This is a little something that I wrote for Change The Talk. It was part of my senior project chronicling my time with Change The Talk (a program now operated under SafeBAE). I would like to give a trigger warning to survivors, as the nature of this writing could be triggering in bringing up pre-existing emotions. To all the survivors, I just wanted to let you know that while I may not know who you are, I believe you.
Nobody tells you that walking alone at night will almost always be scary.
That some nights you will spend what feels like every five seconds looking over your shoulder, clenching your keys in between your fingers.
That strange men will try to follow you into a parking lot.
Try to pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do then blame you and call you a tease.
Nobody tells you that when walking during the day, cars will drive by you and catcall you at busy intersections.
That as much as you want to tell them to back off, you can’t because you fear for your own safety.
This will now become the new normal.
Nobody tells you that on the way back from a convenience store with a friend, you will be attempted to be followed home by three men twice your age.
You’ll want to run home, but instead you walk home trying to hide your fear telling yourself you’re okay and this is normal.
Nobody tells you that you’ll grow up preparing for something bad to happen to you. Knowing that at best you’ll be sexually harassed.
And on nights that you go out, sometimes you’ll spend what feels like hours picking out your outfit making sure it’s “acceptable”.
You do this because should anything happen, you don’t want the justification for their actions to be that your skirt was too short, even when you know you’ll be blamed anyways.
You do this more times than you’d like to admit, and you hate yourself for it.
Nobody tells you that to avoid being roofied, you have to constantly babysit your drinks at parties, and clubs.
That going to the restroom alone on a night out, is most certainly a mistake.
Nobody tells you that should you choose to report if something happened to you excuses would be made on the other person’s part and your experience will constantly be questioned.
There will always be comments such as are you sure, that’s what really happened? They’re a good kid, they wouldn’t do something like that.
That aspects of your identity, your actions and even what you were wearing could be used against you at any time.
Nobody tells you that the courts rarely ever rule in favor of the survivor.
Despite this, you are still expected to come forward with your story.
If you wait “too long” after the incident, there will be questions of why now? And accusations that you are an attention seeker.
Nobody tells you that the harshest criticisms will come from those who you love most.
That there are going to be times where you feel so isolated and alone in your experience.
Nobody tells you that you aren’t alone.