Content Warning(s): underage, groping, sexual assault.
Submitted for Sexual Assault Awareness Month - Our Voices & Stories.
"I went to my first anime convention in October of 2001 a month before I turned 11. I remember skipping that on a choir competition because I was so excited to go with the anime club I started. Due our advisors incompetence, he canceled the trip the Wednesday before going. This didn't deter me and I begged my mother to take me and had even offered to pay for some of the travel expenses with the allowance I had been saving up for months. She agreed but only for one day. I had always heard crazy things about conventions from my older siblings who went a couple times a year.
When we got to the hotel, I was awestruck. Because I had older siblings who got lots of different kinds of anime and share them with me, I knew a lot more than I really should have at that age. I was even allowed a camera. Shenanigans ensued because I could only cosplay Happosai from Ranma 1/2 (a full purple track suit and a bag full of old underwear on my back) due to funds. Everyone thought it was funny when a teenager Chased me because I did the panty thief version.
When we got around the Dealer's Hall, I spotted a full Trigun group. I was very very excited because I had just finished the series and my sibling told me that full groups were rare. Without abandon, I ran towards them and asked for a photo. I was so happy when they said yes and one of them insisted on standing next to me in the photo. As my mom started to line up the shot, I started to feel uncomfortable. The Wolfwood who looked in his twenties that was standing next to me was dry humping my side with an obvious erection.
I quickly ran back to my mother who didn't notice after the photo was done and quietly thanked them. We left right after that but I never told my Anime Club or my mother would happened. Now I insist on being able to see anyone who poses next to me and leaving a few inches of space for photos."
We're so sorry this happened to you, Anon. Nobody deserves to be treated like that during a photo shoot, much less at the age you were when that happened. Survivors who were assaulted when they were young often have different needs than survivors who were assaulted at an older age. Not to mention, an experience like this can color your entire perspective of every con you've been to since. Know that it wasn't your fault and that you're not alone.