TRIGGER WARNING: This story recounts an experience with sexual assault.
My knees shuddered as I struggled to sit in silence after pouring my heart out about the nights I was sexually assaulted—and after my relationship with my body had changed forever.
I shared my story on stage in hopes that people understand that sexual assault is real and that it affects everyone, even students on and off campus (like me). Getting it off my chest unburdened a heaviness in my heart that was preventing me from living honestly.
By sharing my truth, I hope that I can speak up for women like myself who have experienced sexual assault. Because the sad truth is that one in five women, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, will experience sexual assault in her lifetime, and I was chosen to be one of those five.
On April 17, ASI hosted an open mic night as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The event, called Speak Yo’ Truth, gave students a stage to share their pangs of unrequited love, resilience as a DACA student, and sexual assault experiences.
Guest speaker, Natasha T. Miller, a world-renowned poet and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, was invited to talk with students and share her spoken word poetry.
Her first poem, Tender Blue Boy, was raw. It made me feel heard as a woman and a sexual assault survivor.
“There are blue boys filled with sadness the size of their backpacks, filled with rifles for tender blue girls who tenderly tell them no/ little girls who have not yet learned the maps of their own body so reject the notion of blue boys exploring them/ and in response they end up on classroom floors in oceans of their own blood for saying no to movie dates or not responding to text messages,” Miller said.
Sometimes these little girls are not so little—like me. Although my experience made me feel small.
For months, I attempted to push away the experience, bottle the grief in my mind, and deny its existence.
“Like a sunflower smiling bright who had never seen rain/ but sometimes we need the water drops to acknowledge the pain and grow”
But in light of this month and after reading a colleague’s story of her own painful experience, I could no longer keep silent.
According to RAINN, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S. every 92 seconds.
RAINN defines sexual assault as sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent. Some forms include unwanted sexual touching, forced performance of sexual acts, attempted rape, and rape itself.
Rape and sexual assault are often used interchangeably because rape is a form of sexual assault. In legal terms, the crime of rape is defined as engaged sexual intercourse without consent.
Date or acquaintance rape is rape committed by someone known to the survivor: A date, classmate, colleague, friend, family member, or neighbor. The difference is whether the parties involved are in a romantic, sexual, or platonic relationship. This instance of rape is most prevalent on college campuses and often involve the use of alcohol or drugs.
My rapist took advantage of me by using drugs and alcohol, and then asked for my consent, but as I said no, he did not respect my wishes. My poem is a recount of this.
We’d been friends for 4 months
you were older
Like a father figure
I mean you had three kids of your own
Maybe I was naive
Maybe I wasn’t thinking
You invited me over to your apartment
After a night of dancing
Turning and twirling
The glee in my cheeks
Maybe I’d had one too many drinks
Yeah I should have paid more attention
My fences were down and you’d walk over them
We went to your apartment
Enjoyed some late night quesadillas with tequila
It was like when I would have a late night meal over a corona with my father
But you weren’t my father and you are a disgust of one
You took me out to your patio
Gave me a hit of your vape
I inhaled, my mind gone and I laughed
I felt so safe
And you took advantage
You started to kiss me
I said no
You led me inside and made me slow dance
I said no
I wanted to sleep so you said let’s sleep
But then you forced your body on mine
I tried to push you off
Too weak to keep saying no
I gave in
I didn’t know if I should scream
I convinced myself that I should I enjoy it because sex should be enjoyable
We fell asleep and I woke up
Disgusted at you
But everything was a fog and I felt that I could somehow convince myself that you were still safe
And it happened again
A week and a half later as I was again in your apartment
On that bitch of a balcony
You tried to grab my face, you grabbed it to kiss me
I have never sprinted so fast, so dazed in my life
I’ve seen you since and I don’t feel safe
You are not worthy of my time or any woman’s
But I am enough and you can’t leave a mark
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, please know that there are resources and support available on and off campus.
Milton. A Gordon Hall 205
COUNSELING & PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES
Student Wellness (SHCC-East)
UNIVERSITY POLICE DEPARTMENT
800 N. State College Blvd.
TITLE IX & GENDER EQUITY
Langsdorf Hall suite 809
DEAN OF STUDENTS
Titan Student Union 243
Student Wellness (SHCC-East)
WAYMAKERS VICTIM SERVICES
Tel: 949-250-0488 or 714-957-2737 (24 hr hotline)
1221 E. Dyer Rd. suite 120, Santa Ana 92705
Community rape crisis center
TEL: 714-450-6131 or 866-498-1511 (24 hr hotline)
12453 Lewis St. # 201, Garden Grove 92840
Community domestic violence agency
Tel: 2-1-1 (24 hr hotline)