Every time I saw him on campus I couldn’t breathe. I had to take two weeks off from work because I was constantly terrified that I would see him. My grades started failing because I couldn’t bring myself to leave my dorm room. I felt more alone than I ever had been, despite being surrounded by thousands of students. Every time I convinced myself that I was strong and that I was okay, I would see him and instantly all of my reassurances would come crashing down. I felt like all of my power had been taken from me. He was like a thief who I let into my house, never believing that he would ever steal from me. One moment took away from the strong woman that I had built myself up to be.
When I was preparing for college, I never imagined that I would have to face the hardest challenge I had ever had to overcome. I knew that sexual assault was a major problem across the country, but I never thought I would experience it. I learned that students are at an increased risk of sexual assault during the first few months of their first and second semesters in college. The incredible resources that we have available in Boise for survivors of sexual assault aided in my healing. The Gender Equity Center, the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence and The Women’s and Children’s Alliance each gave me tools to get my power back.
I had something happen to me that should not happen to anyone, and while it was a very difficult milestone in my life, I used it as a hill to climb up. The power he took from me has grown even bigger than it ever was before, because I fought so hard to get it back. I believe that with these resources we can show survivors that they are not statistics and that ONE is too many. If I could speak to every survivor I would say that you are believed, you are not alone, and what you went through only attests to the strength you hold within.
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