Not so sweet sixteen


This incident has stayed with me so much for the last ten years, and I still get angry about it.

When i was 16 I was driving home from horseriding, so wearing the usual jodhpurs, t-shirt, looking a bit rough, etc. I was stopped at the lights at a big crossing and a guy was selling The Big Issues. I actually would buy these magazines occasionally. The guy was foreign (ie, not Irish), and was speaking broken English at each car trying to get people to buy the magazine. It was summer and my window was down the whole way.

He got to me, I couldn’t understand him but i was totally nice, saying that i didn’t have my wallet on me, i literally have 20 pence, and i remember looking at it in the dashboard. He begged me a long time considering, and I really had to say No to him firmly. I made sure he understood. He was annoying and begging.

He went away and came back again, this time he put his arm into my car and put a magazine on my lap, put his hand under the mag and groped me insanely crudely between my legs. It hurt he was so rough. He kept saying ‘for you it’s free’ or something along those lines. at this stage his shoulders were in the window too. I threw the magazine into his face, and opened my car door and banged him until he fell away.

I WISH i had gone to the police immediately, and reported him to the Big Issues as well. But when you’re sixteen, and just discovering your sexuality, it’s not so easy.

Anna, Dublin, Ireland



11 Responses to “Not so sweet sixteen”

  1. Amanda Says:

    We’re hearing you now Anna. We’re listening. We understand. And you have every right to be angry.

  2. Barbara P Says:

    I can imagine how hard it would have been to deal with the police (because you never know how they would have reacted!)

    I’m glad he got some comeuppance, though.

  3. Em Says:

    That’s awful Anna, I’m so sorry to hear it. I hope you hit him really hard with that car door!

  4. BranchMonster Says:

    I’m so sorry, Anna. I am glad you were willing and able to defend yourself. You can still write to the magazine if they are still in circulation. I hope you are not hard on yourself for not going to the police. I was assaulted when I was 23 and I didn’t know then what actions would be “appropriate” to report and even catch the creep.

    I hope you heal through sharing your story, hearing our support and understanding that you do have the right to be angry (as Amanda said). I hope your right to feel peace and happiness guides you through that healing.

  5. jesurgislac Says:

    You could still talk to the Big Issue. They should take anything like this seriously.

    Good for you, hitting him with the car door, though. I hope you hit him hard.

  6. Anna Says:

    Thanks for the replies guys!
    believe it or not, a lot of people are dismissive when i tell them this story.
    I was raped in the same year, and when i told my current boyfriend about it (fair enough, he didn;t know WHAT to say), he said ‘was it violent?’. That was the first thing he said.

    eh, no, it was a lovely relaxing rape, what do you think?!

    I think it is terribly hard to relate to things like this. Because there is so much sexual assualt going on, it takes away from its importance and affect on people’s lives.
    Thankyou again so much for all the kind words.

    • Sara Says:

      Sometimes it’s difficult to be the partner, I was physically and emotionally abused as a child and despite this when boyfriend told me that he was sexually abused by another boy when he was a child the best I could do up was hug him and say “well, I don’t think you’re gay”.

      Of course, what I really wanted to do with hunt the fucker down and string him up by his testicles because it is so difficult to think about something like that happen to someone I love, or anyone at all for that matter, and for days afterwards I went numb just trying to absorb it all.

      I did as much research as I possibly could on the subject of male-male rape and thanks to all the survivors speaking out, I can kind of visualise theprocesses boyfriend went through afterwards and where he is now, so I feel more equiped to talk about it.

      I think the more survivors of all forms of abuse talk about it, the more we can prepare ourselves to deal with it; because although it happens a lot and people are really desensitised to the word itself, nobody stops and thinks about what it must have been like because nobody knows how to. it’s almost shrouded in myth because everyone’s heard of it, but it never happens to them. When I talk about my abuse, I find I often have to describe what happened AND how I felt for them to get it.

      It’s worth writing about it to Big Issue, if you feel the need to get it out there for you and others, but just talking about the incident and that thing that raped you here and to others is both incredibly brave is making a difference to both survivors and people who know them.

  7. D Says:

    That would be horrible. I’m sorry you had to deal with that guy.

    For what it’s worth, I think your response, fighting back and hitting him, was cool. So I hope you’re not too hard on yourself about not going to the police. I don’t think there’s any perfect way of dealing with something like that. No matter how well you handle things, there can be room for self-doubt. You reacted the best you could at the time.

  8. Jezebel Says:

    This made me livid – unfortunately I’m not surprised that it has stayed with you. I wish there was some way of retroactively going back and beating the shit out of him. Also, I think you’re amazing for being able to react the way you did, fending him off.

  9. Kris S. Says:

    I think, especially considering your age at that time, that you handled that GREAT! There are many grown women who wouldn’t have done as much (and perhaps later thought it was “all their fault” due to our stupid cultural MFIF upbringing.) Don’t be too hard on yourself! I bet your actions made that jerk think twice about doing that again.

  10. atozinco Says:

    “I WISH i had gone to the police immediately…But when you’re sixteen, and just discovering your sexuality, it’s not so easy.”

    I understand what you mean about not knowing what to do or whether to tell someone of it. I never told anyone when I was sexually harrassed as a teenager (I am 23 now) because I was humiliated, and I guess I didn’t fully know how to make sense of it. Sexual harrassment isn’t something that it talked about much, and the only message I got (from older female friends) was “ignore it; it’s part of life; pretend it never happened & don’t let it bother you.”

    Now, in retrospect, I wish I had told my parents about each incident & got some suppor from them. One of the worst things about sexual harrassment, to me, is how silent it is (and also the message that it’s normal and girls must just silently endure/’ignore’ it).

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