In the wake of Taylor Swift’s highly publicised sexual assault case against ex-DJ David Mueller (update: she won!), more women are coming forward with their own experiences of sexual violence.
Just yesterday radio host Fifi Box shared her traumatic ordeal of being assaulted by a high-profile guest while live on air, and now Australian jewellery designer Samantha Wills has opened up about her own experiences while living in New York on her website.
Wills begins by explaining why she, like so many women in her position, waited so long to share her story. “I have been wanting to write about this for a while,” she says. “I found reasons not to. Shamefully, one of the strongest reasons was, I thought people would question my reasons to write it now, question why I didn’t handle the situation differently, question why I didn’t say something at the time.”
“The bravey and confidence Taylor Swift has shown in the past week as she took a stand against Denver DJ, David Mueller, was inspiring, empowering and was the reason I wanted to share this story,” she adds.
Wills then describes how a few months ago, as she walked up the bustling 6th Avenue on her way to a Soul Cycle spin class, a man “looking me straight in the eyes… purposefully ran into me, and with a cupped hand, grabbed my crotch.”
“Everything was just spinning, there were people everywhere. I felt disgusting. I felt dirty. I felt humiliated… I was embarrassed. He groped me. And I was the one who felt embarrassment,” she describes. When she turned to look after him, she saw the man walking away at a normal, unhurried pace.
Wills didn’t tell anyone about the incident until a few days later, when a friend encouraged her to report it to police. She says she continuously questioned her response to the assault, feeling angry that she hadn’t said anything to the man, or screamed, or chased him.
“A question that infuriates me to read, over and over again in the comments section from people saying that Taylor Swift ‘must be making it up that he groped her. Why didn’t she say anything to him at the time? Swat his hand away? Tell him to stop. She must be lying about it.”
Wills explains how in the shock of the moment, she simply froze – as did Taylor Swift.
But two weeks later, again on 6th Avenue, when a similar incident occurred, Wills was ready. While waiting at the lights, a man “spoke very closely in my ear, ‘damn baby, you better put some clothes on, or you’ve got it comin’ to you,’” while she was wearing her activewear.
“I swung around so quickly to be standing face to face with him, I could feel my fists clench in anger, and out of my mouth, with force, came, ‘What the fuck did you just say to me?’ he retreated a step, putting his hands up in mock surrender, then screwed up his face like I was attacking him out of nowhere.”
“I didn’t take my eyes off him, I was glaring at him,” she adds. “People standing with us waiting for the light to change were looking between both of us… he shuffled uncomfortably to the side of the group and crossed the road in a different direction.”
Wills goes onto say she walked home “furious, but feeling strong.” She shared the story “so that victim blaming is not a default fear for women speaking up about sexual assault.”
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
This article originally appeared on marie claire.