• Leimamo Kanaeholo

You Are Not Alone.

For the past few weeks, I’ve felt like there was something wrong with me. Like my body was gearing up for something, a breakdown of some sort or just anything. And then I looked at the date today, and now I’m looking at the time… and all I can think of is what happened exactly two years ago from now.

You see, my life changed. Some would say for the better. Some would say that I walked out of that dark tunnel like I wasn’t even affected by what happened. Like I’m still not. And I would like to believe that is because I am so great at masking my emotions, but anyone who truly knows me knows that isn’t quite true. I wear my heart on my sleeve and my emotions can be easily read from across a room.

In reality, the reason why it seems as though I wasn’t affected by what happened is because I kept it private. Outside of my family and a few selected friends, no one knew. It was like my dark little secret. No one in my public life could know that I was flawed in this way. No one could know the agony I went through, or the sleepless nights I endured because every time I closed my eyes, the scene would replay over and over in my head. His face would burn deeper and deeper into my memory, almost like I was being branded.

No one could know about the doctor’s appointments checking for STD’s and an unwanted pregnancy. No one could know about the countless therapy sessions and the anti-depressants. No one could know about the triggers, the silly things that would set me off. Things like certain haircuts and sideburns or flannels and broken backpacks or the Jonas Brother’s.

But it’s always this day that reminds me of how much I had to get through just to make it here. Just to be in a stable and healthy relationship with a man who would never hurt me, would never use me, would never lay an unwanted hand on me. I look back at who I was before the assault and I don’t even recognize that person. And I don’t want to. Not because I’m ashamed of her, not because I’m disgusted of her, but because I’ve grown so much since her.

I am so proud of how much I have grown over these years. I’m proud of how much I have had to face. I want to thank that old version of myself for doing everything she has done so I could be who I am today. For never giving up, for putting in the work, for finding a way to push through the societal stigmas, and for realizing that it wasn’t her fault.

It wasn’t my fault.

It wasn’t about what I was wearing or what I drank or why I was there that night. It was just a really shitty person doing a shitty thing to someone who didn’t want it. I’m not going to be a victim for the rest of my life. I’m a survivor, and I am proud of that.

I’m not the only one to thank for my journey. If I didn’t have the people who loved me and who stuck by me, believed me… none of this would have happened. I have the best support system a girl could ask for. I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now if it wasn’t for each and every one of them.

(There are other's, but I don't want to show photo's or breach privacy... but they were a huge part in helping me)

To anyone who has ever had to endure the pain and the PTSD of a sexual assault, I am here to tell you that even though it may not seem like it now, even though the world around you is burning, you will get through it.

You are not alone. You will be braver, prouder, and stronger than you have ever been before.

You are extraordinary. You are unique. You are a wonder.

You are a survivor.

And if no one has told you by now… it wasn’t your fault.

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