Danny’s Story: Three Days They Probably Won’t Remember, And That I Wish I Could Forget

Danny’s Story: Three Days They Probably Won’t Remember, And That I Wish I Could Forget

Coming to terms with being transgender/nonbinary, taking both high school and college classes, and struggling with mental illness is hard enough as it is, but only gets harder when three different people on three different days cause what little self esteem you have to come crashing down around you.

1. I met my now ex-partner before they had even come out as nonbinary, and fell into an unhealthy type of love with them. We were constantly together, never wanting to be separated, and I think we both enjoyed being together as much as the other did too. But when they couldn’t stop touching me, arms wrapped around me, hands all over me, lips always on mine, I asked them to stop, but they wouldn’t, and no matter how many times they said sorry, they just kept touching me, ignoring every boundary I asked for, hoped for, needed so badly.

2. I was admitted to a residential, adolescent mental health facility after having been admitted to an acute facility three times in the past year, as well as ongoing outpatient care, with no improvement. I was there for about three months, and near the end of the first month, I was assaulted by another patient, one of my peers. She kissed me in a group room, then came into my bedroom when I was going to take a shower. She pushed me against a wall, made out with me, bit bruises into my neck, and had just pushed me to the floor of my bathroom when a staff member walked past my room. She left quickly to avoid being caught, and I couldn’t manage words, as I hadn’t been able to since she first kissed me earlier.

In the week leading up to that night, I had barely slept, barely been able to focus for longer than a few minutes at a time, and had been hallucinating almost continuously that entire week. Later that night, when my roommate (and different person) grinned at me, asking about what happened, I started to cry, and in the morning I was questioned by the staff about the bruises. I was never given the option of reporting anything, and was told by staff and peers alike that it “must have been consensual” and I had “just made a mistake,” and I was put on precautions labeling me as not just a victim, but an “aggressor,” as if I had consented in the first place.

I had panic attacks for weeks, and still have enough flashbacks and panic attacks, even a year later, that I’m not sure how long it will take to move on and forget. It was also then, in the week after that night, that I finally connected a reason for the invalidation, discomfort, and violation I felt at what my ex-partner had done to me previously.

3. After being discharged from residential treatment, I went back to school, this time for college classes only. On one early morning, in the summer session of classes, I was in one of the buildings on campus, studying for class. A custodian approached me, one I’d talked to before, a man I considered an acquaintance, if not a friend. We talked about movies, and he asked if I liked “adult movies.” Assuming he probably meant R-rated movies I said yes, and he asked if I’d seen a particular one. I said no, and he proceeded to show me porn on his phone, standing far too close to where I was sitting and seeming far too interested in my reaction, far too excited about showing it to me.

It feels like something I should have gotten over by now, a small event that shouldn’t feel so serious, so upsetting, but the image of that scene won’t leave my head, and I find myself avoiding male custodians, nearly a year later, heart pounding and throat closing up until I feel like I can’t breathe.

Even now, I blame myself for all of these things, how I should have done more, said more, thought more, how none of this is really that bad, how I should just move on, get over it, but every time my neck hurts I feel my heart race and my breathing stutter, every time someone won’t stop touching me when I ask them too I feel tears forming in my eyes, and every time a stranger or acquaintance seems just the slightest bit too friendly my mind starts screaming at me to run, run as fast as I can, because nothing here is safe, nothing will ever be safe.

I’m not quite 18 years old yet, and it’s so hard to be taken seriously, because it’s always “you must have been mistaken,” or “but you’re so young, how could that have happened?” and it’s terrifying to doubt myself, to wonder if maybe I did have it all wrong, maybe I’m overreacting.

But I’m finally getting better, I’m finally getting the help and support I need, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up on myself now, after all I’ve managed to survive so far.



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



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