It was not a story she had ever planned to tell.
On Thursday, Greens crossbencher Caroline Le Couteur revealed she was raped in a powerful speech to the ACT Legislative Assembly.
Ms Le Couteur, the driving force behind a recent push to reform consent laws in the territory, told the chamber sexual harassment and assault had been a common part of her life and the lives of her friends.
"I also have been raped and I can say, of course, yes it [has] affected my relationship with men for a very long time, not just the immediate aftermath," she said.
Speaking to The Canberra Times, Ms Le Couteur said she had been raped three times "a long time ago" in her early 20s. She was just 21 when the first attack happened, and was later almost raped for a fourth time walking down a street in Adelaide.
"They were all separate [incidents], none were in my home, thankfully, but alcohol was relevant to one of them and I wasn't in any state to consent, which is why I partly feel so strongly about the consent part [of reform]," she said.
The disclosure had slipped into her speech as she wrote it late on Wednesday night, she said, in response to an ACT committee inquiry into her proposed legislation.
"I thought I should put it in, one of the problems with this issue is that it's so buried, and no one has any real idea how big it is. You undoubtedly know someone who's been raped but they will probably never ever talk to you about it."
Ms Le Couteur had drafted a bill that would have required those accused of sexual assault to prove they knew or were "satisfied on reasonable grounds" that consent had been freely given, but the committee recommended scrapping it in its current form, amid concerns from the legal fraternity.
Instead, the committee asked the government to consider installing an affirmative definition of consent - similar to models already in place in Victoria and Tasmania - to shift the focus from "no means no" to "yes means yes".
Ms Le Couteur said much of her early experience with assault and harassment belonged to a time before #MeToo.
"I remember attending a [sexual harassment seminar] in my 40s and I just really lost it, the memories came in," she said.
"You bury those traumas, you cope by not thinking about it. If we hadn't been doing this legislation, I never would have mentioned it."
Ms Le Couteur told the Assembly: "It's important to speak out about our experiences and show other people that we are not alone, we are not at fault and they are believed."
After attending a Reclaim the Night rally on Friday evening, Ms Le Couteur said she was more energised than ever to see her reforms through and would be speaking to the ACT Attorney-General about a new draft.
While women had been marching for decades demanding the right to be safe, Ms Le Couteur said she was finally seeing attitudes shift now the #MeToo movement had helped expose the true scale of sexual assault and harassment in modern life.
People of all ages, genders and social backgrounds were affected, she said.
"It's not just a women's issue. We need to teach everyone: yes means yes."
The ACT is the only jurisdiction in the country without a statutory definition of sexual consent.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre on 02 6247 2525. Nationally, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732. In an emergency contact 000.