Me Too: My Story

***Content Warning: This article contains graphic depictions and information regarding sexual assault and violence which may be triggering.***

I’d like to preface my story by saying this: I am not a victim, I am a survivor. Rape culture needs to stop, people need to be educated, boys need to stop “being boys”, and women need to stop being blamed. Rape culture isn’t a myth, it’s real and it’s scary. Before I was assaulted, I barely knew how important consent was. I had basic sex ed in high school and knew that assault could occur, but I hadn’t really thought much about it. Of course, I cared about the women and men who had to go through sexual assault and the aftermath, and my heart felt for them… but I never thought it would happen to me.

I was 20, at a frat party with a group of friends, and it happened. I had been drinking, but I wasn’t nearly intoxicated, not that that’s any excuse for what was about to happen. I had been dancing with a boy who was in our friend group, and I never thought he would do anything to harm me- But he did. As we danced, and I started to walk away, he pulled me by my hair, forcing me back to him. Shocked by this, I did nothing, and he turned me around and forcibly made out with me. I had said no and asked him to stop, even tried pushing him away, however, he continued. It was only a matter of time before he forced his hands down my pants and forcibly fingered me- in the middle of a frat, around at least 100 people. Could no one see me crying? My so-called “friends” were just watching. Didn’t they see my pain? After he was finished I ran to the bathroom, only to find out I was bleeding. I left the frat and they followed me, including him. I was in utter shock, and adrenaline took over at this point. Everything was blurry and I couldn’t hear, it was like I blacked out, like I was shutting down. I couldn’t deal with it, and so I left them. I sprinted straight to a classmate's house which was about 5 minutes away without looking back and sat in her car crying as she drove me home. I had only met her once, maybe talked to her about things going on in class, but she didn’t know what had happened. In fact, I’m not even sure she knows how truly grateful I am for her to this day, but I wasn’t in any condition to tell her what had happened. Luckily, unlike so many other women and men who are assaulted, I had made it home that night. Luckily, I am still here today to tell my story.

It’s been about a year and three months since this happened, and it hasn’t been an easy year, to say the least. I never went to anyone to press charges, and never told anyone at school really; I only opened up to two of my friends. But, it’s time I open up and tell my story to help others. It’s time I take this step in my own personal healing by speaking out, and taking the power away from my abuser, and giving it back to myself.

Needless to say, I went to countless therapy sessions, was diagnosed with PTSD on top of having anxiety, panic attacks, and depression already, and frankly, I’m still scared. I’m scared to go out and be 21. Every kiss, leg touch, hand-hold, hug; I get scared. I know it’s not natural, but this is the life I live now, and I’m healing. I had always thought somehow, someway this was my fault. For 15 months of my life, I had thought it was me, I deserved it somehow, but it’s not my fault at all, and I sure as hell didn’t deserve to be sexually assaulted. Everyone I had opened up to said it would be okay when clearly it wasn’t. My life didn’t need to be traumatic for trauma to happen to me, and that’s clear to me now.

I wish that I could say my story is rare, but it’s not. According to RAINN statistics on victims of sexual violence, women ages 18-24 who are college students are 3 times more likely to experience sexual violence. Females of the same age who are not enrolled in college are 4 times more likely. And in their lifetime, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 38 men have been raped, with sexual violence even more commonly occurring to 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men. These statistics are unsettling, and something needs to be done in order to create change. Educate at any given time; your friends, your family, your acquaintances, whoever. Do what you can to speak up. Make sure your friends and family are okay. Check-in. Whatever small steps you can take in order to help or combat sexual violence, do it.

Now, I will say that I am healing, and I will use my story to empower those who aren’t healed enough to speak out just yet. We will get through this, together. We have a voice, and we are strong.

Sexual Assault Resources:

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or online chat

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or online chat

Love is Respect: National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline: 1-866-331-9474, text 22522, or online chat

StrongHearts Native Hotline: 1-844-762-8483

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender National Hotline: 1-888-843-4564 or online chat

Youth Line: 1-800-246-7743