To The Women Who See Their Assaulters Every Day

To The Women Who See Their Assaulters Every Day

I am sorry, and I understand.

107
views

Once in high school, a girl told me that despite her going to the school to report her assault, she had to sit next to her rapist every day in class.

I never thought I would understand this feeling, and I still cannot imagine experiencing it to that magnitude, but I finally do understand. My freshman year of high school I was sexually assaulted and I never reported it. He was a few years older than me, so I still saw him in the hallways until he graduated, but I never fully understood or faced what had happened.

The other day I saw my assaulter, and he was standing with his girlfriend at a party. It was an experience I can barely even describe. My immediate reaction was pure panic. I ran into the bathroom with a friend, who had to calm me down. My next thought was how dare he. How dare he be allowed to continue to have a normal life. How dare he have a girlfriend, who probably has no idea what he did to me. How dare he be able to have a normal life, going to parties and drinking with friends while I have this reaction.

When I imagine someone having to endure this feeling every day, it kills me. To the men and women who experience this, I cannot possibly imagine the pain of having those thoughts every day. So I have some things I need to tell you, not as someone who has any professional training, but as someone who is feeling these things for the first time.

It is okay to be hurt.

If you feel hurt by this person, hurt that you have to go through this, hurt that it isn't fair, be hurt. You are absolutely allowed to be hurt and you do not have to pretend to be strong enough to do it on your own.

Any feeling you have is okay.

If you are angry or upset or distraught, you're right. If you miss them or still love them or want to reconnect with them, you're right. If you feel numb, you're right. Anything you feel in the moment is the right feeling because you are entitled to feel that way.

Your safety is the most important thing.

If you feel unsafe, physically or mentally, get out of there. Leave the classroom or the party or wherever you are if you cannot be in there anymore.

Back-sliding after the encounter happens sometimes.

Even a small encounter with someone who traumatizes you can have a long impact on your mental health. Talk to someone if you need to and don't be afraid to reach out, but be aware that it's normal to feel depressed after being in a situation like that.

People are with you.

The news recently might be scary, but ultimately there are people who will stand with you. There are survivors out there with support groups, and resources for you to help you understand that you are not alone. People will always be here for you. I am with you.

Any experience you have where you have to relive or be reminded of a traumatizing situation is incredibly scary. Remember that whatever you do in that situation is the best thing for you. Only you get to decide what is best for you, and if that is leaving the situation or confronting them, do it.

Popular Right Now

I Support Late-Term Abortions, That Doesn't Make Me A Baby-Hating Monster

A late-term abortion is a horrible, devastating and heartbreaking choice... but one I'm glad women have.

19087
views

If you think that late-term abortions are for mothers who get to 8.5 months and then randomly decide they no longer want to have a baby, then don't even read this article. This article is not to argue with ignorance. Read some unbiased articles, actually, think about it for two seconds and then realize that women who are due any day now aren't just going to terminate their pregnancies because it is "legal" now. (It is not.)

I've seen so many posts and comments and arguments, the crux of them being, "I can't imagine aborting my child after 24 weeks."

Well, guess what... The women this law will apply to probably can't imagine it, either.

Nearly all abortions occur in the first trimester of pregnancy (approximately 91.1%). This tells us what is (more than likely) a pretty obvious fact: That beyond the first trimester, most women are planning to keep their baby (or give him or her up for adoption). So you can imagine that even being presented with the option of termination would be heartbreaking.

Imagine this: You're pregnant and absolutely ecstatic to bring a child into the world. You go in for an appointment at 30 weeks. During the exam, your doctor is quiet. You are growing extremely anxious. They tell you that they have some bad news. Your daughter has a serious condition, one that will allow her to live less than a year. They can perform a c-section, she will be in the NICU for a long time, but even once you take her home, she has an extremely low chance of survival. Her life will be painful. Or, they can perform an abortion.

What do you choose? For some, they absolutely cannot fathom the idea of termination. They'd rather take a chance at life. And for some, they cannot even fathom the idea of watching their child live a painful, short life that will end in incredible heartbreak.

