Thoughts on Sexual Assault and Vulnerability

Yes, I was sexually assaulted. Yes, it by someone I knew. I trusted them to put my safety and well-being into their hands, and they ruined it. Isn't it weird how it's almost always the ones we trust, those who we think will protect us? But no, they violated my trust in the most indecent, awful way. 

It took me awhile to figure out that my silence was not consent. It also took a bit for me to understand that saying "yes" under manipulation and coercion wasn't true consent either. I understand now that consent must be freely given, and enthusiastic. 

Ah, why is it so hard for people to understand? How do they not know the pain and terror that stem directly from their actions? I can’t lie down to take a short nap without reliving my assault in my head over in over, wondering if it really happened, or if I'm just making it all up. I distract myself, I work diligently, I listen to a lot of music. I don’t let my vulnerability show. But, when the work is done, and there is nothing else to occupy my mind, it just slithers back in, and I can't sleep.

But I mean, who am I supposed to talk to about this? My other friend who’s been sexually assaulted? We've already cried on each other's shoulders. There is nothing more to say. My other friends? Heck, my guy friends? I’ll just make them uncomfortable. I want to tell them, "Imagine how uncomfortable I felt the week after, when the bruises around my body were still healing. Imagine how uncomfortable it felt to have hands and teeth and nails where they had absolutely no permission to be". I guess I don't really need them to understand, I just want them to empathize. To not stare blankly or steer the conversation away. I'd be so grateful if they just gave me a hug instead, or told me they're sorry, and they love me.   

I feel so vulnerable now. I am always tired. I think I might be anemic. I'm so sleepy. I can't hold a good conversation. I feel like my friends think I’m just so dumb. I feel stagnant, frozen like I was on his couch, like I was in his bed. What should I do? Do I tell them everything that is going on? I'm figuring out that I don't really know how to be vulnerable in the face of others. How do I reclaim that? How do I navigate the search for support? How do I continue to process and heal, day to day? I don't have the answers. 

I'm so, so proud of everyone who came out to speak, support, or just listen during Take Back the Night. Maybe next year I'll have the courage to actually speak and be vulnerable in the face of a crowd. But today I'm just sitting here, feeling caught between a rock and a hard place.