Exactly one year ago I was graduating from high school and was so excited to be going
off to college. Everything was going to be new, exciting, and different! And
everything was different but not in the ways I expected. Thinking back to that
girl she was happy, optimistic, and ready to take on the world. A very
different girl from the one who sits here writing this today. Once I got to
college I did all the activities to meet people and found my group of friends
and even a boyfriend. Those friends are now my family and the boyfriend is
still in the picture.
We participated in many of the off campus activities too. Yes I mean we drank and
partied. They had this orientation at the beginning of the year about being
careful with parties and even got shirts that said, “Don’t drink the
punch”. I didn't exactly pay attention and didn't think it was that big a deal.
I thought that it was so innocent and harmless. We were just having fun doing
what every college kid does. It seemed normal and it was fun. We were careful
and always had a DD (designated driver) and we went in groups, never alone.
We ended up meeting and hanging out with a group of people that seemed to always
know where the parties were and they hooked us up with details. We trusted them
and thought of them as friends. First semester flew by with football games,
class, and midnight fast food runs. Everything was the way it should be. Yeah I
wasn't doing as great in class as I wanted but there was always next semester
right? Wrong. I had no clue what was in store for me and how could I? I never
imagined that my friends and me would go through something like we did.
Second semester rolled around and I went through
the process to be in a sorority and didn’t get chosen for any of them. This
really hurt my self-esteem because I thought that I wasn’t good enough, pretty
enough, or smart enough. I was heart broken. I rallied with my friends who
didn’t get in either and moved on. I applied to be a student leader and applied
for an amazing internship. I got neither of those. I was done trying for things
I wanted because I kept getting let down and honestly it sucked. I started to
become angry all the time and I was sad when I was alone. I cried when no one
was looking and lashed out at the people I cared about the most, mainly my
boyfriend. I was eating less, avoiding my friends, and all around a completely
different person. I stopped going to class and doing any school work because I
had no motivation to do anything anymore. All I wanted to do was drink to be
completely honest. I was happy and laughed more when I was drinking so I
thought it would help me forget and I could be happy. I drank during the school
week, which I never did before. I ended up getting very drunk on a Monday night
and was too hung over to go to class the next morning. One of my friends
stopped by my room to see me and she finally told me that she was done. She
told me that my friends knew something was wrong. I was turning into a person
they didn’t want to be friends with anymore. She said or more yelled that if I
didn’t get help then she would drag me to get some because she loved me too
much to see me like this.
I went to my school’s counseling center and
talked to someone. They set me up with a therapist who diagnosed me with depression.
I never expected that this would be something I would deal with. I was always
peppy, happy, and loud. How could this be the person I was? I felt lost. I
looked at old pictures of myself and wondered where that girl went. I didn’t
understand how I became so unhappy so fast. After therapy sessions I started to
get better and had a better grip on my emotions.
I thought everything was looking up
again and it was all going to be ok. Boy was I wrong. Things were about to get
worse than they ever had before. We were invited to a small party by that group
of people I mentioned previously. We were having a great time and then things
began to get rocky and strange and just bad. I didn’t understand what was
happening, there was no way that I could. I’m not going to tell the story
because it is too painful right now and it’s a long one. For now I will just
state the facts.
1: Two of my friends were drugged.
2: I was given more alcohol than I thought (which also counts as being drugged)
3: I was choked.
4: I was sexually assaulted
5: I watched as my friends were sexually assaulted and couldn’t do anything.
6: I stopped my friend from being raped but she was assaulted
7: I left them because I didn’t understand what was happening still and I
thought they would be safe with our “friend”
8: They were both assaulted again by a guy we thought was our friend.
9: Those 7 hours of my life are the darkest memories that I have and they will
be with me until the day I die
10: I am different now. Everything about me is different and I will never be
the girl I was a year ago.
They hurt us in a way that I wouldn’t
wish on my worst enemy. They took everything from us and left us with nothing.
It wasn’t fair and still isn’t. They took friendships from us, they hurt
relationships, they changed the way I see myself, they made it hard for me to
be happy for other people, they took my dignity, they screwed up every part of
me and they left nothing untouched. And for what? 5 minutes of pleasure? For
feeling some sense of power? I will spend the rest of my life fighting this and
trying to heal because of what they did to my friends and me. Because of the
drugs that were given to my friends, they remember absolutely none of that
night. I remembered all of it and I had to tell them what happened to them. I
had to break their hearts with the story of what happened to them and watch
their faces as their entire world was shattered. For weeks following the event
that night played over and over and over in my mind. It was like a terrible
horror movie staring you and your friends stuck on repeat and nothing could
stop it. It played the worst parts of the entire night and when it was done it
would just start over again.
They way I see the world is completely different
and it isn’t a pretty picture. I am living with PTSD (Post traumatic stress
disorder). I have anxiety attacks when I am reminded of that night or when
there are too many people around me. I was always told that I was a beautiful
girl, but now I wish I was ugly so that no one ever looks at me or thinks of me
in a sexual way again. I have never been more suicidal in my entire life
because dealing with this and the pain is just too much at times. The reasons I
don’t hurt myself because I let my friends down by leaving them before and I
can’t do it again. I have to be here to protect them. I can’t hurt the people I
love most like my friends, family, and boyfriend by leaving like that. Most
importantly I don’t want the people who did this to me to think they won. I
want to be strong and show them that no matter what they did to me I am still
standing. I’ve been told many times through this that I am strong. I don’t feel
strong. I feel broken, violated, hurt, scared, angry, and like my world is
falling apart at times. I’ve been able to not think about it at times now that it’s
been a few months since the incident but it is always in the back of my mind.
I refuse to be silent about this issue. I will
tell my story and make it known that this does happen and it is a problem. What
happened to me wasn’t my fault. It is never the fault of the victim. I will do
everything I can to bring attention and awareness to this problem because it is
a problem and it is often not handled right or ignored. Yes this entire thing
changed me, but I want to make a change because of it. I’m still healing and
have a very very long way to go but this is one of the steps I’m taking to get