I Am Not My Sexual Assault, You Are Not Your Sexual Assault
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I Am Not My Sexual Assault, You Are Not Your Sexual Assault

I am stronger than I thought I was, and so are you.

I Am Not My Sexual Assault, You Are Not Your Sexual Assault
Emily Mazzola

September 26, 2017. It started off a beautiful day, but it quickly turned south.

I lost many things that day. I lost my sense of security in my own house, in my own bed and in myself. I lost my self-confidence. I lost my best friend.

My story isn’t unique. Fifty-five percent of sexual assaults happen at the victim’s home.

But that’s the issue.

Sexual assault seems so commonplace these days.

I was out getting coffee with a friend a few weeks ago, and we were discussing things that had been happening in our lives. When I told her about my situation, she wasn’t shocked. She shared with me five other situations that had happened to people we knew.

She told me about one of our former friends and how he had assaulted two girls.

Right after I was assaulted, I felt guilty. I felt like I was in the wrong. I thought that maybe if I had done something differently, this wouldn’t have happened to me.

I soon realized that this was wrong.

It wasn’t my fault. It is never the victim’s fault. It doesn’t matter what she was wearing or if she was drinking. I was in a long sleeve T-shirt and leggings. I was sober.

About a month later, I confronted my assaulter. He denied any accusations that it had ever occurred. He said it was consensual.

I never said yes. That doesn’t sound consensual to me.

He was ashamed. He knew he was in the wrong. He knew it was his choice and his fault.

It has been four months. It still takes me a long time to fall asleep at night, but it isn’t as hard as it was before. I don’t get the flashbacks as often.

I have to face him every day.

He was my best friend. Our parking spaces are next to each other. He’s in my first class of the day.

Everybody thinks he’s such a great guy because nobody knows exactly what happened that night except for me and him.

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past few months. I have proven to myself once again that I am resilient.

I am stronger than I thought I was, and so are you.

Being sexually assaulted does not define me. I am not just a victim. I am so much more than that.

We are so much more than that.

To anybody who has ever been sexually assaulted, please know that you are strong and you are amazing. You’ve made it this far, and you can make it even farther.

You’re not alone. You will never be alone.

If you need to talk to somebody, there are plenty of resources online.

Keep going. You’ve got this.

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