Gemma’s story is similar to many victims of rape and sexual assault. Here she tells us in her own words what happened to her.
I’m 26 and a pretty standard young professional. I’m well educated and have a good job. And I never thought that I would be raped.
I went out with my friend on a Friday night. I met a guy called Steve. We danced and chatted, we got on well and I thought I’d like to see him again.
As the night came to an end, I couldn’t find my friend and started to worry because I was supposed to be staying at her place. All my stuff – cards, keys, contact lenses – was at her flat.
Steve said: “Do you want to come back to mine? I live round the corner. I’ll take the sofa.” I was hesitant but thought he was being the perfect gent and agreed but said, “Let’s just be clear. I don’t want sex.” He nodded and said, ‘Yeah, ok’.
In the club, we’d been flirting but as soon as I got my coat, it became much more like friends. He made tea and toast and we talked about computer games. Everything was very platonic and friendly – there was no kissing or cuddling.
I must have been quite drunk because I fell asleep very quickly. I woke up and he was having sex with me.
I realised straight away what was happening. I lay there thinking ‘oh god, oh god what do I do?’
I didn’t want to scream. I didn’t know what else he would do. I thought he might try and strangle me. You read all these horror stories and I didn’t want to make it worse.
I thought it would be over quickly, but it wasn’t. I said: “You’re hurting me.”
I kept thinking ‘it’s going to be over’ and kept repeating it in my head.
I was in agony. I said, ‘you’re really hurting me. You’ve got to stop!’ but he still didn’t.
When it ended, Steve didn’t try to kiss my forehead or try to make out it was something romantic or something that I’d agreed to. I could tell that he knew it was wrong. He knew it.
I support the “Know the Difference” campaign. In my case, I know that Steve wouldn’t consider himself as a rapist or a sex offender. But what he did was wrong. Lots of times in bars and clubs, my friends and I have had guys try to grope us or calling us names. Some men assume that because you’re in a club or wearing a short dress then you must be up for it. It’s just not true and men need to realise that.