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When You Can't Find Someone With a Sexual Assault Story Like Yours

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When I sit down to watch “Law and Order SVU,” it’s cathartic. Most of the time it’s black and white whether it was rape, the person is arrested, and even if there isn’t a conviction their name is ruined forever.

• What is PTSD?

My story didn’t go like that.

I’d like to put a potential trigger warning here because although this piece may bring you comfort, it may also make you have your own flashbacks.

It was somebody I knew. He went to my high school. We reconnected on a dating app. I never once said I wanted to have sex. In fact I repeatedly said I didn’t. It didn’t stop him from trying to undo my clothes or telling me to relax, that I actually did want it if I would stop being an uptight tease. I had the chance to run. I had the chance to try and make him leave, but after awhile I gave up fighting. I don’t think I will ever stop having replays in my head about how I could have stopped it.

The police told me saying no before, but not during, is a “gray area.”

As of recent, I have been diagnosed with PTSD. So what do I do now?

What do you do when your story doesn’t match anybody else’s and you feel suffocated by your own memories?

Some days I shut off. Others I cry. Some days I am willing to talk about it.

Writing this is a step forward. I am starting to accept that my story will never make sense to everyone but me, because I lived through it, and maybe that is OK. Still, it doesn’t feel OK right now.

If this has happened to you: be patient with yourself, be kind to yourself, listen to yourself. It is so important to listen to yourself.

Someday I will heal. I will grow.

As hard as it is to risk putting my story out there for the world, I know that maybe just one other person will read this and relate… which is something I have wanted from the day it had happened to me.

Sexual assault is a part of my story. I lost a piece of myself, but I am choosing to fight now. It is a part of my story, but it does not define me, and it does not define you.

Getty image by dtiberio

Originally published: March 29, 2018
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