carpe omnia
projectunbreakable:









“come on, i thought you liked me…stop yelling, you’ll wake my roommates up!”
Photographed in Arlington, VA on August 5th. 
Click here to learn more about Project Unbreakable. (trigger warning)











Maybe internet social media isn’t the best way to put this out. Or maybe it is, actually. Yes—to those who know me in person—this is me. And yes, he really did say those words to me while it was happening.
What’s even worse than going through something as traumatic as sexual assault is the kind of reactions that I was met with from people that I thought were my friends when I opened up to them about it. I was met with a completely different reaction than from what I expected; perhaps I was giving people too much credit, but I never thought they would be so inconsiderate and abrasive to me when I tried to tell them about what happened. No support, no sympathy, no help. People accused me of lying about it, or told me that I deserved it anyway because I had done something wrong to get myself into that situation. I was so taken aback by the way people were treating me. Every time they expressed doubt or skepticism in what happened, I played it over and over again in my head—what am I misconstruing? Am I leaving something out? Why are these people acting like it’s really not as bad as I think it is?
As Franchesca Ramsey said: “There are women that speak out about experiences that have happened to them, about their rape experiences, and time and again, everyone tells them, ‘Well, it was your fault. You shouldn’t have done this, you shouldn’t have done that.’ No. Can we stop telling girls that they shouldn’t get raped and instead tell men to stop fucking raping women? If someone rapes you, it is the rapist’s fault, not yours.”
—-
I pored over the events of that early morning of May 3, 2009 over and over again in my head for six months following the incident. It was mental self-imposed torture, I suppose. Was there a way I could have stopped this? Yes, of course. It was my fault for kissing him, after all, wasn’t it? It was my fault for asking if I could lie down in his bed because I was feeling too drunk to stay awake. It was my fault for getting drunk in the first place. It was my fault for going to that party with him. It was my fault for not being more adamant about saying “no.” It was my fault for nervously laughing—he must have interpreted that to mean I was trying to be coy, that I was teasing. It was my fault for not being strong enough to be able to push his body off of mine. It was my fault for not knowing any other effective self-defense moves. It was my fault for being his friend. It was my fault for getting close to him. It was my fault, it was my fault, it was my fault for coming to Virginia Tech, it was my fault for being born.
But I said no. Definitively. Clearly. Multiple times. I said no. I even physically said no. The words themselves should have been enough, the struggle was only an extra cue.
I stopped going to class because I was afraid that being anywhere but my dorm would mean that I would see him—at a dining hall, at a bus stop, in an academic building. Only a few people know this, but I actually dropped out of a majority of my classes and became a part-time student. I tried to stop going to social gatherings because I was too afraid of seeing him, but I couldn’t drop out of my officer/exec positions, especially when my co-officers ended up dropping out for their own personal reasons too. Bad luck, I guess. So I kept seeing him around. My attacker. No, my friend. A guy that I thought was cute. I don’t know why I was so afraid of seeing him. It’s not like he would have raped me in the middle of campus. But I froze up every time I did see him, and I cried every time after he was out of sight, angry at myself for letting one fucking person affect me so much. Perhaps I wasn’t so much afraid of him as I was of what I was accusing him of. Such a taboo subject. I had to struggle to stay above water, to barely stay alive. My friends started slipping away from me. I tried to tell my mom about it four months after it happened—I didn’t know how to tell her that I had sex against my will, because she is a very naive and ignorant person, and most likely wouldn’t understand the concept of rape. Indeed, when I told her, she only said, “But you were in his bed? Then you might as well have had your legs open for him. That’s not his fault. You’re not a virgin anymore. You’re damaged goods. You’re a slut.” My own mother. She wept. Not for me, but for my apparent “impurity” after this incident, this “lapse of judgment” on my part.
