An Assault, An Anniversary, A Cry: The Story Of My Sexual Assault

An Assault, An Anniversary, A Cry: The Story Of My Sexual Assault

It's time for my story to be heard
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October 29, 2012 will feel like yesterday for the rest of my life.  There are people who are going to hate me for writing this story, and there are people who hate me for the fact that this story had to be written.

But this story needs to be written. It's been begging to be let out, crawling slowly and not so quietly, waiting for the right time to reveal itself. Just like a beast. And that's kind of what this story is. 

Many of us have an “It’ll never happen to me,” attitude towards life.

“I’ll never be the one to get a ticket while jaywalking." 

“I’m not going to be busted for drinking in my dorm room.” 

“There’s no way I would get mugged walking through the city at 2a.m.” 

Or “I’m not going to get raped." 

I had this attitude and most of my friends still do. I had this attitude until the last thing on that list happened to me.  

A lot of people are probably picturing me wandering through campus in the early hours of the morning, alone and vulnerable. Getting pulled off the street by a stranger and abused. That would be wrong, and it’s an unfortunately common misconception. What I actually think is scarier is that over 80 percent of college sexual assault survivors know their perpetrator. They are “friends," classmates, and neighbors. I’m a part of that 80 percent.  

I am going to clarify right now that any decision I made that night leading up to the incident did not justify what happened. That is something that has taken me a while to understand. I put myself in that location with that person but it did not give him a right to do what he did to me. No one ever has the right to violate you.   

Something else you may be thinking is, “was there alcohol involved?” On my end, yes. On his end, admittedly no. That put him in a position of advantage, and ultimately a position of power. Being sober and perfectly capable of recognizing the situation before him. What happened was a conscious choice on his part. And it was not an option for me. Universities and governments struggle with the definition and application of consent. There is muddled terminology and there are so many conflicting views. I can tell you, however, that you cannot give consent when you are slipping in and out of consciousness. This I know.   

The details of the incident do not matter. What matters is the acknowledgment of this as a story that too many college students- both male and female- could share from a firsthand account.   

Six months later, I began the process of recognizing what had happened. That’s another thing that a lot of people don’t understand; it takes a hell of a long time to admit it. I’m not sure if I’ll ever accept it. It may sound simple for an outsider to tell me I should have just reported it or dealt with it sooner. Do you know what it’s like to have to call your mom and tell her what happened to you? To place your pain on the people who brought you into this world and would do anything to go back and save you from what happened? Now tell me I should have just reported it earlier.   

Was I scared? Yes. Was I embarrassed? In the strangest way, I was. I was afraid that I would be looked down on and that I would be shamed and blamed. Has that happened? Unfortunately, yes. But the only way out is through, and I see that light at the end.  

Do you know what happens when you report things like this? Best-case scenario, you get the support you need and everything is fair and just. I lost faith in my university when I went through the process with them. On both sides, they lacked support. They neglected to provide both parties with information in a timely manner. The summer of 2013 was the longest by far, and for all the wrong reasons. Sitting in front of a panel for four hours during a hearing at the end of July was nothing short of terrifying. I felt alone, raw, and full of unknowns.   

When the things that aren’t supposed to happen to you do in fact happen to you, you realize who is really there for you. Some amazing people came through for me. Some others backed out of my life. A lot of lessons on trust and loyalty came from this experience. I’ve learned to be thankful for the lessons in life that I have gained through something so negative.   

When in the past few months have you gone on social media or turned on the news, and not seen a report about sexual assault and the law, the military, colleges, the White House or Greek life? I share this story with too many people. It scares me to understand how all of those people feel. It scares me that they know what it’s like for me. One person experiencing this is too many. It’s everywhere. It’s a hot topic. It’s being talked about.   

I’m talking about it.   

This is a cry for universities to amend their policies. This is a cry for people not to push someone to report too quickly. This is a cry for police and legal officers to recognize the great steps one takes when they do report.   

This is a cry for everyone who has experienced this to stand up and be strong, to be a survivor, and to never be labeled as a victim.   

Two years ago on October 29th, and now I have the control. I have made the conscious choice to use my experience to educate, to advocate, and to make change. I admit and accept that what happened is a huge part of me. But through all the adversity, the fights, the bureaucracy, the panic, and the late nights, I know in my heart I have come out on top and stronger than ever. 

Because I will never let it define me. 

Cover Image Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Light_at_the_end_of_the_tunnel_(pedestrian_underpass_in_Tbilisi).jpg

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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News Flash: 'Building The Wall' Is Still A Dumb Idea And Always Will Be

The government is still partially shutdown because of funding for the wall. Really?

ddrodzx
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A man who is a strong supporter of building the wall told me this metaphor: If you don't want the wrong people walking into your backyard, you put a fence up. We don't want the wrong people coming to America, so we put a wall up. I respect people's political beliefs, and because of this, I want to share mine.

I believe that President Trump demanding money to build a border wall is dumb.

It's hard to believe so many people really think that this "build a wall" has everything to do about border security. It's just inhumane and wrong.

Literally, the most notorious drug lord of Mexico has shed light about how he smuggles the drug into the U.S. They have brought it through fishing boats, trucks going through the legal point of entry, underground tunnel, but not through unwalled parts. The half of million pounds of narcotics that were secured at the border? They were all al legal points of entry.

I'm saying this because I am a proud daughter of immigrants who crossed the border. The media has portrayed immigrants as these horrible people infiltrating our country. They just want somewhere safe to live to raise their kid.

The conditions of Latin American countries are inexplicable. Communist have risen from the ashes dominating these countries letting people rot on the street starving. There are little to no job opportunities. I haven't seen my family in three years because it is dangerous to go.

The media doesn't tell you this. They don't tell you how many people have gone to the border and returned to Mexico because ICE agents tear gas them.

They tell you that they throw babies over fences to distract border patrol agents. They tell you children are dying because of malnutrition of trekking thousands of miles to get the border. They don't tell you that those same children have been eating unmonitored food with thousands of microorganism some mal some good.

Not all immigrants are not bad people. The notions that all immigrants are criminals is "fake news." It has been a hook, line, and sinker for the Republican Party. There are studies such as one from the journal Criminology showing that places with high undocumented immigrant population does not equal high crime.

Should undocumented citizens attempt to become legal residents of the United States? Absolutely, and that is a problem if they are evading taxes and other legal notions with more consequences.

However, we should not lie to ourselves and act as a wall is to help border security against drugs and crime. It's just a physical quota like 1920s immigration laws. There is a better solution then sacrificing 5.7 billion dollars. Let me translate that: 5,700,000,000 dollars. That is our taxes. As a college student, I rather have those 5.7 billion dollars be translated to scholarship, grants, financial aid, and helping us, the future of this country become the best people we can be. Why build a wall when the future of America, who I personally think is more important can be helped.

I don't come from a rich family, and I don't have the means to afford a college education without loans, so when I hear that the Government can afford to give 5.7 billion dollars for a wall, I have the right to be upset. Tell me I'm wrong, and call me dumb, but this is my unpopular opinion.

ddrodzx
ddrodzx

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