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I was sexually assaulted by my ex-boyfriend and I wrote this little poem about how it made me feel..

Shame. It’s a terrible emotion. A never-ending cycle of mental torture. The worst kind of emotion there is. You can’t stop it. Can’t escape it. It’s always there.. Taunting and teasing. Making you feel crazy. You can forget everything that happened, all the details, but the shame never ever leaves you… I can forget everything that happened, all the details, but the shame never ever leaves me… The worst part is, it usually flares up around 1:17 a.m. while the love of my life sleeps quietly next to me.. Unaware. I am left to my own thoughts. Shame is not a simple emotion. There are several other emotions that shame encompasses.. Guilt, regret, sadness, anger. All those emotions swirling together to create the worst emotion there is. You can’t share it. When one is sad, they may find a loved one to share their sadness. When one is happy, they may find a loved one to share their happiness. When one is ashamed, no one will share their shame. My shame is mine only. I can’t bring myself to share the details of my shame with anyone. They all know the story. The event. Others knowing what causes me shame increases it a thousand times.. But they don’t know the emotions or the feelings. No one knows. No one knows why I cry in the middle of the night. No one knows why I wish to forget an entire year of my life. She only knows what I tell her.. She knows that to be the best year of my life. And it was. I met her. I became someone who I love. Yet, the shame brings me down. It says “you are not worthy,” “you can’t escape me,” “you did it.” I hear it over and over in my mind like a broken record.. “You did it.. You did it.. You did it.” The phrase occurs with each passing thought. “No one will feel bad for you.. You did it,” “no one cares because you did it,” “you’re just overreacting. Besides, you did it.” Anger and shame bounce back and forth in my mind like a ping pong ball.. “He did it.. No, you did it.” I wish I could tell her, find some comfort in her. I feel as if I can’t make her understand. She does nothing to increase my shame she just.. Brings it to the forefront of my mind when I’d rather eradicate it completely. I laugh. I joke. I hurt on the inside. I laugh. I get irritated. I halfway explain. I laugh. I joke. I hurt on the inside. I die on the inside. My shame, unfortunately is connected to some key words. It’s not her fault these words trigger my shame.. I just wish I could make her understand. I often feel as if I’m crazy. There’s something wrong with me. Why am I so stuck on this? It happened over a year ago.. Just let it go. But I can’t. I can never let the shame go. My thoughts of anger are always interrupted with buts. He did it BUT you let him. You didn’t want to BUT you did it anyways. He coerced you BUT you didn’t tell him to stop. You finally realized this is wrong BUT you didn’t tell anyone.. I often wondered why she was the first person I told back then. Why would I tell the girl I was crushing on what I did? I know now. It was a cry for help. A silent cry in a loud room. That girl inside me is still crying. She’s crying but I tell her to stop, to be quiet. Because no one will understand what she is saying. No one will share her shame. I know there are people who can help. Not to erase my shame, but to help me deal with it. I can’t go because I feel as if my shame isn’t real. I feel as though they will think I made it up. What I think happened to me, didn’t. It’s not as serious as I think it is. That’s what I think they will tell me. But I can’t be feeling the way I am for nothing. It did happen. Who knew doing a few things that you didn’t want to would make you feel this way? Who knew one person could have such a negative impact on your life? Why did the first relationship I got in have to be a bad one? I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how it would be. I wish it had never started. But she saved me. She showed me love and helped me love myself but she couldn’t take away the shame. They say God can. That He will heal you. But I don’t know how to do that.. Somehow saying “God, hey, it’s me. I know you’re busy but when you have time can you please make me feel better? Cool, thanks,” doesn’t seem appropriate. I don’t know what’s appropriate. All I know is I don’t want this. I don’t want this shame to weigh me down any longer. I don’t want to shed any more tears. I don’t want to feel crazy. I just want to be free. But the shame is always there.. Others wouldn’t understand my shame. They would think.. So what? A lot of people do that. But they must understand, I didn’t want to. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t love him or even like him. He was a stranger to me. I let him make the decisions. This has become evident now that I know my worth. Why was my self worth so dependent on others? How could I let him do this? I let him give me the shame. The shame that is never ending. The shame that is torture. The shame that I can’t forget. The shame that no one understands. The shame that can’t be shared. The shame that is mine.. It feels good to write this. To have my emotions validated with each letter I type. To share my shame with this blank page. Yet, I can’t help but feel discouraged. Because I know that tomorrow will come, and my shame will once again become my own.

— Survivor, age 19


  • Haley
  • Alissa Ackerman


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