An Open Letter to My Best Friend who was Sexually Assaulted

My best friend. I trust you with everything--we talk about wedding songs and books to read, about God, mental health and everything in between. I can’t quite put into words how important you are to me. The way you are always there for me, have always accepted me and pushed me to grow. You’re a light in my life and always have been. I’ve always looked up to you--your serenity, your strength, and your confidence.

Something happened to you, and it breaks my heart thinking about it. Someone you trusted (and I trusted too) abused his role in your life. I can’t possibly imagine the turmoil you felt after it all happened, and I only wish I could have prevented it somehow. But now, here we sit, left to reckon with the actions of someone we both know and loved. And though you put on a brave face for the world, I know you’re hurting, I know you’re left to wonder where to go next, how to move forward.

I’m here to tell you I’m here for you, always. As best friends we say this all the time, but it’s never been so sincere as it is right now--I’m eternally grateful you chose to share your story with me. I know it couldn’t have been easy, no matter how close the two of us are. But I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere. I believe you, and want you to know that you will never be alone in this journey. There are certain parts of this healing process you will have to do on your own, but I will be right there cheering you on and making sure you never lose sight of who you are.

I’m here to tell you that you are the strongest person I know. Just because you don’t feel strong all the time, because you don’t always see it, does not mean your strength isn’t there. When you fail to see your strength, I will be right there ready to remind you that you will get through this. It won’t be a perfect journey, you will have good days and bad days and days you don’t feel anything at all. And that’s okay. There’s no one way to heal from this. It won’t happen overnight and it won’t be easy, but you’ll get there. We can’t go back in time to before this happened, but we can work each day towards healing. My heart hurts thinking about what you’ve gone through--it simply isn’t fair. But that’s just it, things like this never are. No one deserves something like this happening to them.

You will come out the other side of this triumphant. I am so incredibly proud of you for the way you are coping with this. I am in awe of your resilience every single day. Always remember, you are loved unconditionally. You have people in your corner who will trust you, who will fight for you, and be your source of strength when you need us to be. Yes, I’m talking about your friends here at school, myself included. But I’m also talking about the myriad of women who have had similar experiences. I know it’s hard to share your truth, and you will have to decide for yourself whether that’s something you want to do. But I want you to feel the warmth of an endless community of support and strength, women who have gone through things like this and those who stand behind them. Find solidarity in the supportive people around you, and know we will never be far away. As fellow women we can lift you when you’re down, we can be there to remind you that you are NEVER alone in this. After all, we are stronger as sisters, and we are stronger together.