my sexual assault happened on April 24th 2018. I am a 23 year old female. It all just happened so fast. I never have been though this until that day. I went to the same high school with him. He was also my neighbor at the time. This is something I will never forget. I am getting the right treatment for this to help me cope with it. I go to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center in Ashtabula Ohio. And I also go to Signature Health for Therapy in Ashtabula Ohio. And I’m also back on my Meds. Depression and Anxiety meds. I always have suffered from Mental Illness. Depression, Anxiety,and Bipolar. Also PTSD. Now and really bad Paranoia now to. This has made me second guess so much in my life. I haven’t been coping to well at all. At first I was drinking off and on and also cutting. But I haven’t been drinking much. I am trying to stay sober. Its hard to wrap my head around this. I still feel alone, nasty, and confused mostly hurt and sad though. This is new pain I haven’t felt before. He moved 3 or 4 weeks ago. The women he was living with at the house kicked him out. Which I am so thankful that she did kick him out! She doesn’t know what she did for me by doing that! I feel so alone and I don’t feel like not many people around me that can relate. My family hasn’t been supportive much at all. They just add on more baggage onto me. Yes I report it. my Therapist suggested that I did. And I did! Two days later! I built up the courage to tell my family and the police. Even though I feel like it was pointless kind of. But I mostly did because I know I couldn’t hold it in. I couldn’t act like it never happened. What happened to me was VERY WRONG! Yes I yes. Because I was SO SCARED for my life! I didn’t know what he would have done to me. No idea! I was babysitting my two nephews when this happened to me. My nephews are 5 and 8. They had no idea what happened to me thank god. He raped me in his house next door to mine. It was a cold rainy April day. I went to the police station first. then the hospital after. I filled out a police report. It took me like 4 hours to write. The cop asked me if I was scared for my life, Or if I had sex with him and I just now regret it? I told him I was scared!!! The cop told me that it was rape. When the cop told me that, I broke down and cried. I knew in my heart that I got raped. All the cop really told me was that this is f***** up that this happened to me. which it is. I will say I didn’t get hit, beat, stabbed, or shot. No mark or no bruise on me because of him. But I am now messed up emotionally cause of him. I don’t feel like myself at all. I lost myself completely. I don’t like who I am. I don’t love myself. I don’t even know why I am alive. But the question is WHY??? That big WHY question. The cop and the Detective are on his side. they do think it was consensual and that I wanted it. The detective asked me during my interview if I am sure it wasn’t “peer pressure”. I looked at him like he was a joke. Yes I am very sure it wasn’t damn ”peer pressure”. I was so upset and hurt. I went home and gotten drunk at 10 am on a Monday morning. I don’t know if they just don’t want to deal with my case. But I am NOT lying. I know what happened to me. It Was Wrong! I’m not just trying to get him in trouble for the hell of it. But I knew that he would lie. Nobody wants a rape charge right? But I am a victim. I want Justice just like you! I matter. You MATTER! YOUR voice matters! I cant feel sexual anymore. I cant feel sexy anymore. thanks to him. I feel so broken. Barley human. I couldn’t eat, Now my sleep is messed up because he is in my dreams. I still feel him around me. Taking showers at night time makes me scared, The warm water touching me feels like his warm nasty hands still all over me. I keep having flashbacks, panic and anxiety attacks. and nightmares. This is a damn Nightmare! Everyone’s worst nightmare! But I went to the hospital an hour away from where I lived. Got the kit done. Oh also! The cop told me that it was so late to do a rape kit! the doctor at the hospital told me that he shouldn’t have told me that! Its never to late to get a kit done! Yeah it was two days latter that it happened that I got the kit done. It didn’t matter at all. I could have got HIV because he was a Meth user. But I got tested two times. I am HIV negative! THANK GOD! I also could have gotten pregnant. I was ovulating at the time to. I am NOT Pregnant!!! THANK GOD! I am still trying to wrap my head around this. But I do have an Advocate on my side! she has been so helpful and caring on my side! Rape isn’t grey. Its black or white. The cop told me its going to be hard because its a he said she said situation. Sex was the last thing on my mind that day! I was in my PJS. He wouldn’t let me go! He wouldn’t let me leave his house willingly. He pulled me into his house and yeah raped me. I still look out my windows to make sure he isn’t outside. I still hear the sounds of his orange car makes. I still hear his voice in my head. I was scared to stay home alone. To even go outside my own house! I had a friend stay with me for a few weeks. I still feel so alone. He kept on telling me that I’m his. Don’t move his hands. And he can do what he wants. But he Doesn’t OWN me! Its so hard getting back to normal. But what is normal? With Anxiety, Depression and Paranoia eating me alive. I cant trust many people now. I don’t love or like myself. I don’t know why I am alive really. Pain is all I know. I thought my mom dying would be the worst pain I ever felt. But now THIS to! 2018 has been nothing but hell for me. I am trying my best to not let trauma make me. I don’t have to much “strong” left in me. I’m holding on by a thread. All I do is cry and cry and cry. I don’t have really any support around me but my therapists. Its embarrassing and really hurtful everything he put me though now. It still hurts, And it will for awhile. I wish I could talk to someone that I can relate to. I hate feeling like this! Nobody should have to go through this pain! I have to say I would of killed myself if just held it in. my emotions and guilt would have ended me if I didn’t say a word about this! I want to be heard and my story to be told! Talking about it is the start of healing! Tell your story! He isn’t Locked up right now! I don’t know where he is. Or if he will get locked up! But I do know that men like him give all men a bad name! I don’t stick up for myself. I have 0 confidence in myself. But I did learn a really good lesson from this! Don’t hang out with a stranger alone. Look out for the warning sings. And Yes! stick up for Yourself! Use your Voice!
— Laura, age 23