All too often, girls and women suffer guilt that they invited or encouraged sex crime, or "let it happen". They are told to shake off such encounters as "funny stories". They are thought of as "making a fuss" if they experienced anything less than being grabbed by a serial killer and raped in an alleyway at knifepoint. So they get off the tube, they wipe the semen off their tights, and they carry on with the meeting like nothing ever happened. It took Ellie Cosgrave months to get angry.
This is not unique. A while back, when we asked our Twitter followers about their experiences of being groped in public. The response was overwhelming, but even more so was the sheer number of women who hadn’t realised, until that point, that what had happened to them was often classed as sexual assault. They had been taught not to make a fuss, not to complain, to brush it under the carpet. Some of them had even been laughed at by police.
Those who blame these women for not coming forward sooner are ignoring the culture of shame that still exists around sexual assault and harassment in this country. It ignores the nonchalance with which such claims are met. It ignores the tendency to blame the victim, and the fear that you will not be believed.