Shared Stories

Tomorrow our country’s new president will be inaugurated.

By an Anonymous Contributor

Many people think of me as someone who is always happy. I am constantly told that I give great advice. That I am a nice person. While I appreciate these compliments I don’t only want to be known as the happy, nice person. I, just like everyone else, have bad days, experience pain, and some days wish I could just disappear forever.

Wednesday October 5th. Today is 105 days since I was raped. It is now Thursday January 18th. I was raped by someone I had invested time into. Someone I had cared about. Someone I forced myself to trust. Someone I had let into my life in hopes of helping them and in return they crushed me.

If I could go back in time and warn myself I would say, “You’re right to feel uncomfortable when he pressures you for your phone number. You’re right to want to scream at everyone who is laughing while he continuously asks if you want to hookup with him in the middle of your english class. Listen to your gut”. But instead, this constant harassment was warped into a feeling of flattery. And that is not my fault. Society tells us that we should be flattered when boys continue to pursue us, when they give us unwanted compliments, and when they are mean to us. We are told “it’s because they like you… They’re just boys, they’ll mature someday… It’s because they don’t’ know how to show their feelings”.

This is never the case.

Tomorrow our country’s new president will be inaugurated. He is a person whom our country has enabled to sexually harass, to bully, to rape. No matter what he says it seems that there will always be people who back him up, and who defend him. He has given a voice to those who hurt. He does not care who he hurts.

One week, my therapist asked me to practice saying no. She said, “Your Nos sound like like semicolons instead of period to boys” and that because of this I should practice saying no when I go out to eat in restaurants or when I am in class or with my friends.

This is the problem.

Maybe it was conscious and maybe it was her subconscious, but in that moment she blamed me. It was my fault that my repeated “no” wasn’t respected. My fault that no matter how many times I let him know that I did not want to have sex, he didn’t understand it. It was my fault because I am “too gentle”.

This was frustrating to hear and I bit my tongue from screaming when she said this. I know that in that moment where I gave up and he took over me, I had tried my hardest. If I were to relived that moment I could not have done anything differently. I know that I was clear. I know that I said no. There was nothing left for me to do.

In the moments after he hurt me, I felt physical pain and after only a few tears I was emotionally vacant. I got out from under him and we did not exchange any more words. I was a shell. I wanted nothing more than to cry but I couldn’t. For the rest of the day I told people that I was just tired. And for the rest of the week I felt sick at the exact same time each afternoon. And for the next few months every second I was reminded of it, but especially on Wednesdays as the time crept on.

I took comfort in hot showers. There I was clean. I could wash the feeling off of me that he gave me when he looked at me in the hall. Staring at the ground as I passed him did not make it any easier when I heard his threatening voice, “Heyyyyy Kate”. Fighting back tears each time I kept quiet and kept walking. I never felt anger. Just fear. And sadness. And confusion. These were things I soon learned could not be washed away with scalding water.

I was encouraged to say something, but how could I? How could I drive him deeper into the pure anger he had? After he had told me so much, how could I knowingly add to the burdens he was carrying? I had to protect him because that is what I do.

After a particularly hard day I broke down and said something to an adult. I said something because of the girls after me. I had to protect them. Two days later was the last time I saw him. I wonder if he took anything from it all. I hope he did, but I have an intuition that he didn’t. And that saddens me. I can’t look at men the same way, and I feel that he looks at women just the same as before. I hope more than anything that he learned to respect and love women the way they deserve to be loved. The way his mother wants him to love women. My heart breaks for her when I think of that moment when she was told what he did to me. All of her biggest fears came true and I hope that she is able to heal from that.

Recently I’ve been minimizing the situation. I stopped going to therapy. My friends stopped asking (partly because they don’t care and partly because I don’t think they realize). Most of the time I don’t want to talk about it and other times I want nothing more than to heal and get help. I am still hurting

He did not receive any sort of punishment in the end as he left quietly and without a fight. He is allowed to live his life, go out with other girls, go to his choice college and follow his dreams, and never have any regrets about leaving me with scars. I am just barely getting through my senior year of high school. I am scared for the people he is around now. I care mostly for the other girls, but I know I can not do anything more for them. I just hope he thinks twice before hurting another one. I know I have to let go.

And I will. Just not yet.

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