2 Years Ago You Raped Me, But Now I'm Stronger Than Ever

2 Years Ago You Raped Me, But Now I'm Stronger Than Ever

"But still, like dust, I'll rise." - Maya Angelou

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December 17, 2016.

This will be a day forever etched into my memory, a day that will no longer be just another day in my history books. This is the day you tried to take everything from me, the day you tried to break me, but you did not succeed.

I was your perfect prey. A naive, young 18-year-old who wanted nothing more in the world than to be loved, having had her heart broken so many times before. Your sweet words of affection, like music to my ears, lured me in and made me believe that you were safe, that you could be trusted. You had mastered the skills of predation, and you knew it was only a matter of time before I took the bait.

I was at my best friend's house, enjoying his annual Christmas party, when you texted me. We had been talking in the days prior, but you were growing impatient, eager to see me. You would not be taking no for answer. I originally said that I was busy, but you pressed on with fierce determination and a few coercive lines telling me how beautiful I was and that you didn't want to do anything sexual with me that night, you just couldn't wait any longer.

Eventually, I caved. I had taken the bait and I could imagine you were very pleased with skills of persuasion. You sent the location at which I was to pick you up, because, as I would come to find out, you were too intoxicated to drive.

I made up some bullshit excuse as to why I had to leave the party immediately, but I knew what I was doing was wrong. I knew that my friends were the best people in the world and that I should not be abandoning them and their company to go see someone I had known for only a few months, but I was all too vulnerable to attractive men saying all the right things.

As I drove to you, a voice in the back of my head told me to stop, to turn around, to go back to the party, and to leave you in the dust. To this day, I don't know why I didn't listen.

After driving for upwards of 30 minutes and around a neighborhood I had never seen before in my life, I found you, standing outside of a random house holding a bag of weed and a water bottle that I assumed didn't have water in it. You hopped into the passenger seat of my car, reeking of alcohol and weed, so much so that I was almost repulsed by your odor. We began talking, as you had promised, but I knew that was not all you had in store for the evening. You kissed me, and I, not refusing your advances, kissed you back, but that is where my consent would end and your abuse would begin.

Your kisses became more aggressive, your grip became tighter around my neck, and your other hand began moving places I had not allowed it to go. I told you to stop, but as I looked into your beady eyes, I knew you would not listen. I began to panic, repeatedly saying "stop," "no," and "please don't," but it was like talking to a rabid dog - those words meant nothing to you. You tightened your grip around my body, using all of your strength, like a snake suffocating its prey. I thrashed and tried to fight you off, but you were far stronger than I was. As I began gasping for air with your grip clasped tightly around me, I eventually gave up. I figured there was no use fighting anymore - there was no way I could win.

When you were satisfied, you got out of my car and left me lying in the back seat wearing a ripped dress with tears streaming down my face. You did not care about whether or not I got home safely since you had already taken what you desired.

The next day, my mom came to me asking me about my night, and I told her everything I could remember. I knew something horrible had happened, but she was the first to realize that I had been raped.

This happened at the worst possible time in my life. I was halfway through my senior year of high school and in the midst of applying to 13 colleges. I had 24 essays to write by January 1st and less than half a month to do it. My mom knew that too, but she also knew I was extremely damaged. She told me that I didn't have to do this, that I could take a gap year and recover from the intense trauma I just went through. But, that last bit of flame in me that you had not managed to burn out immediately said no. I declared, only about 12 hours after you raped me, that I was not going to let you ruin my life.

I had plans for myself, plans that there was no way in hell I was going to let you interfere with. I wanted to have a full life. I wanted to go to college, learn new things, and ultimately discover who I was meant to be, and I was not going to let anything or anyone put those plans on hold.

In those two weeks that followed, I discovered a whole new level of resilience in myself that I didn't even think possible. I fought back against you and your horrible deeds and found the strength to not just go on, but to thrive.

So, despite your efforts to break me, you did not succeed. In those weeks and months that followed, I discovered how strong I truly was and now, two years later, I do not deny that you changed me, but it was not for the worse, it was for the better. I left that vulnerable and scared girl behind and I rose up out of the ashes you had spread in my life 100 times stronger and as a whole new powerful woman.

Now, I am an advocate for other survivors, because of you. Now, I am not afraid to speak out, because of you. Now, I know who I was truly meant to be, because of you. Now, I love myself, because of you. I went to hell and back and found myself along the way, and although I would have preferred a different journey of self-discovery, I'm happy that I unlocked this version of myself early. Now, this strong and resilient woman can handle anything life throws at her. So, in the words of Maya Angelou, "You may trod me in the very dirt/But still, like dust, I'll rise."

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If even one of these items happens to you, END IT.

