Because of you, I lost who I was. I lost everything that made me feel who I am as a person.
You made me feel ashamed, scared, and disgusted all at the same time. You made me feel ashamed and disgusted because you have made me blame myself for what happened. Blaming myself for actions that I had no control over, blaming myself even though I said no, blaming myself for thinking it was my fault. When it wasn’t my fault. I’m not in control of anyone’s actions except my own. I shouldn’t have blamed myself for actions you committed. I now realize that it’s not my fault. I’ve spent weeks pondering how a person can do what you did and have no remorse. How a person like you could not care what your actions were. That your actions affect other people besides yourself.
Because of you, I lost all my courage. I lost my sense of safety. I lost my privacy and I also lost my sense of worth. The physical damage you have done will fade, but, I’ll always have the mental damage.
I am no longer that once brave girl who wouldn’t let anything stop her. Instead, I am scared to even get out bed and participate in activities I once enjoyed. I am more afraid than I ever have been. You have me so feared that I don’t have the courage to walk around anywhere because I’m scared you’re going to hurt me again. There’s nothing else you can take away from me because you’ve taken everything.
Because of you, I no longer sleep. I can no longer close my eyes because the flashbacks seem so real, my body and mind are convinced that it is, causing me to go into a panic attack. Because of you, things that never triggered panic attacks, now do.
Because of you, I am now determined to come back stronger. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure you get what you deserve because I don’t deserve what you did to me. I’m going to try my hardest to no longer be afraid because not everyone is going to do what you did. Because of you, I have realized that I am dating the most patient, understanding, respectful guy. One who has stayed by my side regardless of what has happened, without judging me.
You’ve made me realize that somehow, I can still have control. I have control on how I move on from here. That this is my life and you don’t get the option of changing that. You do not get a say in how I live my life.
Because of you, I’m going to come back stronger than I ever have been. And one day, I’m going to be ok again because I am a survivor.
— Erin, age 21