Sexual Assault: Why I Speak Up
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Sexual Assault: Why I Speak Up

The reason behind the openness about being sexually assaulted.

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Sexual Assault: Why I Speak Up
Huffington Post

It seems like everyday there's a new story breaking about one of our favorite celebrities getting accused of sexual assault. From Matt Lauer and Louis C. K. to Bill Cosby and Woody Allen, we've been shocked by them all. What we don't think about is the girl behind the allegations. The scared and scarred girl that gathered up enough courage to speak against men that hold powerful rolls in the spotlight. This is why I speak up.

As a sexual assault survivor, it's become part of my life to talk about what happened to me, how it's effected me, and how I am overcoming it. When this happens, people often time ask me why. That question is either paired with tones of disgust, like why the world would I share something so personal and dark, or tones or confusion, how do I find the courage to speak up about this topic? My answer to both of these questions is simple: because it's happening.

If you're not aware, the stats on sexual assault are completely frightening. Nearly one in three women will experience an unsolicited sexual act performed on them in their life. Those chances are way too high and keep in mind, these statistics are not contingent on what the women are wearing, what they are drinking, or how they are dancing. It is simply based on the fact that they are women. To put this statistic in perspective, say you are a parent to three girls. Take a look at your girls. At this point in the world, chances are, one of them will be sexually assaulted. You might be thinking, "if that number is so high, then why don't we hear more about it?" The answer to that is simple as well: not everyone reports.

Since speaking out about being sexually assaulted, I've had handfuls of young girls come to me with their stories. Stories of being completely taken advantage of and bullied to the point where they were afraid to speak up about their experience. Me being the only person they had ever opened up to about their experience. You may think it's strange to open up to a person about something so personal, but when that stranger has gone through something similar to the darkest night of your life, you automatically feel a connection. You feel safe enough to speak about it because you know, no matter how bad, that person understands and will listen without judgement. Even if its just for one girl out there, I want to be a safe haven to discuss the horrid things that went on in their experience. This is why I speak up.

In the words of Maya Angelou, "I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it." I can't change that I was sexually assaulted or that it changed the way I look at the world. I can't help that being assaulted made me want to help other girls and share my story to help make a change. But I can, and I have made a choice. I won't be silenced. I won't stop talking. And I will never be reduced by the fact that I was sexually assaulted.

So to any girls out there who are going through this and have no idea where to go, I, along with other survivors, understand. There is no judgement here. Its not your fault. It never will be. You can get your life back. Healing will take time, but it will come. And most importantly, I believe you.

And for those up you taking up for these celebrities and saying harsh things about the girls behind the allegations, put yourself in their shoes before you speak. The world needs more kindness and support among the people. Pick today to start that practice.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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