Those were one woman’s first words as she recounted when she was sexually assaulted while flying home from Indonesia nearly 18 years ago.
Several women have shared their experiences following a New Zealand Herald article that outlined one young woman’s experience on a flight from Doha to Auckland on Friday.
The woman was repeatedly touched by a man who sat beside her, grabbing her hands and kissing them during takeoff when the lights were dimmed.
She shared her story to raise awareness for other female travellers, prompting others to come forward.
Among them was a woman who described her 2001 flight as a nightmare.
“I wanted to cry, but I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction … He just thought the whole thing was a joke,” the woman told the New Zealand Herald about her experience.
“When I woke up, he had managed to unseal the blankets and had his hand right at the top of my leg, trying to get into my underwear.”
The flight was leaving Indonesia, stopping in Brisbane, before heading to New Zealand, but it didn’t take off until around 3am due to a number of delays.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said the man touched her as she slept.Source:istock
Many passengers on board were drunk, the woman who asked not to be named said, and had consumed their duty-free booze before boarding.
Sitting down in her seat, the woman received unnerving looks from the man beside her who would later violate her mid-flight.
She wrapped herself in a blanket as the man tried to spark a conversation, but despite her best efforts to stay awake and alert, she fell asleep.
The woman woke up with the man’s hand under the blanket and at the top of her legs, trying to get into her underwear.
“I was like, ‘Christ almighty what are you doing?’ and I whacked his hands away,” she said.
“Then I kind of moved my body away from him and gave him the biggest punch I could possibly manage.
“I didn’t care if I ended up in cuffs down the back of the plane — I was just in a rage at the indignity of it.”
The woman shared her story from 2001 after hearing of another New Zealand woman’s experience of being sexually assaulted on a Qatar Airways flight to Auckland last week.Source:Getty Images
Following the attack, the woman tried to get the air hostess to separate them but she refused until the woman asked to speak to the captain.
Another woman who sat across the aisle said she witnessed the incident and handed over her contact details.
No one offered the woman any words of support following the incident or during the flight.
“I felt very alone and in absolute shock. Not just at shock at what he did but the demeanour of the passengers and the air hostess,” she said.
“When people were disembarking in Brisbane, he made a big show of changing his clothing out in the aisle while looking right at me and smirking.
“Honestly, he was just like a kid that had been given a new bike. He was so proud of himself.”
The woman took legal action after arriving home in New Zealand, and following a protracted process, the man was convicted of sexual assault.
This article originally appeared on the New Zealand Herald and was reproduced with permission
— If you or someone you know is affected by sexual assualt, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).