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Relationships are about learning and growing together in order to support one another to the best of your ability. Sometimes, though, your partner possesses qualities and that just do not mesh with your personality, qualities, experiences, expectations, and life goals. It may feel awful at first; however, in the long run, this is actually a good thing to identify. If two people are not getting the same positive outcome from a relationship, then it's not worth the time to pursue. Oftentimes, things that seem minuscule at the moment actually have a much larger impact overall and, after time, these seemingly small things start to feel heavy. As a result, you learn what to expect in a relationship.

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1. He mispronounces your last name

This is especially horrible if it happens while he is addressing your parents.

2. He doesn't make an effort with your family

Speaking of family... well they're kind of important.

3. He doesn't pay attention

To you or anything really.

4. You've never met any of his friends

Wouldn't you think he would want to show you off?

5. His words don't align with his actions

It is pretty easy to say something but what really matters is if he does it.

6. His family interactions are not healthy

You can really learn a lot about a person based off of the other relationships that they have. If you don't like what you see, you probably won't be comfortable with the relationship between the two of you.

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A. BIG. DEAL. BREAKER.

8. He is not mindful

Again, of you or anything really.

9. You have to mother him

Relationships should be 50-50 in terms of learning and growing together; there should never be one person pulling the other.

10. Conversation is artificial

Which can be painful.

11. He doesn't remember important things about you 

12. You contemplate your relationship (even the slightest bit)

It's never a good sign when you find yourself beginning to doubt the stability of your relationship.

13. Your parents tell you that something is off

They know you the best and only want what's best for you.

14. Your close friends tell you that something is off

They also know you very well and only want the best for you.

15. Your not-so-close friends tell you that something is off

Take a hint, honey.

16. He doesn't tell you goodnight

You should always end the day feeling positive and knowing that the other is thinking about you.

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If You Would Leave Your Significant Other If They Didn’t Have A Dollar To Their Name, It’s Not True Love

Money will get you anything you want, unless it's a fairy tale romance.

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We have all heard about the Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos split. Jeff Bezos's fortune amounts to 140 BILLION dollars. With that money, he could have bought absolutely anything in the world that he wanted. I mean, what would you choose to buy with that wealth? However, in the end, the one thing he couldn't buy was, clearly, a happy marriage.

Let's take a moment to imagine that you jump into the future 50 years. What aspects of your life are you reflecting on?

Are you thinking about the outfits you wore, the status you showed off with your nice car, and all the money you had to spend on things you wanted?

Or are you measuring the quality of your life through the relationships you had with others? Maybe, most significantly, a romantic relationship?

If you've turned on the radio recently, you'll know that it's no secret that one thing almost everyone desires the MOST is true love.

Our society has learned to laugh at that notion, saying that companionate/ realistic love is really the only type of romance people get in real life.

So what do we do? We turn to money. It fills all the emotional voids we have in our unfulfilling lives. Yes, our unfulfilling lives. If you were satisfied with every aspect of your life, there would be no need for spending money aside from survival essentials.

When you turn your back on the idea of true love because you deem it "unreal" and turn to money, you may as well call yourself Alexander Hamilton because you are setting yourself up for a long life of feeling unsatisfied. Because, the truth is, fairy tale romances do actually exist.

But money will never buy it for you.

In fact, it may distract you and create the illusion of true love. Just because you enjoy the fancy gifts, homes, and trips someone can provide you does not mean you are absolutely, truly, head over heels in love with them.

If you wouldn't be with your partner if they didn't have a dollar to their name, it's not true love.

You can't pay for someone to truly love you, and extravagant gifts will never buy someone's love, just their comfort.

So if you can't buy love, how do you get it?

You've been hearing this since grade school, but getting your priorities straight is a MUST.

Work is important, and earning a salary is necessary. But work and money should never be what is most important in life, and you should never prioritize money above a significant other.

Finding the person you are meant to be with takes time, and maintaining the love between the two of you is no simple task.

Always put your significant other ahead of any desire of yours. Their needs should always come first, and for them, your needs will always come first.

It's the little things that keep people madly in love, not something money can buy.

The conversations you have with each other from the heart, the extra burden you put on yourself one day to allow your significant other to sleep in, or the meal you prepare for them so they have one less thing to worry about. The little, everyday things remind your S/O that they mean the world to you. Not the amount of money they're willing to spend for you.

So next time you're counting up your money to see if you have enough to afford the next new fun thing you want, consider how worthless it actually is to the quality of your life.

Love will bring your life value. Money will you bring you materials.

Don't settle for someone you're comfortable with. Find that person you would be with if they didn't have a dime in the world because that person will make you happier than any amount of money or materials ever could.

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