How I Used My Voice

About three years ago I was violently sexual assaulted by my male BFF of ten years. I developed an extreme case of PTSD because of it. At first, I decided not to press charges because I did not want to go through a trial. That changed quickly. After the sexual assault, I thought my attacker and I had cut ties and will never speak or see each other ever again. I was wrong. My attacker started harassing me – he’d blow my phone and email up. He’d go from cussing me out and threatening to kill me, my family, and friends, to apologizing and begging for my forgiveness. He even tried to get me fired from my job. He also snuck into my phone and went through my texts and messaged the males I texted on Facebook, demanding them to tell them what kind of relationship I had with them. I ignored him, but I did not block him or change my number because I was afraid of not knowing what he was thinking or doing, which could potentially harm me and my loved ones. I felt safer knowing he wanted to be in contact with me.

I was surprised when I was diagnosed with PTSD. I thought my behavior was normal, but it was not. I was constantly in fear, especially being home alone or out in public by myself. I was always crying. I asked my family to tell me their schedules for that day and where and how long they were going to be if they left the house to go to the store or something. I freaked out whenever they forgot to tell me and I called them in a panic, asking them where they were, when they left, and when they were coming home. If they didn’t answer the first time, I would call them repeatedly until they answered.

The sexual assault left me feeling lost, lonely, fear, violated, hopeless, helpless, worthless, and betrayed. How could my BFF for a decade do this to me? I said, “NO”. He stole my voice. He left me stripped of all the self-confidence and trust I had. I stopped smiling, laughing, socializing, and just cried – he took all of that away from me.

Since my attacker was harassing me, I decided to put a restraining order on him. I just wanted him to leave me alone. When I arrived at the police station, with a folder full of texts and call logs printed out, there was a female police officer who intercepted the evidence. As she skimmed through the texts, she IMMEDIATELY knew that I was sexually assaulted. She asked me, gently, if I was willing to press charges and I agreed. My attacker was being charged with sexual assault in the First Degree – a Class A Felony.

After a few days I made the report, the detective handling my case contacted me to come in for questioning and to give my testimony. Afterwards, I texted my attacker that I was pressing charges and that it would be smart of him to leave me alone. He just laughed, called me a liar, and kept harassing me. Then, one day, he suddenly stopped. Turns out, the detective contacted him to come in for questioning. He never did. Instead, he ran and hid. The police went to his house several times and each time, his parents answered the door and REFUSED to tell them where he was. They helped hide him. I STILL cannot fathom that. Why would you do that? Your oldest child obviously is in BIG DEEP trouble. Why make it worse for him by hiding him? Were they not aware that they could have been arrested for it? How can they live with themselves? How can they choose their child over the law? The police ended up assembling an undercover team and found him two weeks later.

When my attacker was on the run, I contacted EVERYONE who had met him (which was practically everyone) and asked them for help finding him – just keep an eye out. It was then, that I received the stereotypical reactions – majority of my “friends” did not believe me. One of them had the audacity to tell me, “It’s not rape if you wanted it.” Most of them did not want to get involved and told me they were not going to help. Some were skeptical and asked a bajillion questions as to why I wasn’t letting the police handle it and why they weren’t doing more. I was even asked if the sex was consensual but it wasn’t to my expectations, so I was crying “rape”.

I was devastated and hurt by my “friends” reactions. Many of them assumed I was already intimate with my attacker, when the only contact we had before the sexual assault was hugging. I now understood why people who are sexually assaulted do not report it. You’re viewed as a liar, a slut/whore/easy, seeking attention, and a bad person. After receiving the negative reactions from my so called “friends”, I felt ashamed, guilty, dirty, devastated, angry, ignored, left out, let down, awkward, and what I was doing was wrong. I was being doubted by the people I held dear to me. Instead of compassion, I was harshly judged. Instead of reassurance, I received painful remarks/comments. Instead of help, I was left alone, in the cold. Instead of comfort, I was insulted. How can people be so cruel? That day, I learned the only person you can count on is yourself and that I had to be strong.

Although I received a lot of heat and hate for speaking up, I do not regret it. I was able to get justice and find my voice again. The law listened to me. They heard me say, “No”, and rescued me. I found the guts to get through the hard parts and remain standing. My family was the BEST support system. I am so grateful for them.

This is for anyone and everyone out there to speak up and find help from experiencing such a trauma. You can do it. It will not be easy, but you will receive justice and you’ll no longer be a victim. Besides, you survived the sexual assault – if you can do that, you can get through ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. You’re worth it. You may not forget, nor ever forgive, but you will get past it. You WILL move on. Just please know you are NOT alone. You are a SURVIVOR.

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