I finally realized that the only way I could even start moving on was to get justice, some sort of emotional redemption. I decided to go to a university hearing with him where we both presented our sides. I didn’t go to the police because I didn’t want this to affect the rest of his life the way it will affect mine. It’s a strange thought process looking back on it, but I know exactly where I was. I kept neglecting my own emotional needs and instead looked to what I could do to help him out of his guilt. I think on some level, it was simply because I couldn’t face the fact that someone I actually admired could end up doing this; it felt wrong to punish him for what could very well be glazed over as just a drunken mistake on his part. Besides, there was no way that so many people could be against me about this if I wasn’t in the wrong, and yet here I was, feeling like the only sane person in an insane environment. Does that make me the crazy one? And though I never intended for the sanction to be so harsh, he ended up getting suspended for three semesters.
But I couldn’t feel any sort of victory with this outcome of redemption. It only made things worse for me. His friends—people I was also friends with—ended up kicking me when I was down. They said I was a cunt, a selfish bitch, a slut, a “tramp that should just keep her mouth shut.” They said I should never have said anything, that I should have learned to “just deal with it” and not go to such drastic measures so as to get him suspended. “He’s a good guy, he’s been through so much hardship.” “He had such a promising future. You’ve ruined his life; where will he go now?” “All I hear about you is how much of a bitch you are, and he has so much to complain about but he doesn’t. Look what you’ve done to him.” “I don’t know who you’ve told, but you better cover your tracks and say that you made it up, or you’ll ruin his life.” He was the victim. I was the bad guy. I was wrong for getting justice. I was being self-centered and inconsiderate. I did not deserve justice, the same way I did not deserve respect from him that night. 
On the morning of May 3, 2009, he woke up and said “I’m sorry about last night. I know you wanted to wait for someone special, and I was hoping maybe someday… I could be your someone special.” It makes me cringe now, thinking about it. But he was sorry. That was my first clue into realizing that I wasn’t completely out of my mind for feeling so… violated. He apologized, because he knows he did wrong. 
I ended up spiraling into a severe depression as ‘friends’ abandoned me to take sides and gossip about me. They heard what I had done to him; I punished him for something that was apparently my fault. People stopped talking to me and started talking about me instead. Friends that I expected to be there for me quite suddenly dropped out of my life. Maybe I was ‘asking for it,’ by being too clingy or too needy or too much of an emotional wreck. I guess I get a lot of things I don’t explicitly ask for because my gestures or my posture or the way I act or my manner of speech somehow asks for me, on my behalf (but really, if I’m not asking for it, then how am I asking for it?). People I didn’t even know found out about the situation. Instead of being mad or indignant or enraged about the workings of the unapologetic rumor mill, I just felt a horrible sense of shame and embarrassment and, weirdly, guilt. Why did I feel guilty? Was it really because I was in the wrong? Or was I falling to people’s judgment? I felt so alone, and increasingly more and more alone every day. As people started distancing themselves from me, I started pushing people away myself. Or maybe I started it. I don’t know.
Eventually, I became numb. Nothing and no one could reach me. Nothing except the image of pavement coming towards my face: I could only think of the thrill of falling faster and faster from a horrifying, liberating height towards the cement ground. I called my mom when I was about to jump off of the top of the tallest building at school telling her I couldn’t handle it anymore—that if I didn’t have her and if I didn’t have my friends, I had nothing. I told her that I felt so alone, and that I was so sorry for bringing more trouble than joy to her life, as she had always reprimanded me and disapproved of me for one thing or another. I think it was when she heard the wind from my end of the phone—from being up so high—that she snapped out of it. The panic in her voice when she started frantically apologizing to me and telling me that I was all she had in the world… that finally reached me, and I realized what I was about to do. I was about to end my life, after only 