How The "Me Too" Movement Helped Me Realize I Was Raped

How The "Me Too" Movement Helped Me Realize I Was Raped

Sexual assault is real, and it comes in many forms.

On October 15, 2017, "Me too" statuses began appearing all throughout social media.

The first status I read simply said "Me, too," but as the hours passed, more and more friends on my Facebook feed posted anything from simply those two words, to the above suggestion, to their personal stories of sexual assault.

From the get-go, I wanted to write "Me too" as my status as well. But I stopped myself when I asked, "But have I ever been sexually assaulted?"

I wanted to post in support of my friends, but writing the words, "Me too" would be a lie because, well, I haven't been assaulted.

Until I started thinking...

Yes, I've been cat-called. Yes, I've been eyed up and down inappropriately by men. Yes, I've been hit on and felt uncomfortable. But to me, I had never considered those to be sexual assault.

Some context about me is that, for a long time, anytime someone close to me shared that they were sexually assaulted I would ask, "What exactly happened?" Not in a demeaning way. I tried my best to explain they didn't have to say anything if it was too difficult. But I asked because I legitimately did not understand what the phrase "sexually assaulted" entailed.

In my mind, rape was a black and white term. But "sexually assaulted" was a different ballpark.

"I was sexually assaulted."

My mind would go:

"Were you raped? Groped? Is cat-calling included in that? Is there a line between sexual assault and rape?"

The more stories I heard, the more I understood. I don't know why it took so long. But when my best friend was sexually assaulted twice and described what she experienced, I stopped wondering.

But with that being said, the context of this article begins with this: I never quite understood the wide scope of sexual assault and what it entails. Which brings me what the title of this article gives away.

I was raped. But I didn't realize it.

It was the beginning of April 2016 –– my birthday weekend. If I remember correctly, just a few hours before midnight of my birthday.

I didn't want it. I said that multiple times.

I said, "Stop." Many times. He kept insisting. He went for it.

While it was happening, I said, "Stop." Every few seconds. "Please, stop..."

He kept going.

It hurt, and I told him that. Because of the pain, I begged him more –– over and over again –– to stop. But as it continued, my begging grew quieter until there was no more sound from me at all.

At that point, my body froze. I couldn't push him off anymore. I put my arms down. I couldn't fight any longer.

I let it happen.

It is actually because of the rape scene in 13 Reasons Why that I am able to put what happens during rape into words. You fight and resist until you realize that they are not going to stop, and suddenly you freeze.

I can't describe how or why it happens. But when I watched that, and then remember my experience, I see the similarity. I fought until I froze. I "let it happen." But that's not consent. I'll say it again. Freezing in the midst of a rape is not consent.

Exactly what happened after is still a blur. But I remember being quiet for a while. He was satisfied because he got what he wanted and thought it was consensual. It wasn't. I actually said to him, "You basically raped me."

He laughed because he thought I was joking. I wasn't. I left to shower. There, I cried.

I was confused. He was my boyfriend. Did he feel entitled to my body? Was he? Did he mean it? Maybe he really didn't know? In my mind, I let it happen. I kept telling myself, "I could have pushed him off. I could have been more forceful."

His laugh had dismissed my statement.

"You raped me."

"Haha, that's not rape," his laugh implied.

"I thought you liked it. That's why I kept going?"

That made me sick to my stomach.

That was only the beginning of the trauma. More happened that following week, and though I won't share the details here, it all traumatized me to the point where I did my best to forget that any of it happened once the drama passed. Especially the night I described.

After all, one coping method for trauma is to pretend that the event never happened.

For the past year, I have rarely thought about that night. I pushed it out of my mind and told myself it was nothing.

It was only today after reading so many "Me too" statuses that I began thinking about my own "sexual assault experiences," when this memory came back to me. For the first time since April of 2016, I asked myself, "Was it rape?"

I told you earlier that I used to have trouble defining sexual assault. In addition, my idea of rape had been molded by what social media always fed me.

Rape had to look like men having sex with me when I was drunk or blacked out, or someone kidnapping me and holding me down, violently attacking me and having his way. That was my idea of rape.

Not my significant other unable to take no for an answer and then telling me that he thought I wanted it, long after I told him multiple times to stop.

Rape by definition is,

Unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.

The key phrases here are, "With or without force," and "Without the consent of the victim." By definition, I was raped.

I never verbally consented. I never consented. Somehow, my willpower and ability to fight diminished the more forceful he became. But I never consented, even if my body "let it happen."

It was heavy on my heart to share about my experience once I realized the reality of my experience. Especially if I spent more than a year pretending that it didn't happen.

