Some of us said yes and then said no. Some of us said yes under false pretenses.
Some of us said yes to one sexual act and not the next. Some of us said yes out of fear. Revoking any and all consent.
Some of us were too drunk to say no.
Some of us were too young to say no.
Some of us were too in love to say no.
Some of us were too afraid to say no. Some of us didn’t know how to say no. Some of us didn’t know no was an option.
Some of us didn’t say anything at all. Some of us froze in fear, our minds acting as a protector separate from our bodies.
Some of us took on a role separate from who we really are, a role that kept us safe and prevented an escalation in violence or harm to ourselves. Some of us fought, kicked, screamed and scratched.
Some of us tried to flee.
For those reading this, our sexual assaults all have something in common — we survived them. That survival can cause us to carry guilt and shame. A guilt that does not belong to you nor I. It’s not our shame to take on because we did nothing wrong. We did everything right, we survived. That survival during the assault looks differently to every individual who has been sexually assaulted. But know this, there is no wrong way to have survived your assault.
I frequently blame myself for the trauma I’ve experienced in life, as do many survivors of sexual assault. So the next time you start to blame yourself, tell yourself some of these instead: Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, warrants being touched without my consent. I have the right to consent to a kiss and nothing more. I have the right to revoke my consent at anytime. I have the right to feel safe. I have a right to forgive myself for the blame I put on myself. I have the right to love myself. I have a right to heal.
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Author: Marah Elizabeth