Both of these are traumatizing decisions. Your pregnancy and your hope for the future and your plans for the child you are so excited for have come crashing down. This is not a lightly made decision. And if you would choose to take your chances, pray for a miracle and get to hold your child in your arms, you should have every single right to.

But if you decide that the trauma of terminating your pregnancy without having to fall further in love with your child and watch him or her struggle every day and deal with the gutwrenching pain of losing them, you should have every single right to make that choice, too.

This is not cut and dry. This is something that changes from woman to woman, from family to family. But one thing stays the same: Learning that the life that you planned for your baby can no longer be as you desperately hoped is heartbreaking. It is a uniquely horrific feeling that, you're right, you can't imagine. No one can imagine it until they're living it. I write about it and I think about it and I have to assume that there is nothing in this world that can prepare you for it.

Posting and commenting that women who choose the path of late-term termination are monsters or killers or heartless is wrong.

Picture this: A pregnant woman and her husband, sitting in an exam room alone after learning devastating news about their pregnancy. They're holding one another, sobbing, thinking through their options. Trying to decide if ending their pregnancy, crushing the hopes and dreams they had for their little baby is the right choice, or continuing on and hoping for a miracle but knowing they should prepare for the heartbreak of their lives. Picture them, through tears, while holding an ultrasound photo to their chest, telling the doctor they choose to terminate. Picture them going home, sitting in the nursery they decorated, calling their parents and telling them their grandchild won't be arriving.

Are you picturing a couple of monsters? A couple of heartless killers?

Or do you see a family put into an impossible situation, trying to make an impossible decision for themselves and their unborn child? A family who threw a baby shower and decorated their nursery and argued over the perfect name for months. Who took progress photos of their baby bump, who talked about what sports their kid would play, who had to hear the devastating news that turned their world upside down?

I don't see a monster. I don't see a killer.

I see pain, I see hardship, I see love.

And I hope that you do, too.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Your Sexual Comment About My Body Really Isn't A Compliment, I Would Appreciate If You Stopped

I am human and I demand respect over my body.

515
views

I was 12 the first time a boy said: "you got a nice ass." I was taken back. What did you just say to me? Back then I wasn't as strong in knowing who I was/am. That comment stuck with me for a while. I recently thought about it. I realize now what that comment really was. While a boy thought it was a compliment, it wasn't. It was the start of harassment that boys are never told is wrong. Therefore, they continue to do it.

When I think about that comment from junior high, I think about the junior high students I know. I think about how upset I would be if one of the boys said that. I think about how much I would want to hug and remind the girl of who she really is. You see, these "compliments" start at a young age. Girls figure it means the boy likes her. They assume that he'll be different when they're dating. I beg to differ. It will get so much worse.

Some boys and men only see women as objects. They only see her as a thing of pleasure. They don't see the beauty that is in her personality. They don't stop to think about how intelligent she is. They skip over the fact of her being a human. It truly breaks my heart.

I keep going back to the first time a boy touched my butt, and how violated I felt. I told my teacher, and they did nothing about it. They said, "Oh, well he's a boy!!" WHAT. No, I am human and I demand respect over my body. When that boy touched my body when I never asked him to, I wanted to hide. I was not "turned on" by it like he thought I would be. I was not OK with it. And all I got was a form of "it's what boys do."

Your compliment about my body isn't a compliment. I am uncomfortable with it. I don't want to hear about how much you love my butt. Your compliment about my body has led me to be nervous around guys who have any sort of interest in me because I think they are only interested in what you once told me.

I am here to stand up for myself, finally, and other girls and women who are scared. I was once scared, but not anymore. I don't want to hear or read your pick up lines you think will flatter me. I want you to respect who I am. I want you to know I am not flattered by those gross comments about my body. I am here to stand up for those who are scared to be loud. That was once me, but not anymore.

Your compliments are not compliments. I am ready to see a change in our world. I am ready for your gross comments to stop. I am sick of seeing and hearing the same thing over and over again. I am more than a body. I am a human. I have a personality that I would love for you to get to know, but your pick-up lines are insulting. I would appreciate if you stopped.

Related Content

Facebook Comments