19 years. “You’re too young, please don’t do this,” my mom begged. “I’m sorry, I don’t think it’s your fault, I just couldn’t believe that something like this could happen to you, you’re such a strong girl.” And so, I thought about it. What if I did get through this? What if I did end up being able to feel happy again after this? What if there was some future when I wouldn’t constantly have flashbacks and anxiety? What if I somehow got new friends, got back into music, and was able to have a good night’s sleep without nightmares? And so, it wasn’t until I was on the very edge of taking my life—literally—when someone realized that I needed help. I was hospitalized through ACCESS services in Blacksburg for 2 days, quarantined for my suicide risk/attempt.
For people to brush it off as a lie or some vain method to seek attention and pity is just hurtful, to say the least. I don’t want your fucking pity. But I do want your attention so that I can tell you this: I want you to think twice when someone opens up to you and you feel the urge to judge them. For people to imply that I’m really just a loose party girl that slept with someone and then regretted it the next day and decided to “call rape” is all sorts of sickeningly unfounded. Even if I am a loose party girl, does that make me somehow more deserving of what happened to me? You didn’t even know me, and you don’t know other people who may have gone through the exact same thing but were too afraid to say anything because they feared your damn judgment. People’s insinuations and accusations did irrevocable damage to me. But no matter. Being still stuck in a mindset where I thought I was the bad guy, I tried to defend these accusers—“maybe they just don’t want to admit that something like this could happen to someone they know,” or “they don’t want to think of their friend as somebody who could do something like this” or “they’re just sticking up for their friend.” The Just World phenomenon (fallacy). I was more concerned about not tarnishing my perception of people and less concerned about the truth—that what I had gone through was rape, that people can be cruel and ignorant, and that I had a right to feel the way I did about the situation. I was more concerned about defending the actions of those who were hurting me rather than attending to my hurt. I didn’t want to think of these people as bad people—the same way they didn’t want to think of him as a bad person, I’m sure. Stockholm Syndrome. I felt myself starting to deteriorate, slowly, but surely… I ended up convincing myself that it didn’t happen. That I did make it up. I started believing them. And then I lost my fucking mind, because I think somewhere deep in my head, somewhere I didn’t want to explore, I knew what really happened—so why was I denying it? For them? To make life easier on him? Maybe it wasn’t really rape. It wasn’t violent, like in the movies. I wasn’t drugged, either. I was incredibly drunk, yes. But it all happened in slow motion. It wasn’t aggressive. It wasn’t a stranger with a ski mask in a dark alley. I didn’t struggle hard enough. It wasn’t rape. They’re right. I’m being a drama queen. It wasn’t rape… If it was, people would be supporting me accordingly, not antagonizing me, right?
I got the exact help I needed, thanks to Virginia Tech’s Office of Student Conduct and the Women’s Center, along with Cook Counseling Center. I cannot thank my alma mater enough for rehabilitating me and getting me to where I am today. I never thought I would graduate in time, let alone with three degrees. I threw myself into my work—my studies, my extracurriculars, my piano, my singing, my job. Some of the best people I know today came into my life at this time, and they saved me in so many ways… but mostly, they saved me from myself. I’m not sure you would have suspected anything like this from me if I hadn’t told you. Maybe you would have. Maybe you knew there was a reason behind my bitch tendencies. In any case, you would be very surprised at who’s hiding what secrets. 
Today—May 3, 2013—marks four years since it’s happened.
I don’t think about it as often as I used to, but I would be lying if I said it’s completely in the past for me. It crosses my mind in some way at least once every other day. He probably doesn’t remember saying the words on the posterboard pictured above, but I do. They ring clear in my head every so often when I have nightmares about it. “Come on, I thought you liked me.” So what if I did? Does that make me obligated to have sex with you? 
