Working Through it All

Working Through it All

156 26

I have known about this organization for almost a year now but every time I sit down to write my story, something stops me. So, here’s to actually doing it. Thank you in advance for spending the time to read this. 

This all happened a few years ago. I had just gotten into a new relationship which I was super excited about. I liked the guy and everything seemed good. Looking back on it, there were lots of red flags. After a couple of weeks, he started to slowly separate me from my friends by not allowing me to sit with them at lunch or always inviting himself to girls nights and group hangouts. At the time I thought that he just wanted to have some extra time to spend time with me which I thought was sweet. After 3 months of dating, he started pressuring me to sleep with him, which I didn’t want to do and had told him that. One day when he was over at my house, he tried to rape me. After, it was like he realized what he had done and apologized profusely. I ended up forgiving him, thinking that it would be a one time thing and moving on. We ended up breaking up a few months later just to get back together 2 months after that. 

This next round of dating was very on again, off again and he ended up telling me that I couldn’t tell any of my friends about our relationship, especially my best friend. I didn’t know why but I agreed anyway. I quickly found out that if I didn’t do what he wanted whether it be have sex with him or talk to someone he didn’t want me to, he would tell other people my secrets. I felt completely secluded not being able to tell anyone what was going on in my life. He cut me off from my friends and my ability to say no. 

The one time I did have the bravery to say no, he raped me. This relationship lasted for over a year and I ended up getting out of it by telling my best friend and going to a college 6 hours away from where I grew up. Throughout my senior year, I knew that the only way of getting out was to leave completely and go somewhere he couldn’t get to me easily. And that’s what I did. My freshman year of college, I realized how much of an impact that relationship had had on me. I was diagnosed with PTSD and went into therapy. I decided that I couldn’t let fear run my life anymore and that I couldn’t fix my problems by running away from them. 

For my sophomore year of college, I transfered universities to a school I am much happier at and I am glad to say that things are going a lot better. There are still bad days where I worry about seeing him or I will have nightmares, but those are getting better, especially as I get more comfortable telling people what happened to me. At this point, the majority of my friends know what happened to me and they stand by me. I am still unable to tell my parents, however. I know that they would support me and wouldn’t blame me or anything but I just don’t know how to tell them, especially as it has been 2 years since the first assault. I just have never really had a great communicative open relationship with my parents but I feel like I am keeping this huge secret from them as it is something that affects me so much. 

So yeah, I think that’s it. The very brief explanation of what happened to me. Thank you for reading my story, I hope you are having a great day. To anyone still working through their assault, it will get better. Thanks again, much love. <3


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26 comments

  1. Jordan L Volunteer

    Hello there,
    I’m so sorry about what had happened to you. You did not deserve any of this.
    Sometimes when you fall in love, you get blinded by that love and don’t see the red flags right away. I’m so glad you did see the red flags and got out of the relationship when you could. I’m also glad you were able to confide in your friends and have their support through this. All your feelings are valid and you tell your parents when you are comfortable enough to tell them.
    You have shown so much bravery and courage through your process of recovery. I’m happy to hear you were able to get the professional help you needed in order to help you cope with the trauma and PTSD. I hope you find peace in the years to come.
    You are always welcomed here. We support you. We care for you.

    -Jordan

  2. blashea

    Hi, thank you so much for trusting us with your story. You are so brave and strong. I am sorry that this happened to you and that he took advantage of your trust and boundaries in that way. I am glad to hear that things are getting better for you and that you are safe! You deserve to be happy. Please never hesitate to reach out if you need us. We are all here for you and support you.

  3. eagle206 Volunteer

    Hi edowney,

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, you are brave and so strong for sharing. I am so sorry that you had to deal with this horrible boyfriend. Isolating you was wrong and you didn’t deserve to have to deal with this. No means no and he should know this. I am glad you are feeling better for your sophomore year of college. Your friends are a good support network. Maybe you can talk to your parents with a friend. Having the support there with you could help. Please post updates to your story if you feel you want to. We are all here for you. Stay strong.

