t’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m sure neither of you have noticed the lack of access you have to my social media as I have blocked you. I am a part of your past now, a simple memory that occasionally pops up on your Facebook memories or in your day to day memory reel. I am a fragment of your past, a page of your story that was carried away by the current many years ago. But that is not what you are to me. You are my story, the unwritten story. The novel written in pretty letters all over my body where you touched me last, where it has been engraved into my blood stream and cannot be simply washed away.
The first man to assault me was a best friend, a friend of my boyfriends. We were so close, I let you stay with me in the night, I knew it was harmless; I knew nothing would come from it, you were my friend. But like the roar of a tsunami or the wind of a hurricane you crashed on me and paralyzed every part of my body and soul. You thought because I was sleeping that I was free for the taking, I was able to be strung like a marionette and used in a way I never asked to be used. My strings were pulled like a hollow doll but I was not hollow; I was there, I was full of fear and confusion and couldn’t physically wrap my head around what was happening. The next day it had hit me what happened, but after telling the tale to friends and a brief conversation that felt like an eternity alongside some tears and sleepless nights, it was swept under the rug like the dirt and dust you made me feel as if I was. I carried on and let it stay under the rug, surely it wasn’t an assault; i t couldn’t happen to me, right?
A year later came along the second man to assault me. We were also friends, a shocking fact. He was husky, friendly, and full of jokes. We were both what you could call rejects of society; ones that weren’t deemed physically enough for love. I believe we bonded on that on a level we may not have known we created. Then it happened like a strike of lightening, a bang of thunder with no rhyme or reason. We began hooking up and kept it a secret of just our own. It slowly left my lips because unlike you, I was not embarrassed. One warm summer night with a comforting breeze, we all got together and decide to have a bonfire and sip away our day to day worries. Unfortunately you sipped away not only you worries but also your morals and judgement. When the fire died down and the air began to cool, it was time to turn in and sleep away our potential hangovers. Inside, you stayed the night and slept on the couch while another friend stayed on the opposing couch. You let yourself collapse to the couch and I crawled into bed with a weak body and light head from the inebriation that pulsed through my being. As I was starting to drift off, I felt you crawl into bed with me. I knew you were incredibly drunk and I was a bit too but conscious of what was happening, clearly something you were not. I had no interest in what you were planning, but that didn’t seem to matter when I pretended to be asleep and ignored your advancements. I laid there lifeless and pushed my face away from yours as you grabbed it to wake me up with soft words. When that wasn’t enough and I acknowledged you, you didn’t wait for a yes or allow my push back to be a no. I knew you were bigger than me, much bigger and much stronger. If I continued to push back, how harder would you push me into my sheets? If I just allowed you to have sex with me, it would be easier than fighting back the latter. We were already hooking up, how was this time any different? I allowed you to lie inside m e, so hollow yet so full of every feeling. That was the last time you laid in my bed and the last time I slept with peace and mind.
Previously I said what I was to you men, now you need to hear what you are to me. You are the pinched nerve in each limb that makes it hard to walk. You are the bullet to my head that forces my brain into terrifying headaches. You are the weight in my stomach that takes my insides down with no effort. You are the fists that crush my lungs and make it impossible to breathe. You are the sedative that races through my veins just in time to make my head light and my body weak while panicking. You are the nail to my heart that shattered what small beating remnants were left from my past. You are the speed in which my thoughts race when having flashbacks. You are the storms that make rain fall from my eyes and thunder boom and shake in my head, never allowing the eye of the hurricane to take its place and allow the calm. You are all of these things and so much more that could never be summed up into words.
Unfortunately, these feelings I have are only mine. Not only do I feel these things about you, I feel things about myself. I feel disgusting and dirty; I feel worn and used; I feel hollow and weightless while also feeling heavy like the sea. I am sad, scared, panicked, worried, easily frightened, angry, and every other emotion you may think of. But in addition to all those things I feel guilty. I feel guilt in every bone and vein in my body. I feel the guilt of actions that were not my own. I feel the guilt of something that I did not bring upon myself nor did I ask for. I feel your guilt, the guilt you will never feel and never have. Because you do not understand what you did. You may think you hurt me and broke my trust when you assaulted me in my sleep, but you don’t understand the trauma you left behind from your sexual assault, something you don’t think you committed. You may think we just had a drunk hookup, you may think I was confused, but you will never know how your forceful movements and lack of responding to my physical denials lead to a casual rape in my own bed that I did not understand. Neither of you understand the meaning of sexual assault because you both committed them against someone you preached your love an appreciation towards. And because of this, it took me four years to understand I was not only assaulted once, but twice. Because although I may be good at hiding from what I do not want to hear or see, I can only hide for so long until the past finds me and pushes me down with force and intention to break me. It came like a freight train, an unforeseen storm, a flash flood that drowned me out until I was nothing. Four years later and I am struggling to finish my degree I have worked so hard for. Four years later and I jump at the slightest of loud sounds due to my fear of the unknown. I do not trust and do not know how to love because that was broken like frail glass not only in front of my face but also behind my back. I ca n’t enjoy my old hobbies, I can’t be in large crowds or noisy places. I fear being alone anywhere because It has been proven I cannot protect myself from others attacks. I can’t sleep as my mind will not allow me to sleep in order to protect me of what may happen again. I walk around like a zombie having people tell me to sleep more, that if I didn’t stay up all night I would have more energy. I having recurring flash backs whether it is in the shower, class, the car, or with friends. I feel like nothing. As light as a feather but a heavy as the board. I am transparent and hollow, a lifeless glass menagerie. I am a waterfall, forever falling and running in panic. I am victim of molestation and rape who suffers from severe anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder and have for years, and not only until recently have I found that PTSD was something that could enter a description of myself.
To the men who assaulted to me; to the best friend who broke my trust in my sleep and to the friend who raped me with no fear or understanding, I am a product of your actions. I am a substance of delayed reaction and years of repression. When one is shown what assault is, one will not understand what it is when it happens to you. I was not violently raped. I did not hit or scratch or scream. I was left with no bruises on my body. I am not your typical assault victim and because of that fact I was unable to call myself a victim for years and still struggle with just typing this out here. I am not only a product of your actions but of society’s victim blaming behaviors that create realities in our minds that we are not valid and we are wrong. That because I did not execute an escape plan, report my attack or had been drinking, I am wrong. Not only you two, but society as well, has made me feel dead, as if I am just floating through earth, not truly apart of this world anymore. I have some news for all of you. I am living, I am here and although barely standing I am walking and breathing even if we weak legs and short breaths. I will fight until my lungs give out from battle cries. You may have now weight to bear from your actions, but I do, and this weight is only adding to my strength. I am a college graduate, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a kind person, one who will always crack the next joke. Most importantly, I am a survivor who will not take the back seat anymore. To the two men who sexually assaulted me without knowing it, I am rising day by day, and I will not let your violence silence me or hold me back from my life for one more minute.
The survivor who will not lose