And though I knew I needed to share, I kept asking myself, what would the takeaway of sharing this be? Especially if so many other women have had it worse than me.

What I want to leave you with is this:

1. My story, as all other women's stories, matter.

My story matters. Your story matters. No matter what the situation was. No matter how "big" or "small" the assault was, it happened. It was real. Your experience matters. You overcame it.

It doesn't matter what people say. It doesn't matter if men tell you that you are being over-dramatic. You are not. It was your body. You had the right to say no. You have the right to know that it wasn't your fault. You have the right to know that, even after it has happened, you are still worth it. You still matter.

2. We, as a society, need to continually fight for change on how this topic is handled.

This is only the beginning.

The guy this situation involved felt that his action wasn't wrong. I hear countless stories where the person committing the assault acts without believing it is wrong. Where did this mentality begin?

And if I had spent so much time believing that my experience couldn't be classified as "assault" because it involved a significant other or wasn't inherently "violent," where did that idea begin?

The truth is that we are emerging out of society's warped mindset of sexual assault, where the victim is always to blame or the assault has to "look" a certain way for it to be taken seriously.

I see that a generation is rising that will no longer stand with that.

I am so proud of all the women and men who have shared their, "Me Too" statuses. Sexual assault IS an issue that needs to be discussed.

Continue sharing your stories. Continue allowing your voice to be heard. Overcome your fear and the belief that speaking up will only lead to more pain. The change begins with us. It begins with those who have experienced and see the scope of the issue.

We are not alone, and we will continue to stand together until some kind of tangible change is seen. No matter how long it takes.

So if you are a victim, don't worry.

Me too.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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9 Eligible Princes You Need To Know About Now That Prince Harry Is Off The Market

You too could have a Meghan Markle fairytale

Prince Harry's royal wedding is officially over and there won't be another British royal wedding for quite some time now, as Prince George is way too young to start thinking about that. Fortunately, there are plenty of other countries with plenty of other princes that are still eligible bachelors at the moment. Lucky for you, I did my research and compiled a list of all the eligible princes you need to know about know that Prince Harry has tied the knot with Meghan Markle.

1. Prince Louis of Luxembourg (31)

Prince Louis is the third son of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg. He has recently become a bachelor again after his separation with his wife of 10 years, Princess Tessy.

Fun Fact: He graduated from Richmond, The American International University of London with a BA in Communications. He can also speak Luxembourgish (the fact that's even a language is fun fact by itself), French, German, and English fluently.

2. Prince Sebastien of Luxembourg (26)

Prince Sebastien is the youngest child of the Grand Duke Henri and Duchess Maria Theresa of Luxembourg, so if you marry him, you'll probably never actually be queen because he's pretty far removed from the throne. However, he's relatively young and single, so best of luck.

Fun Fact: For some bizarre reason, this prince actually went to college in Ohio. He played rugby and graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2015. Now, he is back in his home country and is an officer in the Luxembourg Army.

3. Prince Phillipos of Greece and Denmark (34)

You read that correctly, Prince Phillipos is the prince of not one, but two countries. He is the youngest son of King Constantine and Queen Anne Marie of Greece and Denmark. Unfortunately, Greece abolished their monarchy, so he's a prince in name only there.

Fun Fact: Like Prince Sebastien, Prince Phillipos also went to college in the United States. He earned his B.A. in foreign relations from Georgetown University in 2008. Fortunately, for us American girls, he is actually still living in the US and he works in New York City as an analyst at Ortelius Capital.

4. Prince Albert of Thurn and Taxis (34)

Ever heard of Thurn and Taxis? No? Me neither. Anyways, Prince Albert is from the House of Thurn and Taxis, which is essentially a very old German aristocratic family. He is the son of Prince Johannes XI of Thurn and Taxis and Countess Gloria of Schonburg Glauchau. His family is well known for their breweries and castles, so unless you're gluten-free, you can't really complain.

Fun Fact: He's not just a prince. He's also a racecar driver and 10 years ago he was ranked 11th on Forbes Magazine's List of The 20 Hottest Young Royals.

5. Prince Mateen of Brunei (26)

Prince Mateen is basically like all the guys you already know, except he's royalty. He's the prince of Brunei, which is a small country on the island of Borneo, south of Vietnam. He is one of the five sons of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, and he also has seven sisters. Maybe that's a little different than the guys you know, but one thing he takes very seriously, just like most frat guys, is his Instagram.

