that. There’s no way of knowing, but it definitely wasn’t something that happened on the spur of the moment. I think lots of things like, ‘did they go to sleep on it, then wake up and still think it was a great idea?’, like what the fuck was it all about really? Did they decide it was going to happen last year, this year, the beginning of summer? I don’t know. They had definitely thought about it, because the way they came up to me and had organised it so that I couldn’t go forwards or backwards. They brought stuff to restrain me and things like that, so they had thought about what they were going to do. And I’m not going to take three guys on, as much as I like to think that i’m Iron Man or something.
I didn’t tell my job, my friends said I really should have done, but I didn’t. The reasons why I didn’t? Well I was embarrassed, but also because I felt like because it’s an organisation that they would put me under a lot of pressure to tell the police, and I didn’t want to be put under that kind of pressure. Then it kind of became too late.
I’m working again this Christmas as an out-of-hours warden, and I am a little bit worried, but Christmas is different. No one is staying here, no members of the public stay, and everyone is leaving. If anyone is coming in and out of the gates, I’ll know about it, and they shouldn’t be.
I continued working after it all. It happened at the weekend, so what happened was I would work from 5pm on the Friday until 9am on the Monday morning, and it happened on the Saturday. I was so ashamed to tell anyone that I continued working my shift, but I didn’t leave my flat. So if anything had happened, like if the fire alarm had gone off, i wouldn’t have done anything about it. And I was drunk, I was really drunk as well, so I suppose it’s quite bad behaviour to not say anything. I just thought they’d pressure me, because they’ve got an obligation as well, would they have to tell the police? That’s why I didn’t say anything, I hate the police. I fucking hate them.
I think the significant thing is the inability I feel to talk about it. And when I do talk about it, I talk about in such a way that people just think I’m alright. I don’t talk about it in a ball of tears. I feel like I have experienced that as well, I’ve been attacked in the past when I was much younger, and I felt before I’d come out that I was more able to talk about those things. Now as a trans man I just never say anything. I almost feel like it outs me a little bit, which is weird. Of course I know that men get raped, but there’s this feeling that only women do, so if I say that then it’s outing myself almost, which is a bit fucked up. That’s the most significant thing, besides the fact that it happened.
I do think that before I came out, when I’d been attacked before, I couldn’t just go around talking about it with no problem, but it was certainly easier. It’s a bit accepted that women get raped, it shouldn’t be accepted but it kind of is, women accept it, men accept it, that’s kind of what happens. Most women have some story and something that has happened around the fact that they didn’t consent. It’s the same for men, men get in these situations too, but for some reason that’s not really acknowledged. So it certainly would be easier to say that as a woman, you know ‘I was raped’, because people know that most women have been. It’s awful.
You don’t hear men say that. There are lots of women, and it’s great, standing up and voicing their experience of sexual violence and there are lots of things about breaking the taboo,but you don’t see that happening in men, at all. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything about men talking about rape. Toxic masculinity is a problem.