I don’t remember exactly when it started. I know it started when I was very small, still in diapers. The beginning memories are all light, color, sound, smell-no words, no names or descriptions attached.
Then they get more visual, more defined, more acute and sharp and poignantly terrifying.
Then they get monotonous, old, repetitive and full of shame, disgust, confusion.
And they become intertwined within the hell that was the first 13 and years of my life.
I was sexually abused by my father until I was almost 13 and a half. The first time I was raped when I was six, and it continued until a few months until my father was diagnosed with brain cancer when I was almost 14. It was a daily occurrence, happening sometimes multiple times in day, if he had free reign or the time to do it. He was the president of cardiology for my area. He was renowned on “The Best Doctors in America”, revered by my community and all the communities around as an “angel among men”, “the best man I know”, “a life-saver”.
All of this was and still is very confusing, though I have been speaking up and out against incest for the last 5 years, since I was fifteen. Being abused and raped, over and over again, for 13 years by someone who is immortalized and heroized by his charisma, charm, and kindness in the medical field is such a mind-warping dilemma. Adding to that, he had a brain tumor the size of a grapefruit, so many people say that it was because of his brain cancer that he did it.
He died when I was 15. It was the best day of my life.
When I was 17, in the midst of a battle with anorexia and PTSD, I had already been receiving therapy and other support for two years.
I was at a party. I had been drinking, but was sobering up.
I was pushed up the stairs, in front of all of my friends, whom I was yelling for help from. They were all drunk. They asked me if I wanted it. I said no. They went about their business of flirting and talking, and I was held and led to my friend’s parents bedroom, where I was raped by two 19 and 20 year old guys, on and off, for hours.
After this, I accidentally told my doctor, after I was admitted to the hospital for my eating disorder. I refused to press charges, because of the shame I felt about it being my fault, “because I was drinking, because I told my friends, as they were throwing open the door and laughing at me as I was being raped, to go away.” I felt like I had asked for it. So, after testifying due to being still a minor, I dropped the charges and tried to move on with my life.
I wanted a fresh start for college, so I moved out to Utah to go to a private liberal arts school in Salt Lake City. It was a small campus, small and tight-knit, so I believed, falsely, that I would be safe.
I had only been on campus for two weeks when I was raped two nights in a row by a guy I had only met a few times. I am now in the long and brutal process of pressing charges against a rich, popular man in pilot school at a prestigious college.
Before these last rapes happened, I could get so, so angry for other people. I could tell them that it wasn’t their fault, that it never is. That they can overcome it, they they are strong and beautiful and shouldn’t feel shame.
But after my campus rapes at 19, something changed. I got angry. For myself.
Never again-NEVER AGAIN will I let this happen to me. Never again will I allow myself to believe that I deserved the hundreds of rapes that I have endured over the last 19 years. Never again will I be silent just to acquiesce to fear, shame, and believing that I have a societal obligation to protect and quell to people who have abused or assaulted me.
I am a musician. After my 17-year old rapes, I organized a benefit concert for the organization “PAVE”. (Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment.) I cancelled due to my own unresolved pain and shame, but I am set on pursuing further vocalization, personal and interpersonal empowerment, and personal, interpersonal, and societal emancipation from rape. I want the good men in the world to truly understand the effect that rape and sexual abuse has on women. I want to advocate for those who can’t speak up. I want to bring further change to the world.
In the past five and a half years, I have risen from the absolute depths of depression, anorexia, PTSD and self harm to a place of self-kindness, empowerment, truth, pride, acceptance, forgiveness, and purpose. I want people to know that it is 100% possible to release yourself from the seemingly infinite chains of sexual assault.
I watched Brave Miss World documentary at 3:00 AM, this morning. I am bawling right now. You embody so much of who we need to be. I hold your testimony, as well as the testimonies of everyone in that movie, with the utmost reverence in my heart.
I do believe that one’s life can become so much deeper, so much more spiritual, fulfilling, and connected through working through trauma. No shadow can exist if face directly with light. No longer will I stand in darkness, dimming my light and stifling my voice. I vow to illuminate what needs to be shown, for myself and for the millions of others like me.
I hope that my story has not been too long. It is a lengthy one, I know.
But I plan on continuing my story in a very different way than it began.