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When Rape Leaves You Wondering If You'll Ever Be Safe Again

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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.

December 2016, January 2017 and February 2017 are months that are going to haunt me for the rest of my life. These months forever changed how I viewed myself. These were the months that made me lose control over my own body. These were the months my body was taken advantage of. These were the months that “no, stop” lost its meaning.

• What is PTSD?

I was in my junior year of college. I was getting good grades, was loving going to class and I was finally figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. It was right before winter break.

The first time I was raped.

The first time you stole my sense of safety, identity and worth.

At the time, I never knew I could feel ashamed, scared and disgusted at once. That I would spend months blaming myself for actions I did not commit, thinking if I just did something different, it never would have happened, pondering how someone could do what you did and not feel remorse.

It’s been just over a year and I am still recovering. The flashbacks, nightmares and panic are all still real. At night, I no longer sleep because the fear of being hurt again has not faded. The fear of wondering if I will ever be safe again, is still as opaque as it was a year ago.

I was once an outgoing, happy college student. But that was stripped away. I now struggle with PTSD. But you did not win. I am going to get control back.

I am courageous because I refuse to live my life in fear. I am courageous because even though I am scared, I am not going to let it stop me.

I am putting the pieces that were once shattered back together. The glue I once used to fix the broken pieces, will soon become permanent.

I am not going to stop doing what I love because of you. You’ll never take that away.

You tried breaking me and stole my identity. But don’t worry, you didn’t win.

You aren’t going to be able to break me because I come back stronger, tougher, better — because I am a survivor.

There is still so much beauty in this world, and I am just getting a glimpse of it.

Unsplash photo via Zohre Nehmati

Originally published: May 7, 2018
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