Sexual Assault isn’t What it Looks Like in Movies

On television, there's an image portrayed about sexual assault. The attacker in most cases is a stranger, a disgusting looking person, or someone who looks like they are apparent bad news. I’m sorry to tell you, but it’s not always that way. Some studies have shown that these acts do not happen with stranger compared to it being someone you may know..

I have a story to tell you that is an example of just that. I know a girl, who will remain anonymous, who wanted me to share her story. I met her years ago at Tidewater Community College. She was a great friend who liked to interact with others, cheer people on, and overall was just a happy person. She wanted to be an actress, and in my opinion, had the charisma to do that! However, not too far into our first semester, she met guy well will refer to as Don. Don on the outside looked to be a great guy. He had a great smile, tall, handsome, and a fit individual.

She was completely head over heels for this guy. Everything she once cared about became second place to Don. She skipped classes for him, was late turning in class assignments because she was doing his work, and slowly started isolating herself from everyone. Slowly the friends she gained from school started excluding her and why not? It wasn't like she wasn’t doing that to them right? However, that was only the beginning.

Little did anyone know, he was sowing seeds of doubt into her head about everyone she got to know. Only he cared about her and wanted the best for her. Everyone else was just out for themselves and was complete trash. She slowly started believing and depending on him to be her everything even though he was the one who was no good. He cheated on her, lied to her and regularly used her for sex and that gradually built up.

One day, he initiated “intimacy” with her. She did not want to, but he started by pulling at her arms and clothes. She smiled a nervous smile and continued to say “no,” but her request went unheard. Pulling on her arms turned into forcing to kneel, and it continued to go downhill from there.

How the conversation between us even came up is because she came to my house. She didn't openly tell me with her words but her actions. I asked how were things going between them since I thought things were going well but the sound of his name made her cringe. The name that once brought her so much joy in less than a second made her so uncomfortable to the point that she was going to cry.

In the end, she separated herself from this person and began piecing her life together. I will not lie and say it was easy or that she was back to herself overnight. With something as heartbreaking and traumatic as this it took her years to be “next to normal.” However, with the help of supportive friends and acceptance, she was and still is getting back to herself. I will not zone into the fate of Don because this is not about him but this story is to help people understand that assault and abuse isn't always apparent. It's the small things that turn into big things. The subtle forms of isolation can turn into moments of physical aggression.   

The advice my friend wanted me to offer with this story is to know your worth from the very start. “I didn’t realize how important I was, or that I could do better than him. But now I know better. I know I am important. I know that deserve more than what he gave me. If you or a friend is in a similar situation remind them of their worth and be there.” Also, she shared that it can be scary when facing something like this because its a manipulative and sneaky situation that sneaks up on you but with knowledge and support you can get out and get through it.