Talking about it is hard. And it’s not something you need to do until you’re ready. But it can be hard once you do. Not saying you shouldn’t talk about it. It’s so fulfilling when you tell people close to you and they support you endlessly. But there will be those people who make you feel like you’re irrelevant and it’s your fault. Just remember, it’s never your fault and it’s the minority of those you tell who will make you feel that way.
For me, when I told my parents, they were proactive. They helped me find a lawyer, got everything squared away for me and they were there for everything I needed. In contrast, my grandmother said, “well, if he had a girlfriend, why would he want to do that to you?”
That hurt. I just try and remember that older folks don’t have the same experience with education about sexual assault and harassment because it was “different” when they grew up. Not saying it was okay that she reacted the way she did, but it makes it a little better somehow.
Something that was especially tough for me were the questions. Obviously with a Title IX case, I knew I’d have to answer specifics and tell my story in detail. However, the cases aren’t what I’m talking about. When I asked my landlord to be released from my lease since I had been assaulted in my room, he was hesitant at first. That’s when the questions came in.
“He still goes to Knox?” Yes. “It happened in your room? Is that hard for you?” Yes. That’s why I’m asking you to let me move out. “Do you still see him?” Yes.
Reliving it through question after question can be hard. The worst thing was, after grilling me, he said I should “understand the position he’s in and he can’t just be so lax with letting me out so easy.” Great. I get your position. But, to be fair, I was assaulted there. So you gotta understand my position …
However, my experience won’t be the same as yours. You can recognize the people that care about you, lean on them. Talk to a counselor. If you can’t tell anyone, I recommend journaling at least. You have to get it out. It’s something that can be very difficult to hold in. Don’t push yourself but at the same time, don’t drive yourself crazy with your thoughts.
It’s a process that everyone goes through differently and deals with at different times. Trust the process and know there will be people that just don’t get it. Don’t lean on those people. Surround yourself with the positive because what happened to you is unspeakable. It’s awful, monstrous … take your time. As usual, I’m here if you want to talk to someone automatically on your side. You can do this.