What Has Changed Since I Was Sexually Assaulted A Year Ago

In September 2018, I came to college with the hopes of having a fresh start and trying new things. Starting college is scary and people feel this extra pressure to fit in and do things they normally would not have done in high school. My first week of school, I tried so hard to go outside my comfort zone and ended up becoming friends with some serious partiers. One Friday night at the beginning of October, I went out with my new group of friends to a party. I had a drink or two, but I would not consider myself drunk. I was having a really good time dancing with my friends, until I started to feel a little bit dizzy. A couple of my friends took me to go sit down in this separate room on a couch so they could get me water. They came back into the room and saw me passed out on a couch with a boy on top of me kissing me and attempting to take my clothes off. I’m lucky my friend pulled the guy off me and stopped it from getting any worse.

Looking back now, I did not realize how much my assault would change my life. Although I do not remember the full extent of what happened, it still traumatized me realizing that someone took advantage of me in such a way. I tried to forget about the assault and hid it from my family and most of my close friends. I remember feeling so alone and trapped in my own body. The people I did tell told me that it was my fault for drinking too much at a party. This just made me more depressed and isolated from everyone. My depression got so bad to the point that I was afraid to go outside because I was fearful someone would attack me. At a time when I should have been joining new clubs, I spent most of my fall quarter crying in my dorm room, feeling guilty and ashamed.

It took me a while to admit to my parents and close friends that I was assaulted, and I am really glad I finally spoke up because they gave me the support and help I needed. Although I still go through periods of depression, I know that I am stronger, and that I can beat the depression with the help of my family. The most important thing people need to know about sexual assault is that it can happen to anyone, but it is never the victim’s fault; it does not matter what they are wearing or how much they had to drink. For so long, I was so scared to talk about it, but now I realize that I need to tell my story so I can try and prevent things like this from happening to others. Or, at least, speaking out about my experience lets other assault victims know that they should not be afraid to ask for help. Sexual assault is wrong in so many ways and many situations like mine disappear without anyone knowing. If I were to see my attacker again, all I would say is “You did not break me, you just made me stronger.”