I was six years old the first time I ever felt as if my body was no longer mine. Six years old, I lost the pure innocence you often see in young children playing in playgrounds. At six years old, you don’t understand what this means or what he’s doing. At six years old, I should’ve been playing with dolls, not sitting in a dark room with an older man, as he touches my body in ways only your future husband is supposed too. I repressed these thoughts, and continued and tried to live a normal childhood, and I did. I was a happy, energetic child. I completely forgot about the monster who did this to me, until it happened again. At fourteen, summer before my freshmen year, when everyone else around me was having fun, beginning to party, I was sexually assaulted for the second time. The second time, in fourteen years, I had to go through what I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. I went through this once already, so why me again? This time was different. This time I was drunk, and a boy I thought I could trust was meant to take me home, but instead, I woke up the next morning in a tent, away from home, with very little memory of what happened the night before. This time, I could not tell anyone. I should not have been drinking at fourteen, so this was my fault. It was all my fault. But was it? Did me consuming alcohol into my body also invite him to allow his penis into my body? Is there some rule on the back of a bottle of vodka that says this? I don’t think so. I remember standing in the shower, scrubbing my body so hard I swear I grew a new layer of skin. I felt disgusting. This could not ever happen to me again. I would not be able to cope the next time. I refused to leave my basement for a full month after this, binge eating and watching One Tree Hill constantly. But it did happen again. At sixteen. Just when I began to heal from my previous traumatic experiences, I woke up to a man, double my size, pinning me down, his body pressed against me so hard I could not move. This had to be a dream. One of those nightmares I often had in the months following my previous assaults. But no, this was real. I try not to get into the details, not that it’s too difficult to talk about, which sometimes it can be, but I don’t feel as if they’re what is important. What is important is that these guys sexually assaulted me, took away any bit of innocence I had, and left me to suffer. What is important is that one in four North American women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. That is 25% of girls. After my third assault, I gave up. I had lost any self respect I had for myself, and I decided to give guys what I was clearly only good for, sex. I felt the only way to temporary feel a fix was through random hook ups, because in that moment, you begin to feel wanted. My entire life, I felt so unwanted. I hated my body, I hated what these guys did to me, but to cope with it, I gave my body away to all these guys. I remember all the girls calling me a slut, but how could they understand how I felt? How could they understand that growing up, this was all I knew. From the age of six, I felt as though to receive the attention I wanted, I needed to provide these men with the satisfaction they wanted. Sex consumed my life, but not because I wanted it, but because it was all I knew.
— Survivor, age 18