I’ve been considering going public for a while now. Here’s what I might say if I end up going public in a Facebook post:
“There’s a secret I’ve been keeping for a long time. I’ve kept it to myself for fear that I will become defined by what happened to me in the eyes of others. I’ve feared that people will say that it’s not a big deal. That I need to just get over it. That I’m just sharing my story for attention. Well, it is a big deal and it’s okay not to be over it. And you know what? I do want attention. I want people to stop and think about the society we live in. Because what happened to me is not acceptable.
You’ve heard the statistic that approximately one in four women have survived sexual assault.
Well, I am the one in four.
I’ve been sexually assaulted by acquaintances, friends, people who claimed to love and respect me – and meant it – but hurt me anyway. It’s happened so many times, I don’t even care to try to find the number. Even once is unacceptable.
It’s amazing how a few moments of disregard for another person’s safety and wellbeing can turn into a lifetime of struggle. I live with the effects of their actions every single day.
I struggle with symptoms of PTSD, which stick around despite my best efforts. I struggle with feeling vulnerable that I could be victimized again because I live in a society where sexual assault is not only prevalent but is often accepted as the norm and excused for the most ridiculous reasons. I struggle with knowing that most of my perpetrators don’t understand that what they did was wrong, and that I might not be the last person they violate.
I struggle with knowing that I will never “go back to the old me again.” That version of myself is gone. Being sexually assaulted is like having someone close to you pass away. The pain never fully goes away. You just find a new normal and learn to live with that hole in your life. I will never be the same. And that’s something I’m still trying to accept.
However, being a survivor isn’t the end for me. It doesn’t mean I have to live the rest of my life suffering. I will never let my past get the best of me. I will never let it steal my joy.
I may be scarred, but I am not broken.”
You can read my second draft here.
Thank you for reading this post. You can find my backstory here.