A woman from Huddersfield who was sexually assaulted in her home by a friend has launched a campaign to encourage young people to talk openly about consent.
The 25-year-old has helped produce a film which will be taken into schools in the hope it will lead to people knowing ‘it is ok to say no’.
The woman, who doesn’t want to be identified and has asked to be known as Sally, was assaulted in her home in Huddersfield after a night out.
“It was the most traumatic and soul breaking experience of my life. My friend stole a part of me, a part of my life I will never get back.”
She reported the incident to police and her attacker was arrested, but she says there was no conviction due to lack of evidence.
“I felt nothing, but everything all at the same time. My life had been torn apart, I was losing myself. I felt like my friend had stolen a sense of innocence from me. He had taken something that wasn’t for sale.
“I was grieving, I was numb, I was angry, I was scared and I didn’t want to be alone, but I didn’t want to tolerate anyone either.”
She has suffered from social anxiety since the incident and has been receiving counselling. She wants young people to be aware of the impact a sexual assault can have on mental health and well-being.
“I couldn’t trust anyone. I would double lock my door when I got in. I would only go somewhere in a taxi but even that would make me anxious.
“I have panic attacks if I see this guy in the street. I have panic attacks when people touch me or speak to me in a way I do not like.”
Her film is an animation that uses the metaphor of giving and taking sweets among students in a classroom to explore the idea of consent. She hopes to show her film to as many secondary school students as possible.
“I want young people to know it is acceptable to have personal boundaries. I want them to know it is okay to say ‘no’ and okay to change your mind even within a long term relationship. I want them to be aware of the law.”
She has produced the film with Fixers, a charity which works with young people aged 16 to 25 across the UK by providing them with resources to help them campaign on issues they feel strongly about.
For more information or to make a donation to fund more Fixer projects, visit www.fixers.org.uk