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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

TW: Sexual Assault

I was fifteen. He was my first boyfriend and the younger brother of my best friend since elementary school. We had broken up a month or so prior, but his sympathy for my declining mental health had brought us together once more. I still remember how cold his hand was when he slipped it under my clothes or how I tried to tell him to stop for hours beforehand. I still remember what I wore. A long comfy sweater and leggings. I can never wear it again. 

For two years I tried to forget about it. I went to France, dated a guy who did the exact same thing and worse, and made new friends, but I couldn’t forget his cold hands and nonchalant apology. I spent so much time wondering what I did to cause it or how I deserved it. For two years I blamed myself for something that was never my fault. Until I came forward.

I brought the situation up to people that could handle it. Only then did I think I could. Hearing about the other girls it happened to, it made me want to speak up. None of them were at fault, and neither was I. But I was reprimanded and urged not to push for any disciplinary action against him. He talked with his dad and had to apologise. That was it. That apology didn’t take it back, and it didn’t change what he had done to me and multiple other girls. 

He graduated high school and started college. He still has the same girlfriend that he had when it happened. I can’t wear my old favourite outfit or hear a certain song without thinking about it. I’m scared of men and lost friends for coming forward. I was deemed a liar and an attention seeker for his actions. He was never held accountable, and likely never will be. I’ve accepted it. 

Four years later, it haunts me. He could’ve done worse, but he still crossed boundaries and didn’t understand consent. He will face no consequences and he will live his life as he would’ve had I never said anything. Accusations don’t ruin men’s lives. They still become president, supreme court justices, or whatever he’s doing now. Our society bends over backwards for men so much that even when they are the perpetrators, they are made into the victims. The true victims are ostracised and ridiculed. They’re told their words will ruin a promising young man’s life. But the concessions made for men extend this far, and carry them to the White House.

I'm a French major at CofC and very experienced in dealing with mental health issues
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