    Tyler

  4. Amysue43 Volunteer

    You are amazing. I’m very impressed with the steps you have already taken toward defeating this anger and frustration you have with your experience. The mindset of not allowing for fear to take hold over your life is remarkable. You should know that this event does not define you and you are much stronger than you think you are even now with all the progress you’ve made. I’m sorry to hear what happened to you, but you should know that we support you and are here to listen to your story. I’m glad that you found comfort in sharing with us and I hope that you will keep us up-to-date on your thoughts, feelings, and progress.

    Stay strong! <3

  5. zoeyb

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, first I would like to say that you are so tremendously resilient. I am so glad that you are surrounded by such supportive friends. It sounds like you have made a lot of progress on your journey towards healing and acceptance, it must have been a hard journey but you endured and came out on the other side. It’s awesome to hear that your transfer is proving to be a positive effect on your life! It must feel incredibly hard to try to explain what happened to you to your parents, but if it is something you eventually want to share, I believe in you. There isn’t ever an objective “right time” to tell someone what happened; whatever you decide to do or not do is right. If you tell them now or wait for another 5 years, that’s 100% okay. We are always for you- I believe and fully support you.

    -Zoey

  6. Edjay Volunteer

    Hi edowney,

    I appreciate you for sharing your story with us–I can only imagine the strength it took on your part to decide to share that with us. What happened to you was awful, and you didn’t deserve to go through that. It is great to hear that you decided to take control of your life and face your problems head on by going to therapy. It’s great to hear that things are going better for the most part, but it’s totally understandable and normal to have both good days and bad days. It’s also awesome to hear that you have supportive friends who are standing by you. Telling parents about something of this magnitude is definitely something that a lot of people have trouble with, so it’s totally okay to take your time until you feel more comfortable telling them. I’m wishing you nothing but the best. Take care.

    Edjay

  7. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi edowney,
    I’m so sorry this happened to you, but I’m so happy that you were finally able to post your story. That is a huge step towards recovery. I know how hard this must have been to actually post what you have been trying to post for over a year. What happened to you is not your fault. Don’t blame yourself. If you want to tell your parent you can. You can tell them when you are ready. That can be hard to do because you never know how they are going to react to something like this, but as long as you want to and are ready to tell them, I think you should. If you are scared, we are here for you. We support you every step of the way. Thank you for trusting and sharing your story with AVFTI. Continue to stay strong.
    -Alyssa

  8. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    it is never too late or never a bad time to share some pain you had gone through. Healing takes time and the fact you shared your story takes courage.I hope you contiune to stay strong and please keep us posted. We are here for you!

  9. Colton Kim Volunteer

    It’s never too late and never a bad time to share something traumatic that happened to you. Healing takes time and the fact that you even shared your story on here at all is amazing! I hope that you are continuing to stay strong and I hope you have a great day as well!

  10. Sweetny Volunteer

    Hey edowney,

    Thank you for sharing. I understand abusive relationships very well, and I am so sorry you experienced this. I am so glad your friends have been so supportive, and that you were able to successfully seek treatment and find help. A support system like this is crucial to healing. It is really hard to talk about trauma, especially to parents. It sounds like it might be really helpful for you to tell them, sit them down and just say “There’s something I need you to hear.” Your therapist can help you prepare for the conversation whenever you are ready. But only do it when you feel the time is right. It doesn’t matter if you wait 2 years or 10 years, it only matters that you are ready to tell them. I wish you the very best of luck with your parents, school, and healing. Everything is going to be okay 🙂

  11. Jess Volunteer

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. None of what happened to you was your fault. You didn’t deserve to be manipulated, lied to, or assaulted. His actions are his own, and you are in no way at fault.
    I’m glad to hear that you’re doing better! It’s so amazing to hear that you have supportive friends and you were able to get away from the perpetrator. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It can be incredibly difficult to share your story, so you have to do it at your own pace. I’m so glad that you trusted us enough to share. <3 Please continue to share your story as you feel comfortable. It can be hard to tell family, especially parents, so don't push yourself too hard.

