Sexual Assault: Story of a Survivor

 

I deliberated for a long time about whether or not to write this article. I deliberated longer whether or not to write it anonymously. At the end of the day, because of the incredible support from my friends and fellow Her Campus staff, I decided to write this fearlessly. My purpose in sharing my story is to offer comfort and support to those fellow women going through what I did. 

 

At first, I said yes. I was young and had gotten out of a serious relationship, and all around me I heard the words "it's college, you're supposed to have fun." And so there was a period in my life when that's what I tried to do. The fine line between fun and danger soon became blurred, and the risks I took were much greater than the rewards I received. So at first, I said yes. And when I wanted to change my mind, and I said "no", he didn't listen. 

 

When I told my best friend about what happened, the first thing he did was hold me. I remember wanting to run from his touch and hide under the bed for as long as I could. I didn't feel safe, I didn't feel comforted, I didn't feel like he understood. But something kept me in his arms, and slowly my words began to tumble out. At my most vulnerable, I blamed myself. He took my face in his hands and would not let me break eye contact with him when he said, "This isn't your fault. Don't you dare blame yourself. This wasn't your fault." 

 

I didn't believe it, not at first. I don't think most sexual assault victims do. Society makes women to be sluts and men to be hopelessly lustful; combine that with the shame and humiliation that comes with being sexually assaulted, and you're bound to feel like it was your fault. It was then that I realized I had two choices: let the shame, the hopelessness, the pain of what had happened overcome my life- and therefore let him win- or try my damndest to move forward. 

 

And slowly, I did. I still am. A part of me probably always will be. I am able to push through because of the people around me. Speaking up was one of the hardest steps, and in that area I was lucky: I was able to. A lot of women can't. They're too scared or too hurt or too ashamed. Their stories never get told, and it's a weight they carry with them for the rest of their lives.  

 

It's never too late to speak. It's never too late to heal. Surround yourself with people who make you feel safe and let them help you.   

 

If I were to talk to him again, I would say this: when did "no" turn into kinky sex? Why did you think it was okay when I told you it wasn't? Who screwed you up so badly that you had to do this to feel like a man? Real men cherish, listen,  nurture, and love. Real men do not do what you did. And I hate you for making me think, even for a second, that they did. I hope you fix whatever broken piece in your heart, and I will never forgive you for breaking a piece inside of mine.  

 

And to you, you beautiful, strong survivor who has lived through what I and countless other girls have- if I could talk to you in person, I would say this: you are more than you think you are, and your life does not have to be dictated by what happened. You are just as pure and perfect and whole as you once were. You're just stronger, too. You will never be able to change what happened, but you will be able to love again. That's a promise. 

 

Because there is one undeniable truth, and in these words I hope you find the courage and strength to keep pushing forward:  

 

It isn't your fault. Don't you blame yourself. It wasn't your fault.