May 25th, 2017, a day I will never forget. A day that I have thought about every single day. A day that I will remember every time I go on first date, a day I will remember every time I am intimate with someone, a day I will remember for the rest of my life. This day, is why every single day I live in fear. Fear is a very powerful notion; it controls your life. And to have fear every single day- it almost makes you question if this is a life worth living. Of course there are instances where I find myself laughing or smiling, and then something as small as someone touching me, makes me remember all over again why fear lives inside me.
Some nights I lay awake and wonder, why. Why me? I wonder if he even thinks about the repercussions, I wonder if it affects him. I wonder he plays the night over and over and over again in his head like I do. There is no going back, no wondering what I could have done to stop him- stop it from happening. At the end of the day, there is no magical clock to turn back time to stop it from happening to me. There is no forgetting these feelings, forgetting the night happened because it did- it happened. And even months later, it is still something I have to overcome every single day. Every time I get out of my car, every time a man walks up to me, every time I meet someone new. I wonder if they know him, if they are friends with him, if I go out with them- will he be there? So, I stay home. I stay alone. I live my life in a constant worry and fear of the unknown.
Then there are the nights and the days where I try so hard just to be happy and not feel bad for myself. I try to say to myself, it could have been worse. I could have been really hurt, I could have died. But that’s not an excuse. It is not a reason to hide my feelings. It is not a reason to sit down and constantly remind myself it could have been worse- because it is the worst possible thing to happen to someone. To be taken advantage of, to be stripped of all dignity, to lose all control of yourself- it is the worst possible thing to happen to someone.
The hardest part, now that the night is over, is now-the present and the future. The constant phone calls and e-mails from the officers investigating my case, the repeated influence to press charges and to go to court. That’s even more devastating to me. To tell my story in front of a bunch of people, the fear of possibly seeing him, the results of all this, to relive that night, to be stripped of dignity, to tell the raw truth about that night, and then to question if the judge and the jury believe me. That’s even more frightening. The fact that my rapist is a cop- even more petrifying. The power he has over me, just from that night alone-he has the power. I feel like from the touch of a button he can find where I live, where I work, everything about me- I am completely exposed to him. It is a constant fear I cannot get over or handle.
— Survivor, age 22