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My life changed on the day I was assaulted

Your Story:: I have yet to tell my story to many people I know because I just don’t know how to do it without it holding the meaning it needs to. But in all honesty, I think its because unlike most encounters or assaults, mine wasn’t as bad. I’ve read a lot of people’s stories and my story has nothing on what they have been through, yet it holds the same weight. So after four years of silence I think I am ready to tell my story.
Back in 2014 (the summer before my freshman year of high school), my family decided to pull up all of the roots of our home and move halfway across the country. I had lived in relatively the same spot my whole life and then all of the sudden, my rock had exploded.

I had less than one week in my new home before I had to come back to participate in an extremely rigorous and intense activity. It was an exhausting activity, both mentally and physically. Our group worked for 7:30 am to 11:00 pm everyday of the week. I had been there about three weeks and during that time I got extremely depressed. I can’t say why this happened because I was an extrovert and had never had depression or anxiety before. Yet I found myself having multiple panic attacks and crying fits any time I was alone.

I didn’t want to socialize or anything and no one really noticed. Except for two people. One was my friend, Lilly, and the other was a guy named, Cody. One of the days we had to sit inside and watch some videos that related to our activity in the auditorium. I sat by myself with six or seven seats in between myself and the next person, Cody.

After a few videos went by he came over and sat next to me. He kept asking me what was wrong and I just kept shaking my head and saying nothing was. But he put his hand on my leg as he repeatedly asked the same question and slid it up more and more as time drug on.

I don’t know why but I just went silent. I was sending nonverbal signals like crossing my legs, leaning away and putting my hands in my lap so he couldn’t move any further up. But I guess my subtle signs weren’t enough to deter him.

Honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t say anything or why I didn’t stop anything. The room was full of people. Instead, I froze. I let him do what he wanted rather than fighting back. He put his hand in my pants and all I could do was stare aimlessly at nothing and sit there.

After what felt like forever the video that was playing finally ended and I immediately stood up and asked to go to the bathroom. I broke down again and gave up. I bared with it the rest of the day and left the next day.

With everything that had happened, I went into my freshman year with no confidence at all. My trust in guys had been destroyed and the move made me have no one to really rely on. I was lost.

I never really thought about it as sexual assault until the past year. I was so young that I just didn’t know what to do. All I know is I regret letting him do that to me when I easily could have stopped him.

I know this is long and not even half as bad as some others but to me it was a devastating event. I haven’t been the same since.

— Beth, age 18


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