Dear Rape,

I'll be honest. I was hesitant to write about you and open the wound that I have been trying to keep covered. I was scared to let the world in but I am ready with sweaty palms, shaky hands, and tears in my eyes to introduce you to our struggle together.

Even seeing your name makes me cringe and die a little bit inside. Or maybe my inside is already dead because of you. Ever since meeting you my life has been thrown around like a tornado. Bits and pieces of my soul have been dispersed into various locations. Since meeting you, I am trying to find those pieces and put them back together. My whole college career thus far has been fighting with you and frankly I am sick and tired of this fight. But I am not alone, nor am I giving up. After countless months I have finally learned that our interaction was not my fault.

No website, not even Tumblr, can truly articulate what it feels like to have a date with the devil. I will try to do my best to let you see into the chapter of my life I call "Hell."

I go to bed but then wake up with nightmares and flashbacks.

I wake up by a panic attack warning me that my nightmare isn’t real anymore.

I go about my day trying not to relieve my worst nightmare, yet am faced with panic attack after panic attack.

Then I go back to bed.

Repeat.

Trying to survive this hell is exhausting.

The funny thing, though, is that this nightmare doesn’t end when I pop my head off of my pillow; this is my life now.

Meeting you isn’t like popping off your pillow and pretending it didn’t happen. Meeting you, Rape, is like diving into the pits of hell over and over again. One traumatic experience lights your world on fire. Meeting you meant watching the word control become a foreign concept. I had no idea what that word meant after dealing with you. I'd go to the ends of the Earth just to try to gain control of my life back. But let’s be real, it won’t happen overnight.

I am trapped in a world I am not from.

Our society tends to shy away from talking about this “sensitive” issue, because we are uncomfortable with realizing how common this horror is. But it’s time to talk, time to understand, and time to get real about you. It is a haunting fact that one in five women will meet you during their college career.

How the fuck does that not awaken people in our society?! We are constantly telling women how to not dress in a manner that will provoke rapists. We are constantly telling women to avoid getting too drunk. We are constantly telling women to always watch their backs at night. We are constantly reminding women that they are not safe. Ever. When do we start teaching men to stop deciding that taking advantage of women is okay? When do we start teaching men that if a woman cannot consent to having sex then it is NOT consent? When do start teaching men that women are NOT toys to be used at their disposal? We need to start teaching and learning. We need to listen to survivors. We need to believe them. They are going through hell and back and they need all of the ears they can get.

I want to grab you by the scruff of your neck, drag you to the top of a mountain and scream "THIS IS NOT A JOKE." The effects are worse than the human eye can see.

I didn't want to write this letter at first. I didn't want the world to know that I had met you. I should not be ashamed to share my story if it will help others open their eyes and ears at the horror that is occurring today.

Survivors should not stay silent. Life is hard enough as it is without having the world turn their backs on you.

So, one year after my date with the devil, I can say that I am no longer a victim. And though I have met you, I will not be owned by you. One year after my date with the devil, I am a survivor.

Sincerely,

The Survivor