Sexual assault is difficult to talk about.Embarrassment happens because we think it is our fault. It has happened to more people than it should have. I could sit at a table with twenty of my close friends, and most of them will have a story that sounds just like mine. Sexual assault is too common in our world to not talk about, and bringing attention to the topic is one of the biggest battles we can face. Here is my story of sexual assault, how to get help, and red flags to look out for.
Sharing is caring, and it is my turn.
I have told three people in my life about my sexual assault story. Two have been people I have been in a romantic relationship with, and the other is my best friend who is also a vicim of sexual assault. This does contain some triggering details that may upset or disturb you. I encourage you to make your own decision to continue to the encounter I experienced.
I had just turned twenty-four, and I had decided to begin to attend Middle Tennessee State University with my roommate at the time to continue my education. During that summer, we had began to go to Murfreesboro on the weekends to visit friends we had, and to get used to the environment. I had began drinking alcohol for the first time in my life months prior, and I was not sure what to drink, or even how much I could handle at that time.
Being safe is a priority, never forget that
We attended a party where my roommate’s boyfriend was, and started to meet some new friends and have a good time. I had been talking to a guy that was at the party for a few weeks, and was excited to spend more time with him. The last thing I remember is sitting on the couch. Hours later I awoke to a huge red vomit stain that went from the bed to the floor. My clothes were nowhere to be found. I woke up in the guys bedroom. Being on my cycle, I had a tampon in when I though I went to sleep.
On the way back home, something was wrong. Words cannot describe how dirty I felt. Pain was hitting me left and right, and I knew exactly what had happened. Not crying was one of my biggest regrets, but also a saving grace. I did not tell anyone, and I knew that I was not alone in the world. Months later, my roommate and I had moved into our new apartment, which just happened to be in the same complex. We had a small get together, and the guy showed up. While I was sitting on our porch, he came outside to talk to me. He apologized for what he did. Is that enough? Does he think that heals? Why?
No is always no. Why would someone think otherwise?
Sexual assault is so common, seriously. RAINN states that someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. 1 in 6 women is the victim of sexual assault, and 1 in 16 men are the victim of sexual assault. If that is not scary, then I do not know what is. So often, people blame sexual assault on clothing, substance use, or even location. There is no excuse for a man or woman every taking advantage of someone in any situation. No means no, and that is something that is really misunderstood. Sexual assault can happen in your home, in your office, at your school, or even in public. Your attacker can be someone you have never met. It can also be someone who you know very well.
Let your voice be heard, do not be a victim.
Sexual assault does not have to be just rape. It can be verbal or nonverbal. Any non wanted sexual contact, or statement falls under this category. Consent is required for any sexual activity, there is no other way to put it. While these conversations are hard, it is required. 23 million women have been the victim of sexual assault in the United States. Two out of three reports go unreported. I made the mistake of not reporting my rape. You can report any incidents of sexual assault you have. There are a lot of resources out there that you can use.
National Sexual Assault Hotline, 800-656-HOPE (4673)
National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-SAFE (7233)
Each state also has their own specific sector to contact in case of an emergency, there are hotlines that allow you to speak to someone directly. Call the police, usually they can perform a rape test which can pinpoint your attacker. If you know who your attacker was, tell someone. Do not let someone else fall victim to sexual assault. Report assault, make a difference, and stand together.