What It Means When Your Girlfriend Has Been Sexually Assaulted

Jacalyn Beales

Whether it happened this month or 5 years go. It’s going to affect her and it’s going to affect you. What she needs from you is to know is that even though she’s smiling through it, it is still something that will haunt her for a long time.

She might have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. She might have been with the one person everyone warned her about “they just seem like trouble”. And they were right. She would give anything to be where she should have been, wearing something not so “appealing” to others, she should have know that person was trouble and fought her own instinct to be friends with them. She would have done these things if she would have know what was going to be taken from her.

It could have been someone she knew or someone who found her to be easy on the eyes at a party. It could have been in the bed of someone’s truck or in her own bed. She could have screamed her guts out or been completely incoherent of what was happening, while it was happening. He could have thrown her out when they were done like an old pair of socks or a dirty towel when he was finished. Or she had to wake up to see what “she” had done. 

The next 24-72 hours are always the worst. It’s coming to terms that’s something has been done to you. Something you had no control over. Something you can’t take back. Something you can’t tell anyone. Because now that you’ve “slept” with a stranger, you’re a whore.

You’re disgusting to those around you with morals. Because where were yours when that happened?

You’re weak because you couldn’t stop him. Because you couldn’t push him off of you.

You’re unfaithful to the boyfriend you have sitting at home. Because he didn’t listen when you told him you had someone at home.

You’re too quiet because he must not have heard you saying no. Because his hands were coving your mouth as you tried to push out that last scream for help.

These are the thoughts that run through your head, through your girlfriend’s head as the days go on. The most important one that everyone thinks at some point is:

“Was this my fault?”

“It is my fault”

“If I wouldn’t have been there. If I would have just watched my drink better or not drank as much.  If I wouldn’t have worn that sequin skirt. If my shirt wouldn’t have been as low cut. If I wouldn’t have worn those tight jeans. If I would have never made eye contact with him. If I would have never done this to myself, this wouldn’t have happened.”

This becomes our battle. 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted in the United States. You’re now dating that 1. She might be your 1 but she belongs to something else before she belongs to you. When she talks about this event, if she does, recognize how strong she is. If she talks about this event, recognize how hard this is for her. If she tells you when this event happened, be considerate of the couple weeks before and the couple weeks after. Be there for her the whole day and everyday she needs you past.

Be able to be there if there are night terrors or nasty memories that creep into her weakened mind. Hold her hand if she needs you to. Don’t be offended if she doesn’t want to be touched or have sex around the day or time. It might be how you show your love, but that idea of love has now been altered for her. Don’t pity her. Whether it happened this month or 5 years ago. She doesn’t need someone to take care of her or say “I’m going to beat the shit out of that guy.” She doesn’t want you to be mad. She wants you to be there.

Although you might not want to listen, you should. Even if it hurts you, it’s hurting her more. Remember, this event and her choosing to tell you about it… this is for some women, the worst thing that has happened to them. Take it as such. We don’t need a night in shinning armor. We just need you. 

When it happened to me, I didn’t want to see that man ever again. I didn’t want to date anyone with blond hair and blue eyes ever again. I never wanted to sit in the cab of a truck ever again. I didn’t want to go running in fear I would run into him. He took so much away from me.

It took so much of me to get myself back. I still haven’t gotten my self back yet and it’s been 5 years. I still think about how I dress and the people I am with. I am that 1 in 4 of my friends now. I am the one who thought it was my fault. I am the one that still has night terrors about the event. I am the one that still cries herself to sleep around the date.

I am the one who was sexually assaulted but I don’t want to be seen as weak, sad, pathetic or pitiful. I have worked hard on myself for a long time. I want to be seen as loved, strong, independent, witty, caring, and so many other things.

An assault is an event in someone’s life, it’s not who they are. Mine shaped so much of who I am now but it will not become a label I carry. I was assaulted and it still affects me. It’s going to still affect her. It will affect you.

Just remember that she’s going to need you more than she wants to tell you, this might have been an event she had to carry by herself. Listen when she decides you’re important enough to know that side of her past too. TC mark

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