Listen to Melanie's story

I told my mom. I don’t remember what I said, or how I felt. I just needed to tell her.

I had lied to my mom the night of the assault. I had said that I would be at my friend’s, but I was actually out drinking. I only told my mom about the assault so that I wouldn’t get in trouble.

We went to the hospital on the advice of our neighbour. I remember being asked a lot of questions about where I was and what I had been doing. But not about what had been done to me, so I denied any sexual assault. We did not talk about reporting options because it was assumed nothing had really happened.

I didn’t really think of myself as having been sexually assaulted. I was thinking more about what I had done and the choices I made to put myself in that situation.

I was ashamed.

I always thought I had just made some bad choices until I started to work with other survivors. I recall hearing a nurse tell a young woman that no one has the right to take advantage of others when they’re vulnerable.

I realized that what had happened to me wasn’t my fault and that I couldn’t have changed the situation, what happened was on him..

That was a big relief.

But I still remember the shame that came with admitting something had happened, and not being able to recall details.

If survivors come forward - even if they’ve only told one person - they’re probably a lot stronger than they think they are.

Because even that takes a lot of courage to do.