Hey, friends. This will probably be sort of long. Also not very fun to read. I don’t know how it’s gonna turn out. I’m sorry in advance for, well, anything I guess.
TRIGGER WARNING: rape, sexual assault (Dad, you might not want to read this)
Folks, I have a problem with how trivial people seem to find traumatic experiences. I have a problem with how uninformed the world seems to be on how just one experience can change someone’s life and can be a major hindrance forever.
In the past year, I have been very open about being raped while studying abroad in Spain. I discussed the matter on this blog earlier this year. I have been writing about it and talking about it to help me heal. Maybe it isn’t very comfortable for you to read, and for that I am a little bit sorry- I hate making people uncomfortable or unhappy- but I have been told so many times that people are grateful for my lack of silence. I am determined to not be silenced. I know it is uncomfortable to hear about, I know it is unfortunate to read about- but I will not keep quiet. People need to know their friends, sisters, brothers, and loved ones that have been through even one traumatic experience need love and patience.
Every day since I lost my virginity to date rape at the age of fifteen, I have lived with trauma. It isn’t something that you “get through.” Trauma stays with you forever and you just have to adapt to living a little bit broken.
Every day since I was raped again at the age of sixteen, I have woken up wondering if I would ever actually be worth someone’s love.
I haven’t been sure of any of my decisions since I was fifteen. I can never tell if I want something because I actually want it or because it will make people (i.e. men) like me more.
I haven’t loved myself fully….ever, I don’t think. Before losing my virginity, I didn’t love myself because I was a silly, angsty teenager. After it, there’s like I live every day trying to find something to fill that little hole so I can feel me again. Because being taken advantage of over and over again made me feel as if I had no say in the matter- I didn’t (and won’t ever) have a choice of what to do with my body.
So you know what I did to help myself get over it? I consented all over the place. I swung that pendulum way over and did everything I could to have the control of the outcome of my sex life. And that did help in some ways. But in other ways it just made me feel worse about my body and reinforced the stupid, terrible, cancerous idea that I am only worth what I can give to someone who wants me. I am only pretty if I am wanted. I am only loveable if I am wanted. And that constant discourse in my head- “I’m me, I’m amazing and charming and kind and loveable and I am cared for greatly,” and “I am trash, I am nothing but a slut, I am dirty and deserve nothing but what I’ve gotten and will inevitably get again,” drives me bonkers every day.
It is so hard to wake up and hate yourself….and go on living anyway. I can’t say every day I want to die, not anymore. I’ve learned how to live a little bit broken. But I often find myself wanting to put myself into dangerous situations so I can end this war within my head of my true self, my happy, whole, loving self and my sad, rejected, shadow of a self. I look in the mirror and think “I look incredible! Thank you, Beachbody! I feel great!!” and then, quick as a whip, I also think “you’re wantable.”
That second thought weighs on my soul.
It weighs there because I’ve been taught my whole life by most of my world that I am only as good as my worth to men. And if I’m only worth what my body can provide, then I deserve to be raped, I deserve to be taken advantage of, because that’s all I’m good for.
And that is fucked up.
I live every single day trying to deliver as much kindness into the world as I can. I throw compliments and smiles and random stranger high-fives out like candy at a parade. I do this because I understand that so many people live with something that weighs them down. No, not everyone is a sexual assault survivor, but everyone has bad days and everyone will have something really shitty happen to them in their life and if I can brighten anyone’s day, then I feel as if I’m making a difference.
All I want to do is show people that kindness still exists. Because things like being assaulted by a man who is just supposed to drive me home and take my money for that business transaction shouldn’t happen.
I should never hear “stop crying, now keep going so I can finish” from a cab driver.
I should never have to try to find and stumble my way home because all I wanted to do was get home safely after a night out with my friends.
Yes, I was drunk when I was assaulted this weekend.
No, that doesn’t make my story any less legitimate.
If you think that I put myself into a dangerous situation because I was wearing a dress and drinking that night, I want you to take any comment you have, think it in your head all you want, and get the hell out of my life because that poisonous thinking is what makes me never want to report it.
That awful rape culture makes it hard for me to be sure of myself when detectives are asking me questions.
That line of thinking makes me cry while I’m going through an exam at the hospital. Because what if they don’t believe me because I was drunk?
That is not okay.
Assault is never the victim’s fault. No consent means no consent. Period. End of story.
And that’s why I live with trauma. I live a little bit broken, because no matter how much healing I do, there’s always going to be a scar, and things like what happened this weekend rip that scar open and pour in a whole new batch of self-loathing and awful, scary thoughts.
It is so hard to love yourself in a world that perpetuates things like this. It is hard to heal when people always ask me “well, were you drinking?” It is so hard to not blame myself when so many people blame me.
And that is what living with trauma is like. That is just a short (yes, short. ha.) glimpse into the fucking terror that I wake up with every day. Night terrors that send me into panic attacks because I know it is happening again. Anxiety when I’m doing literally anything. Anything could trigger me into a weeping shell of a human.
So if I scream when you come up behind me and touch me or if I call you out for making a rape joke, deal with it. I have bigger problems than your pride being hurt because it was “just a joke.”
My dignity has been stripped from my very soul and I live every day trying to rebuild it.
That’s why I live a little bit broken.