Trigger warning: Sexual Assault

“I was coming home from college in India for the first time. Somehow the flight schedule was different for me and my friends. This changed everything.

I didn’t have much money because of ATM card problems. I’d asked to use my friend’s money but because of the flight mismatch, I was left without any. On reaching the destination airport, I was still 5 hours away from Phuentsholing. I knew no one there except a Bhutanese man in his 50s who we’d met earlier. He offered to help me. It was quite late by then and it was a town new to me, so I took his help. When we reached Phuentsholing, it was almost midnight. My friends’ phones were unreachable and I didn’t know anyone or anything much about the town. The man said I could use his room as he was going to be out all night with some work. With no options left, I agreed. He left, as he’d said but I asked some college seniors to stay online just in case.

I stayed up most of the night and he still hadn’t come. So I finally went to sleep, exhausted. But in the morning, the man was on top of me, reeking alcohol. I pushed him off but he kept going. He even discharged his semen all over me. I shouted in disbelief. What he did next was sickening – he handed me an emergency contraceptive pill, although I was sure nothing like that had happened. After that, I felt like an odour was coming off my body that I couldn’t rinse off. Even today, I wash obsessively when I’m anxious.

I was traumatised. I never travelled back that way to college. I was ashamed to even tell people about it. I started distancing myself and travelling by myself. It was a way of coping. I now have a hard time trusting people and their intentions, especially men. But I make sure to tell any partners I have about the incident and how it still triggers me.

When this happened to me, I didn’t report the crime or call a helpline because no one ever taught me how. So, I wish to help promote the empowerment and education of women and girls. The root of all problems in society is the lack of these things.”

Humans of Thimphu with YPEER Asia Pacific Center -Ypeer AP brings stories of young people’s unmet SRHR empowerment and needs in hopes of making #SRHRforEveryone

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