The #MeToo movement seemed like more of an attention-seeking trend to me in the beginning. Many people didn’t share their feelings and coming out years later seemed so suspicious to me. I kept thinking, “Why is it that this woman is able to speak about some incident from years ago and accuse a man and receive money to compensate for her pain, how does that even equal out to being abused?” I thought a lot of things until I personally had to experience the horrendous feelings I felt because of my sexual assault.
Sexual assault. It changed my life. It changed my views, my thoughts, my every day living. It hurt so deep that never will I be the same, never will I laugh the same, never will I have the same upbeat energy that I once had, and at moments, little things people say or do trigger the memory that make me realize I’m not even close to forgetting what happened to me. The worst thing after the actual assault though is the stigma attached to talking about it, which made it difficult for me to fully open up to anyone to tell them what I had to deal with; I had to face it alone for a while. I will never have the courage to speak to my family about what happened or even think to hint towards something so “disgraceful” occurring and that’s what hurts the most. The people I am closest to, the ones I talk to every day and see every day, have no knowledge of this event and never will.
I was able to tell a few of my closest friends about my experience, and I also didn’t reveal who the abuser was to all of them. I wanted to protect his reputation, sad I know, but that is exactly why I’m still weak and now I fully understand why most woman don’t come out right away about the assault. So many thoughts and feelings run through my mind that I get confused of what even really happened that day; I get confused if he even realized what he did to me. I’m not strong enough to hurt him the way he hurt me, I’m not strong enough to humiliate him the way he humiliated me, and I know I never will be, but deep down I pray that I have enough courage to continuously tell people about my feelings throughout this healing process so that they can understand and feel the hurt in my voice, so they can think twice, or hopefully even ten times, before doing something to someone and thinking it’s okay.
It’s been 8 months since the incident and no matter how busy or preoccupied I am, I, unfortunately, find the time to remember it. Chills run down my body when I lay down every night, the feeling of his hands all over my body haunt me all the time. Writing this right now is more difficult than I thought it’d be. Some days, like today while I started writing this, I like to believe I’m over it and it doesn’t hurt me, but when nighttime creeps up, I stay awake all night crying and thinking to myself that I put myself in that position and I could have stopped it, but I was weak and froze instead.
My heart hurts to read every story, regardless of if it was recent or ten years ago. It hurts to know that so many people had to go through what I did and even worse, but what hurts the most is that at one point I accused those women of talking about it for attention and money, not realizing that they finally had the courage to have a voice and be strong enough to tell others what happened to them.
There are many mixed feelings since that night, blaming myself and being disappointed, or feeling strong enough to have been able to deal with it and put a smile on my face immediately after as if nothing happened, but I’ll never forget that morning it happened. I’ll never forget the feelings I felt then and feel now. I’ll never be the same, but I know that I can grow from what happened to me and that I’ll always support those who are courageous enough to tell their story.