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#MeToo: What Escaping from Sexual Assault in Bali Taught Me

My narrow escape from a motorbike driver in Bali

The Beginning

It happened to me this morning. My driver in Bali was in a rush to make his next appointment and dropped me off on the road given construction work.

My driver said he found me a reliable motorbike driver, and it would only take me 5 minutes to get to the hotel by motorbike, versus 30 minutes by car, so I trusted him and paid that female driver.

What Went Wrong

Needless to say, that female motorbike driver had no idea where she was going, and asked me to jump on a motorbike with a man who said he knew where my hotel was. She then paid what I paid her to that man.

I was lost and I left my phone in my first driver’s car, so I reluctantly jumped onto that man’s bike, hoping that he would bring me back to my hotel. After all, he said he knew where my hotel was, and the sun was shining during midday.

A few minutes after I naively hopped onto that male driver’s motorbike, he was touching my thighs and telling me he “loved” me, in English, multiple times, and asked me if I loved him too, and if I had money. I then realised he did not know how to get to my hotel, and did not intend to drive me back.

How I Escaped

I saw that I was close enough to my hotel, and I pretended I didn’t speak English and dodged his questions. He was repeating how much he “loved” me. While I was terrified, I was trying to stay as calm as I can and figure out a way to jump off his bike.

I tricked him to stop in the middle of the road, where there were people, by yelling “here.” I jumped off his bike. Before he could react on his anger, I ran to my hotel as fast as I can; there were too many people around for him to follow me.

4 Things this Incident Taught Me

#1: Trust and act on your intuition

Do not betray yourself by trusting others, especially if your intuition tells you otherwise. Stick to your truth.

Even though my intuition told me that that first motorbike driver did not know how to get to my hotel, I did not want to cause inconvenience to my driver so I agreed to that ride anyway.

This leads to #2.

#2: Your safety is the #1 priority, even if you think it causes “inconvenience” to others

By telling myself that I shouldn’t cause inconvenience to my driver so he can pick up his next customer and letting him find me a new ride on a motorcycle, even though my intuition told me otherwise, I betrayed myself.

I’ve come to realise that my safety is priority, and that I needed to protect myself by setting boundaries straight. I didn’t do it so well this time, because I wanted to be “nice” and let the driver put the other customer’s needs before mine. In the end, I jeopardised my safety.

#3: Embrace your anger

I was angry at myself for betraying myself — I blamed myself for jeopardising my safety, for making “foolish” decisions of jumping on the motorbike and trusting the drivers. I was frazzled, angry, and felt very violated after that incident.

I then realised that my anger is an emotion that protected me and let me know that my boundaries were violated.

Honour and listen to your anger. And comfort that little child within who needs to be seen and heard. Beneath anger is hurt and sadness. Anger is a cover emotion; feel it, and go deep into that sadness and hurt you’re feeling.

And seek out a skilled therapist; a good one can be tremendously helpful.

#4: Acceptance: It is not your fault

As I continued to process my anger, my therapist helped me see that I did the best I can by jumping off that bike to take care of myself, and that it was not my fault.

I was not responsible for the perpetrator’s actions. The perpetrator could have taken advantage of and assaulted any woman in his path. It may have felt easier to blame myself than to admit that, in that moment, I was vulnerable to the perpetrator.

Final Thoughts

As the past flashed back in front of me, I realised that I’ve been hard on myself — blaming myself for not trusting my intuition, for jeopardising my safety, for attracting the circumstance, as well as circumstances in the past where I was “victimised.”

There was tremendous pain and anger within me which I tried to resist, for many years. There was self judgement, criticism and blame. I was anxious, restless, and desperate to “change my pattern” of being victimised by analysing what I’ve done wrong.

Then, a miracle happened. As I continued to sit still with my discomfort, I started crying. I realised that when I came to accept that at that time, given I did not know what I know now, I made the best choices I could, I became compassionate.

When I showed self-compassion, I accept that whatever happened happened. And through compassion, I regained my freedom and power I perceived I lost, and was trying so hard to “obtain” by resisting what happened. Then I had this quiet realisation — it is through compassion and acceptance that we truly heal, and can let our authentic selves shine, despite the pain and trauma we’ve been through.


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