I am a survivor of sexual assault. I was a child and the adults in my life failed me. I am a Warrior and this the story of how I have found healing. I speak because silence gives it power.
I was raped.
I was almost 14.
A camp counselor sneaked into the room at the infirmary while I was sick.
I was woozy from medicine and a fever.
Except for repeating “No” and a few weak attempts to push him away.
I was at his mercy.
And no one else was anywhere to be found.
I was raped.
They were all stolen from me.
In one violent act, I ceased to exist.
Innocence. Love. Gone.
I was raped.
And no one believed me.
Not my mother.
Not the camp administration.
Or maybe they did.
Maybe they did not believe in themselves enough to do what needed to be done.
When a child is raped, those who failed to protect that child are at fault too.
To believe that child is to admit culpability.
So they did not.
He did not.
And then. I stopped admitting it too.
It was in my head.
I liked him.
It was unrequited.
I was making up the story.
I needed attention.
It was consensual.
I regretted it now.
I was always too close to men.
I messed with them.
I was too mature for my age.
My curves were at fault.
For years, I believed them.
I believed those adults who were meant to protect me.
I believed that I was a bad person who allowed this to happen to me.
I believed that I dressed inappropriately. Behaved inappropriately. Spoke and developed inappropriately.
I was at fault.
I was a predator putting his reputation on the line.
I was the criminal.
I found refuge in a childhood friend. He reminded me in soft, tones, that I did nothing wrong.
He told me that there was nothing wrong with me.
He told me that he loved me.
He promised to keep me safe.
He took what was left of me with no fight.
After, he pretended he did not know me and went on to date a friend.
I was marked.
I lived for a long time in a world of guilt and fear.
I learned that Sex is Power. I decided that I would NEVER relinquish power again. It was a weapon detached from emotion.
I lived with anger ready to boil over at any minute.
Help came in the form of a Sexual Assault Trauma Study during college.
And I learned.
Underneath the anger and violence and self-medication there was my 13 year old self who needed desperately to have someone, someone say, “I Believe You” and mean it.
They believed me. Dr. M believed me.
I learned because the blame and the fear became suffocating and self-destructive.
I learned so that I could help others.
I learned because learning to love and forgive myself gave me back my Power.
I learned so that I could thrive.