It Doesn't Matter How Long Ago It Was

It Doesn't Matter How Long Ago It Was

Time heals, but never erases.

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*Trigger warning: sexual violence.

Let me start this article/rant on a positive note. Thanks to the #metoo movement and powerful television shows and documentaries centered around sexual assault, we as a society have made great strides. More and more people are speaking up about being assaulted, and more awareness is being created. All this fighting back wasn't occurring when I first came out with my assault back in 2009, but I'm grateful to see it now as a survivor.

But with every step forward, there's always a step or two backwards. Enter politics. With President Trump being the face of our country, he has said on record that he enjoys grabbing women "by the p-ssy", without consent, years before the election (2005). This leaked confession seemed to have divided the nation: some were disgusted, others chalked it up to it being "locker room talk" that happened "long ago."

2005 was 13 years ago, which may feel like a long time ago, but it probably feels like yesterday to the ladies he assaulted. I imagine the wounds are as fresh as ever, now that their experiences have been put on public display and half-heartedly apologized (if you can even call it that) by Trump.

As I type this article, Bill Cosby is now serving three to ten years in prison. His abuse allegations stem all the way back to 1965. Why didn't the first victim report it then? In the 1960's, sexual violence was very taboo; nobody talked about it. Abuse in general was taboo, it was seen as the norm, a form of discipline, your shame. This was also the era where dressing modestly would avoid "triggering men's sexual desires" (https://www.newsweek.com/should-we-blame-promiscui...) . From a male dominated decade, to victim blaming galore, it really shouldn't shock anyone why nobody in the 60's said "me too."

It's 2018, 50 some years later, and some of these old habits leftover from the 60's are still hard to kill. Victim shaming is still, and is likely, to always be a thing: "Why didn't you report it?" "Why didn't you fight back?" "Why did you lead them on?" "This will ruin their life." "It was ten years ago, it's the past."

My sexual abuse stole my childhood, from age six to age 15. I spoke up at 15, months after the last assault happened. I wasn't going to report it at first, because I didn't want to go through a trial, I didn't want to tell strangers what had happened to me. But I knew it was the only way to stop him from hurting another child. It's been almost ten years since the final assault, but I live with the pain every day. I live with the anxiety, the depression, the post-traumatic stress, the fear of intimacy, the fear of being assaulted again. But because I reported it, I must be okay. I did the right thing (sarcasm).

Out of 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators walk free. Perpetrators of sexual violence are less likely to be incarcerated than any other criminal (https://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-...). That small number that do report their assault endure more trauma: rape kits, lie detector tests, public shaming, testifying, harassment, nightmares, flashbacks, and in most cases, a "not guilty" verdict. If you speak up, you're probably lying. If you waited years to speak up, it doesn't matter. Damn if we do, damn if we don't.

I do believe time is a wonderful healer, but it doesn't change what happened. I wish I wasn't abused, but there's nothing that can be done to delete it, and I've accepted that, finding ways to live with it, make my present and future better than my past. Unless someone invents a time machine, the past can't be changed, assaults can't be undid. Sexual assaults are life altering events that will always be with us. I don't know who I am without my assault or what life would've been like had it not happened. I was assaulted, no matter how long ago it was. I was assaulted, even if I did report it. I was assaulted, even if my abuser served a light sentence. I was assaulted, even if it was nine years ago.

In the words of Lady Gaga, a fellow sexual assault survivor, "'Till it happens to you, you don't know how I feel."

National Sexual Assault Hotline, available 24 hours:

1-800-656-4673

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Lil Dicky's 'Earth' Is The Most Influential Song Of 2019, Change My Mind

And the music video may be even better.

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Lil Dicky is a known musician know for his songs 'Pillow Talking' and 'Freaky Friday' featuring Chris Brown. The songs are fun silly and are very catchy. Last week, Lil Dicky released a new song titled 'Earth' featuring about 30 plus artists including Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Brendon Urie, Zac Brown Band, and many others. This song is just as enjoyable as his other songs; however, this one carries an extremely important message.

In this song, Dicky brings awareness to the condition of the Earth along with the idea of world unity. Through the inclusion of several animal species, he shows how the earth doesn't just belong to us as human, but to the animals as well. Oftentimes, the human race can be extremely selfish and forget that we do share the planet with other species who are just as important as us.

In one of his last verses, Dicky mentions the way we are harming the earth through pollution and fighting wars. This part of the song becomes more serious to emphasize the importance of this topic. In the music video, the colorful visuals turn dark and gray which can bring to attending the dying planet.

