It was a Sunday morning; she was walking down the street with her mother; excited to go shopping for the day when a man groped her in the crotch. She was 8 and it was the first time a man had touched her without her consent. She pretended it never happened.
She was just 14 when she got her chest pinched at a crowded street festival. She thought it was her fault because she was born a girl. No one told her growing up that when something like this happens, it is never her fault but it is the choice of the people who do such a thing to her. She started to get embarrassed of her growing body- hunching her back as she walked to protect her shame.
She went to college full of hope for the future. She had a crush on this cute boy who asked her to come see the stars one night. He held her hand in the moonlight and tried to kiss her, she was shy and not ready. He pushed her down and kissed her anyway. He called her a bitch and left her under the same stars.
She worked in finance and loved going to concerts with her girlfriends. It started with the pretty lights of the night; she had a lot to drink and woke up half-naked next to an acquaintance. With no memory of the past few hours, she went to her friend for support who said, “You chose to sleep in that room.”
She is every girl, she has seen less than some- more than others. No girl wakes up thinking how her life will change that day because of what one boy can do to her. But someone is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes in the United States.
You will see her anger, but you will not understand that it is her pain. You will see her yell and get outraged but you will not see how broken and sad she is on the inside. You will not see how she has lost her ability to trust- you will most likely make it about you but it is really about her; the words she can never say, the incident she cannot repeat.
You will see her change. You will see her withdraw. You will see her engage in things you never knew she was interested in. You will see her staring out in space with tears in her eyes but unable to cry because of what one moment did to her.
She will be present but her mind will be elsewhere. She will want to tell you what happened but won’t because of how the one person reacted to it when she told her. She will think it is her fault because her one friend said she chose to sleep in that room.
She will be confused. She will try to confide, but no one will understand how hard it is for her to tell the story again. She will try to pretend it never happened, but sometimes when she can’t pretend anymore she will cry where no one can see her tears, where no one can hear that sound. She will think she can never love again.
She does not need someone to judge her. She doesn’t need answers. She doesn’t need to know why it happened to her. She needs help moving forward.
She needs a friend. She needs someone to listen when she is ready to speak. She needs someone to tell her it was not her fault. She needs someone to tell her that though it was a horrible incident, it does not change who she is- it did not change the purity of her soul. She needs someone to make her believe that she is still the same person who believed in the beauty of the world.
She needs a friend who will see the pain in her anger, someone who can see her sadness in her silent screams. She needs someone to be there for her. She wants someone to validate her feelings and acknowledge her words. She needs someone to tell her that what happened was not right but that she can move past it slowly with time. She needs someone who will be there for her without judging her.
When she is ready, she will want someone to help her find justice.