gun_smoke_blue (gun_smoke_blue) wrote,

What Do You Do, After...?

April 3rd is the Day of Action for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For all the victims and survivors out there, here is my story. Always remember this: you are not alone, it is not your fault, and it will never be your fault.

Shake. Feel your knees give out. Sit, because otherwise you’d fall. When your friends ask you what happened, stare at them.

Open your mouth, try to speak. Close your mouth, wet your lips, then try again. Catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror-- white as paper, glassy-eyed, looking as young and lost as you ever have.

Tell them what happened. Stumble over your words, because you’re still not quite sure that it happened to you. Him panting in your ear, refusing to let go even when you fought, even when you bit and clawed and hated, strangling you, smothering you.

This happens to other people. It doesn’t happen to you. You are young and awkward and so, so naive. Things like this you have only read about, thought could only possibly take place in a dark alley like in the movies: a masked man, a knife, whispered threats. Not in broad daylight, not with someone you trusted, someone you’ve known since you were even younger than you are now.

Shatter, a bit.

Shake a little more. Flinch away from touch. Ask your friends to repeat themselves twice before you finally understand what they’re trying to tell you. Report him? Okay. Okay. Yes, they can go do that. No, he didn’t-- you got away before he could try and get your clothes off.

Hide your face in your hands. Try to breathe.

Blank out for a while.

Afterwards, suffer from nightmares. Dream that you're in a locked room and he's on the other side of the door, trying to get in.

Stop sleeping. Stop eating. Stop taking care of yourself. Retreat inside your own mind.

When you finally tell your parents what happened, feel guilty. Guilty for not seeing it coming, for being so stupid as to trust him. Listen to your mother cry the night after your parents decide not to bring the case to court.

When your friends tell you that he's disappeared, that nobody knows where he's gone, stop going out in public. Steal your father's pocket knife and walk around with it strapped close to your chest, always within reach. Freeze and stare at every unknown car that drives past your house.

Talk to one of your male friends about what happened. When he says that it's your fault for not realizing what was happening sooner, curse him out and give him a black eye.

Stop trusting people.

A month passes. Then two. Start eating regularly again, after your mother shouts herself hoarse watching you try and fail to finish a cup of yogurt.

Three months. Your first trip to the mall since It happened, hide in the bathroom for an hour after you see someone who looks like him out of the corner of your eye.

Four months. The nightmares get worse. Refuse your friend's suggestion of seeing a therapist.

Five months. Hug your father for the first time since It happened, and watch him try not to break down crying.

Half a year since... half a year, and you go three nights without having bad dreams. Finally give in and schedule an appointment with a therapist. Last only fifteen minutes into the session, then get up and walk out.

Try again, a week later. Last nearly twenty minutes this time.

Again. This time, don't leave until you've told her everything. Let her hold you while you cry. That night, when you go to sleep, have a dream about being happy.

Slowly, start to piece yourself back together.
Tags: me, saam, sexual assault, sexual assault awareness month, trigger warning, trigger warning: sexual assault
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