In his effort to save the earth, Dicky calls for unity among all countries and continents. Saying how all past issues are in the past and we all need to come together since we live on the same planet. With all the political issues happening on a global scale, the earth and its health are often pushed to the end of the priority list. By adding this part to the song, Dicky brings awareness of that topic back to the top.

'Earth' by Lil Dicky is the most important song of 2019. Through his creative artistry and inclusion of over 30 artists, people will notice the message of this song and hopefully begin to make changes that will impact the earth in positive ways. If you haven't watched the music video or listened to the song please do.

Earth is the only planet we have; thus, we need to show how much we love it by actually taking action to care for it.

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Growing Up With Mass Shootings

Give peace a chance
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*Trigger warning: shootings

*Note: This article is not intended to be a political debate. I could've easily written an article about my opinions, but there's endless ones out there, and I don't like repeating something I feel like has already been said. This is more about society and what different things people are exposed to. You're entitled to your own opinions and beliefs, this is simply my own.

Another day, yet another mass shooting. I normally don't write/discuss politically-charged topics, as there's plenty of articles like that out there. But with so much senseless death and so much publicity around it, I felt compelled to say something.

I was born in June 1993, almost 25 years ago. An interesting, seemingly peaceful time of VHS, gross cartoons, and great music. Little did my younger self know, there was a dark, scary crime that was happening before it became popular that would become part of my culture.

In April 1999, at the age of five, the Columbine High School massacre occurred. I don't remember any of the news coverage, which was probably a good thing, me being too young and innocent to understand. But I do remember one day, my elementary school principal came to my classroom and told me and my classmates that if anybody ever entered the school with guns or knives, to "not be scared." The room was dead silent after that; of course that was scary. Even at age five, I knew guns and knives were scary, I grew up watching my dad shoot deer, I knew that guns were dangerous. There were a lot of bomb threats at my school shortly after that, none of which were real, but I was still young and unaware, maybe these were all just surprise half-days.

Flash forward to October 2006, I was 13 and in seventh grade. The Amish Schoolhouse shootings happened. I read the news stories and I was disturbed by it; who goes into a school, an Amish school especially, and shoots kids? My school ended up putting locks on the classroom doors after that, which gave me a sense of false security: I was glad there were locks, but it was the reason behind it that was unnerving.

Only seven months later, another shooting happened. Virginia Tech massacre. I was home and logged onto MSN, where the news was all over the page. What was Virginia Tech? I knew whatever happened must've been bad enough for it to be front page headlines. American Idol even acknowledge the tragedy that night, expressing their condolences. Me being obsessed with Idol, I knew this was important. I figured I could research the event, just to understand. I was stunned by the severity: 32 victims. Wikipedia had posted a picture of the assailant holding two guns pointed at the camera. That scared me. How could someone be that bold? That photo was enough to tell me that the gunman had no regard for human life.

My small school (a middle school and high school combined into one building), began having practice lockdowns; Virginia Tech's aftermath now taking full affect. One day, we had a real lockdown. We saw a cop car outside. Eerie silence. It's just a drill, it's just a drill. There was a sound of scuffling and running on the squeaky hallway floors. No bangs, no yelling, no gunshots, just a lot of running. The lockdown lasted about thirty minuets or so. It was later revealed that the police had a dog sniffing out drugs, but no threat of a shooting.

Over time, I've felt like I've become desensitized to shootings and violence; it's become normal for me to see this on the news. This is not okay. From movie theaters, to schools, concerts, nightclubs, malls, restaurants, churches, military bases, are we not safe anywhere? I can't help but wonder if I go to any of these places if there's a risk I'll be gunned down. I have nightmares of this all the time, and I pray it stays as a nightmare, not reality.

I love going to concerts, watching movies, dining at restaurants, and going to occasional clubs. I can't go to these establishments and not paranoid myself that something tragic is going to happen. We can't be afraid of living, even though there's an increased risk of violence happening. If I chose to live out the rest of my life in my home because I'm scared of being killed, then I wouldn't be living, that would be giving the shooters what they want: fear.

Change is what we need, from everyone, not just the government and legislators. Stop preaching hate, judge less. Reach out more, be kinder to those who need it most. Trust your instincts. If you feel like someone is in trouble, listen and try to help. Take care of yourself and others around you, you never know how life changing that can be for someone who needs it most.

In the words of the wise John Lennon, another casualty of a senseless act of violence: give peace a chance.

This blog post is dedicated to the angels of Parkland, Virginia Tech, West Nickel Mines School, and all the other angels who died in mass shootings. I pray change comes to this struggling world you left behind. <3

Suicide prevention hotline:

1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: PxHere

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