It’s amazingly profound the effect one person can have on you. All of my trust was put in them and they used it to their advantage to hide all of the secrets from my young mind. They can tell you how much they love you but when it begins to plague you with nightmares that begins the red flags that damage a person.

Love is respect, not abuse. Love is listening to the words “stop” or “no.” Love is consent and isn’t using that person when they’re drunk or you think they’re unconscious. My story will have an everlasting effect on me and isn’t one that can be erased. I lost my trust in people and forgot how to love because that love was abused when it should have never been.

When rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse or inappropriate touching is mentioned some people deny or don’t believe the victim while others brush it off. I was lucky enough to have a support system that has held me up these past few months when I was relapsing into my darkest times. I sought out therapy and consulted doctors about medication so I could begin to rebuild myself.

Everyone says when you’re ready you can speak up to whomever you trust. Last year, I was ready to tell my support system what happened and while it broke everyone I told I still had some of them who chose to stay by me. Looking back I wish I had told them sooner, because if I had the damage wouldn’t have been as severe as it had become.

As a victim there are "stages” that you might go through: shock, denial, depression/guilt, anxiety and acceptance of self. I kept cycling through these stages and I have not yet reached re-acceptance. I thought I had when I kept it all in the dark, but that wasn’t allowing me to heal properly.

While it may take years to restore how I used to be, I’m using my time in college to rediscover myself and socialize outside of my comfort zone. The further I push my boundaries the clearer I see my future outside of fear and anxiety.

There are several resources on campus I have looked into and while none of them fit me in the moment, I believe when I’m ready I’ll be using them to the full extent that I can.

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