Hello world, this is me.
University of Virginia - Psychology and Women, Gender, & Sexuality - Sigma Kappa - Anti-Sexual Assault Activist - Romans 12:21 - I'm from the country and I like it that way.
Tomorrow night is my sorority’s formal. We changed the location this year, and to most people, it’s still just a formal. But to me, it means going back to the place where my life changed forever. It means going back to the place where I was raped.
I know it’s been almost three years since it happened, but I’ve never been back, never even tried to go back, because just thinking about going there makes my skin crawl and my heart race. I have no desire to ever enter those grounds again and my stomach turns at the thought of having to return tomorrow night.
I shouldn’t saying “having to return,” though, because it’s my choice to go back, my choice to attempt to take back that night. But I don’t know if I can.
I’m always framed as the “strong girl” now. The one who overcame everything, speaks out daily, and encourages others to do the same. I feel like a fraud for giving into my fears. I know it shouldn’t, but it feels like giving up.
Almost three full years have passed. Shouldn’t that be enough time? Shouldn’t I be able to face that place and say, “This is nothing more than a spot on the ground and I will not let an inanimate surface be master over me?” Shouldn’t I?
I can’t see into the future and what tomorrow night will hold. I can’t see my reaction, but I know I will be praying fervently that my inner strength is abundant and God guides my feet.
I don’t know if I can go, if I can stay, if I can even get ready to go, but I do know I will try my damnedest. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I’m a fighter and that means not going down without one.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (via praises)
you say you “don’t like Poetry
but “never had to”
"because you are"
Poetry, that is
an ink-dipped quill
spilling onto my phone screen
elevated words floating as
static music into my ear
a bathroom performance
uploaded to my eyes
downloaded into love
"I love your Poetry"
"because you don’t
and because you are
the one who writes
Most people can’t point to a specific date and say, “This is for sure when my life changed forever.” This is the moment from which literally nothing was the same.
I can point to one specific time and know, from that point forward, the person who I was and the person who God wanted me to be were starting to collide. Don’t think it was some glamorous epiphany, though. It was the worst moment of my life, and yet, God said, “Be patient, this will also be your greatest.”
My moment is October 16, 2012. At approximately 3:30 in the morning during only my second full month of college, I was raped. The particulars don’t really matter. What does matter, though, is what transpired from the moment it happened until this moment, right now, standing in front of you all.
At first, nothing changed. I pushed it as far back into the crevices and corners of my mind as possible. I told myself, “You were a virgin, Annie. You didn’t even know this person. This is your fault and you have failed God.” From there, I tried to move on.
Unfortunately, I had to process it eventually. My memories started to resurface about seven months later and I confided in a few of my sorority sisters. I made the fateful phone call to my parents on the one year anniversary and proceeded to fall apart. When I say I fell apart, I mean I hit the hard, cold ground they call rock bottom. In short, my life turned into one big panic attack from which I couldn’t escape. I spiraled out of control until I finally put my hands up in surrender and sought refuge.
This refuge came three-fold. First, my support system. My sorority sisters consoled me beyond belief and my family gave me courage to say, “Ya know what, it’s okay to take a semester off from school and heal.” It came in the form of a diagnosis second—Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was given some pills, found a therapist, and thought, “all right, I’ve got this now.” HA. Lol at me. I couldn’t survive with just two-thirds of the help I needed. This is where God and His purpose for me come into play.
When we have these huge, defining moments in our lives, we come to a crossroads and we can turn either of two ways. The first is to abandon our faith, cry out to God, “How could You do this? Why have You forsaken me?” The second choice, and thankfully the one I chose, is to crawl closer to God (and I say crawl because at your worst, sometimes that’s the only way you can move), seek comfort and solace in Him, and know that better things are yet to come.
Today is National Suicide Prevention Day, and I think it’s fitting that I have the honor of speaking, because I was there. I can’t tell you how close I was. What I can tell you, though, is that no person, no pill, no counselor, and nothing else could have saved my life but God. I am a living testimony that better things are yet to come if we put our trust in the Almighty and brave the storm together.
God braved the storm with me, gave me the courage to tell my story to the entire world. He pulled me through the fire of self-blame and guilt and washed away my life-altering pain. He said, “My child, now you will go out and help the ones like you. I will give you the fire I took from your mind and your heart and turn it into an unparalleled passion to support and sustain other survivors of sexual violence. You will take your story and you will turn it into a beautiful novel that has no end in sight. You will be a beacon of light for those still in darkness, and just like I did for you, through Me and the strength I give you, you will help pull them back to safety.”
That’s what I’ve been doing since. I chose and love my majors, my organizations, my internship this summer in Victim Witness at the police department, and my plans for the future because I know they are in accordance with God’s purpose for me. I couldn’t see the big picture on October 16, 2012, but I know the purpose now. I’m a firm believer in the fact that we don’t get to choose what happens to us, but we do get to choose what we make of it. And with God, I’m choosing to make my story beautiful. I hope you’ll choose to do the same with yours.
Mother Teresa (via feellng)