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The truth about SA

By @LilyRavenclaw

Almost a year and a half ago I was a victim of SA. At the time I didn’t realize it was SA and I didn’t speak up about it to very many people much less the police. I felt guilty, I felt weak, I felt like speaking up about it would make me even more weak, and I felt like talking about it would jeopardize friendships I didn’t want to let go of.

There was a handful of reasons I never went to the police ranging from fear, and self-doubt, to a lack of validation from people close to me. I was afraid I was succumbing to a victim mentality, afraid of ruining relationships I truly treasured, and paranoid that my story somehow didn’t count because I still had the dictionary definition of my virginity. I was convinced my trauma was fake and self-fabricated. I had endlessly begged the man who assaulted me to stop until I became exhausted and surrendered. I gaslighted myself into believing I SHOULD have been stronger. Lastly I was daunted by the outcome. Although I had friends who told me it was not my fault, I had others tell me that I should repent and that they were disappointed in my weakness. At that point my mind could not comprehend my innocence or victimization. If I were to go to the police, I was convinced the outcome would absolutely validate all my fears that I was an attention seeking monster.

But what they say about time is true: it’s a lens by which one can see the past all the clearer. Looking back it’s easier for me to see why I was a victim and that there is such a thing as real victimization. It’s easier for me to see my real friends in contrast to my “best friend” who told me to repent and has since abandoned me. It’s easier for me to recognize the true strength of resisting assault in any form whether it’s kicking and screaming or a verbal “no”. 

Looking back of course part of me wishes I had gone to the police about it for the sake of women all around me and in the future. I would hate for other women to have to experience that. But in other ways I would love for women to grow as I have. 

A year and a half ago I had barely any empathy for situations where the lines between consent and non-consent seemed hazy. I was incredibly self-righteously judgmental. “How hard could it be?” I thought “to fight back? To say no?” “How hard could it be to break their nose and give them a reminder every time they looked in the mirror?” “How hard?” What I didn’t know was that it is nearly impossible to do all of the above in the moment. Maybe not for everyone, but for many and for me. 

There is of course the obvious fantasy of what might have been if my SA experience never happened. What friendships might still exist? What images might not haunt my memory?

But who would I be without this experience? What wouldn’t I have become if I’d continued to live in self-righteous bliss? I can’t say. Nobody can.

But I do know who I am now.

I do know what has come from this claw mark on my heart.

And I am stronger because of it. 

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