The Realities Of Life After Sexual Assault

The Realities Of Life After Sexual Assault

It's going to suck for a while, but it really will get better.
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1 in 5 females and 1 in 16 males are sexually assaulted on college campuses across the nation every year. That is a scary thought. That 20% of the females on a college campus will be assaulted. That 7% of males will be assaulted. However, this statistic is found for college students. Though I have to say many sexual assaults happen to people outside of college as well. Not only after graduation but while they are still minors.

Sexual assault doesn't just mean rape. It is when one party objects and the other keeps pushing until the objector gives in. It doesn't matter if you have been making out all night if one is a bit tipsy, or whatever. No means no. Life after an assault isn't easy.

Fear hits first. The fear of speaking out. The fear of being told you got what was coming to you. The fear of people even taking you seriously. The world that we live in today almost glorifies sexual assault. Many have gotten away with rape on minor consequences.

Then comes the self-hate. Hating yourself because you feel like an object. Like people can do whatever they want to you. Like you actually deserved to have this happen to you because you are so ugly, disgusting, and broken.

The fear and the self-hate stick around for a while. It's not like one day they just disappear, though you wish they would. They come and go. Some days are good, some are not. And depending on if you opened up to someone about them or not will depend on how severe they are and for how long.

Finally, you seem to reach a point where you feel better. You accept that it happened, but are grateful you survived. This can take years to reach. But even after you reach it, there are days you fall back to the scared and fragile state you were in shortly after it happened. When it happens where you are. When someone you know is attacked. When you see the rape culture being promoted.

It took me almost six years to finally be okay. It took two years to open up to my parents. I still have flashbacks. I still have nightmares. There are days where I can't even look myself in the mirror. I still fall. But as time goes on, and as I work through those feelings and different ways to cope, the times I fall become less and less.

Life as a survivor isn't easy. In fact, it sucks for a very, very long time. But you have to remember that you will get through it. You have to remember that there is a light on the other side. You will get through this. It is just going to take some time.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Internet outraged at Delhi Aunty for Sl*t Shaming

Public outrage - justified or an overreaction?

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When the topic of sexual violence against women arises, women are often held responsible - because of how they dress, or how they behave, or even if they have a voice. A recent incident in Delhi showed that the mindset of people has not changed. In a video posted by Shivani Gupta, a middle-aged woman is seen defending her claim, "Women wearing short dresses deserve to be raped."

This backward mentality surrounding rape and rape culture is horrifying to see. The middle-aged woman first shamed them for wearing short clothes and when she was confronted, she told them "they deserved to get raped." She made things worse when she told other men in the restaurant to rape such women who wear short clothes.

Shivani and her friends later confronted this woman while taking the video. They wanted a public apology for her statement and followed her around. The older woman stood by her statement. Fair enough. They felt threatened by her statements and wanted an apology for her actions. The older lady, however, was brazen about her ideologies and refused to apologize. In fact, she threatened to call the cops for harassment.

The woman who made the regressive statements. Shivani Gupta

While the anger and outrage by the women who uploaded this video are justified, several questions are being raised on whether the older woman was later harassed for her statements. Public shaming is not the way to solve this issue.

"We cannot dismantle a culture of shaming by participating in it." - Rega Jha.

Now, I believe that nobody must engage in victim shaming. Nobody has the right to police the outfit one wishes to wear. It is astonishing to believe that even in the 21st century, people still believe that an outfit determines the morality and character of a person. That older woman was wrong to sl*t-shame the girls for wearing what they want. That being said, even though what that woman did was horrible, public shaming will not work. It will not change the mindset behind these ideologies. What that older woman did was akin to bullying. Publicly shaming her, stalking her facebook account or posting comments or by coercing her, you are also behaving in the same manner of bullying.

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