Is it my fault? I didn’t say no… I could have been clearer… I was really drunk, I could have said yes and not remember it. The answer will always be no. It is never the victim’s fault.
Four years ago I was sexually assaulted and I don’t think I’ll ever really be over it. He was my boyfriend at the time and it happened more than once so I thought it was my fault for not being comfortable with it. I kept telling myself that doing that was my job,I was his girlfriend, that’s what I was meant for. I was his. So I never said no, I just silently cried on the forest floor until it was over. To anyone that asked, I put the dirt smudges on my clothes down to falling off my bike. It happened over and over again. The relationship lasted five months, and in those months I ended up topless in the snow more times than I can remember now. I was twelve.
That summer he broke up with me over text and I thought it was the end of the world. I cried for days, I begged him to take me back, I asked him what I did but I never found out. The next year at school he spread rumours about me to, first, our grade, then the rest of the school. I was labeled a w**** and a s***, and I was called worthless. This eventually got so bad that I developed anxiety and depression—I even had to change schools.
At this new school, I decided to be someone different. I put up walls, I wouldn’t talk to anyone. I stayed with a group but none of them really knew anything about me, I was a living ghost. I made myself harsh, mean, angry. I went from the quiet, book-ish girl to the boisterous, loud, outspoken girl. I figured that this way no one would want to get close enough to hurt me again. I was wrong, the people that cared about me most broke down my walls, but even they couldn’t chase away my nightmares. Three years after the sexual assault I finally told someone about it. I told my best friend and didn’t stop crying for hours after.
Telling her did help me decide that I needed to find out more about what had happened to me. I googled sexual assault and what I found shocked me. I wasn’t alone, 1 out of 4 North American women get sexually assaulted in their lifetime, I found that 60% of sexual assaults happen to girls under the age of 16. I also found out that only 1-2% of sexual assaults ever get reported, and I will be one of the 98% that never will.
Even now, four years after the fact I still suffer from anxiety, being anxious all the time eventually led to me getting sick, really sick. The mental consequences affected me physically and they have resulted in me having to give up most of the things I love.
Over all, I have learned that if I had had someone to tell all those years ago, maybe I would have known that I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t worthless because I didn’t stop it. Maybe I would have realised that it wasn’t my fault.