I will always remember April 25, 2015. The day I was raped.
But what has brought almost as much pain as the violent abuse I was subjected to that night is how the institutions that claim to care about violence against women let me down when I reported what happened to me.
I met the man who raped me only a couple of months after I moved to Sydney. I didn't know very many people in the city and he was friendly, both online and off. I considered us friends, and he was a member of the NSW Greens and other progressive circles people I knew were a part of.
On Anzac Day I had been out socialising with friends and he messaged me, inviting me to hang out at his house and have pizza. I arrived, we ate and had a drink. Then he started kissing me.
The sex started out as consensual. But then quickly he started to get rough. I said "ow" and he kept going. I told him to stop, please, and he held me down, bit me and hit me.
When he was done, I got up, shaking. He was suddenly angry again, asking me where I was going. I said to the bathroom, where I sat for a minute and tried to work out what to do. I came out and he was waiting by the door, telling me to come back to bed. I lay awake, terrified, for the next several hours, trying to work out how to escape.
When the sun rose I said I had to leave. He said we should "do this again some time". I got in an Uber home and cried, wanting to go home and scrub my skin until I couldn't feel his touch anymore.
During the journey I messaged two friends, saying I was hurt and scared and didn't know what to do. Immediately they came to my house, and convinced me to go to the hospital.
Even the doctor, who was a specialist and had to be called in, was shocked at the extent of my internal and external injuries. She documented my bruises and swabbed me, took blood to test for STIs and gave me the morning after pill.
Despite my trauma, I was a "good" victim. I went to the police only weeks after I was raped. The first officer I spoke to, a young man at the North Sydney station, was kind and professional. But the matter was referred to the station closest to where I was assaulted, and I was assigned a male detective who made me feel even worse.
The first time I met with the detective, to do a formal interview, he told me my rapist was "just a kid who didn't know how to have sex yet". He treated me like I didn't matter, like somehow I could have prevented this from happening.
In February this year I found out my rapist was employed by the party, and working in a position that meant he had contact with young female volunteers. I was terrified, and incredibly worried that he would target someone else.
So I made an official complaint to the NSW Greens about his behaviour. Initially, the woman who I was in contact with was very kind and empathetic. She told me that four other women had made complaints about the same man, ranging from sexual harassment to sexual assault. The party suspended his membership while an "investigation" was ongoing, but the man left the state when questioned and the matter didn't progress.
Despite how difficult it was, I did what victims are told they should do. I went to the police, I reported the man to his political party. Yet he was protected and I was ignored.
Since I decided to go public with what happened to me on social media, I have been contacted by five other women who were harassed or assaulted by the man who raped me. Some have said they complained to the Young Greens about his behaviour six years ago and were ignored. That many women in the party have been worried about him being an abuser for some time.
Nothing can take back what happened to me. I bear the trauma as best I can, trying to move on with my life. But in the back of my mind I wonder about the other victims out there, the women who he has also attacked, and the ones he may target in the future.
The systems failed me and the only thing I can now do is expose my pain to the world in the hope something will change.