    If there's anything else we can do to help you, please let us know. We are always here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  12. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi edowney,
    I’m truly sorry that you were treated this way and that he was extremely controlling. What happened was not your fault, and you didn’t deserve it. It sounds like he was manipulating you by sharing your secrets when you didn’t comply with what he said. That is unacceptable and terrible, and you deserve so much better.
    I am so glad that you’re doing better at this point in your life and that your friends are supporting you. I understand the fear of telling your parents what happened. Since this is your story, I encourage you to share if/when you feel comfortable. There’s no pressure to share.
    Thank you for trusting us with your story. It is difficult to put words to these experiences and share them. If you need anything, please feel free to write back. We’re here to support you in any way we can. Continue to stay strong!

  13. Marissa Day Captain

    Hey edowney,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us, even if it took a few times! It’s totally ok to tell your story at your own pace… in fact, that’s definitely the best thing to do, haha! In general, it really won’t help if you force yourself to tell people. Please only do what you’re comfortable with 🙂

    I’m really sorry for the manipulative situation you were in, but it was really brave of you to go to school so far away, even though it was hard. It was also a huge step for you to go to therapy! A lot of people aren’t comfortable with telling others in person what they’ve been through – me included! So I’m really proud of you for that 🙂

    I’m glad your friends are standing by you through everything, and I totally understand that you’re hesitant about telling your parents. You should do it when you’re comfortable… and if you never are, that’s okay too! No one has the right to know your story.

    I just want you to know that you’re insanely strong, and I’m happy you found your way here. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything!

    Marissa

  14. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    First, I want to say that I’m so sorry for what happened to you. You didn’t deserve this, and this wasn’t your fault. I’m glad to hear that you are doing better and that your friends are supportive. It’s okay that you haven’t told your parents-it took me more than two years for some of the things that happened to me. You take the time you need-and you never have to tell them if you don’t want. You don’t owe anyone your story. Thank you for sharing-we are here for you.

    Erin

  15. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear edowney,
    Thank you for trusting us with your story. It takes a lot of courage to put personally painful events into words for strangers to read. I hope that sharing your story in this way helps you heal. There is nothing like have support, validation, and empathy from those you care about….in many ways, it can be the best “medicine”; it is good to hear that you have surrounded yourself with supportive people. Your decision about if/when to tell your parents is completely yours…go with what feels best for you. It sounds like you will have their love and support either way. Please feel free to write to us as often as you would like and let us know if there is anything we can do for you. You are brave and strong!
    Sending love and strength,
    Roxie

  16. CarmenR Volunteer

    Hi there,

    Thank you for trusting us with your story and having the courage to share it with us. I am so sorry for what you have been through. What happened was not your fault, and you didn’t deserve it. You are so incredibly strong, and have such a positive attitude.

    I understand where you are coming from with your parents. It took me two years after my assualt to tell my parents about what had happened. It was difficult, but they were incredibly supportive. It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulder. You get to decide when you are ready to tell them, and when you are ready we will be here to support you through it. Stay strong, and remember that we support you.

    Carmen

  17. Juliana331 Volunteer

    You are so courageous on so many levels. First, taking the steps to distance yourself so that you could be safe. Then sharing what happened with your friends, I’m so glad they have supported you. Also, sharing your story with us, we are also here to support you. Have you talked with a therapist yet? They could help you work through if, when and how to share what happened with your parents. Having someone support you through that decision can help you sort through if it is the right decision for yourself. Be kind to yourself as you make the decision. Whether you tell them now, five years from now or never tell them, know that the choice is yours to make.

  18. Mary Volunteer

    Hi edowney,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. You are so strong. I am so sorry to hear what you went through. You didn’t deserve to go through a second of it. You have come so far, and it sounds like therapy was really helpful for you! PTSD is no easy thing to deal with, but you are very right – it does get better. It sounds like you have a great support system in your friends, and that is so important. I know it is difficult to keep something so huge from your parents, but the choice to tell them is yours and yours alone. If and when you decide to tell them, please let us know how it goes! We are all here for you.

