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TO BE OR NOT TO BE: A VICTIM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

One vina pens a personal essay on her terrifying assault.

If you don’t physically fight, you won’t be labeled as a victim, right? Because saying “no”, but not biting and scratching is too often mistaken as consent. It’s hard enough to even use words in such a situation. Terror makes it nearly impossible to build enough bravery to throw a punch at someone who is most likely bigger than you. You could fight back, then get overpowered and turn into a victim or escape if you can. So what are your odds?

There’s only a small percentage of girls who haven’t been sexually assaulted. Why must girls be so tormented for male pleasure? So many of us walk down the street with our shaking hands in hard fists, as if that will help next time. Now every man we see is a potential danger. You never know who it will be. It might be the guy sitting next to you, your own dad, or a cute boy you decided to say hello to. But, it won’t end at hello. By the time you realize that, it will be too late.

I used to be confident and strong, insisting I had enough in me to fight if I needed to. But in that moment, there was total and terrifying vulnerability. Only fighting with words because I didn’t want it to end the hard way. The only way to get it to end was to get him to finish. So, that’s what he did. My mouth was bleeding, my knees were scraped, my neck ached, and I had huge bruises on both my neck and legs. Because I didn’t try to physically harm the man who was hurting me, does that mean it was consensual? Is pushing them away and telling them to stop not enough?

Now imagine how many wounds I would have had if I had fought harder. If they don’t stop after several hearing the word “no” or “stop” come out of your mouth several times, you know it is just too late. It doesn’t matter if you are crying, or even puking, they often won’t stop until they get what they want.

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That said, never give up. Do what you can in that moment, whatever it may be. All women are strong and deserve the right to refuse.

To join the movement or get help, email the founder of Be Aware, a sexual assault prevention non-profit at beawareawareness.prevention@gmail.com.

No matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone. Find your support group here.

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