The people who only added to the problem instead of alleviating it or staying away from it: I forgive you. You are immature and small-minded, and ignorance can’t exactly help itself, especially if you talked to your other ignorant friends about this. How can the blind lead the blind, after all? You are forgiven. You didn’t know any better then. I hope you know better now, and that if this happens to somebody else you know—your friend, your sister, your mother, your brother, your cousins, your own children—you don’t judge and shame and ostracize them the way you did to me, and that you try to actually be there for them instead. Their pain is valid. I understand that false accusations happen, and that is indeed disgusting and irreparably damaging on the falsely-accused—but this doesn’t mean that you start off assuming every rape case is a false one.
“She’s so dramatic,” you may say to yourself, particularly if you are one of the naysayers from four years ago when this was happening. “She just likes to write and blow things out of proportion.” You would be correct: I do like to write. It is how I cope, and it was with this incident that I realized how much writing can do for my peace of mind. Knowing the words to describe exactly what I thought and what I felt (and continue to feel) helps me reclaim some of the power that was taken from me that night (and from any situation, really), in some odd way. Knowing that it can help somebody really have any empathy for me and my situation gives me solace, because what is humanity without empathy? As a writer, I write about things that matter to me. This mattered to me. So much. It was the night I lost my virginity—which I had been saving for someone special. I ended up later deciding for myself that I didn’t lose my virginity, because I didn’t give it to him; he stole it from me, and I’ll be damned if that counts. I ended up giving my virginity to someone that truly deserved it two and a half years later, to someone I will always consider to be a great love of my life. But I am not dramatic, and I am not blowing things out of proportion. I am bringing things very much into proportion and putting them in perspective. I refuse to apologize anymore about writing about this. I don’t owe him anything, and I’ve at least maintained his anonymity. This isn’t shit to sweep under the rug, this isn’t a detail to dismiss, this isn’t just another reason to hate me, this isn’t another thing to use against me. This one of many events in my life that shaped who I am today, and this could be happening to your sisters, mothers, cousins, daughters, nieces, best friends, lovers, and you have no fucking idea. People I have told about this after having rehabilitated myself have told me, “I wish I knew you back then. I would have been there for you,” and all I can think is, where the hell were they back then? Not that it’s their fault, of course—that’s not what I mean. We simply didn’t know each other, let alone each other’s troubles. But how did the only people that would castigate and alienate me end up as my friends? How is it that, save a few people, pretty much everybody treated me like absolute shit and made me feel the worst that I have ever felt in my entire life? And those who did treat me like shit and are reading this now: where were you? Why did you abandon me? Do you believe in earnest, to this day, that I was still at fault for this and that I ‘deserved’ it all?
I’m writing this entry to say that it is not okay to perpetuate a hateful, ignorant attitude towards me or anyone else based on something that 1) you don’t even know anything about and 2) is none of your business. It is not okay to formulate, speculate, and then distribute an opinion on things that you don’t even know all the facts of and is none of your business. Consider it a privilege if I or anybody else has trusted you enough to disclose this part of their lives to you, and don’t betray their trust in you by treating the situation as though it were another piece of gossip. It used to be very easy for me to trust people, and I never hesitated to tell people the deepest secrets of my life. After this, I can’t deny that I’ve become a lot more cynical. But another reason I am writing this entry is to say that if you have been through anything even remotely similar to my situation, you are not alone, and I am here. I don’t care if I haven’t talked to you in ten months or ten years—if you need help, if you need advice, if you need insight, if you need someone to rant to when you get those random panic attacks—I am here. I can’t thank my best friends enough for being there for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and this will be the last year I commemorate this event with such words and tears. I am moving on.

