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Stop Telling Women Not To Speak Up About Their Experiences With Sexual Violence

My 'Me Too' story matters.

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Stop Telling Women Not To Speak Up About Their Experiences With Sexual Violence

My freshman year of college I was raped. I was wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt (not that it matters what I was wearing). I had one beer, and I don't even think I finished it. I was not asking for it. I was at a friend's apartment when it happened, but I didn't know my rapist. We had never met before and didn't even have a conversation at the party.

So what would give him the impression that I wanted it?

I live in that apartment complex now, three years later. I sometimes wonder if it is the same apartment. The odds of that are slim, but it is possible. Is this why I have insomnia? Maybe? Have I ever written about this before? No. I mentioned it briefly as the reason why I was participating in Dressember but it is time I speak up.

This may be one of the hardest articles I ever write, but it is very important I write it. I won't let the fear of what people think to stop me from writing about the hard stuff, because words matter.

A Wednesday night in early October, some guys from high school were having a party at their apartment. Some other high school friends wanted to go and so I went with them. I was searching for something to make me feel like I belonged; I know that now, but I honestly don't know what I thought would come out of that night.

The next day I tried to tell my friend what happened and she said it had happened to everyone. "It's no big deal." I internalized that. I decided it was not rape. I was fine, everything was fine. It took almost eight months for me to realize that it didn't happen to everyone and that I was raped, while I was on summer mission in Clearwater. I began to tell people I trusted. I was able to go to counseling while in Clearwater.

I thought everything was pretty much fine. It could have been worse. I was fine, I was strong and I didn't need to think about it anymore.

Turns out that wasn't the case. Trauma is complex. I am still working through the layers of emotional pain surrounding that night three years ago. So if you are working through trauma don't feel like you are not healing. Healing isn't linear and just because it is coming slowly doesn't mean it's not coming.

And if you have experienced sexual violence I am so sorry. I am so sorry every time I hear that someone else has dealt with the pain that comes from sexual violence. But this is why I am writing this. This is a part of my story and my story matters.

Your story matters too. Don't be afraid to share it.

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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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