I AM A WARRIOR!
The #METOO movement has given a voice to those who have been silenced by sexual assault. Sexual assault thrives in silence and shame. Because I refuse to be silenced, I am now speaking out and taking back my power.
January 31, 2018 started out as an ordinary day, now I see it in flashes. I see my hands trembling as I hold the phone. It would be easier if I don't report it, but I know reporting is the right thing to do. My heart is leaping out of my chest. I know he is still in my house, I'm in a panic as I whisper to the dispatcher "I'm afraid, I'm afraid..." and i try to make myself as small as I can while I'm hiding in the corner of my home office. I'm to afraid to talk, but the dispatcher needs my address. I tiptoe to the door when the dispatcher says the officers are in my area. I feel myself running out the door as soon as I see the first police car. I feel the panic, relief, the overwhelming unbelief of whats happened as I fall on the side walk next to the officer. My hands cover my eyes as my body is overcome with sobs and all the uncontained emotion spills from my body. I'm on the ground rocking back and forth as I tell the officer over and over "I said no, I said this is not going to happen." I'm see myself holding my arms close trying to cover my body. I've left the house without underwear, a bra or shoes. I barely feel the gravel under my feet. I desperately hope someone will believe me. I am lead to the sergeants truck and helped inside. I curled my feet up under me and pulled my knees in close. I laid my head on my knees and continued to sob. I hear him say I will talk to a detective and someone will take me to the exam. I'm not prepared for any of that. I'm barely dressed and I am still trying to process what has happened. I'm angry that although I had said no over and over, that I hadn't said it forceful enough. I'm angry that when he pulling me down the stairs, I didn't pull back harder and I lost my balance. I remember staring at the celling while tears roll from my eyes as I allow myself to become just an object, something to be used. My mind naturally detaches from what is happening, its natural by now. I hold my breath and bite my lip to stay quiet. I pray it's over fast. When it is, I don't move, not an inch. I can't process what just happened. But I have to process it, I'm in a small room with the detective and a sexual assault advocate. I have a small thin blanket they found wrapped around me as I reveal very intimate and personal details to complete strangers. I stare straight forward and slightly down, I tell what happened. I am humiliated. I am mortified. So much emotion and yet so detached from my feelings.
The victims advocate drives me, I'm not entirely sure where we were going. Auto pilot has taken over but I still try to make small talk. I even crack a joke or say something to make small talk, but in the next second I have to look away as tears well up from no where. We arrive at the Forensic Lab. I'm lead to a room and change into an exam gown. There is a soft blanket on the table. The texture of the blanket has a calming effect as I stare blankly and again give details, the nurse meticulously writes it down. I place my favorite pair of comfy pants and my shirt in to a paper bag. They now become evidence. There's the camera. The stirrups come out. My already violated body is numb to this intrusive exam process. I'm starring at the ceiling again, tears, letting my mind drift away from the moment as parts of my body are exposed, swabbed and photographed, including my most intimate and violated parts. The forensic nurse is kind and explains everything she is doing. I know she is empathetic to my experience, but the exam is about collecting evidence. When the exam is done, I'm given different clothes. The detective meets us and collects my neatly packaged rape kit.
The victims advocate drives me home. I'm abnormally quiet. I want to go home and lay in my bed but my comforter is gone, my sheets are gone, my pillows are gone, they are now evidence. When I'm finally alone the gravity of what has happened in the past 5 hours in overwhelming.
As I move forward I refuse to be defined as a victim or survivor. I AM A WARRIOR. A warrior is one who fights bravely day after day. Life is a barrage of battles, some bigger than others. A warrior does not let a single battle define them. I want my character and strength to define me. I want to be a warrior who doesn't give up and fights back. I want to be a warrior who learns from my experience, a warrior who helps others. I am a warrior who fights like a girl and there is nothing more powerful than a woman empowered.
Today 3 things matter to me. Number One, I spoke up, I reported it, so many sexual assaults go unreported! Number Two, I FOUGHT BACK and Three, this is not my defining story, I'm not looking for a pity party. I'm a warrior, remember. This story is not unusual. Sexual assault happens every day. The statistics are startling. Because shirts and design are the vehicle I use to heal and speak out, I am releasing a new piece in a limited edition with teal, the color representing Sexual assault awareness. I am WARRIOR and I FIGHT LIKE A GIRL. And that is powerful.