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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pace Pleasantville chapter.

If you’re reading this, odds are, you don’t know me, and I probably don’t know you. Strangers with nothing in common, but what we do have in common is the fact that we’ve gone through the same trauma and struggled in different ways during different times. We’ve cried the same tears, shared the same feelings of vulnerability and fear. We’ve heard stories of the way people’s bodies have been taken advantage of. How their trust was deceived and how everything just seemed to be ripped away during those moments of frailness. Some of us have probably hoped that the world would be kinder to those who haven’t gone through something so damaging. Hope that when you look at the news and social media you don’t see another face linked with being sexually assaulted. Hope that we would never have to face the same pain others have gone through before us. Sometimes, the world seems like it fails us every corner we turn. I know it was painful. I know it’s something that continues to break us when memories and reminders dance around our heads just to taunt us.

Are you here? That’s good. I want you to know you’re incredible and strong. You’ve gone through something so heartbreaking, yet you’re still here. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of us. Never let anyone tell you your pain is invalid. Never accept the words of someone who tells you your experience was fallacious and what you went through wasn’t what it was; assault (as if there is a right way to be assaulted.) Whatever decisions you made after that makes you feel comfortable should only matter. You don’t owe anyone but yourself anything.

Sometimes, it takes a while to process what happened to you. You might’ve had doubts and wonder “Was it my fault?” Nothing was ever your fault. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t fight back out of fear and self-preservation or if you said yes at first and revoked consent later. Don’t feel guilty. That’s not on you. You didn’t ask for anything. Not you, your clothes, age, gender, or body. You are never to blame. No one should ever be in the position to violate you no matter what the circumstances were.

You deserve to feel angry, be filled with rage and unforgivingness. You deserve to cry and feel. It’s okay. You’re okay. Just know, that we will continue to fight. Fight those who don’t believe us, fight those who mock us, fight those who’ve betrayed us. Most importantly, fight for those who didn’t come out as survivors. You are all beautiful souls who didn’t deserve what you went through. Never think you do.   

Sheena Williams

Pace Pleasantville '22

Sheena Williams is a sophomore at Pace University, majoring in digital cinema and filmmaking along with a minor in digital media studies. She spends her time working on creative projects and hopes to play an active role in the media.