“STOP!!” I demanded, repeatedly as I wrestled a man much bigger than me. He would not stop…
Has this ever happened to you? If you are female and live in the United States, chances are you’ve experienced something similar, or worse. Statistics show that:
- 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men experience some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime.
- 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives.
- 51.1% of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance.
My memories from college came flooding back during the senate hearing with Dr. Blasey Ford. As I watched, I found myself weeping at her experience, at the experience of one in three women in our country – and at my own. I had never told a soul till that day.
I had gone out a few times with this guy, a fellow student, whom I met through friends at the University of Florida. He was a “nice guy”, an engineering student who was smart, handsome and fun – until he wasn’t.
A group of friends had gone to a Gator game as we always did on Saturdays and afterwards, he and I went back to my apartment. Suddenly, once inside, he was all over me. Luckily, I hadn’t been drinking. From the moment he began mauling me, I fought back ferociously.
“What’s wrong with you?! STOP!!” I commanded. I tried to reason but he appeared possessed and laughed, like it was a game. It was NOT a game for me. I was fearful and furious at the same time. I was shocked this was happening and that I couldn’t stop it.
Finally, I suspect due to his drunken state, he got worn out and realized I was NOT giving in. I got louder too with my pleas to stop, hoping people in the next apartment would hear me. Perhaps that scared him off.
Finally, he left. I was exhausted and dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe what had happened – and I was grateful for what had not happened.
I never told anyone about this assault, till now. When my husband came home from work, I told him while I cried – for all of us – for the thousands of victims of sexual assault, the vast majority of whom are little girls and women.
Let’s be clear. It was not my fault nor is it any woman’s fault if she is raped or assaulted. But our culture makes women believe they are responsible – because of the clothing they wear; the drinks they have; or the sidewalk they take home. It is never a woman’s fault when she says no. No means no – ALWAYS.
If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, as a child or as an adult, and you haven’t spoken to anyone about it, I encourage you to do so. It is one of the worst traumas a child or adult can experience in her or his life. There is help available. Remember, it’s not your fault.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)
National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1-800-656-4673
For children, there are trained teams to help abused children and their families investigate, prosecute and recover from sexual abuse.
*Statistics cited are from the CDC and National Intimate Partner Sexual Violence Survey