A #SurvivorStory by Emma
I was a coward for not reporting it. Fear and embarrassment enraptured me, suffocating every remanence of bravery and courage within me. I regret it. I blame myself. Not for what happened exactly but for the potential future offenses this resident may have committed. Other young girls who may have felt the horror and violation I experienced. The confusion and mortification inflicted when faced with a situation where they didn’t know what to do. I could have stopped it for them other girls. But, I am weak. I want to raise awareness about what happened to me to hopefully prevent this from happening to other people and not be afraid to speak up. It reinforces that even the most vulnerable members of society can sexually harass you. I was naive and unsuspecting. I never thought a resident could knowingly harass me when I was selflessly caring for them. I was put in a difficult situation where I didn’t know my rights. This predicament made me feel powerless and unable to control the situation. I was in a small bathroom with a resident. He only required one carer so I was alone. I was lifting him up while I conducted personal care and was in the process of moving the resident from the toilet to the wheelchair. While I was doing this the resident gripped my vagina and tried to insert his fingers. I felt like I couldn’t escape and I thought I would be told off if I dropped the man. I felt obligated to care for this man despite the fact that he was touching me. If I let go of him even with one hand to try and get him off I would have dropped him. I was worried about him hitting his head on the tiled wall so I had very conflicting ideas about what to do. I already felt worthless with poor mental health which is perhaps why I waited the situation out. I lifted him as quickly as I could into his wheelchair. I felt like I brought this on myself and I deserved this. I decided I would rather suffer than injuring the resident. I felt used and dirty. I kept replaying the events over and over torturing myself on what I should have done differently. I was terrified to report this incident to manager. I regret not saying anything. I just felt unsurmountable guilt and thought too much time had passed to say anything. I also didn’t think anyone would listen to me. I have carried this with me for almost 2 years without telling anyone. I have decided to not let this experience define me and I am still pursuing a career in healthcare. I continue to tell myself that this wasn’t my fault and I was not adequately trained to deal with this situation. I believe it is important to acknowledge the fact that residents care workers is still prevalent today and more strategies need to be implemented to ensure care workers safety and protection.