According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 63% of sexual assault cases are not reported. This statistic alone should be enough to convince anyone that sexual assault had been a growing issue.

People who have never experienced a sexual assault in their life won't understand the complexities and dilemmas that come with reporting sexual assault. We need to understand what goes through the mind of a person who has been sexually assaulted in order to help them.

My first experience with sexual abuse occurred when I was eleven. At the time I did not know what he was doing and that whatever he was doing was wrong. All I just know was that I was uncomfortable with him and that I never wanted to give him a hug. The presence of him alone made me anxious. I remember the day that he had almost raped me and after he stopped I was nothing but traumatized.

It took me over 5 years to tell anyone but even by then I did not report for many reasons.

I remember sitting across from the therapist, and it was my first time ever getting assessed for any mental illness. It was also the day that I told someone what had happened. Yes, I was scared but was also ashamed. I was scared because I did not want anyone going to jail, I just wanted help for myself. I was ashamed because being in foster care to get away from all the chaos your mom brought you was enough to make you feel as if your whole family was against you.

The main person I thought about that whole time was my grandmother. I love my grandmother to death, some days more than my own mother and I did not want to do anything to disappoint and betray her. If he went to jail? Who would take care of her?

This is all that came to my mind the day I spoke out about my experience. Not only do most victims think about other people who would be affected as well, but we also think about how we do not even have evidence of our situation ever happening.

Unfortunately, this is only one of four separate experiences I had. Because of all of my experiences with sexual assault, I later turned to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain and that mindset that I was helpless and could not do much about my situation. I felt like I was at fault because I must have done something or looked a certain way for a much older man to be enticed to me.

This was my mindset up until recently when I realized that I was a survivor and a warrior, and what was done to me was not my fault.

To all of my survivors, you are more than what happened to you, and to the people who are reading this to learn more about sexual abuse, this is why I did not report.