I believe everyone has moments in their life that change them forever. They can be the birth of a child, a divorce, or maybe a job loss, but for me, that moment is one summer night before my freshman year of college. In that one night it feels as if a piece of me was changed and altered. I am left feeling weak and vulnerable every time I think of it.
Many know me as the bubbly and charismatic girl who is always smiling, but there is more beneath the surface.
I am a victim of sexual assault.
Sometimes it is far too painful to deal with and I don’t even want to get of bed. This life altering night has left my mind and body in turmoil and I am left feeling broken, alone, and confused.
Recently, I was watching How to Get Away with Murder. Bonnie, one of the main characters, said something that struck me like a pound of bricks. She was discussing a female rape victim and said, “She went to one party, and her life was changed forever.” When she spoke those words I began to cry. This scene was all too real for me. Bonnie said everyday is a struggle to just be okay for this victim and I couldn’t agree more.
Many times I have asked myself, “What happened to me? How long will it take me to move past this awful night?” These questions I fear I will never know the answer to. Somedays, I will go from feeling on top of the world to sad and vulnerable in a snap. I don’t know what’s going on with me, and frankly it frightens me. I am surrounded by those who are there for me and are compassionate, yet I feel so alone sometimes.
The most difficult part of my assault was not the assault itself, but rather reliving it all in my mind everyday over a year and a half later. I ask myself, “Why did he do this to me? Why didn’t I scream no?” I just froze. I didn’t fight back. I laid there.
The mental burden of this night is omnipresent on my shoulders. This burden is always there to take my power away; not physically, but mentally. I can’t escape my own head or the images of that place. That lake house. That staircase. That bed. It is imprinted in my mind forever.
I promise myself I will not let it consume me, though. I will not let him take my power away forever and I will move forward. I remind myself that storms don’t last forever and that this too shall pass. I am a survivor, and will keep on moving forward.
I will leave you with a quote by Maya Angelou.
“We are only as blind as we want to be.”
So, I ask you not to be blind. Remove the veil of ignorance and take action to support those who have suffered my same fate in hope that those of the future may be spared.