Part Three: Do Not Fail Us

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Part Three: Do Not Fail Us

This article has content that may be disturbing to readers.

In order to protect the identity of this student, her story is being published anonymously. 

When you become a victim of sexual assault, it’s not like you’re joining a club of survivors, strong individuals or fearless heros. You become one of us, the unheard, disregarded humans who feel as if they are caught in a void of self-corruption and disaster. 

We are the people who have stayed silent–for years maybe. Maybe we didn’t say anything. Ever. Just suffered alone in our pain, slowly losing control of our lives and the future that we hoped would be so bright. 

You see, when a person decides to take advantage of another person, they steal. They steal innocence, hope, self-love, confidence, and joy. They steal all the joy. The victim is not allowed to keep any of it. 

 The sick part is, we blame ourselves. We believe that we did something to deserve it, or we didn’t fight hard enough. This is the rape culture that surrounds our school. “Boys will be boys” is the biggest load of bullsh*t that I have ever heard. When will perpetrators receive the consequences that they deserve?

I was sexually assaulted when I was 15, when my ambitions were strong and my belief in myself had blossomed after a stage of depression.

I was sexually assaulted when I was 15, when my ambitions were strong and my belief in myself had blossomed after a stage of depression. I was groomed, manipulated and taken advantage of. Fairview High School allowed this to happen. The man who hurt me was a sophomore, 16 or 17 years old. Old enough to know what he was doing. Obviously. I liked him. I was head over heels. 

I met him one night, he was sweet. He kissed my cheek and held my hand. The next time, it wasn’t so pleasant. I went home that night bleeding, bruised, and changed forever. I went home, showered and, for the first time, went to bed; I was a victim of rape. 

I was raped three years ago. I didn’t tell a soul except my closest friends. I was scared. Seeing his face throughout the school, day after day, him telling me how savage it was and texting me about how bad he wanted to do it again forced me to build walls. I built walls so high that I would go months without letting it affect me. I focused on my schoolwork, and became a model Fairview student. But those nights that I received a text from him, or got rejected because I told a boy I liked about what happened, I broke. I would cry in the shower, because the water felt nice and no one could hear my heart shattering. 

I lived like this for years. No one knew about my inner struggles, I was so alone. I felt isolated. I hated myself for being manipulated. I thought it was my fault. I still feel those emotions occasionally. I used to wish I had known the signs. I wished I wasn’t so naive. I wished I listened to my instincts. I wished I wasn’t taken advantage of. I know now, that there was nothing that I could have done. I am a victim. 

I have always hated that word: victim. It used to make me feel used, worn out, disgusting, and old. I still feel that way sometimes.

I have always hated that word: victim. It used to make me feel used, worn out, disgusting, and old. I still feel that way sometimes. The panic attacks, the nightmares, the bouts of uncontrollable shaking, all showed me that I was broken. I was another number, a statistic, a ratio. 

It was only when I met another girl, who was attacked by the same man, that I had the strength to do something about it. She encouraged me to come forward and speak my truth. 

My parents are incredibly supportive. Although it has caused some long lectures and speeches, I was surprised with how they reacted. The only downside is that now that my truth is out, I am now feeling all of my emotions all over again, as if it happened yesterday. I never allowed myself to feel anything after it happened. I put everything into a small container with a cement lid and pushed it to the very back of my brain. But now after removing the lid, I haven’t been able to focus on school work, and applying to colleges. All of my energy is centered around healing. 

In a high school environment, the man who attacked me was provided with easy targets. I was vulnerable. I thought that the culture would change, that the boys would grow up. This is not the case. It is enraging that I am still hearing about sexual assault in the hallways today. The same hallways that I used to walk in fear three years ago. This is unacceptable. It is time that we stand up. School needs to be a place of safety and education, not assault and trepidation. 

Stand up. Speak your truth. Time’s up. The heat is on administration. Do not fail us.

Stand up. Speak your truth. Time’s up. The heat is on administration. Do not fail us. Do not perpetuate the culture of rape that you have let develop under your noses. Do not say that it is the same at every other school. I am not a statistic. Protect students. Protect victims. Let us speak our truth.