One year later, and I’m doing ok.
Hi. I’ve written/re-written this post like 10 times in the past week. I’ve had so much that I wanted to say… and I just didn’t know the best way to say it. It’s been one year since I posted Rape Isn’t Real. Honestly that might not seem ~that~ crazy to all of you, but for me it has felt like a huge milestone. It’s been one whole year.
It’s been one year since “the girl who was raped” was added to my bio.
It’s been one year since I can finally talk to my friends about everything.
It’s been one year since my friend had to forward my blog post to my best friend on her mission because I couldn’t do it myself.
It’s been one year since my parents realized why I’ve been so “different.”
It’s been one year since I could breathe.
Anyway, all the dramatics aside, it’s been one year and I felt the need to share some thoughts. Here are a few:
- Sexual Assault is NEVER the victims fault. After sharing my assault, I read through every single message, text, and comment. Most were loving and supportive, but there were a few wild ones. A few people said that if I had never put myself in that situation, then everything would’ve been fine. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nothing about a 19 year old girl sleeping over at a boy’s house because it was snowing ASKS for rape. And I can’t think of one thing on this Earth that would cause someone to deserve to be assaulted. Just saying. It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing, what position of power they have, how late it is, no means no. k?
- Our only job is to believe victims. I believe in God + I believe that there will be a judgement day. One day we will all need to step up and answer for what we have done. With that being said, I’m v happy to say, that I won’t be the one making judgements that day. It won’t be my job. Then + now, I only have one job: to love. And that’s what I plan on doing. It’s not my place to judge whether or not a survivor is telling the truth. That is between them, the assaulter, and (one day) God. I will show my love and support for victims by showing up for them and believing them. I think that’s how it should be for everyone, just believe.
- As survivors, we are not alone. One of the most overwhelming things to happen on the last year was the amount of women that reached out to me with similar stories to mine. It broke my heart. It was horrific to know that others have suffered through the same thing that I was still trying to suffer through. While it was horrific, it was also calming. I realized I was not alone. I have found help from many different resources, my favorite being Honey Organization. I’ve attended both a Survivor’s Dinner + a Gather even from them and I never felt safer than I did that night. I was surrounded by people who understood what I had gone through, because they too had gone through it. There is peace to be found, you just have to find it.
- Speak your truth. Last year I felt like I couldn’t breathe once my post went live. A secret I had held for so long was no longer a secret (in reality it was never something I needed to keep a secret.) I couldn’t “take it back” and that was so scary. I’ve always been the funny girl that everyone knows and is so fun and blah blah blah, but the second I posted this, I just knew I would see people look at me and say, “Oh… I’m so sorry.” And that’s not what I wanted. BUT… once I posted my blog, my friends did say “oh.” It wasn’t those “oh no’s..” that I had been worries about, they were “oh hell no’s.” They didn’t feel bad for me, they felt for me; they were angry WITH me. As time went on, I realized I surrounded by people that saw me as a victim, but they saw me as a survivor. The morale of this? Don’t be afraid to stand up and share your story (if that’s what you want to do.) Thanks to a lot of strong people and the #metoo movement, sexual assault isn’t such a taboo subject. I was sent (not exaggerating) hundreds of emails and messages from other women who felt that they could share their story (even if not publicly, just with me) after reading my own. They felt safe because someone else said #metoo first.
It’s crazy because it has been almost 5 years since my assault + one year since I became very public about it, but it feels all so new and real still. I still have trouble sleeping. I still have weird touch barriers with men that I don’t know well enough (I literally took a step back when a guy reached out his hand to shake mine a month ago.) I still can’t say the “R” word out loud when telling my own story. I still blame myself for a lot of things. I still ask a lot of “what if’s?” What if I had just walked home in the snow? What if I had told my parents instead of my Bishop? What if I had told the police? What if? I still cry every time I sing “Praying” by Kesha in my car. I still cry.
I still wake up every morning and I still live my life. And if that’s all I can do, that’s enough for me.
One year later, and I’m doing ok.