February 18, 2014

It replays constantly

I was a freshman in high school - fifteen. It started with an older male student hitting on me and making comments about my appearance in a P.E. class, and it escalated from there. I would have nightmares where I thought I could feel him touching me, and I'd wake up sweating and terrified and sick to my stomach. All I wanted to do was scrub my skin violently until it all came off. I wanted to burn. I hated myself because I became his object.

I never told anyone in my family, nor did I report it to anyone. In the 6 years since it happened, I've told 3 close friends. They have each responded with reassurances that it's over now, that I'm safe, and that I'd be able to tell someone (authorities) about it if something like that ever happened to me again. I don't know if that's true. I didn't tell anyone at the time because I felt like I was lucky. I obviously wasn't able to protect myself, so if I told someone and he found out, what was stopping it from escalating from assault to flat out rape? I'm not sure I feel any differently about that now.

I threw myself into school. My body wasn't worth anything anymore, and I hoped that maybe my mind could be instead.

Sexual violence isn't something that happens to you once. It replays constantly: in your mind, in your dreams, as you pass people walking on the street.

[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.]