You probably would have never heard these words come out of my mouth. Wondering why? The past 3 years I’ve been silent about the worst attacks of my life. The first time it wasn’t during it that hurt. It was the aftermath. The sitting at 2 a.m. crying myself to sleep because I didn’t want to go to school the next day. It was the walking down the hallway seeing your face and running as fast as I possibly could so I could get to the bathroom and cry. It was hearing the snickering behind my back. Hearing the words “Don’t date her she’s nasty, and she claims rape” over and over again. It was the people telling me it was all my fault. “You ruined their lives, you’re a stupid whore.” It replayed a million times. The tears fell hard. I learned that year keep your head low tell them what they want to hear and it’ll all be over. I had to learn everything all over again. It wasn’t the act that destroyed me. It was sitting with two police officers telling them over and over again what happened. It was the whispers. God, damn it, it was the being blamed. I was 15 and I didn’t know wrong from right. It was you two that destroyed me. It was not telling my side of the story, I was the one to blame.
The second time it wasn’t the aftermath that killed me the most. It was during. Crying. Wishing it would stop. Thinking what have I done to deserve this. Why me? Why again? The tears didn’t stop. They kept flowing and flowing. I finally got to breathe. You finally left. I drove with tears. The worst, I had to pick up my best friend’s cousin. I had to pretend I was so happy. And not act as if I just got sexually assaulted. My best friend. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t speak up willingly to tell the police what happened.
Why did you do that to me?
Seeing your face on campus that day. Brought back the most painful times of my life. It hurt. The panic arose and I ran. I called and I breathed. It has been almost 3 years why does it still bother me? It shouldn’t. but you stared me down. You knew what you did. You had that smirk. God damn it why did you do this?
15, was the age. The age my world got turned upside down. 16 was the age my world ripped apart. 17 is the age I recovered. 18 is the age I am happy again. You took a part of me that night. You took a part of me that day. You stole my identity. You still my will. You stole my happiness. You stole my forgiveness. You stole my ability to trust. You stole my ability to love. You stole me. You stole my ability to tell society what happened. To tell the whole damn world what you took from me. To tell society it isn’t okay to victim shame.
Today I have everything I ever wanted. Because of you, I learned that I am stronger than I think I am. Because of you, I am pursuing a career that’ll give women a voice the one I never got. Because of you, I became a strong god damn woman. Because of you, I conquered fears I never have. Because of you, I learned that the only person you need in this scary world is myself. I will continue to beat the odds. The odds of ending my life after a truly horrific event. Not one but two. I’ll continue working on myself. I will continue making myself happy in every possible way. These events taught me so much. I wouldn’t wish them upon my worst enemy. But I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I never went through what I have. They were scary. But they made me strong. They made me fearless. They made me a survivor. I am Harley and I am a survivor. That you cannot take away from me. You will not take anything away from me again.