10 years ago today, I was walking home from school when something happened that changed my life forever. I was kidnapped, raped, beat up, and almost ran over… and the sad thing is: that was the easy part. Going back to school and getting weird stares, the pity from close friends and family, the dreaded visits to therapy, the ptsd.. they were/are all bare-able. It was the loss of my childhood innocence that sucked the most.
(Although at the time, it was not getting my brand new vans back that seemed like the worst part.)
At 13 I was still a kid. I was worried about my grades, what I was going to wear to school, how I’d escape swim practice that day, if I’d ever get a boyfriend… I was somewhat normal. It’s crazy how one terrible day changed all of that.
I remember sitting with police officers, my parents, and (of course) my forced therapist recounting the events that occurred that day time after time. Most of the time it didn’t seem real. It still doesn’t seem real. I tried so hard to pretend it didn’t happen that I think eventually that started to work. Now a days the only real reminder of that day, is the weird things that set off my PTSD. I will never be able to be alone for long periods of time. I’ll never be able to answer the front door bell when home alone. I’ll never go for runs or let anyone walk too close behind me. I’ll never be unaware of my surroundings again.
And that’s ok. Cause I’m ok. I refuse(d) to be a statistic. I am not a rape victim. I am a survivor of a bad circumstance. I didn’t let this one day or one person control the rest of my life. I graduated college early, I continue to be a student and set goals for myself, I love to travel, and through my career I am able to help people every single day.
Sometimes life is shitty. And sometimes really bad things happen to great people. I know I’m not the only one with a story like this, and sadly I know I won’t be the last. I know there are people out there that were born into worse circumstances or have had worse things happen. But this is my struggle.
Too often we compare our “behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reels.” Especially with all of the social media influence this day and age. Everyone has a struggle, and everyone’s struggle is different. Be kind. Be understanding. And just know that life really is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you make of it.
— Survivor, age 23