A Letter to Victims of Sexual Assault

Whatever happened to you, however long ago or recent it was, I want you to know it was not your fault. Whether you were a child, in a short skirt, or drunk out of your mind – it was not your fault. It doesn’t matter if you were flirting, or willing to “make out” – the second you felt uncomfortable or said, “no,” it should’ve stopped there. Even if you didn’t out-right say, “no,” this shouldn’t have happened to you. The absence of “no” is not a yes.

You might be thinking that you could have done something differently, you could have somehow defended yourself or stopped them. But the truth is, you will never know what could have happened had you done that. Maybe you wouldn’t still be here had you done anything different.

I know you may sometimes sit alone, recalling every second of what happened to you. Recounting exactly what was said, how you felt so vulnerable, and maybe even the feeling of disbelief that this was actually happening to you. You can’t blame yourself for trusting him or her, walking down that street, or going to that party. No matter what you could have done differently, the rapist is the one to blame. You did not deserve this.

Maybe you haven’t told anyone yet, or maybe you have and the person you confided in blamed you for what happened. I am sorry that others may not understand what you have gone through. But I will be on the other line when you need me. I will be someone you can confide in, who will not judge you, and will not tell you what to do. I will listen. I will support you. Because you are not just a victim… You are a survivor. You are strong and brave. You are powerful, significant, and worthy of so much more than what has happened to you. You did not deserve this, no matter what you may have convinced yourself.

While this piece of your life will never leave you, know that you are allowed to scream or cry when life reminds you of this event. You are allowed to be angry, sad, scared, and anything else you may be feeling. You are in control now – you can feel any emotion you want.

Always remember: You are not defined by what happened to you. You are defined by your talents, opinions, ambitions, and so much more. You are defined by your heart.