Elizabeth Halpin

Hi! I’m Elizabeth.

First and foremost, I am a person. I am a sister, a daughter, a friend, an employee, a supervisor, a volunteer, a teammate, and a roommate.

But also, I am a survivor of sexual violence.

In the spring of 2012, I was out with friends on a Friday night. I met a guy in a bar, got separated from my friends and ended up alone with him. I knew I was in trouble but I didn’t know how much trouble until he threw me against a mirror. It got a lot worse from there – a blur of trying to scramble away. It took me 8 hours to figure out how to escape, and I still wake up in the middle of the night feeling his hands around my throat.

I spent the whole next day at the hospital getting examined, photographed, poked and prodded. I filed a police report and spent hours giving statements, identifying photos, and talking with a detective. After an 18 month investigation, the crown concluded that there was not enough evidence to move forward and press charges. There is no appeal process for this type of decision. I’m still a little devastated to be honest.

During the investigation, and for a while afterwards, I struggled a lot with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, hypervigilance, heart palpitations, fear, loneliness, and generally feeling unsafe took over my life. I moved, switched jobs, chopped off my hair, the whole works. I kept trying to outrun myself and my problems, and desperately looking for the old me but she was gone. I had to rebuild my life right from square one. I tried running, yoga, eating my feelings, therapy, medication, meditation, Nyquil, self help books… anything and everything. I can’t pinpoint one specific thing that ‘fixed’ or ‘cured me’, but I’m sure it was a combination of all of those things plus time. There were some days where the only positive thing in my life was that I was one day farther away from the worst night of my life.

I first published my story on When You’re Ready in February 2015, after a string of sleepless nights obsessing over the Jian Ghomeshi case. I thought that if I had to spend another god damn sleepless night, everyone is going to hear about it. And they did. I was frustrated to no end that people were not listening to anonymous victims, I hoped they would believe one that had a name and a face attached to it. And they did. I received an overwhelming outpouring of support, and have recently started speaking publicly about my experiences. I’m still hoping my story has helped others to feel less ashamed and alone.

So, here I am – just a girl with a story. I’m trying to help make the world a safer, softer place for my two little sisters and make something good come out of all of the darkness & suffering.

Keep talking, keep sharing. “I hope everyone can heal from this” (LIGHTS)

Love, Elizabeth

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