projectunbreakable:

“come on, i thought you liked me…
stop yelling, you’ll wake my roommates up!”

Photographed in Arlington, VA on August 5th. 

Click here to learn more about Project Unbreakable. (trigger warning)

Maybe internet social media isn’t the best way to put this out. Or maybe it is, actually. Yes—to those who know me in person—this is me. And yes, he really did say those words to me while it was happening.

What’s even worse than going through something as traumatic as sexual assault is the kind of reactions that I was met with from people that I thought were my friends when I opened up to them about it. I was met with a completely different reaction than from what I expected; perhaps I was giving people too much credit, but I never thought they would be so inconsiderate and abrasive to me when I tried to tell them about what happened. No support, no sympathy, no help. People accused me of lying about it, or told me that I deserved it anyway because I had done something wrong to get myself into that situation. I was so taken aback by the way people were treating me. Every time they expressed doubt or skepticism in what happened, I played it over and over again in my head—what am I misconstruing? Am I leaving something out? Why are these people acting like it’s really not as bad as I think it is?

As Franchesca Ramsey said: “There are women that speak out about experiences that have happened to them, about their rape experiences, and time and again, everyone tells them, ‘Well, it was your fault. You shouldn’t have done this, you shouldn’t have done that.’ No. Can we stop telling girls that they shouldn’t get raped and instead tell men to stop fucking raping women? If someone rapes you, it is the rapist’s fault, not yours.”

—-

I pored over the events of that early morning of May 3, 2009 over and over again in my head for six months following the incident. It was mental self-imposed torture, I suppose. Was there a way I could have stopped this? Yes, of course. It was my fault for kissing him, after all, wasn’t it? It was my fault for asking if I could lie down in his bed because I was feeling too drunk to stay awake. It was my fault for getting drunk in the first place. It was my fault for going to that party with him. It was my fault for not being more adamant about saying “no.” It was my fault for nervously laughing—he must have interpreted that to mean I was trying to be coy, that I was teasing. It was my fault for not being strong enough to be able to push his body off of mine. It was my fault for not knowing any other effective self-defense moves. It was my fault for being his friend. It was my fault for getting close to him. It was my fault, it was my fault, it was my fault for coming to Virginia Tech, it was my fault for being born.

But I said no. Definitively. Clearly. Multiple times. I said no. I even physically said no. The words themselves should have been enough, the struggle was only an extra cue.

I stopped going to class because I was afraid that being anywhere but my dorm would mean that I would see him—at a dining hall, at a bus stop, in an academic building. Only a few people know this, but I actually dropped out of a majority of my classes and became a part-time student. I tried to stop going to social gatherings because I was too afraid of seeing him, but I couldn’t drop out of my officer/exec positions, especially when my co-officers ended up dropping out for their own personal reasons too. Bad luck, I guess. So I kept seeing him around. My attacker. No, my friend. A guy that I thought was cute. I don’t know why I was so afraid of seeing him. It’s not like he would have raped me in the middle of campus. But I froze up every time I did see him, and I cried every time after he was out of sight, angry at myself for letting one fucking person affect me so much. Perhaps I wasn’t so much afraid of him as I was of what I was accusing him of. Such a taboo subject. I had to struggle to stay above water, to barely stay alive. My friends started slipping away from me. I tried to tell my mom about it four months after it happened—I didn’t know how to tell her that I had sex against my will, because she is a very naive and ignorant person, and most likely wouldn’t understand the concept of rape. Indeed, when I told her, she only said, “But you were in his bed? Then you might as well have had your legs open for him. That’s not his fault. You’re not a virgin anymore. You’re damaged goods. You’re a slut.” My own mother. She wept. Not for me, but for my apparent “impurity” after this incident, this “lapse of judgment” on my part.

I finally realized that the only way I could even start moving on was to get justice, some sort of emotional redemption. I decided to go to a university hearing with him where we both presented our sides. I didn’t go to the police because I didn’t want this to affect the rest of his life the way it will affect mine. It’s a strange thought process looking back on it, but I know exactly where I was. I kept neglecting my own emotional needs and instead looked to what I could do to help him out of his guilt. I think on some level, it was simply because I couldn’t face the fact that someone I actually admired could end up doing this; it felt wrong to punish him for what could very well be glazed over as just a drunken mistake on his part. Besides, there was no way that so many people could be against me about this if I wasn’t in the wrong, and yet here I was, feeling like the only sane person in an insane environment. Does that make me the crazy one? And though I never intended for the sanction to be so harsh, he ended up getting suspended for three semesters.

