Why I Need to Talk About My Rape


Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

“When I was 15, I was raped by four older guys, who then proceeded to follow me home in their car calling me a “slut.” When I reported it to the police, my entire community of peers turned against me and alienated me to the point where I wouldn’t leave my house. But that was a long time ago, I’m OK now.”

This is how I usually open the conversation about my rape. A lot of people find my bluntness and openness about my rape to be off-putting and uncomfortable, but what I find more uncomfortable is not telling people I’m getting close to this vital piece of information about who I am.

What happened to me eight years ago shaped my life. I struggle with depression and pretty major PTSD — even typing out the first paragraph of this story made my hands shake. It’s brutal, it was brutal, but it’s important.

There are a lot of good reasons to open up about my rape, one being the fact that we need a more open dialogue about these kind of crimes — especially in cases of brutal victim blame like I experienced. And while that cause is incredibly important to me, it’s not the reason I’m so blunt about my life experiences.

What happened to me as a teenager triggered a string of bad decisions from drugs to older men and everything in between. It caused issues I still work on to this day. But in order to understand me as a 20-something-year-old woman, I need people to understand who I was as a 15-year-old girl.

Talking about my life experiences with new people I bring into my life allows me to feel like I’m able to share a true version of myself. I may have spent my teenage years hiding away, but I’m going to spend the rest of my life in the open, and I’ll never let anyone tell me I shouldn’t.

If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

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Thinkstock photo via Victor_Tongdee.


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