Content Warning: This article discusses a personal experience with sexual assault. Please read with caution.
My heart was pounding out of my chest, my hands were shaking, and I felt every possible feeling at once. I was reliving it all over again -- the feeling of invasion by an unwelcome, unwanted presence has been with me since I was assaulted. It took away all the power I had over my body. It doesn’t even leave my voice -- it just all makes me feel so insignificantly small, weak, and ugly. It hurts and aches, and sometimes I find myself relapsing again and again. I don’t mean in the instance of “my heart aches because I feel it still.” I mean the, “I can still feel it happening -- I can feel what happened to my body. The things that were done to me”.
It was almost three years after the fact when I finally received the “closure” for the assault I experienced when I was fifteen years old. It was the summer after my sophomore year of high school.he one who assaulted me was my boyfriend at the time -- we had been together for over a year and a half. That relationship was very mentally and emotionally brutal. Arguments happened daily, and overall, our relationship obliterated my sense of self and my relationships with others.
My parents still don’t know about the assault, and the friends that saw me with him always firmly believed we had a great relationship. How could I explain to friends and family that the person that I believed I loved at the time, did something so traumatic? As a couple, we did our best to show that our relationship was perfect. Neither of us talked about the arguments to friends or our family -- it was always just between us. As was everything with him, I was all his. I couldn’t have anyone else in my life but him. Only years later did I realize how disgustingly toxic that was.
I remember the my assault quite vividly, and to this day it causes ripple effects on my mental health, leaving me with nightmares, panic attacks, severe body dysmorphia, and more. I still remember the blue-green eyes looking deep into mine and his voice saying, “If you love me, you’ll do this.” Those possessive few words he said just showed how deceitful and manipulative he was
Still having never told my parents and family, my friends and a few mentors in my life are the only ones who know. For each person in my life I have told Thehardest person to tell was definitely my best friend of fifteen years -- the assaulter’s sister.
It wasn’t until February of 2018 - though we had broken up of January 2016 - that he messaged me again. Of course, I had seen him from time to time since I had been so close to his sister. Many of the times, I had to suppress the panic attacks from seeing him or pretend that nothing happened. But that day, my iPhone awoke with a Facebook message notification -- He is trying to contact you. This was after I had finally felt confident enough to tell his sister, “Your brother assaulted me when I was fifteen.”
She didn’t believe me, and I knew well enough she wouldn’t. In my head, I saw this as a chance to confront the issue as close to head on as I could get, since they looked so similar; they had the same eyes.. If I could look into those eyes that I knew far to well again, and say the words “assaulted me,” it would be one step closer to feeling brave enough to say it to him. Or, so I believed. I was mistaken.
When he messaged me that February, he firstly declared that it was a big misunderstanding. Then he begged for forgiveness, and lastly, he demanded that I don’t ruin his life and report it. My emotions were everywhere. I was crying heavily, my breath was short, but I was livid all at the same time. I hadn’t felt this feeling since we broke up -- it felt the same way it did then. I couldn’t believe he thought I could just let this go and forgive him. As badly as I wanted to say, “I can’t just let this shit go, how could I? You completely ruined my self-perception, and I don’t know if I can recover!” I had to be the bigger and better person.
Firstly, I attempted to stay stable and strong in my words so it would prove to him that I was stronger than he thought. But with within the few weeks of him going out of his way to save his ass, I couldn’t take it any longer. With each message, I got more and more brutally honest. I have to admit, looking back at it, I am beyond proud of myself. I was no longer shrinking down to him, , and I was finally getting the chance to stand up to him. He was no longer going to diminish and degrade me like he did that entire year and a half.
By the time he sent his last message,which consisted of him begging for me not to ruin his reputation, I had enough. I was beyond livid. I was explosive. My anger was violent, and my hands were shaking aggressively.
“I’m not reporting you,” I told him, “I can’t report it, it’s too late. It was over two years ago. Yes, I have anger, and it is all directed at you. I let you in my life, fell pathetically in love with you. You obliterated my body image., I flinch at touch because I’m always in a state of paranoia of somebody doing something to me again. As a matter of fact, it happened again! I could easily continue if you’d like,.” After many sighs and my anger still boiling, I continued, “You have nothing to worry about in terms of your future; you are safe. But you did so much damage to me physically, emotionally, and mentally. You disgust me! I hope you are aware I could easily ruin your life in a heartbeat if I wanted to, but I’m beyond better than that. Also don’t forget him, you are like your father. You treat the women in your life like complete and utter trash. Honestly, out of everyone I know, you deserve that feeling of hell more than anyone I have ever known. In addition, I would like to mention the fact that I have people in my life who know about this who have provided me with more love and support than you ever did.”
I hadn’t heard him from since, and I have many unspoken words left to say about it all. I am beyond thankful that I finally got all of this off my chest, but it still doesn’t feel like this was enough.
I finally chose to write this article to grow my confidence in sharing my story, since this past summer was the three-year anniversary of thr event.. I find myself stumbling upon those old pictures of he and I every so often. When I used to look at them, after we broke up, I noticed how happy and in love I thought I was. However, now I notice how young and suffocated I look in them. It’s hard to believe that was my definition of love for a year and a half.
Again, I was fifteen transitioning from my sophomore year of high school into my junior year .. Now at eighteen, I’ll be going into my sophomore year in college, and I’ll be turning nineteen in a month.
My message to other victims of sexual assault and rape is as alone as you may feel, you aren’t. For everyone else, please make sure to be gentle and take time with those are victims of sexual assault and rape.
If you or someone you know is in a dangerous situation or seeking more information, please see the attached resources.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.656