But I couldn’t feel any sort of victory with this outcome of redemption. It only made things worse for me. His friends—people I was also friends with—ended up kicking me when I was down. They said I was a cunt, a selfish bitch, a slut, a “tramp that should just keep her mouth shut.” They said I should never have said anything, that I should have learned to “just deal with it” and not go to such drastic measures so as to get him suspended. “He’s a good guy, he’s been through so much hardship.” “He had such a promising future. You’ve ruined his life; where will he go now?” “All I hear about you is how much of a bitch you are, and he has so much to complain about but he doesn’t. Look what you’ve done to him.” “I don’t know who you’ve told, but you better cover your tracks and say that you made it up, or you’ll ruin his life.” He was the victim. I was the bad guy. I was wrong for getting justice. I was being self-centered and inconsiderate. I did not deserve justice, the same way I did not deserve respect from him that night.

On the morning of May 3, 2009, he woke up and said “I’m sorry about last night. I know you wanted to wait for someone special, and I was hoping maybe someday… I could be your someone special.” It makes me cringe now, thinking about it. But he was sorry. That was my first clue into realizing that I wasn’t completely out of my mind for feeling so… violated. He apologized, because he knows he did wrong. 

I ended up spiraling into a severe depression as ‘friends’ abandoned me to take sides and gossip about me. They heard what I had done to him; I punished him for something that was apparently my fault. People stopped talking to me and started talking about me instead. Friends that I expected to be there for me quite suddenly dropped out of my life. Maybe I was ‘asking for it,’ by being too clingy or too needy or too much of an emotional wreck. I guess I get a lot of things I don’t explicitly ask for because my gestures or my posture or the way I act or my manner of speech somehow asks for me, on my behalf (but really, if I’m not asking for it, then how am I asking for it?). People I didn’t even know found out about the situation. Instead of being mad or indignant or enraged about the workings of the unapologetic rumor mill, I just felt a horrible sense of shame and embarrassment and, weirdly, guilt. Why did I feel guilty? Was it really because I was in the wrong? Or was I falling to people’s judgment? I felt so alone, and increasingly more and more alone every day. As people started distancing themselves from me, I started pushing people away myself. Or maybe I started it. I don’t know.

Eventually, I became numb. Nothing and no one could reach me. Nothing except the image of pavement coming towards my face: I could only think of the thrill of falling faster and faster from a horrifying, liberating height towards the cement ground. I called my mom when I was about to jump off of the top of the tallest building at school telling her I couldn’t handle it anymore—that if I didn’t have her and if I didn’t have my friends, I had nothing. I told her that I felt so alone, and that I was so sorry for bringing more trouble than joy to her life, as she had always reprimanded me and disapproved of me for one thing or another. I think it was when she heard the wind from my end of the phone—from being up so high—that she snapped out of it. The panic in her voice when she started frantically apologizing to me and telling me that I was all she had in the world… that finally reached me, and I realized what I was about to do. I was about to end my life, after only 19 years. “You’re too young, please don’t do this,” my mom begged. “I’m sorry, I don’t think it’s your fault, I just couldn’t believe that something like this could happen to you, you’re such a strong girl.” And so, I thought about it. What if I did get through this? What if I did end up being able to feel happy again after this? What if there was some future when I wouldn’t constantly have flashbacks and anxiety? What if I somehow got new friends, got back into music, and was able to have a good night’s sleep without nightmares? And so, it wasn’t until I was on the very edge of taking my life—literally—when someone realized that I needed help. I was hospitalized through ACCESS services in Blacksburg for 2 days, quarantined for my suicide risk/attempt.

