Everything DOES Happen for a Reason: A Personal Narrative (Content Warning: Rape, Sexual Assault)

Content Warning: Rape, Sexual Assault.

My life has had its ups and downs, as has everyone’s. When the downs happen, my best friend always tells me the same thing: “Everything happens for a reason”. For a while, I really did not believe this. When the downs hit, I think to myself, if everything happens for a reason, then this would not have happened. Some things are just so awful that you cannot justify them with there being a “reason”. But over time, I’ve discovered that one thing leads to another and can make your life change for the better. It took the worst moment of my life to realize this.

I’m a junior now at DePaul. I transferred last year after completing my first year of college at Knox College. Knox is a TINY liberal arts school in the middle of nowhere, Illinois. It was a beautiful campus in the middle of a town full of rednecks, and one of the worst meth problems in America. Maybe it was heroin…I forgot which it was.

Everything seemed perfect at first. I thought I had amazing friends that would stay with me for life. I thought this was the school for me. However, I had no idea how serious the rape culture was which infected this college. It took one serious incident for me to realize I had to flee. 

I remember his name. I remember his face, and I remember which frat he was in. I even remember his voice. I can picture him so clearly in my head. He did not seem like someone who was capable of rape, but you really never know. What he did to me left me scarred, anxious, and distrusting. 

image

The worst part was that not one of my Knox friends believed me. Instead, they slut-shamed me, said I was toxic, and cut me out of their lives. We were a week away from spring finals, but my mom came to pick me up right away. I took my finals from home and vowed to never return to that school.

I started to dissociate when I returned to Chicago for the summer. I began to believe that nothing was real. My psychiatrist diagnosed me with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). I began going back to therapy because I would constantly have panic attacks for the first time in my life. I would have nightmares about setting foot on that campus. It was scary.

But then my mom casually mentioned that maybe I should transfer to DePaul. I thought this was a bad idea at first. I would have to start fresh at a new school, even in the city which I called home. I decided at the end of July '18 to transfer. I would be living at home for the year where my family could support me. I started at DePaul as a sophomore in the fall of 2018.

I can honestly say that this is the place for me. I have amazing friends and I’m so close to my family. I am a city girl and I always have been. I cannot imagine myself anywhere else. The symptoms of my PTSD have faded tremendously and I haven’t had nearly as many panic attacks. I am happy.

image

So this story leads me to my point. Everything happens for a reason, even the most horrible of things. Being raped was probably the worst thing that has ever happened to me. But with that being said, if it hadn’t happened, I would probably still be suffering at my old school. I would've never found my home at DePaul. So if you are reading this and you are going through something, remember: something good is coming your way. Do not give up. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m so happy that I’ve found it.