A few years ago, I was sexually assaulted at a party by somebody in my grade. I thought I had moved on until he contacted my sister, implying he would do the same to her.
I seethed for days. I was absolutely prepared to dispense some vigilante-style magical girl justice (but with extra brass knuckles).
My partner tentatively suggested I move on, but I couldn’t.
Not only had I been hurt by the little shithead, now he was trying to threaten my little sister too. I kept gnawing at this, thinking about how depraved you had to be to threaten to sexually assault a minor – and not just any minor – MY SISTER.
I couldn’t let go of this, or all the other times I’ve been sexually assaulted, and harassed – by teachers, classmates, strangers on the street.
I festered in my anger for over a week. I was constantly on edge, at times ready to whale on the next person who tried it, and at others weeping about how absolutely helpless I felt.
I felt I had tried everything – being the good girl that stays quiet and takes it, and the angry woman who confronts the men sexually harassing her in a club. No matter how I reacted to sexual assault, it was always shit. Every strategy left me feeling powerless, violated, and weak.
But staying silent and locking up all that hurt inside of me was just as infuriating.
I cannot forgive, and I will not forget. I can however, do my best to move on.
I needed to burn that way, and that hard. I was finally mourning all the times I had been hurt, as a child, teenager, and now as a young adult. Commiserating with my partner, and friends validated the despair and hurt that I felt, and was instrumental to healing.
After feeling all of that anger, and hurt, and insecurity, I can look back at what happened to me and feel a sad acceptance – I am finally free from that hamster-wheel of anger and impotence.
However, don’t take that to mean I’ll be on my best behaviour if he tries that shit again.
Resources for survivors
The Survivor’s Trust
Sexual assault survivor’s guide