For people to brush it off as a lie or some vain method to seek attention and pity is just hurtful, to say the least. I don’t want your fucking pity. But I do want your attention so that I can tell you this: I want you to think twice when someone opens up to you and you feel the urge to judge them. For people to imply that I’m really just a loose party girl that slept with someone and then regretted it the next day and decided to “call rape” is all sorts of sickeningly unfounded. Even if I am a loose party girl, does that make me somehow more deserving of what happened to me? You didn’t even know me, and you don’t know other people who may have gone through the exact same thing but were too afraid to say anything because they feared your damn judgment. People’s insinuations and accusations did irrevocable damage to me. But no matter. Being still stuck in a mindset where I thought I was the bad guy, I tried to defend these accusers—“maybe they just don’t want to admit that something like this could happen to someone they know,” or “they don’t want to think of their friend as somebody who could do something like this” or “they’re just sticking up for their friend.” The Just World phenomenon (fallacy). I was more concerned about not tarnishing my perception of people and less concerned about the truth—that what I had gone through was rape, that people can be cruel and ignorant, and that I had a right to feel the way I did about the situation. I was more concerned about defending the actions of those who were hurting me rather than attending to my hurt. I didn’t want to think of these people as bad people—the same way they didn’t want to think of him as a bad person, I’m sure. Stockholm Syndrome. I felt myself starting to deteriorate, slowly, but surely… I ended up convincing myself that it didn’t happen. That I did make it up. I started believing them. And then I lost my fucking mind, because I think somewhere deep in my head, somewhere I didn’t want to explore, I knew what really happened—so why was I denying it? For them? To make life easier on him? Maybe it wasn’t really rape. It wasn’t violent, like in the movies. I wasn’t drugged, either. I was incredibly drunk, yes. But it all happened in slow motion. It wasn’t aggressive. It wasn’t a stranger with a ski mask in a dark alley. I didn’t struggle hard enough. It wasn’t rape. They’re right. I’m being a drama queen. It wasn’t rape… If it was, people would be supporting me accordingly, not antagonizing me, right?

I got the exact help I needed, thanks to Virginia Tech’s Office of Student Conduct and the Women’s Center, along with Cook Counseling Center. I cannot thank my alma mater enough for rehabilitating me and getting me to where I am today. I never thought I would graduate in time, let alone with three degrees. I threw myself into my work—my studies, my extracurriculars, my piano, my singing, my job. Some of the best people I know today came into my life at this time, and they saved me in so many ways… but mostly, they saved me from myself. I’m not sure you would have suspected anything like this from me if I hadn’t told you. Maybe you would have. Maybe you knew there was a reason behind my bitch tendencies. In any case, you would be very surprised at who’s hiding what secrets. 

Today—May 3, 2013—marks four years since it’s happened.

I don’t think about it as often as I used to, but I would be lying if I said it’s completely in the past for me. It crosses my mind in some way at least once every other day. He probably doesn’t remember saying the words on the posterboard pictured above, but I do. They ring clear in my head every so often when I have nightmares about it. “Come on, I thought you liked me.” So what if I did? Does that make me obligated to have sex with you?

The people who only added to the problem instead of alleviating it or staying away from it: I forgive you. You are immature and small-minded, and ignorance can’t exactly help itself, especially if you talked to your other ignorant friends about this. How can the blind lead the blind, after all? You are forgiven. You didn’t know any better then. I hope you know better now, and that if this happens to somebody else you know—your friend, your sister, your mother, your brother, your cousins, your own children—you don’t judge and shame and ostracize them the way you did to me, and that you try to actually be there for them instead. Their pain is valid. I understand that false accusations happen, and that is indeed disgusting and irreparably damaging on the falsely-accused—but this doesn’t mean that you start off assuming every rape case is a false one.

