TW: Sexual Violence
It can be difficult for one to adjust to an entirely new culture and environment, particularly if it is the first time they are leaving behind friends, family and their home for the first time. During these adjustments, you would encounter new ways of living, new experiences, and different cultural approaches as a whole.
I am an international student from a city in East Asia, and since I had never in my life moved out of my neighbourhood, I was more scared than excited when I finally moved to Australia for university. Now that I have been living here for over a year, I can look back and say with confidence that my time abroad has enabled me to learn, meet great people, and have experiences I would not have dreamed of having back at home.
However I also encountered something I had never anticipated happening to me. My home city is famous for having remarkably safe levels of crime despite its size…so I was shocked when a stranger assaulted me on campus. My first instinct was to dilute what had happened in my mind, and to tell myself that it was nothing, that I should bury it inside because it is no one else’s problem, and that it was my fault for not stopping it from happening. I had never been exposed to this type of problem before, and being an international student with no family in Canberra I started to become paranoid, which took a toll on my studies and relationships.
I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends who noticed my change in behaviour and by members of my hall who helped me get through the problem. But even now, I wonder what would have happened if he targeted someone else, someone quieter or better at hiding their feelings? I am writing this article to urge other victims to try to let someone know about what you are going through. Even if you feel it is more natural to let it pass on like nothing happened, it will keep hurting you like it did to me before I reached out to others.
Help Line: 1800 737 732
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre Crisis Line: 02 6247 2525
Service Assisting Male Survivors of Assault: 02 6287 3935