    Mary

  19. Melody Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, Edowney – it is great to hear you’re in a better place with a support system of friends that are there for you and that you’re making such big strides of progress despite how difficult this must have been for you. No one should ever have to accept control masked as love, it’s good to hear you recognized this relationship for what it was and fought your way out. You made a very difficult decision to leave your awful situation with so much grace and compassion for others who have been through similar situations. That is incredible, and a sure sign of indomitable strength.

  20. andyspringer Volunteer

    Dear edowney,

    You are damn warrior. We sometimes don’t get to see someone’s healing process in their posts on here; and that’s totally okay, because healing and the road to recovery looks different to everyone. But your bravery to come forward and not only tell us your story, but to provide even an inkling of hope to those that will read this is a very noble and selfless act.
    I am so sorry you had to go through this, but I cannot commend you enough for doing this. You are absolutely right- it will get better.

    Always,
    Andy

  21. bjames1121 Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are extremely brave for getting out of that abusive relationship. You didn’t deserve being treated like his property. I’m glad that your friends are supportive. Take this time to heal and get to know you, when the time is right you will know in your heart to share what happened to you with your parents. It took almost 30 years for me to discuss with my mother. Stay encourage my friend and know that we’re here if you need us.

    Beverly

  22. mkyuellig Volunteer

    Hi Edowney,

    Thanks for sharing your story with us, that takes a lot of courage. I am so sorry to hear about what you went through. I want you to know that you did nothing to deserve this treatment, and that abusers like your ex are master manipulators who know how to take advantage of kind and trusting people like yourself. I’m sorry about the fear and anxiety you must have been living with through that entire time. However I am very proud of you for getting out of the situation, and especially proud of you for seeking help with a counselor. As you likely know from sharing your story with us, it takes a lot of emotional energy and vulnerability to share your story with another person, especially someone like a therapist. I just want you to know that we will always be here for you if you need support or to vent. Try to remember that recovery is not linear- you will have good days and bad days, and none of them will undo all the work you’ve already done in healing.

    stay strong and be gentle with yourself,
    Keight

  23. Gamato04 Volunteer

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are incredibly brave for doing so. Nothing was your fault, and you didn’t deserve any of it. This would be a great way to tell your parents wince you wrote bout it so eloquently. I am incredibly happy to hear that you are happy at your new school, college can really change peoples lives. Would telling your parents help your relationship with them? Would it help you?

  24. Ryan4121 Volunteer

    Edowney,

    You wrote this so beautifully. Thank you. If you would tell your parents, I think this would be a very appropriate way to summarize what happened. We are sorry this happened to you and glad that you are safe. And we are honored you would even come to us with your story. I’m so glad you took it upon yourself to get help. The Get Help page on our website provides further services if you feel it is needed. From reading this, I do disagree with one thing…I think you are a great communicator. And as I said, I think describing the situation like this to your parents is perfect. Please, keep going strong and keep coming back to us if you need to. We are always here for you and support you.

    Ryan

  25. Deanna Volunteer

    Hi edowney-

    Thanks for sharing your story with us here. I’m so sorry for what you endured but I’m glad that you’re safe now. A few years ago I was stuck in a similar dynamic, it’s great that you were able to confide in your friend and get out. It sounds like you’ve made great progress! Everything does get better in time, you’re right. I’m glad you posted your story.

    -Deanna

  26. Ashley Day Captain

    Thank you for making the decision to confide in our community, edowney.

    He had no right to isolate you or prevent you from spending time away from him. You set boundaries with him by stating that you weren’t interested in sleeping with him and he should have respected those boundaries. I’m thinking that it felt gut-wrenching to be pressured to do things that you didn’t feel comfortable with, especially since he threatened to disclose personal information.
    It’s great to hear that you were able to confide in your best friend about what he was doing. I imagine that the thought of moving six hours away felt unnerving. Navigating conversations about sexual violence can be tough, so it’s not abnormal that you haven’t told your parents about what you have experienced. If you decide that you’d like to tell your parents, please know that we’re here to support you during that process.

    Keep hanging in there 🙂