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Jun 27

Maria’s Story: My Sexual Assault Saved Me

My therapist tells me I experienced my entire “High School Life” in a matter of 6 months. From grade 9 to half way through grade 12 I was shy, unnoticed and for the most part, innocent. This all changed when I attended my first party, had my first sip of vodka and lost my virginity. One month I was the quiet girl, the next I was the party, girls gone wild, clubbing chick that everyone knew. This quick personality change is what also lead to my depression.

I became to defy my parents, tainting my relationship with them; the people who were my best friends throughout High School. Everytime i went out I drank to the point of not being able to walk or talk because I believed drinking “would make me more sociable” and no one would want to talk to the shy girl I was. When I attended my first year of university, I attended to be the fun, cool, party girl. Along with this, I began to sleep around with boys because I thought sleeping with them was the only way to keep them around.

My family never understood my depression. They thought I was going through my “too cool for everyone” phase late in life. When they discovered the cuts on my upper thigh they figured it was an attention thing, it would go away soon. They never used the word “depressed” around me. I became isolated from them, not wanting to talk to anyone. When I was put on antidepressants, I became numb and slept alot. Sleeping was my way of moving life along faster without actually living it. NyQuil was my drug.

For years I wanted to “save myself for the one”, I loved the idea of having someone so in love with me. This dream was tainted when I slept with more guys then I remember. Depressed, lonely and after discovering my boobs had a power of getting guys attention I attended my first frat party.

I was excited, but to calm my nerves I drank an entire liter of vodka. I was intoxicated before I entered the frat. Knowing a boy I liked was pluaging this Frat, I knew he would be there. When I first saw him I tried to let off a cool vibe, but I was sloshed. Before I knew it he was leading me upstairs to the bedroom. The next events came in flashes.

I remember kissing. I remember him taking my top and pants off. I was lying on the bed, naked. I remember hearing banging on the door.

The other frat brothers were complaining that the guy I was with “went over his time”, meaning he had reserved this room for me specifically in advance. He then told me to get changed and leave. I left humiliated.

These memories only returned to me months after my assault.

The few days after the party, people confronted me about what happened but I refused to believe it. Three months after the assault I had to know, so I texted the guy asking : did we have sex? He replied, yes.

Growing up I heard of these stories, never giving a second thought because I was invincible. Not being able to confront him, I decided to write him a letter reading:

” In sending this message I don’t think it is appropriate for you to show this to anyone else and I don’t expect any response. I just believe I deserve to have my voice heard.

The incident that happened at the frat house late in October has been a large influence in my life. I know there were many misunderstandings that lead up to us having sex. We were after getting closer as friends, getting a little more physical with each other and discussing the possibility of hooking up. Going to the frat party that night, I don’t remember a lot of things. The things I do remember is drinking half a bottle of vodka, along with other drinks. I remember you taking my coat and asking you why you weren’t drinking that night. I remember being lead up stairs to a room where you locked the door and we began to make out. Than I remember blacking out. The next thing I remember was banging on the door from people on the outside wanting to be let in and you throwing my clothes at me, telling me to get dressed. I remember running to the washroom to get changed but forgetting my shirt and having to ask you, in front of all your friends to give me my shirt while I was topless. I remember having to text you weeks later to verify that we had sex because I didn’t know.

Many things happened that night that I wish didn’t, including being sexually assaulted by you.

The thought of being sexually assaulted didn’t become aware to me until 1 month ago. I thought about the event that took place with you a million times and I always considered it a drunken mistake. Even though I was intoxicated, we were after talking about the possibility of hooking up so I figured this party was the best chance. Going to the frat house that night, I felt obligated to sleep with you. That way of thinking is what made me believe what happened was ok and right. Even though I was drunk, I know I said yes at the time.

I now know what consent is and what it is not. Consent is not valid when alcohol is being used and the person is intoxicated. Previous sexual interactions does not imply consent. Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time. Learning about this, it was my first realization that I was able to see that I didn’t give you consent, I couldn’t. I was way too drunk to be able to say yes to you and understand what was happening. Although we agreed to sex in the past, it did not mean it was ok to continue.

I made an appointment with a sexual assault counselor to verify what I had been thinking. After explaining the situation, she told me everything I was feeling was true. I had been sexually assaulted by you. She referred me to numerous agencies as to where I can report the situation. She told me to take some time and think about what I wanted to do. I thought about what the best thing to do so many times. Often I believe it is my fault this happened to me. I believed it was all my fault considering I was leading you on, telling you yes at the time and wearing provocative clothing. Although I still believe that some days, I know that you weren’t drunk that night and knowing I was nearly passing out from drinking too much, yes you did take advantage of me.

I know you are aware I have mental health problems with depression, something I was dealing with during the time of the assault. Self harm was my way of dealing with pain, and what you did put me in a lot of pain. I couldn’t handle that pain and got humiliated at the fact that everyone on the floor knew. I needed an outlet and I did something I regret, and will regret forever. The scar is something that is permanent on my leg, something I see everyday. It hurts to look at it because it automatically brings up the events of that night and you.

I avoided places I think you will be in. I never stay in the common room to talk, afraid that you would walk in. I know you are aware that if you are in the common room I avoid eye contact and either leave or walk quickly pass. I am no longer comfortable with most people on the floor because I believe in the situation, they would take your side. I believe they think I am a slut, or considered easy. I have completely taken myself away from that scene, something I don’t think is fair considering I want to have fun my first year of university too. I haven’t drank since I realized what happened. I only talk to a limited amount of people, but I feel isolated from this school now.

What happened still affects me, and truthfully, it always will. I need you to know what you did was not ok. I wrote this because it was the easiest way for me to address the situation. I honestly just needed you to know what you did to me, how wrong you were, and the impact it has had.”

He responded quickly and the matter as of today has been handled. But from this experience, I realized I needed to take care of myself. I stopped partying, drinking and sleeping around. Since then I have met the love of my life and have felt the happiest I’ve been in years. My sexual assault still haunts me, and always will. But I now know that I am not invincible, I do not have a shield that protects me from evil.

Self acknowledgment is real, and it saves people.

About the author

WYR

When You're Ready.org is a community for survivors of sexual violence to share their stories.

Permanent link to this article: http://whenyoureready.org/mariasstory/