TW: My Journey to Being Okay After Being Sexually Assaulted

Trigger warning: this article contains references to rape, sexual assault and abuse

I honestly never thought I would write this article and maybe that’s why I am publishing this anonymously. Many years have gone by since “the event,” but there is not a single day that I don’t think about it.

For a while, I held up that cliche that it was my fault somehow, and if I told anybody, it would be more embarrassing than helpful. I think the worst part about it was that it wasn’t just one time. I wish it was just one time. How do you explain to someone who really authentically wants to help that I let it happen again?

See, there it is again. I let it happen. But the truth is, I didn’t. If anything, I actively tried to stop it on many occasions, but I was small. I was nervous. I was overwhelmed. The truth about sexual assault is that the woman never “asked for it.” I don’t care how many times you hear that, it’s just not true. Nobody would ever ask for the amount of pain you feel during and after. Nobody.

I know I’m just rambling, but honestly, after all of the emotional trauma I went through (and am going through) over so many years, it gets hard to organize your thoughts. To this day, my thoughts, even ones that have nothing to do with the event, are hard to organize.

Kristen Bryant-BodiesI was diagnosed with PTSD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder about a year after the event. Of course, I had other things happen in my life that also contributed to these conditions, but I would be lying if I said that most of the pain didn’t come from my assault.

My journey, as you can tell, has been a bumpy one. Nothing is quite as linear as it was before my assault and I don’t think it ever will be again. After being with my assaulter for many years, he eventually left me for another woman, and I was relieved for me but scared for her. I desperately tried to warn her, but he told her that I was his crazy ex who made up rumors about him. She believed him.

Then she contacted me after being with him for five years and asked me if I had experienced the same trauma. I had. She had. It was the saddest moment of solidarity that I have experienced, and I never want to experience something like that again. The best thing I could do at that moment was give her a sign of hope in my own progress and provide her with some of the tools I used early on in my healing process.

Sexual assault is very real, and this culture of rape needs to stop now. It is not ok. Lives are being changed, ruined and ended over the simple fact that other people feel they should have some type of power over others. Sexual assault happens in every gender, sexuality and age group, and it needs to stop.  If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please reach out for help. You can text or call 1-800-656-4673 or chat online to received guidance and help. You are not alone, and there are so many people who can help.