The Manaia bowl has so much character, and comes in a range of colours. Manaia's Story Note: Manaia's Story discusses sexual assault which may be triggering to some people. Please visit our "Where to Get Help" page for further details on support services in NZ. Everyone has this perception of the glitz and glamor of the city night life. But let me tell you, there’s a darkness behind that front. When you’re young and in a new city it’s so easy to get caught up in it all. The parties, the people, it’s all so exciting. Working in the city night life everyone would always tell me to be careful, and I used to always think “that will never happen to me” until it did. Confronting him afterwards was something I never thought I’d have to do. Of course he made it out to be something I’d consented to while intoxicated, and he made it clear I was not to say a word to anybody. He was also my boss. People started treating me differently after that. The glitz and glamour had fallen away, I felt isolated and, to put it bluntly, I believed I was damaged goods. Everyone treated me like I was. When bad things happen to you, who do you lean on? Your friends? Family? Because in this case, I felt like I had nobody. People I thought were friends were so quick to jump to “what were you wearing?” “How much did you have to drink?” But never did they ask “are you okay? or “do you want to talk about it?” This was one of the darkest times of my life. It wasn’t until a month later, I met someone who asked me the questions I’d waited to hear. I quit my job instantly and never went back. They encouraged me to report it but I could never bring myself to do that - I truly believed I was the one at fault. I still have not reported it and probably never will. The victim blaming is real, the self degradation is real, and the fear that nobody will believe you is also real. It’s taken so long to become comfortable sharing my story, but every time I do it gets a little easier and the feelings of hurt inside get a little lighter. I learned to overcome it in my own way and I found a strength in myself I never knew I had. Sharing with other girls and hearing their own stories has been bittersweet. Hearing their stories is always heart breaking, but knowing I am not alone and that we are courageous for getting through something like this is empowering.