I was raped during my senior year of high school.
I can still remember the exact time it happened, how it felt and how long it took.
My worst nightmares often feature the faces of the men who perpetrated the act, and I must admit that I’m still often swallowed by the feelings of worthlessness I felt on that day.
It took me years to come to grips with what happened on that fateful January morning.
It is still something I find difficult talking about.
For me, it is because most people don’t quite understand it. They are unsure how to respond to the revelation that one has survived such a heinous act.
In a society, as conservative and religious as ours, most individuals believe that such taboo acts are meant to be buried deep within rather than discussed openly and publicly.
That is one of the reasons why I did not report my own rape. That is the reason why I survived quietly until it no longer haunted my dreams.
There are men and women, like myself, who are silent survivors of sexual violence.
We are not included in the 37 rapes that occurred last year or the 55 from the year before.
But, we are here.
There was a recent ‘movement’ that took place on social media, particularly Twitter, where men and women — of all ages, races and creeds — spoke up about their own experiences of sexual violence.
They called out their abusers and they gave power to their own truths.
We, the survivors of sexual violence, may try not to hold back tears during scenes in movies or television shows that remind us of our own trauma; pretend to not be bothered by the subtle jokes and comments that suggest that we are to blame for the heinous acts committed against us; or to not cringe when we see reports of rape or sexual assault.
We may do all of those things but, as we move on with this new decade, what we will not do is standby and allow victim blaming.
We will not laugh or even entertain rape jokes.
We will not allow the social defense of accused rapists.
It’s time we demand a better status quo.
— The Survivor