1 out of 6 women and 1 out of 33 men, have been the victim of sexual assault in their lifetime. It’s difficult to be open about sexual assault, especially when 80% of cases, the victim knows the perpetrator. The narrative many of us know is: If you go to a party alone, dress a certain way, drink too much or set your drink down—you’re asking for it.
The person who assaulted me was an ex-boyfriend. I was in a room with others just outside the door. I wore men’s clothing, almost every inch of skin covered. I had never drank alcohol before—I said ‘no’. But I was unable to prevent what happened in that moment. I was unequipped to react in a situation outside of the narrative I had learned and memorized.
For many years, I refused to acknowledge it. I thought: I didn’t do enough to stop it, so it must have been my fault. That I had made a terrible, soul-crushing, identity-stealing mistake. How did I let it happen? I didn’t dare tell anyone, until my partner after many years of education and processing. When #metoo gained momentum, I was finally able to speak—that small step has led me on a painful restoration journey which I still navigate today.
This is the next step on that journey—by telling my story and more importantly educating others. Thank you for everyone who has supported me and who continue to engage in conversations about our societal values.
If you are a victim of sexual assault or rape, please know—I am so sorry, I am here to support you. If you haven’t already, I hope one day you can tell someone. I believe you, and it’s not your fault. If you’re ready, please see resources below. Never hesitate to reach out, and never forget you’re not alone.