Why Our Stories Matter
‘Do you know what I did today? I sat in a courtroom and told my story. I watched the man who traumatized me and dozens of other women sentenced for his crimes’
On March 4, 2018 at 10:22 a.m. I got on the bus. This was something I had done thousands of times.
But little did I know this trip would be different.
Moments after I sat down on the empty bus, a man sat beside me and spread his legs apart, touching mine. The further I pushed into the window the stronger his touch became, and his foot began to rub slowly up and down my boot. I will never forget looking over and seeing the expression on his face. He was enjoying it.
I did not understand what was happening, but my heart was pounding. I knew I had to get away. I pushed past him and as soon as the bus stopped, he got off and ran away.
I sat on that bus for another 40 minutes in shock. As tears rolled down my face, I began to process what had happened, and then came to a startling realization. I had just been sexually assaulted.
My sexual assault was not what they talk about in the media, or what I believed sexual assault to be. I did not know if my story would be taken seriously, but I knew by my uncontrollable crying and constant urge to vomit I had to report it. I didn't want him to traumatize anyone else.
All I had was a timeline and a brief description, but that was enough. OC Transpo and the Ottawa Police believed me. This same man was later charged with 34 counts of sexual assault across Ottawa.
Being a victim of sexual assault can be confusing. I wanted to share my story to show that people will listen, and that your story matters. Organizations like the Centre for Treatment of Sexual Assault and Childhood Trauma are there to listen and to help you heal. You are not alone.
I took a chance when I reported my assault and I didn't know if anything would happen. But do you know what I did today? One year after my assault I sat in a courtroom and told my story. I watched the man who traumatized me and dozens of other women sentenced for his crimes.