“She’s so dramatic,” you may say to yourself, particularly if you are one of the naysayers from four years ago when this was happening. “She just likes to write and blow things out of proportion.” You would be correct: I do like to write. It is how I cope, and it was with this incident that I realized how much writing can do for my peace of mind. Knowing the words to describe exactly what I thought and what I felt (and continue to feel) helps me reclaim some of the power that was taken from me that night (and from any situation, really), in some odd way. Knowing that it can help somebody really have any empathy for me and my situation gives me solace, because what is humanity without empathy? As a writer, I write about things that matter to me. This mattered to me. So much. It was the night I lost my virginity—which I had been saving for someone special. I ended up later deciding for myself that I didn’t lose my virginity, because I didn’t give it to him; he stole it from me, and I’ll be damned if that counts. I ended up giving my virginity to someone that truly deserved it two and a half years later, to someone I will always consider to be a great love of my life. But I am not dramatic, and I am not blowing things out of proportion. I am bringing things very much into proportion and putting them in perspective. I refuse to apologize anymore about writing about this. I don’t owe him anything, and I’ve at least maintained his anonymity. This isn’t shit to sweep under the rug, this isn’t a detail to dismiss, this isn’t just another reason to hate me, this isn’t another thing to use against me. This one of many events in my life that shaped who I am today, and this could be happening to your sisters, mothers, cousins, daughters, nieces, best friends, lovers, and you have no fucking idea. People I have told about this after having rehabilitated myself have told me, “I wish I knew you back then. I would have been there for you,” and all I can think is, where the hell were they back then? Not that it’s their fault, of course—that’s not what I mean. We simply didn’t know each other, let alone each other’s troubles. But how did the only people that would castigate and alienate me end up as my friends? How is it that, save a few people, pretty much everybody treated me like absolute shit and made me feel the worst that I have ever felt in my entire life? And those who did treat me like shit and are reading this now: where were you? Why did you abandon me? Do you believe in earnest, to this day, that I was still at fault for this and that I ‘deserved’ it all?

I’m writing this entry to say that it is not okay to perpetuate a hateful, ignorant attitude towards me or anyone else based on something that 1) you don’t even know anything about and 2) is none of your business. It is not okay to formulate, speculate, and then distribute an opinion on things that you don’t even know all the facts of and is none of your business. Consider it a privilege if I or anybody else has trusted you enough to disclose this part of their lives to you, and don’t betray their trust in you by treating the situation as though it were another piece of gossip. It used to be very easy for me to trust people, and I never hesitated to tell people the deepest secrets of my life. After this, I can’t deny that I’ve become a lot more cynical. But another reason I am writing this entry is to say that if you have been through anything even remotely similar to my situation, you are not alone, and I am here. I don’t care if I haven’t talked to you in ten months or ten years—if you need help, if you need advice, if you need insight, if you need someone to rant to when you get those random panic attacks—I am here. I can’t thank my best friends enough for being there for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and this will be the last year I commemorate this event with such words and tears. I am moving on.

  1. desiredtachycardia reblogged this from rhymeswithphallus and added:
    One of my best friends. She is the strongest woman I know. When the same shit happened to me, she was the only one there...
  2. universeisinspiring reblogged this from dederants and added:
    //
  3. gogo-gadget-flow reblogged this from sophieuncensored and added:
    One HELL of a Hokie right here. And a fellow Northern Virginian.
  4. angelasthings reblogged this from rhymeswithphallus and added:
    This is a girl I know from high school. I’m so sorry she had to go through this and that anyone did anything other than...
  5. sophieuncensored reblogged this from rhymeswithphallus and added:
    You are one of the strongest people I know.
  6. dederants reblogged this from rhymeswithphallus
  7. rhymeswithphallus reblogged this from projectunbreakable and added:
    Maybe internet social media isn’t the best way to put this out. Or maybe it is, actually. Yes—to those who know me in...
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  15. ev0lv-ed reblogged this from projectunbreakable and added:
    Poor girl. Project Unbreakable is actually coming to my uni next month. So excited.
  16. survivorsupport reblogged this from projectunbreakable
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  23. bettermentletters reblogged this from projectunbreakable and added:
    What a heartbreaking, amazing website. Hopefully more people will be encouraged to speak out against sexual abuse.