Thought Catalog
May 11, 2017

To My Fellow Sexual Assault Survivors: You Did Nothing Wrong

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Unsplash / Chris Montgomery

I was sexually assaulted.

Assault. Such a nasty word. Sounds dangerous.

Doesn’t really seem right. This isn’t an instance I dwell on, or even one I think about very often. But I believe it is important to discuss, as I cannot even count the number of people this has happened to, or it has happened to and they don’t even realize it.

If you’re wondering, I’ll fill you in on the details.

Some friends and I were out together; we were drinking and having a good time. We were somewhere we weren’t too familiar with, so getting home was either going to be a ride service or receiving the blessing of a free ride.

Lucky us, we found one.

There were two men we met at the bar, one of whom was speaking with my friend and the other who was speaking with me. Now, this part is a little fuzzy but I am almost positive as we were all exiting the bar he kissed me. Not entirely sure if he asked or just went for it, but I’m pretty sure it’s the latter.

As we were walking to their car (the gentlemen speaking with my friend was the designated driver), I made sure to keep my eyes on my friend. I was concerned about getting her home safe, so I wasn’t particularly focused on myself. This all to the chagrin of the person walking with me, as he repeatedly expressed his interest in my attention. This part is where everything started to come back in clear, sharp focus.

“Why won’t you hold my hand? You were so nice at the bar. Why won’t you kiss me?” He said.

“I’m really only concerned about getting my friend and I home safe at this point, thank you. That’s my only thought right now,” I replied.

Now, I’m not really sure what in that statement made someone think I was interested in something more, but I digress.

We made it to the car, and as the other gentlemen helped my friend in the passenger seat, I was being blocked from entering the vehicle by the other guy. According to him, the only way I was allowed in the car was if I were to kiss him.

At this point, I was desperate to get home (it was late, it was rainy, I was exhausted, and we still had a third friend to track down), so I tried to get around him to get in the car. Alas, I was not quick enough and after several failed attempts on my part I gave him a quick kiss to gain my entrance.

Yippee.

Once in the vehicle, he kept talking about how mean I was to him and how I should be nicer because we were getting a ride home from them. I guess in his mind there was a payment required for their kindness.

This payment came when he started to grab at me in the back of the car. Our destination was about fifteen minutes out, so I assumed I could just push him off until then. Unfortunately, that was not the case. He pushed his mouth onto mine and shoved his hand down my jeans. To save you some nitty gritty details here, I’ll just let you know his hand and the fingers attached to it were places they were certainly not welcome.

Did I try and push him off? Absolutely. Multiple times. I was scared if I made too much of a fuss though we would be stranded in the rain with no ride, so I didn’t yell too much. Mostly I just grabbed at his arms and tried to pull them out of my jeans. He was much stronger than me though, so that didn’t really work. Eventually I just kind of held his arm with as much pressure as I could manage to try and pull it out of where it didn’t belong, but I really just had to wait out the duration of the ride.

The minute we arrived, I sprinted out of the car and ran as fast as I could toward where our third friend was. I didn’t tell them what happened that night, my friend in the front wasn’t even aware of what was happening (which is not her fault, by the way, I didn’t make it known to her at the time).

I couldn’t even pick that guy out of a lineup if he was the only one in it. I can sort of frame his body type and a few facial features, but it isn’t enough. I don’t really want to. I’ll never meet that guy again in my life.

I’ve had this struggle with myself the last few months, whether I can even call it sexual assault or not. But sexual assault by definition is sexual contact or behavior occurring without consent of the recipient. And let me tell you one thing – I did NOT consent to that.

I want to say something to those that are survivors of assault. Whether you are a man, woman, non-gender conforming, or whichever you choose to identify as – understand that what happened to you is not a defining point in your life, but it is okay to let yourself feel the weight of it. When someone violates a certain part of you, it will affect you. It will hurt you and it will sneak up on you when you least expect it.

Understand that you are more than this situation. Someone chose to take something from you, yes, but you are still here. They didn’t take all of you. Someone else was weak; they couldn’t wait for something or couldn’t handle the rejection of not getting it so they took it. But you are not weak. You are a powerhouse of an individual, and you will absolutely make it through this. I know that for a fact, even if I don’t know you personally.

If you are reading this, and something like this or much worse than this has happened to you I am truly sorry. From the bottom of my heart, I need you to believe that. But I also want you to know that talking about it is okay. This is not a situation to be ashamed of, as you did nothing wrong here. Your responsibility is not to understand why this happened, or to take on the shame of something where shame shouldn’t exist; your responsibility is to heal. To let yourself breathe again. To understand that this is not always what will happen.

Healing sucks, it takes time, and it isn’t pretty. But allow yourself that luxury. You deserve that.

I understand a few things about that night. No, it was not smart to get in a car with strangers. Yes, perhaps I could’ve made a bigger fuss and the situation would’ve been different. But who knows. Perhaps this had been his idea from the beginning and I wouldn’t have avoided this even if I had ‘tried harder’. Those things beings said, it is NEVER okay for someone to do that to you if you say no. Never.

This situation and that person do not own me. But it is a part of my story now, and it is a part I want to share- if only to let someone know they are not alone. There are many of us, many survivors, and we are strong. We will only get stronger. TC mark