It’s weird how one minute you can have something forced so deep down inside of you yet the next it’s slipping out nonchalantly as if it were never a secret. Today that happened to me. In a conversation on twitter about the insane notions of “Survivor Privilege” (words uttered by George Will claiming that there are certain privileges that go along with being a survivor of sexual assault and that’s it’s almost like a merit badge for women), it slipped out that I had been sexually assaulted when I was in college.
It came out as easily as breathing and I stepped back from the computer for a second to make sure that I really just typed that. Long ago I had come to terms with my experience; it was at a stage in my life where I was insecure, had low self-esteem, and was riddled with anxiety to begin with. The thought of reporting my assault to anyone seemed like the worst thing. This thought was perpetuated by a few who told me that there was no point in reporting it, and another who simply thought I was making it up.
The anxiety I had after that pretty much took over my life and blossomed into something else completely. I was able to escape into my writing and pretend that it never happened. It was only when I started dating Grant that I actually had to confront what had happened to me. The fact was I was almost raped. I was drunk, he was drunk but there was no denying or forgetting what happened. It started out with me actually confiding in him that I was attracted to girls. The rest of the night he pursued me, trying to “set me straight” that I should be with men. Eventually I found myself pinned up against a wall, my throat in his one hand while the other started to remove my clothes and touch me in inappropriate places.
Thankfully not only was he drunk to the point where he was weaker, but I happen to be pretty strong. I was able to get away and ran into the arms of a friend who stayed with me for the rest of the night. After that I just tried to ignore it and went on with business as usual. There isn’t a day that goes by that I wish I had said something.
The point of this post is not to have you all offer your sympathies to me. If you are a decent human being I assume that you think what happened to me was awful. What I’m trying to prove with this is that when things like this happen, it takes a long time to heal and some people never heal. On the flipside, if we open up discussions about this then we can acknowledge that they are happening and start a dialogue of how we can STOP it from happening again.
When I opened up on twitter I was actually floored by how many women (and a few men) who privately messaged me that they too have had similar experiences. It sickened me and just fueled the fact this is happening. It’s not something that is just made up; it is a problem that needs to be talked about because unlike what I thought when I was in college, this isn’t going to go away.