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Because this blog features stories of interpersonal and sexual violence, we offer this *content warning* as a way of caution. We also ask that you do not reproduce any of the content below, as the authors of these personal stories are anonymous, and cannot give consent for their stories to appear anywhere other than this blog or at a Project Dinah-led SpeakOut event.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Dear Friend:
It has been about two months or so since I’ve had a long conversation with you, and well, I thought it be just to update you on a lot of things. First off, I would just like to say that the only reason I am writing you this letter, is because, quite frankly, the detail in which I am proceeding is a conversation that am still very vulnerable to have in person – and is something that we will not have the time for in the near future.
We left our friendship on an odd note, the eve of your birthday, for which we were both excited for. The night was rushed, and the days leading up to it were testing and memorable – but there was something that was wrong with me those nights that only now I can fully process.
Just a few days before your birthday, we went out to a party and what I thought happened to me that night was actually greater than I wanted to believe. I don’t remember seeing much of you, and it has been through painful, spotty recollection that I remember the face of the guy who I thought I only kissed that night. I told you the morning after that I thought he only grabbed me, but something else happened that night. That night, I was sexually assaulted – and it was a reality that I only accepted days after your birthday, after I was told by the hospital that I had signs of internal trauma and vaginal damage. Damage. Damage.
The morning after my assault, I woke up to a bed soaked in blood, and with a pain that made me feel unclean, used, and worthless. I was sure it was just my period, but it was a pain that didn’t go away after a few days – no, it got worse and worse. After the doctor told me what my body showed, I realized that the effects of my assault were more than just physical, they were mentally scarring. It is a scarring that still affects me today, and as my mentor said, that will affect a survivor for years – me, a survivor; that was the point in which I realized that my life would never be the same.
The night of your birthday, even though I was not aware of it, was the first time I was triggered. For some reason, being around strangers, your not wanting to move, my need to get you home brought my first flashback – my first full recollection of my assault. It had nothing to do with you, but just the feeling that everything was my fault; everything from that night to everything I thought I did to our friendship.  I’ve had this bruise that has only made me more and more introspective for the past eight weeks.
I never heard what happened to you.
I never heard from you, really.
I only worried, I only thought.
You wanted space, and then, after a while, you sought me here and there. But often times, I felt that you couldn’t even look at me straight, that you just wanted to eventually make amends. You’ve probably reached out to me at least five times “Let’s get together” “Lets catch up at the end of the week” ”Let’s meet up before school is out.” This letter is only in your hands because we are both out for the summer, and we never met. Texts were never answered. Business took the wheel.
But this is by no means an attack on you, and I am by no means ever one to be passive aggressive. I just wanted to let you know that I am hurt. Even two months later, those unanswered, never realized catch-ups, the lack of time every round - it hurt, my friend. They hurt because, I am not, and never will be mad, angry, upset at you – no, I never really care much about myself; that’s my problem really.
I am writing this letter, because I have fully suppressed these feelings for a very long time, and well, it’s time I let them out just for a bit.
I valued our friendship a lot, and I will not lie and say that I did not think of you those times when I felt most vulnerable – when I was out and saw a familiar face and wondered if that was the guy who did that to me; when I drove past Sunrise on my way to the OCRCC and thought of warm biscuits; when I just wanted someone to tell me that God still wanted me, even though a part of me was taken away, and even though I was crying and felt alone in my prayers.
This letter has been one of the toughest things I’ve ever had to write, and I want you to know that if you wish, you need not say anything in return.
I just want you to know that there is no malice in it.
There is no blame extended, no hatred sent in an envelope.
No, this is simply a note to a friend; everything that I had to say.
I want you to know that I just could not keep these feelings shut.
But, we are Resident Advisors. It’s our job to keep the tides calm.
But, I have courage.
Courage, no she never left my side.
Courage pulled me away when he was pulling me with yes
Courage woke up with me the morning after and gave me the strength to cry.
Courage gave me the focus to see fear, and the power to look in the eye and challenge it.
Courage picked up my confidence and fueled it with the passion to not just speak, but shout all that he expected to mute.
Courage is with me now, and together we will take life by the lapels.

I never want my residents to feel lost.
My girls will not fear.
I will be strong for them.
Friend, may you only find happiness in your path.
Blessings
ALP

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