What My Rapists Didn't Take Away From Me

What My Rapists Didn't Take Away From Me

They may have stripped me of myself for so long, but they didn't take away my spirit or my voice.

I've been raped twice, on two different occasions, only months apart from one another. I was only a sophomore in college when both happened to me.

My first rape stripped me of myself, it stripped me of my feeling of safety, confidence, stability. I didn't know how to cope, I didn't know what to do or who to reach out to.

I tried to handle it on my own, tried to block it out and block out my rapist.

I tried to ignore what had happened, but I couldn't ignore it, especially not when days later I was getting poked by countless needles and instruments and getting countless tests done, just to make sure I would physically be okay.

I kept it hidden from most people for so long, and everyone around me watched me deteriorate. People watched me become secluded and act out in unusual ways in my emotions and behaviors. I didn't know who I was anymore, and I couldn't remember how to function well in social settings and even while alone for months.

My second rape just six months later made me feel even worse about myself and my life. I reacted very similarly to my first rape: trying to ignore it and push anything and everything about the event out of my head and out of my life. My emotions and behaviors spiraled out of control, and I felt like nothing could be done to take the pain away.

But I couldn't erase what had happened to me.

My rapists may have taken away my sense of self for quite a long time, may have taken away my ability to feel safe in public and around new people; they may have taken away my ability to sleep without nightmares almost every night, taken away my confidence and self-worth, taken away my naive trust in the world.

But they didn't take away my spirit.

They didn't take away my spirit to overcome my rapes, nor my spirit to become stronger and learn from what had happened to me. They didn't take away my kind, loving, caring spirit towards others and my ability to help others in need.

My rapists, whether they knew it or not, made me stronger.

It made me harden up to the world, to analyze it and situations more and to know when things weren't right. It made me learn to stand up for myself, to stand up for others, too, and not let uncomfortable and ignorant things slip by.

And they didn't take away my voice.

For awhile there, I was too scared to reach out, to tell others what happened to me. I was too scared to be open for fear of people laughing at me and not believing me, for fear of being ridiculed and not helped.

But when I found my voice again, something they could never strip from me, I made sure to make my voice loud.

I opened up to family, friends, and strangers alike about my rapes. I've warned others about things to look out for. I've been open about the negative repercussions my rapes had, in the hopes that someone else who may experience or already have experienced rape can work on these things, too.

I've become a safe place for individuals who have been raped or sexually assaulted to reach out to me, to open up to me when they feel like they can't open up to anyone else.

My voice, something my rapists never could have taken away from me, has been a saving grace for myself and for others. It's helped me learn more about myself and help others who wouldn't know what to do otherwise.

My voice and my spirit, never fully crushed by my rapes, have made me stronger and made others find strength through my words. I never want people to feel like they can't reach out, because I know how that feels. I had to go through my rapes alone and without guidance, but my voice and spirit is what carried me on.

And that's something my rapists could never take away from me.

Cover Image Credit: Ashlyn Ren Bishop

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Literally, so hot RN

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My Parents Didn’t Tell Me To Stay Pure Until Marriage, I Made That Decision On My Own

So, please respect my decision.


As we evolve into a more open and accepting world, the one thing that is getting less taboo is sex. It's not something that is talked about behind closed doors. It's something that is on the television screens and easily accessible on our phones. People talk about it and promote it like it's small talk. It's so hard to escape, especially as a young adult.

To say that I am staying pure until marriage is a very uncommon thing, at least in my opinion. Sure, I have friends who are in the same boat as I am. But, even at a Christian college, sex is everywhere and most people are partaking in it. However, I decided to not.

Growing up, my parents never told me to stay pure until marriage directly. I went to church and heard about it in sermons. I knew that by keeping myself pure until marriage, I would enjoy it more knowing that I waited for my future husband. I understand that some people may not agree with me on this topic, but here's why I am saving myself.

1. I want to know that the man loves me.

For me, I want to have sex with someone that I love. Now, you may defend this with the fact that your boyfriend loves you. That's great. But, dating isn't always a sure thing. Boys (and girls) can say that they love you, just to get in your pants. And, they will. It happens all the time. And, because you are blinded by love, you will end up giving in and doing it. But, see, I don't want to be blinded by love. I want to know that the person I am with, is with me forever. By making the biggest commitment aka marriage, that is a clear sign that they love me and want me forever. This is a good example of actions show more than words do. They can say they love me, but when they showcase that love, that's when I know it is real.

2. I want to give all of me to one person.

I heard this great example my senior year that discusses this exact thing. For someone like Hugh Hefner, who was with HUNDREDS of women, when he got older, he said he didn't feel anything anymore when it came to sex. He was numbed by the whole experience. It wasn't pleasurable or for love. By having sex with countless women, he had given a little part of himself to each of them, until he had nothing left. Therefore, by saving myself for one person, they would be getting all of me. As a whole. 100%. This is special because no one else has that except for my future husband.

3. The idea of getting pregnant scares me because of the lack of security.

For the past three generations in my family, they have all had children young. 15, to 17, to 20 years old. Blinded by love. Manipulated by their hormones. They had sex and got pregnant. To see not only 1 woman, but 3 women in my life go through that, I know how difficult it is. You're a kid yourself. Personally, I do want children. However, I have so many dreams and goals for myself. I want to graduate from college. Get a good career. Travel. Fall in love. A lot of that can be halted by a child. I don't know if I would get to achieve everything I want to, especially if I would have to raise the child alone (which usually happens). So, by waiting for marriage, I am using the biggest form of birth control.

4. There's no comparing, if you have only been with one person.

Now, this is different for every relationship. However, everyone feels insecure or uncomfortable when it comes to dating and relationships. Knowing that someone has had sex prior, you wonder if you are shaping up or doing better than the previous. By only having sex with one person, it relieves the stress of comparison.

5. It brings me closer to God.

One important lesson I have learned from friends, college, and personal experience, is that relationships (when it isn't built on God), you tend to stray away from Him. Therefore, by making my relationship with God stronger, I fall in love with Him first. Then, I am capable of loving a boy and committing to something like marriage and sex.

So, no, my parents never convinced me to stay pure until marriage. It was my own decision. I have reasoning for staying pure and it's my choice. So, please stop shaming virginity in the 21st century, because I'm not shaming you if you aren't one.


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