February 18, 2014

Assaulted by my best friend

I was struggling with depression when I was assaulted by my best male friend at MIT. Before supporting me my boyfriend at the time had to ask and assure himself that I hadn't just cheated. He visited to be with me the next weekend but from the moment I was assaulted I became negligent of my work and self-care, isolated myself from friends, and became further depressed and hyper-vigilant of everyone I came into contact with. My friends were all friends with him and to this day defend his actions, claiming it was obvious that this would happen sometime or another by the way we acted together. After about a week of constant anger and terror I left MIT with OXs in my classes for the semester following the support of one friend who saw that what I needed was compassion. I saw a psychologist everyday I was home, started seeing a psychiatrist and have been on antidepressants ever since. My parents constantly question if my ongoing therapy is focusing too much on the incident and making it bigger than it needs to be, in my head.

On the other hand, the extensive therapy and medication have made an incredibly large impact on my self-image, academic performance, and social relationships. I feel a sense of worth and self love that I never felt; I am motivated to use my story and ambition to better the world. I am unafraid to use my voice to state my opinions, defend myself, and reach out to others. I've learned the value in taking care of my needs before others' wants, where I ignored myself before. I've gained a strength that I had given up on looking for, or told myself I never had.

I still see my attacker almost daily, and it's difficult to make eye contact or be in the same room, but I know that no matter how much I am damaged, I cannot be broken. He is the one who's broken. He was broken long before he hurt me, it's how he was able to tell me he cared about me, then ignore everything I'd ever told him and hurt me anyway. What I regret most is that I haven't seen him make any effort to help himself improve emotionally in any way. All evidence I can see shows me how he's pushed any emotion and empathetic thought further down where he won't have to deal with what it means about him.

[Note from the editor: This is one of the many anonymous anecdotes and survey responses collected for the dx/dt project that were not used in the film. They are being posted here as contributions to the discussion of sexual violence, relationship abuse, and stalking in the MIT community. Thank you to all of the authors of these posts for your willingness to speak out.]