With 60 billion messages sent via Facebook messenger and whatsapp a day, one may believe the world is chatting about all things, of all natures. Sadly, we’re not. Rape is certainly one of the top avoided topics and will continue to be avoided, just like past generations kept it all in and refused to TALK ABOUT IT .
Christina always felt safe at her parent’s house, a place she had been hundreds of times with the people who she loved the most, her family. She never expected to be violated by a family member and she certainly never even thought about if certain family members would believe her about something so serious as sexual assault. Christina joined the 321,500 adults who are yearly victimized by sexual assault; a statistic she never ever thought she would be joining .
While Christina admits that she has lived a fun life of partying and made less than stellar decisions regarding men, this “history with men”, as described by a close family member who clings to a lie, does not justify being raped at a family gathering. Waking up from a dead sleep, Christina heard the words, “What are you doing? She’s PASSED OUT” and knew immediately what was taking place. The following hours are a blur and even the weeks that followed meld together for her as she recounts dozens of police interviews, medical appointments, daily phone calls from detectives and countless nights of nightmares. Sleeping with a knife next to her pillow is just one of the many side effects Christina suffers. Although nobody told Christina what to expect during the legal process that is still far from over, the police continually reminded her that ‘this process’ would be the hardest thing she ever did. While she felt wholly discouraged from the police to continue further with the prosecution of this man, most of her family and her friends have been an amazing support system for her and she has continued to fight for what she believes, which is that no man can rape a passed out woman and not be held accountable. Christina fears for his wife, even though she does not believe her story regardless of witnessing it first hand and wonders what the children will be made to believe when they are old enough to understand.
When Christina posted her story on social media, regardless of the vagueness, she was surprised at the positive outcome that resulted. Mostly women but some men began messaging her with their stories and what helped them after similar events in their life. Christina says that what has truly helped her the most with her healing was telling her story and reading others’ stories and their reactions to the traumatic events. “It takes away from the isolation that you’re feeling, takes away some of the shame,” she said regarding reading these stories of victims. Christina had no idea how much her life would be forever changed and is so grateful to live in a generation that does talk about these issues but not everyone does. While sexual violence has fallen by more than half since the mid 90’s, three out of four sexual assault cases go unreported and out of those reported only around three percent of cases actually go to court. Christina understands why most give up on the legal battle, she even speculates at times that it may have been easier if her perpetrator had not been caught and she could keep it a secret, to work through on her own but deep down, she knows that getting her story out was the best solution regardless if she lost a few friends/family members in the process. Christina implores anyone in a similar situation as hers to do what she did, TELL their story.
Without the help of RAINN, The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, Christina would have had no idea where to start in her healing process. From discussion forums and recommending local therapists, the organization has helped over 3 million victims and their loved ones. Christina knows that they believe her and her story and feels supported. If you or someone you love has suffered some type of sexual assault, please visit www.rainn.org
Christina is fortunate to have friends and family who believe her story but so many do not have this but RAINN is there and they believe you.
Victims of sexual abuse are often not believed and Christina continued to hear the same questions from authorities like, “Is it possible that you’re not remembering it all correctly?” and statements like “He would never do something like that”.