What is Sexual Assault?


It is

a motorcycle alongside me

Frozen in place

An unwelcome, foreign hand

It is laughter ringing in my ears

A moment insignificant to

a coward

Sexual assault is the statement unsaid

lingering in a small room with one police officer

It is an apology from the man who didn’t commit the act

and a thousand voices screaming inside my head “not all men”

Sexual assault is digital photos, handing over my shirt, a DNA swab

It is

recounting of facts, descriptions, times, reliving the moment

It is wanting to shrink into the shadows

It is “this isn’t that bad”

It is “maybe if my breasts were smaller”

It is “I don’t remember if he was wearing gloves”

Sexual assault is hiding myself from the world

Light extinguished

Body burning from shame

Sexual assault is feeling small in a strong body

It is the significance of consent in a world that assumes my answer is and always will be, yes.


Cover by Salman Hossain Saif

Wherever you are in Australia, you can call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) any time for confidential information, counselling and support in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence or abuse. Visit the website to chat online and find services in your area.