To Women Who Have To See Their Assaulters Every Day

To The Women Who See Their Assaulters Every Day

I am sorry, and I understand.

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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.

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A Solution To The Abortion Debate

We need to tackle the problem at its core.
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There are very few political issues that are as controversial as abortion. Pro-life vs. Pro-choice seem to be the smack down of the year, every year. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion years ago, but people from all sides of the political spectrum still focus on it.

I'm not going to give you a pro-choice argument. Yes, I am pro-choice, and yes I have very firm beliefs, but I don't think the argument should focus on whether or not women should have access to abortion.

The argument needs to tackle this "issue" of abortion at a much deeper level. It's not about pregnant women wanting abortions — it's about unwanted pregnancies.

There are many reasons a woman chooses to have an abortion. Maybe they can't afford a pregnancy and a child. Maybe they have health problems. Maybe they are not in a place in their lives where they can properly care for a child. Or maybe, they just don't want to have the baby.

Regardless of their reasons, the core cause of abortion is an unwanted pregnancy. Naturally, the way to end abortion is to stop unwanted pregnancies from occurring in the first place. If a woman never becomes pregnant without wanting to be pregnant, there would be no need for abortion, and the divisive debate could finally end.

How do we do this, you ask? Well, you've come to the right place.

There are two things that need to happen in order to stop unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

1. Comprehensive sexual education

27 states currently have abstinence-only education. This means students in 27 states are never taught about birth control. They never learn the realities of sex and sexual experiences because they are taught not to have sex until marriage.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with practicing abstinence until marriage — or even in marriage if that's what you decide. But the truth is, not everyone is going to be abstinent, and by teaching a curriculum that stresses abstinence, students lack a knowledge base necessary to prevent pregnancies and STDs. Some people won't know anything about sex alone, let alone about condoms, the birth control pill, the birth control patch, shot, ring, IUD, or other forms of birth control that could prevent pregnancies.

Statistically, states with abstinence-only education have a much higher rate of teenage pregnancy or STD transmission, while states with more comprehensive education have seen a drastic decrease in these cases.

People seem to think that including comprehensive sex ed in schools will encourage teenagers and young adults to have premarital sex. But lets face it: they're going to do it anyway. So lets make sure they are educations and that they practice safe-sex so no unwanted pregnancies occur.

2. Access to birth control

Education is all fine and dandy, but unless people have access to birth control, they can't really practice safe sex.

The discourse around birth control needs to be less taboo. Young women should not be embarrassed to talk to their healthcare provider about different options. Both men and women who plan to be sexually active, even if they have the smallest inkling that they will be sexually active, should have condoms so that they are never in a position to "risk it."

Birth control needs to be covered by all health insurance. Not only does it prevent pregnancies, but it also helps regulate women's menstrual cycles and treat endometriosis, along with other health problems women may have. But most importantly, it prevents unwanted pregnancies. Birth control needs to be available to every one, both men and women and genderfluid and genderqueer and everything else on the gender spectrum.


Even people who are pro-choice are not pro-abortion. Whether it is because of morals, medical reasons, or any other reason, no one wants abortions to happen.

Making abortion illegal will not stop abortions from happening. People will resort to dangerous methods to get abortions if they are outlawed, but they will not stop completely. The only way to stop abortions is to solve the core of the problem through comprehensive sex ed and access to birth control.

In order to make that happen, the discussion needs to move away from "Should abortion be legal or not?" to "Let's stop unwanted pregnancies from happening in the first place." Stopping unwanted pregnancies is the only way to stop abortions.

Cover Image Credit: The New Yorker

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I'm An 18-Year-Old Woman And Thanks To Those Abortion Bans, My Body Isn't Mine Anymore

Alabama, Ohio, and many more states are making it so that women don't have a choice anymore. We are losing control over our own bodies because these states believe that they should control whether we can have an abortion or not.

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I want to start off by saying that everyone can have their own opinion, that's your right. Whether you want to speak your opinion or not it's your right to have those opinions. Usually, I wouldn't make a public stance on a political issue, but it's very hard not to when someone asks if you're going to transfer schools because the state you go to school just passed a law saying you can't get an abortion.

It's very hard not to when what I was taught as a young girl doesn't apply anymore because of new laws.

Growing up I was taught that no one's opinion about your body matter, just yours. Whether you were fat or skinny it didn't matter what anyone else says only how you think of yourself. I was taught that my body is my own. No one can take that away from me. No one can take away the power to decide what I want to do with my own body. And no one can take away the power to make decisions for me.

This is the way every young girl should be raised.

My generation has taught that as girls we have the right to our body. Whether we want to dress a certain way, the way we eat, if we want to get piercings or if we want to work out. What we want to do with our body is our right. Whether my parents wanted me to get a tattoo or not I have a say on what I put on my body. Whether the world sees me as fat or skinny I have the right to call myself beautiful. That with the way social media is advancing it doesn't matter what you or the next person look like it matters how you see yourself. That you have control over what you want to do with your body.

No one can ever how to live your life or how to control your body.

You don't see a law that says someone can't smoke? You don't see a law that says someone can't drink? Smoking and alcoholism can kill someone just as abortion kills a baby. A pregnant lady drinking or smoking can harm a child with deficits for their whole life. So, what makes abortion different?

Why is the power to make a decision that impacts your life and no one else's different?

Who are you to tell a 14-year-old girl that she has to give birth to a child when she isn't even old enough to drive yet? A 14-year-old girl doesn't even know who she wants to be let alone if she wants to have kids.

A law like this doesn't give her a choice.

A girl has the choice whether to eat healthily or to work out or to get that belly button piercing or to get that tattoo, but she doesn't have the choice to have a baby or not? Yes, I would agree that some people use abortions to get out of the responsibilities of being a parent but taking that choice away from someone is taking away their life.

To take away someone's choice to have a baby you are taking away their life.

The nine months of an excruciating pregnancy, just to go through an even more excruciating birth for a child that they didn't even want. Then how is the child going to feel? When they grow up to just find out that they were a mistake or a product of rape or that they just weren't wanted by their own parents. That's pain that no one should have to go through for the child and the mother. Especially for someone who ended up pregnant after being rape you are forcing this person to live through that terrifying experience for the next nine months.

She should be given a choice.

So, to the men and women that think it's OK to take away this choice from someone how would you feel if your great-great-granddaughter ever got raped and got pregnant would you want her to have to go through the torture, pain, and heartbreak of carrying a rapists baby to term and then having that kid come to the terms that he/she was a product of a crime.

Our body is a temple. A temple that we have control of. Is that not what you want your granddaughter to believe? Is that not how young girls should be raised? It's how I was raised, is my body not mine anymore?

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