Today is not about you.
Today is about me.
Today is about letting go of the shame, the embarrassment, the self-doubt, and the need to apologize for something that happened to me.
Today is about acknowledging everything, despite how debilitating, and learning to move forward.
Today is about embracing the past as a factor of who I am now and who I will be in the future.
Today is about forgiving myself for the phone call I never made, the fight I never fought, the strength I didn't have, the others I never warned.
Today is about admitting that I am human, I make mistakes, and I am not invincible.
Today is about reaching out to others like me and holding them tightly.
Today is about giving rape a name, a face, and a story no one can ignore.
Today is about action.
Today is about healing.
Today is about love.
At first, you think you just imagined everything. You think that you did something wrong, and it was a misunderstanding. That you spoke too softly, that you didn't push hard enough, that you never really tried to stop it from happening. You tell yourself that it’s not really rape because he was your boyfriend, and you thought you were in love, and he told you he would never hurt you.
And then you realize that it’s all inconsequential. What you thought doesn't mean a thing. What you felt is what matters. You felt violated. You felt afraid. You felt hollow and broken and erased. You felt like you had no control of your body, your emotions, your future. What was probably minutes seemed like hours of wandering around, lost, in your own soul. That’s when you finally understand what really happened.
After a while, you begin to think that you've dreamt it all up. You tell yourself that you’re exaggerating, that it didn't happen like that, that there’s no way you could possibly be a victim. You hear it for so long, from so many people, that you start to believe it. Your family denies it, not to hurt you, but to protect themselves. Your friends don’t understand it, not because they can’t, but because they don’t want to. Society ignores it, not because it doesn't care, but because it’s too real and too ugly to address.
And then you meet someone else with a story of their own. And while you listen to their experience, you relive yours. And you realize that it was real. It was real for you, it was real for others like you, and it will be real for every future victim. And that’s when you come out of the shadows and shine a giant floodlight on rape. Because it is not, never has been, and will never be ok.