So, I’ve kept something from family, some friends, a few people know what happened to me. I’ve spent years trying to find the right way to tell my story. I’ve spent years deleting/burning pages of what happened. Embarrassed what family or others thought of me. Embarrassed of what happened to me, but now, I’ve realized I don’t care what they think. Many family members are hearing about this for the first time….know that this isn’t something easy for me to talk about. Here I am 8 years later… telling my story.
This photo is something of importance to me, it was a few months after my first assault, by someone close to me. Someone I thought loved me. I was 14. I will forever remember this photo and the background of it, living in Texas… my mom and one of my little sisters were all laughing about how I was dressed. It was the first time in months that I felt truly happy. For years, I struggled (still do) with depression. I found comfort in the wrong things. I thought cutting myself would make things easier. Growing up, in my large family I was outgoing and played the who could be the loudest with all of my siblings and cousins. I tried my best to keep up the facade through high school. I found sharing my story with other victims online to help and helping them.. However, I found myself focused too much on the issues of others rather my own. Two weeks before my eighteenth birthday I moved to New York City. I spent years running away from things, knowing it’d eventually come back at me. After my freshman year of college, I fell into the darkest depression I’ve ever been in. I was living in Seattle with my sister and brother-in-law basically isolated myself from the outside world. That’s where the second picture comes in…
I was living in Seattle unsure of what I was doing and where things were going and fully processing what happened to me 4 years before.
The third picture is me, two months after my 2nd assault at 20 years old. At the time I somehow managed to keep the entire thing to myself, covered it up with other things and tried to shove it aside. My senior year of college, I found myself living alone and wanting desperately to get better, be better. I had anxiety, nightmares and was trying to get out of toxic relationships with the wrong guys. I let my second assault eat away at me. I blamed myself, I denied it ever happened until I addressed the person and they admitted it to me. I spent the rest of my senior year, picking up the pieces, the first person I admitted it to was my boyfriend. It was the week after I hysterically broke down alone in my apartment. I kept something in for too long. All that went through my head for months was “I can’t believe you let this happen again”. I was always so careful. Again, I blamed myself. I’m aware my family assumed I was on drugs and partying too much. Reality, I was in college, enjoying my life, getting good grades and working my ass off to afford to live in New York. Instead of seeing my hard work I was judged because my social media portrayed one thing. I let that eat away at me as well. They didn’t know what was going on with me. I didn’t let them know. Instead of facing my problems, I buried them. Senior year of college, I took certain people out of my life that I knew wouldn’t help my healing process. I focused on me, got into a fantastic university for graduate school and figured I was on the right path. I had decisions to make earlier this year and I knew I wasn’t ready for grad school so I made the choice to take a year off, I’m working and taking this time to focus on my mental health. I can’t hide from my assaults and I know that now.
Which leads to my last photo, middle finger to rapists and to all of the people that try and sugar coat sexual assaults, the ones that protect predators. You are also the problem.
For others out there that have been sexually assaulted or harassed, you are not alone. My god, you are not alone.