The main goal of this blog is to get the word out about my story. Many women that experience something similar to what I experienced are silenced, including myself. Until now, of course. It may be out of shame. It may be because they are scared. It may be because they are told not to talk about it. I used to be so ashamed and depressed that I hardly talked about my story. Sure, I told my good friends about it, but they didn’t know what to do to help me or what to say. It felt good to not hold it in any longer, but I wasn’t getting the help I needed. I never did. Time and antidepressants are the only thing that healed me. I wish I could have talked to someone that knew exactly how I was feeling. I think that is why I refused to go to therapy. I have never spoken about my story in such a way like this before. It was a part of me I tried to hide. It was embarrassing. But why? It was not my fault. Some people tried to tell me that it was, but I always knew it wasn’t. That is something that a lot of people have a hard time admitting. It is NEVER your fault. You are NEVER asking for it. It is NEVER okay. I wish more people could understand this. But that is another conversation.
I used to be silenced about my story. It wasn’t until I came to college that I got so fed up that I posted a status to Facebook about how dumb jokes about rape and roofies were– and I was VERY hesitant to post it in the first place. But being in this new place where I didn’t yet know a lot of people was difficult for me and I snapped. On November 4, 2014, I shared my first post in regards to my experience. It read:
“I’m not usually the type to get super personal on social media, but I think it’s time to share a little bit about me. When I was 16, I was sexually abused. Not many people know the full story or know of this happening at all. I’m not going to post the whole thing in this status, but I’m open about it if you want to personally talk to me. Since I’ve come to college, the issue has become more prevalent to me. Jokes about “rape” and “roofies” are not funny; they never have been. This is something that happens to girls (and boys) all over the world daily. For anyone who has experienced something like this, you are not alone and it is not your fault. My advice is to not let what happens to you define who you are. This situation still affects me nearly every day, even though it happened a little more than two years ago. Some days are worse than others, but I have definitely become a stronger woman. I’m sorry for being a little rant-y here but I think I stand for all victims of these crimes when I say I’m tired of hearing the jokes around campus. Enough is enough. Also, I’m always here to listen or talk to anyone who needs help with anything– just throwing that out there!”
I got a good amount of support from my Facebook friends. People did reach out to me–both female and male– about their experiences. They said that they also felt no one could understand what they went through and their feelings and that it meant a lot to them that I shared even the tiniest bit of my life with everyone. This is when I knew I wanted to make a change in other victims’ lives.
I had to post a follow-up status the next day because I was still afraid that people thought I wanted to gain attention and sympathy from sharing just the smallest ounce of my personal life. This post read:
“In regards to my previous post, I just want to follow up and explain that I really only posted something so personal because I wanted girls (or boys) to know that they aren’t alone when it comes to sexual assault crimes. It’s not something that many people like to share about themselves, but I know that the biggest issue I had (and still have) is feeling like nobody understands what I’m going through or what I’ve gone through. And I understand that you can go to counseling or support groups, but I think that personally knowing someone who has also gone through something similar helps. I really really don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea from that post. I honestly just posted it because I want others to know I’m here for them and that the jokes and the crime itself needs to stop. My goal is just to raise awareness, I don’t want sympathy from this. I just don’t want anyone else to go through what myself and so many other girls have gone through. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to message me! Peace and blessings.”
My mother doesn’t have a Facebook, but she always knows what I’m up to, so when she found out about these posts, she encouraged me to take them down. “People don’t need to know everything about your life, especially not the bad things.” I didn’t delete them, but I considered.
Almost an entire year had passed before I posted something about my story again. On the third year anniversary, I decided to write another post about it, this time on Instagram. This got a little more personal than the previous, but still not super in depth. This post read:
“3 years. It has been 3 years since the incident happened that would forever change me and my life. The first year was the hardest. I let what happened to me define who I was. I was depressed and didn’t know how to overcome the challenges I faced every day, especially at school. The second year, I came to college and at times, dealing with the part of me I wasn’t proud of wasn’t easy for me. Hearing jokes about roofies and rape was prevalent and extremely difficult for me to deal with in a new environment where I didn’t yet know a lot of people. The third year, I really became a lot stronger and learned to not let my past define me. I know how to help girls in danger of the same thing happening to them. I am more than what has happened to me. I am strong. I am kind. I am smart. I am important. And so are you. Never let your past define who you are. Learn from it, grow from it. And if you can, talk about it. You may be helping someone else. So, if you are having a hard time dealing with an experience that happened to you, know you can always talk to me. Although your experience is unique, too many girls have gone through it. Also, if you don’t know what I’m referring to, feel free to reach out and talk to me, I’m really open about it. #feelingblessed”
Every year on September 22, I have a bad day. No matter how positive my outlook on the situation is, that day always overtakes my happiness. This has already been a long blog post I am aware, but I want to go in depth on each of the three years and where I was at in life.
The year it happened: year one.
I was barely a junior in high school when the event took place. I explained a little about that in my first post. As a refresher, I was super depressed and I was reminded daily of what happened because of a rumor going around that I “had sex with my cousin.” I lost all respect for myself and had sex with a guy I barely knew. Thankfully, he was the only one. I still didn’t know how to cope. I never really talked about my feelings or what I went through, because it was too hard. This was the absolute lowest time of my life. It is crazy to me to think back on who I was and think that, that was actually me at one point. It is shameful.
This year was my senior year of high school. I was doing a lot better because the rumors of course had died down and I was focusing on myself and making it to college. I joined a bible study group that met every Tuesday morning and I absolutely loved it. I found faith in The Lord and felt comforted by a lot that I learned. I had a great group of friends that encouraged me to be the best me that I could be– the dance team. That team was home to me, because my heart was there. I am still so thankful for them to this very day, because they really helped me grow as a person that year. I wouldn’t be where I am today without each and every one of those wonderful girls. I was at a great point in my life, until I got kicked off the dance team because of a bad grade. I felt myself slipping right back into my dark hole. I cried for days. But I never got to the point that I was at my junior year of high school. I can only thank God for that.
Year three: college freshman year.
Going to college was an exciting thing for me. I attend the University of Missouri (Mizzou) and at the time, I thought it was the greatest place on Earth. I had a long distance boyfriend my first semester and it was rough. But I was still happy overall. Of course I had bad days when hearing about rape on campus and hearing jokes. But I was happy. The anniversary came around and I went home to visit my boyfriend that weekend. I warned him that I might be in a bad mood because it was the two year anniversary of the rape. He got frustrated with me and wouldn’t let me talk about it because he didn’t want it to ruin our time together. This was another time I was silenced.
I have never told my story in a public way, since I decided to start this blog. This is only the beginning. I want so many more people to hear it and to know that they do not have to be silenced. No matter if your family tells you not to tell it or your boyfriend won’t let you talk about it or your friends are tired of hearing your “depressing” story. You have a right to share your story. You have a right to know that you are not alone. I think that is another reason I tell my story– because people reach out to me and share their stories or let me know that they have also gone through it. And that really helps me. I feel like that gives me a purpose in telling my story. Sometimes it is nice to be reassured that you really aren’t alone. So if you ever get to feeling alone, please talk to me. It also helps me feel better and like I am not just talking to myself, even though that is kind of what a blog is.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read another long post about me and my experience. That truly means the world to me. If you want to share, please feel free to share directly from my Tweets or Facebook posts. Or if you would, copy and paste the link and write your own thoughts. And as always, I can not reiterate this enough, reach out to me if you have any comments, questions, or concerns. I am not silent about this topic anymore.