I was reading an article today about sexual assault on college campus’. While it seems that the statistics on how often a person is assaulted seem to be rising, we are really seeing a rise in reporting of sexual assaults. This is half of the battle. But, what if your “situation” is not what people think of when they say that nasty four letter word, rape. Well rape is about power and I think many people know this by now. It is not about wanting to have sex with someone, it is about having that power to hold them down and violate their body, which is NEVER okay. So, I hope that my experience will help you. Right now, our statistics tell us that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. This stat used to be closer to 1 in 4. I hope because of my experience that my daughter and my daughters daughter (one day) will be safe because of what I had happen to me.

I don’t tell this story for any other reason than to let people know that rape and sexual assault can have many forms and it is important to recognize it as such. When I was 17, I was a virgin. I wasn’t particularly waiting until I was married, but I was waiting for someone special. I had a couple of boyfriends, but no one I wanted to have sex with and I was okay with that. On the day of my seventeenth birthday, a friend asked if I would bring him a pack of cigarettes. His parents were gone, no car, etc. So, being the good friend I was, I brought them over to him. It is worth mentioning at this point that my mother, gearing up for me to go to college, enrolled me in taekwondo. By the time of my assault, I was halfway to black belt, I taught classes, as well as self-defense. In the end, it didn’t do me a bit of good because I was so shocked.

Needless to say, stranger assaults are generally quite violent and traumatic, but people often do not realize the impact of acquaintance assault BECAUSE they are generally NOT violent. This does not make them any less traumatic. In fact, I think it can be almost more traumatic because when you are assaulted by a stranger, you know you were assaulted. However, if you are assaulted by a friend, well that makes this area much more grey. Did you say no? Did you scream? Fight? Did it even OCCUR to you to do that because you couldn’t believe a “friend” would do this to you? Yep, that’s how I felt. It all happened so fast. He was on top of me and my hands were above my head. Before I knew it, it was over. He told me it was my birthday present. I was deeply ashamed and wondered if I had invited these advances. It led me to run away with the next man I met literally. I felt ruined and he started lies about me at school. As life would have it, he was good friends with one of my first boyfriends, who knew how I felt about sex. I will never forget his name because Mike McBroom was my hero. He told every single one of his friends that my attacker was lying and that I was not like that. Even though we weren’t romantically involved (as romantically involved as you can be at 17 I suppose lol), he defended every last thing that was said about me. I will always be thankful for him and for that. I told a couple of my friends, but they didn’t believe me. I told my mother, who did believe me, but there was not much she could do (it was months before I was able to tell her) and so I never filed a police report and I never brought a case against this person. If I never mention his name out loud again it will be too soon.

What did I do? I took my power back. I learned that sex could be fun and feels pretty good. I realized that not all guys were like him. In fact, MOST guys would never dream of doing such a thing to obtain that which they desire. So, I won’t let anyone make me feel ashamed anymore. I know I am not ruined. A lot of that comes from the hubbs, who is a wonderful and patient lover when needed…….. or just the opposite when THAT is needed *evil grin* and I’m thankful to have him by my side the rest of my nights. If you have been assaulted, please, seek help. Find a psychologist/psychiatrist to speak with that specializes in sexual assaults. Find a support group. File a police report. Go to the hospital and get a rape kit done. It will not happen overnight (my assault was almost 25 years ago) and I can speak with a great deal of removal because it was so long ago. One day you will also. Until then, reach out to someone, anyone. A great place to start is https://www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline. This is the website for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) and their phone number is 1-800-656-4673 (800-656-HOPE). Most cities will also have a local rape crisis center.

Never forget, this too shall pass…..