In October of 2015, I attended my first ever Halsey concert. At the time, she wasn't as famous as she now is, so she played at a small venue in Philadelphia called the Union Transfer Station. I remember being so irrationally excited to see her that two of my friends and I arrived three hours early to wait in the line outside. All I wore was a short sleeve Halsey t-shirt, leggings, and Doc Martens in the 40-degree weather. As the sun set, it became even colder.
Once we were finally inside, we rushed into the venue to get as close as we could to the stage. We made friends with the people around us and danced to the playlist that Halsey made as we waited for the performance. About 10 minutes before the opening act performed, two very drunk girls snuck their way in through a side door to the venue, right next to where we were standing. Before I knew it, they had budged their way in front of me and my friends. This is when my night changed completely.
One of the girls had a plastic cup of spilling beer in her hands as she flung her body around to the music. That's when she accidentally stepped on my foot. I was already irritated with the fact that the two girls had cut us off in the crowd, so having her beer flying everywhere and having her step on my foot didn't make me very happy either.
She turned around with a faux look of sorrow on her face as she slurred, "Oh my god, I'm so sorry!"
I smiled a bit at her and shrugged my shoulders, not wanting to continue a conversation with her. She didn't get the hint. I wished she would leave me alone, but she did not grant that wish. In fact, she did the very opposite.
"You are just SO pretty," she said to me as she took a strand of my hair between her fingers, twirling it around. I shook her off of me, showing my discomfort as obviously as I could. She didn't budge. That's when she touched me in places I did not want to be touched. In places that were private and sacred. She violated me.
"Please stop touching me," I said through tears threatening to spill.
"I just wanted to be kind to you, you seem so nice." She replied.
"Leave me alone."
Her eyes widened in realization, and she quickly moved behind me to bother another group of girls. She found her prey and repeated her actions. As she did this, I turned to my friends. I was struggling to breathe through my sobs.
"What happened?" One asked in shock. So, I explained the story. I became even more worked up as I did. That's when my other friend became frustrated with me, and preceded to tell me to calm down in an angry tone.
"If you had been violated like that, you would be just as upset," I argued. She then apologized and tried to help me calm down. I thought, though, that if a guy had done that, would her reaction have been different? Would she have tried to help me collect myself right away? Would she have cared just a little bit more?
After I had finally calmed myself down, people started to yell at the drunk girl, and she and her friend finally left the venue. Everyone began chanting as I turned to see a girl behind me, who was also upset.
"Did she touch you?"
The girl nodded.
"Me too. Are you okay?"
The girl shook her head.
And we hugged.
That night, I learned a few things. I learned what it means to be sexually assaulted. I learned what it means to be a victim who was not taken seriously. Finally, I learned that anyone can sexually assault anyone, no matter what their identity is. It does not make your story invalid. This is my story.