The first incident I can really vividly remember was my freshman year of high school. I went to a school that required us to wear uniforms and I had to take the metro to school every day. I was sitting down by myself and a guy got on the train and, despite almost all other seats being empty, he sat down next to me. The first few minutes were fine but I started to feel something on my thigh. I looked down and saw his hand there, moving up my skirt. Shocked, I pushed it off of my leg and turned away as much as I could. He did it again, but I was too scared to yell or scream for help. I pushed him off the seat and got off the train at the next stop.
I didn’t tell anyone for a long time, I was too embarrassed.
My sophomore year of high school I started dating a guy named Zack who was three years older than me. At first, our relationship seemed like a fairytale. But as time went on, he started to change. His jealousy and possessiveness came out. He controlled who I saw and talked to, monitored my texts and social media and made me have my location shared with him at all times. Every weekend we would go to parties with his friends where he shoved drinks and drugs into my hands and made me feel like I had no choice but to take them. As the relationship carried on, he grew violent. He would find out I had run into or gotten a text from a friend and scream and yell at me. Sometimes he even hit me, but always apologized right after, saying he would never do it again. The final straw came when we were at a party and I was so intoxicated that I couldn’t form words or sit up straight. Zack carried me up the stairs of the house we were at and into a bedroom. He proceeded to take my clothes off and do whatever it was that he wanted to do to me. He filled me in on all of this the next morning but to this day I can’t remember anything that happened that night. That week, we got in a fight at his apartment building. He shoved me and I fell down the stairs. I got up, left, blocked his number, and never looked back.
Only a few select people in my life know about this, I’m still ashamed.
Last year, I went through a bad breakup from a four year long relationship. Soon after, I turned 21 and was going out drinking far too often. One night, i was out with a couple friends and had had enough drinks to be completely blacked out. At one point in the night, my recognized someone he knew named Sean, and called him over to hang out with us. As we were all leaving, my friends brought me to Sean’s car and put me in it, despite the fact that I had never met him before that night. They gave him my address and he drove me home. He helped me inside the house and down to my room where I immediately laid in the bed. I was fading in and out of consciousness and had fallen asleep at some point. When I woke up, I realized that he was on top of me, I was lying on my stomach, and he was having sex with me. I pushed him off of me but faded out soon after. The next time I came to, he was attempting it again. I was finally conscious enough to move, so I got up and locked myself into the bathroom. He left the house soon after and I spent the next 12 hours throwing up and having panic attacks, wondering how I became that girl.
I had every opportunity to take action and report this but I never have. I was too afraid of the backlash and judgement.
Six months ago, I started a new job. A coworker named Thomas quickly became my friend and the person I could joke around with when work was stressful. As time went on though, he started making comments about how attractive I was and how if we were both single, he would be all over me. Not wanting to upset or offend him, I just laughed these off and moved on. Then, a little over a month ago, I was by his desk where he proceeded to “accidentally” grab my butt twice and then grabbed my face and kissed my cheek. In shock, I pulled away, told him it was inappropriate, and left. The next week, I went to my boss to tell him what had been happening and how uncomfortable I was feeling. He then told me the company had never had a situation like that one and that he wasn’t sure what I wanted him to do about it. That was the last I ever heard about it and he hasn’t mentioned it since. I left the company soon after.
I came forward about my harassment and wasn’t taken seriously, nothing was ever done about it.
I still flinch when someone raises their hand at me. I still cower when someone gets angry and yells around me. I still feel sick when someone looks at my body or tells me I’m attractive. I still want to run away when someone touches me without asking first, even if they’re just touching my arm to get my attention.
I believe you. It’s not your fault.