I told both of my stories as soon as they happened. It was my way of wrapping my head around what happened. I was trying understand it myself, and in a way, making other people understand helped me to understand too.
After my first assault, I was a freshmen in college. I told my story to all my close friends, and anytime the topic came up. I was worried that people would look at me differently, and I wasn’t sure why I was doing it. But, as I look back, making the choice to tell my story has made a huge difference in my life.
Telling people my stories has given me the ability to take control of what happened to me. When my assaults happened, I felt powerless. But being able to tell the story the way I want to tell it, gives me that power back. It is my story.
I also was able to tell my story in a way that gave no room for anyone to blame me for what happened. I knew it wasn’t my fault, but I was afraid I would start to feel that somehow I was to blame. So I told my story.
And I kept telling it.
And I still tell it.
I tell it to new friends, new partners, and those who are listening. And I am still afraid. I do not want to upset anyone. I do not want to make anyone uncomfortable. But I know that it is something that isn’t talked about much, so I am going to talk about. And keep talking about it.
Talking about it made me realize what happened to me. Talking about it helped me to get past the “grieving” stage. It helped me to find those that I knew could support me. At some points, I would be acting like I was strong and was not longer bothered by it, but sometimes I was lying. I was faking it until I made it. But it kept me moving forward in the healing process, instead of going backwards. Telling my story was a form of therapy for me.
The most important point for me about telling my story, is that it gave a sort of comfort to others that had been assaulted. Those who have been assaulted or knew someone, finally had someone that they could go to. If they weren’t sure if what happened to them was rape, they knew that could come to me. People could come to me with questions and with stories, and they knew that they wouldn’t be judged. Now, that is why I keep telling my story.