While I sit here trying to find the words to my story it is still difficult to talk and think about it. I am now 23 years old, and everything happened when I was 15, actually around the same time of the year as I am writing this.
It took me a long time to be able to accept and understand what happened to me. I spent 6 of the last 8 years in denial and trying to escape every thought or memory that reminded me of that horrible feeling of not being able to defend myself.
I was in a bad place back then, young, troubled and struggling with depression. I tried to escape into alcohol and anything that would stop me feeling so empty. In January 2010 I went to spent a semester abroad with a host family. During the Carnival season my “host sister” took me to a rental house with some friends over the weekend to celebrate. It happened during the night, we got drunk, there were all maybe 10 years older than me, and that one guy approached me and we started kissing. I was used to making out with boys, but I was still a virgin. When I felt too drunk and tired, and didn’t feel like being with the others anymore I went to bed. The next thing I remember is the same guy lying behind me and forcing me to have sex with him. I was so drunk I was unable to do anything, also I was confused and had no idea what was going on. I remember feeling vulnerable, confused, scared. I just wanted it to stop. It hurt, I have no idea how long it lasted. Since I had never had sex before I was convinced nothing had really happened, that he wasn’t able to do it. My host sister later told his guy friends about having sex with me.
Afterwards I got myself into a lot of bad situations in the attempt to forget what happened. Also I believed that what happened was totally my fault, since I was drunk that night. Ever since than I have struggled with my relationship with sex. It is difficult for me to have people touch me, sometimes feelings and memories keep popping up in my head.
I got myself into bad relationships, feeling abused over and over again. It was hard to accept I was not the problem, that I did not deserve what happened to me and that I am not a horrible person.
I am getting better every day. I have a great relationship with a wonderful person who respects me, and who is one of very few people who know my story. I have not had the courage to talk to my parents or my friends, because this would mean turning their whole world of the last years around. But I know now, that sharing is the an important step in getting better and healing.
I decided I want to spend my life helping other girls in similar situations and specialized my master studies on children and minor protection. I hope every victim realizes at one point that it is not your fault. You can’t make choices for anyone else than you. So make the choice to get better, get help if you need it and life the best life, because what happened does not define you. You are better and stronger than you know! We all are.
— Sara, age 23