The long term effects sexual assault and rape can leave on your mental health.
I would first like to start this off by saying this isn't a hypothetical analysis on what the potential effects sexual misconduct can have on a victim. I am here as a victim of sexual assault. I speak on behalf of experience.
I was in my second year of college when it happened. I didn't expect it nor did I expect my assailant to do it. I chose to hang out with my best friend and her fiancé on this particular Sunday. We ate lunch and drove around. I wasn't on guard or concerned. Normally when we'd hang out we'd carpool in my friend's car, but this time we took her fiancé's car. Because I lived closer to the fiancé we decided to drop my friend off first. From there the fiancé decided he had to stop at the store. It was then that the first bit of concern hit me. Heading back to the car he kept trying to pressure me to sit up front but I couldn't bring myself to do so. I only wanted to respect my friend. After issuing a stern no he finally gave up and I sat in the back seat. It only got worse from there. He told me to pull my shirt up. I said no. He pushed the issue but I kept refusing. He then decided to pull over and give me an ultimatum. He told me that I either lifted my shirt up or he wasn't driving me home. So I threatened to get out, call the police, and start walking. He reluctantly agreed to drop it and drive me home. I thought I was in the clear. I thought he let it go. I was wrong. When he pulled up in my driveway I started grabbing my coat and purse, and that is when he locked the door. I looked up to ask what he was doing and that's when he grabbed me. I don't mean my arm or my shoulders... he grabbed my chest and squeezed hard. I managed to push him away, unlock the door, and rush into my house before he went further. I felt disgusting. I felt violated. I called my closest guy friend and cried for a good 20 minutes. Then I took the hottest shower and practically scrubbed my skin raw. Nothing got rid of that disgusting sensation. I felt defeated.
The next day I went to school and felt like a shell of myself. I missed classes due to a massive panic attack and couldn't bring myself to face my friend. How could I tell her that the guy she loved had hurt me? I knew I had to tell her though and so I did. I was terrified. A few friends supported me through it and it worked out in the end. Her anger and pain was directed towards him. Of course he tried to deny it and then turned around and blamed it on his supposed split-personality disorder. In reality he was just a jerk who couldn't understand boundaries. A realization I discovered only a few weeks later. My friend tried forgiving him but there's no denying the fact that he had lost her trust. I started noticing that she wasn't happy. Truth is she hadn't been happy for a while. He liked to over-sexualize her in public and would grab her chest. It made her feel awkward and vulgar, but he didn't respect it. It wasn't long after my assault when they broke up for good. At last we were free of him.
To this day I can't stand guys I don't fully trust behind me and I refuse to be left alone with any of my friends' significant others. I carry pepper spray and a pocket knife. I find it difficult to open up to guys in general. Though he didn't leave any physical scars or bruises the negative impact he left on my mental state is something I still deal with. I choose to be open about my story because there is a silver lining here. The ordeal was painful, violating, and stressful, but it brought my friend and I closer together. It made me stronger as a person and now I'm more aware of my surroundings. I listen to that gut feeling and pay attention to the hair on the back of my neck. I'm a better me.
I am a victim of sexual assault, but I refused to stay in that mentality and I grew from it. I may never fully be over it but with each growing day the effects of it slowly begin to disappear. Once again I feel like me. No longer violated.