Content warning for sexual assault. 

For the spoken word version, click here.

Aged 13 a man followed me into town by my side until I asked him why.

Aged 14 I was told I was frigid, not good enough or girlfriend material.

Aged 15 I was emotionally manipulated by a man who should have known better.

Aged 19 I bathed, for forty minutes, oblivious of the man who stood on the sink in the stall next door and watched me.

Aged 20 my personal space was invaded, my thigh touched by an unknown man on a train.

I have not been sexually assaulted. Yet, my femininity has been violated, my womanhood taken advantage of.

‘Oh it was harmless’ a wardrobe staple, instead of an LBD because that’s too provocative.

I have not been sexually assaulted.

Yet, millions have and will be as we continue to ignore the survivors and the victims, the invisible scarring and mottled buried bruises.

She could have spent her life unflinchingly, unconcerned about the man opposite her in the carriage.

He could have been liberated, not abused, instructed to ‘man-up’.

We could live in a world where sex doesn’t sell and rape does not form as a constellation in the night’s sky and on our thighs.

As long as it is ‘could’, as long as equality seems utopian, we will continue to raise our voices in unparalleled clamour for all who need us too, we will continue to identify as feminist and we will continue to fight back; because, since the dawn of time it seems, Adam has been attempting rip out the rib, given to Eve.



Photographer: Khusen Rustamov