Two young schoolgirls have bravely spoken out about their violent sexual assault experiences at the tender age of 14 that robbed them of their childhoods.
Danielle Villafana and Lily-Maud Horton, both 17, spoke on The Project about their sexual assaults.
Ms Villafana was assaulted on a public train by a boy she previously trusted, and despite there being other passengers onboard at the time, she claimed nobody intervened.
‘I was so, so scared. I didn’t think there was anything else I could do but freeze and wait it out,’ she told The Project on Monday night.
Danielle Villafana (pictured) was assaulted on public transport by a trusted male on public transport when she was 14 years old
A few weeks following the incident, Ms Villafana broke down at school and told a teacher about the assault.
The teenager claimed police ‘interrogated’ her when she came forward, asking about what kind of clothes she was wearing the day it happened.
‘It was terrifying to me that the very people who exist and are paid to protect you could ask you something like that and challenge the most traumatising thing that has ever happened to you and suggest that, as a kid, it’s your fault that this happened to you,’ she said.
Ms Villafana said that what a lot of men don’t realise is that ‘what you’re wearing doesn’t mean, or initiate, consent’.
The police did not press charges against the alleged attacker, leaving the now 17-year-old devastated as she ‘can’t deal with the idea of more children my age’ going through the same experience.
Also featuring on the program, Lily-Maud Horton described herself as ‘broken, unstable’ and ‘terrified of men’ following her assault.
Lily-Maud Horton (pictured) has been left ‘broken’ and ‘unstable’ after she was raped three years ago by a man in his 20s during a party with friends
‘In any situation where a male that isn’t my brother is near me, I’m scanning, assessing, looking for danger,’ she told host Lisa Wilkinson.
Ms Horton was raped three years ago by a man in his 20s while at a party with friends.
She was ‘drugged up, completely immobilised and raped’ – an experience that has left her ‘terrified’.
‘It was frightening to not have control of your own body, to have someone on top of you with the most intense eyes you’ve ever seen and such power, being paralysed in that way is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone,’ she said.
A few days after the assault, Ms Horton went to the police and felt lucky to have a female officer who was empathetic to her situation.
But the officer soon left the force, allegedly unable to handle the amount of victims that go through the courts that are ‘brushed off’.
Ms Horton said she’s not the same girl she once was.
A petition by former private schoolgirl Ms Contos (pictured) has shown testimonies of thousands of students who did not know they had been assaulted
A Canberra woman who signed Chanel Contos’ petition said her parents did not believe her when she was allegedly gang raped
The teenager revealed that in a way she was ‘murdered’ by her rapist, as a part of her ‘did die inside’ the night it happened.
The 17-year-old’s stories come after 40,000 Australian women signed Chanel Conto’s online petition for compulsory consent training in schools across the country.
While there have been some positive responses, including Victoria mandating consent education in public schools, Ms Villafana said the conversations surrounding Australia’s rape culture needs to change.
‘Boys are never taught that they shouldn’t keep hitting on that girl, they are never taught on what consent looks like, and those convos never happen because when they do woman are slut shamed,’ she said.
If this story has raised issues for you, please contact 1800 Respect 1800 737 732, Lifeline 13 11 14, beyondblue 1300 224 636, Domestic Violence Line 1800 65 64 63