When I was about 13 years old, I lost my virginity to rape at a 4th of July party. I was naive and unaware of my limits in regards to alcohol and drugs, so I binge-drank and took Xanax to the point of blacking out. The next morning, I woke up naked in a bed next to a man in his mid-twenties whom I had never seen before. I felt dirty, used, and worthless. I was too afraid to tell anyone what had happened to me because I learned from our society that if girls just dressed more modestly and didn’t go out drinking, then these things could be avoided. I tried everything I could to bury my guilt and shame for years. When the memories would creep back up, I would try to use substances to drown the thoughts out.
Eventually, the weekend parties started to seep into the weekdays, until it got to the point that I was constantly using drugs just to calm my nerves and avoid my emotions. I did not realize that processing my trauma was the real solution, so instead, I took to unhealthy coping mechanisms that were easier for me to deal with.
Somewhere around the age of 15 or 16, I found methamphetamines. I felt like I had arrived. I began to chase the high 24/7, doing anything I could just to score some meth. Any morals that I had developed went out of the window and I turned into a shell of the girl that I used to be. My life went from doing my homework and playing sports with my friends to selling drugs, prostituting, and slowly killing myself in a matter of a couple of months. All I had wanted was to forget about my sexual assault, but I ended up putting myself at more of a risk for new traumas.
At the age of 17, I was raped by one of the people I did meth with. This time I was awake, and he was violent. I won’t go into the details for the sake of assuring I don’t trigger any readers and because I am sure some of you have experienced similar trauma (I wish that wasn’t the case). After this assault, I couldn’t leave my house. I told my roommate at the time what had happened to me and she pushed me to get sober. I was not ready to attempt sobriety for about one more year. On my 18th birthday, I realized that the drugs were not getting me high anymore and as a result, my flashbacks and memories from both assaults were louder than ever. This is what led me to finally go to a drug rehabilitation center, where I was taught how to love myself again.
According to an article, “For each traumatic event that happened to a child, they were two to four times more likely to grow up to be an addicted adult”. When I read those statistics I felt a lot of reassurance that I was not alone in my experiences. In treatment, I also met many women who shared the same trauma as me; which allowed me to feel accepted and less shameful about my past. I learned that my sexual assaults were NOT my fault, that I deserve love, and I have begun my journey towards recovery from my trauma. I urge anyone who is dealing with sexual assault by themselves, to find someone they trust and talk about it with them- once you are ready. Dealing with trauma alone is nearly impossible, and can lead you down a dark path. I share my story in hopes that it will help someone who has gone through the same issues as me, or to keep someone from making the bad decisions I made about how to go about dealing with my sexual assault.