Fun Fact: Mateen enjoys playing polo, flying in his private plane, cuddling cute wild animals, and keeping up his Insta game with 890k followers. You can follow him @tmski.

6. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai (35)

Sheikh Hamdan also has a killer Instagram with 6.3 million followers. Anyways, Sheikh Hamdan is the billionaire crown prince of Dubai and the second son of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and essentially the king of Dubai (Emir). He's actually next in line for the throne because his older brother died in 2015.

Fun Fact: Hamdan's hobbies include skydiving, zip lining, and diving, just to name a few, so if you're an adrenaline junkie, Sheikh Hamdan is the prince for you.

7. Prince Hussein of Jordan (23)

Prince Hussain is the son of the extremely beautiful, Queen Rania and Abdullah II of Jordan and next in line for the Jordanian throne. At 23, he's already a second lieutenant in the Jordanian Armed Forces and he was the youngest person ever to chair a UN Security Council Meeting

Fun Fact: Like Prince Phillippos, Prince Hussain also graduated from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.. Also, like Prince Mateen and Prince Hamdan, he's Insta famous with 1.3 million followers and you can follow him @alhusseinjo.

8. Prince Constantine-Alexios of Greece and Denmark (19)

Like Prince Phillipos, Prince Constantine-Alexios also has two countries. Lucky for us though, he is also living in the US right now attending Georgetown University in Washington D.C. (like pretty much every other prince, amirite?) He is the oldest son of Crown Princess Marie-Chantal and Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece.

Fun Fact: He's Prince William's godson, so that's pretty neat. However, if that wasn't cool enough, you might like to know that this Greek/Danish prince was actually born in New York. Oh yeah, you can also follow him on Instagram @alexiosgreece where he has 88.7k followers.

9. Prince Joachim of Belgium (26)

Prince Joachim of Belgium, Archduke of Austria-Este is the third child of Lorenz, Archduke of Austria-Este and Princess Astrid of Belgium. Although he bears the title, "Prince of Belgium," he is also Archduke of Austria-Este, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia, and Prince of Modena. Unfortunately, he'll probably never actually be king in any of these countries as he is ninth in line to the Belgian throne.

Fun Fact: Prince Joachim has degrees in economics, management, and finance, but he decided to join the Nautical School in Brugge after completing college and is currently an officer in the Belgian Navy.

Hope is not lost for all you girls dreaming of finding a Prince Charming that's literally a prince. After reviewing the data, my best advice is to transfer to Georgetown where princes are basically around every corner.

Cover Image Credit: @meghantheduchessofsussexstyle/Instagram

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I Have No Label

Labels aren't for everyone, and I'm one of them.


There's a huge pressure from society for people to know things about themselves—what they want to do with their life, what career they want to be tethered to, where they plan on being five years from now—that we really shouldn't add more pressure by requiring people to know their sexual orientation and gender identity.

I've always been pretty comfortable with my gender, but my sexuality? I'm still figuring that one out. I grew up in a fairly conservative home, so I was never exposed to the LGBT+ community or anything similar to it. Straight was the only way to go, and I grew up completely fine with that. It's only now that I know I'm not, that I'm realizing some of the things I did, probably should have told me I wasn't sooner.

Thankfully, it was never a huge source of stress for me because I was OK with being straight. I was fine with the idea of only being into men because I mostly still am. It's just that "mostly" bit that has me thrown off.

If I'm not fully into just guys, does that make me bisexual? What's the full difference between them, anyway? What does "bi" really imply, anyway? Two? Which two? Does the "bi" aspect of the word "bisexual" even really matter?

Do people identify as "pansexual" because the distinction of "bi" is misleading since there are more than just two genders?

Speaking of genders, would I date someone whose gender identity doesn't conform to the binary? How about a transgender person? How can I really know this for a fact without dating someone like that?

All of these thoughts gave me countless headaches, and they still do if I think too hard about it. Since I'm still discovering myself, I'm not fully comfortable labeling my sexuality as anything other than "not straight."

That should be totally fine.

If anything, I think this should be encouraged. It puts way less stress on people who are already stressed beyond belief. It shouldn't be something that a person has to know immediately, and they shouldn't have to ever label themselves if they aren't comfortable with it.

Let people explore their sexuality and gender. If they find a label early, let them. They may change it later. They may not. As long as they're happy with it, what does it matter? Why tell them "no?" Even if you're their parent or caregiver, you should at least be fine with them exploring their own identity and figuring their life out.

It's healthy, and ultimately, it will make them a happier person to know they had support for the whole wild ride.

Respect people if they find nothing and choose to stay label-less.

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