Til It Happens To You
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Til It Happens To You

I am more than a statistic.

167
Til It Happens To You
Melisa Im

This will likely be the hardest piece of writing I ever do, mainly because of how vulnerable and exposed this makes me feel, but more so because I know how many people out there are affected by this, but never come forward. Our headlines this week, and multiple times in my Facebook feed, read "Brock Turner to leave jail after 3 months for sex assault ." People's reactions are an array of disgust and complete shock. What goes through my mind is a myriad of things, but mainly what I feel is a sense of fear and a barrage of immediate flashbacks.

In February of 2015 I made my first therapy appointment ever. The social stigma of therapy being something that you only go to when something is "wrong" with you had plagued me. I felt weird for sitting in a room and talking to a complete stranger about something that I wouldn't tell my friends and family about. Surprisingly, it was incredibly helpful just to talk about it, to be heard. By the end of the appointment, I had been diagnosed with PTSD.

Three months prior to that I was raped.
I've been going in circles for months about writing this. I thought about writing it under a false name. I've written multiple drafts and deleted them thinking about how little I want my friends and family on Facebook to know this about me. No matter how far I've come, no matter how much I truly believe that what happened that night was not my fault, I still feel shame. I didn't want my friends or family feeling like I'm damaged, like I'm a victim. I am not. I am strong, I live my life happily, I work hard and I am independent.

But something that night changed me. Every time I’m in a room alone with a man, I get nervous. I often have nightmares of that night. Sometimes I don’t even have to be asleep to relive that horrible memory, the flashbacks come back to me as they please, a "trigger" is the word the therapist used. I carry pepper spray with me everywhere now. I used to be incredibly affectionate, now I don’t like for people to touch me, even if it’s just a hug. I used to be incredibly trusting, now I *rarely* trust people. I was changed against my will, but I am not a victim. I am a survivor.
So why did I write this? Why did I decide to come forward and raise my hand as someone who has been raped? Because I know, statistically, that of my 418 female friends on Facebook (yes, I actually counted), about 69 of them have been a victim of rape. That's not even accounting for which of my male friends have been victims.

Months ago I watched The Hunting Ground, a documentary about rape on college campuses across the country. Here's just a little snippet of the data for you:

- Harvard had 135 reported rapes between 2009-2013, with 10 suspensions.
- Berkeley had 78 reported rapes between 2008-2013, with 3 expulsions.
- Dartmouth had 155 reported rapes between 2002-2013, with 3 expulsions.
- Stanford had 259 reported rapes between 1996-2013, with 1 expulsion.
- University of North Carolina had 136 reported rapes between 2001-2013, with 0 expulsions.
- University of Virginia had 205 reported rapes between 1998-2013, with 0 expulsions, but they had 183 expulsions for cheating and other honor board violations.

Data works, I understand that numbers show how signifiant this issue is. However, the problem is I become a number. Not a face, not a person. I fall into a number of women who have been raped. I become a statistic like RAINN.org claiming that every 2 minutes an American is raped. That is a true, and sad, claim, but I am not a number. I am a daughter to someone. A sister. A granddaughter. A friend of someone. A girlfriend of someone.

This week, my Facebook feed has been plastered by pictures of Brock Turner, depicted as an upper class white male, smiling candidly. An accurate picture should portray what his victim saw: a human being with absolutely no regard for that of an unconscious female. But I do not like to think of him at all. The one I think of every time I see his picture is his victim. So this is to her, whoever you are, I just want you to know I am here for you, this is a battle you and I will fight together because, after all, you and I share a bond. A bond we were given against our will, but one we will use to fight the stigma that we "deserved" what we got because of what we wore, what we said, what we were drinking.

Thanks to you, and to others who speak up maybe, just maybe, things will change. This is why I decided to finally speak up. This is something I will work for the rest of my life to try and change for people everywhere.

We are not victims, we are survivors.

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

New England Summers Are The BEST Summers

Why you should spend your next summer in New England.

587
Marconi Beach

Three years ago, I chose to attend college in Philadelphia, approximately 360 miles away from my small town in New Hampshire. I have learned many valuable lessons away from home, and have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in Pennsylvania. One thing that my experience has taught me, however, is that it is absolutely impossible to beat a New England summer.

Keep Reading...Show less
Entertainment

Fibonacci Sequence Examples: 7 Beautiful Instances In Nature

Nature is beautiful (and so is math). The last one will blow your mind.

235459
illustration of the fibonacci sequence
StableDiffusion

Yes, the math major is doing a math-related post. What are the odds? I'll have to calculate it later. Many people have probably learned about the Fibonacci sequence in their high school math classes. However, I thought I would just refresh everyone's memories and show how math can be beautiful and apply to physical things everywhere around us with stunning examples.

Keep Reading...Show less
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

90393
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments