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My name is Sara, and I am a survivor of sexual trauma.

It was July of 2018, shortly after my 22nd birthday. I was talking to a guy that I have known since middle school, for about a year. After getting to know him better and feeling comfortable with him, I decided that I wanted to have sex with him - no strings attached. He happily agreed, and we met in my car at a parking lot at midnight. I told him I was a virgin, and he seemed excited. He asked if I was sure if I wanted to do it, and I complied.

It happened so fast. I remember him just going right in, no foreplay or anything. He was being rough, and going a little too fast for me. It got to the point where it hurt, and I asked him to stop. He complied, but he said, "Aw, really? Come on." While pouting his lips. I thought to myself, "This can't be it; let's keep going." Despite the pain, I told him to continue. Moments later, I hear this sound - a sound to this day, that constantly makes my stomach flip when I think about it. He "popped my cherry." But something was not right. I was gushing blood - in my car, on the ground outside.

We were not alarmed at first, so we said our goodbyes and headed home.

I would end up going home, losing so much blood, that I would end up in the ER. I spent my night in the hospital, hooked up to IV machines, and being close to getting a blood transfusion. The doctors even asked if I was raped; I wasn't. I had to get surgery to sew up the wound inside me. I later told him what happened to me; that I almost died that night. But, he did not believe me. He invalidated me. He kept telling me it was all in my head, and that I did not almost die. And I was afraid that if I did not sleep with him, he wouldn't want to be friends with me. So a month later after my brush with death, I continued to sleep with him, but I always felt so dirtied after. It never felt right. I was afraid of it happening again, so I would freak out when I had sex with him. But I continued to do it, hoping that if it did happen again, then maybe he could actually see how bad it was, and that he would believe me.

I always blamed myself for what had happened, because I could have prevented it. I was plagued with nightmares and suicidal thoughts. I am still working on my fear of intimacy, as well as trusting men.

I am still reluctant about telling my story, because I did not experience sexual assault; I am still not sure where I belong. But I have experienced feeling afraid for my life each time I had sex, thinking each time would be my last.

I want to say that anyone, regardless of the circumstance, should speak out. Don't be afraid.

If he ever had the chance to read this, I want him to know, that I have forgiven him, as I am starting to forgive myself. But I also want him to know, that by denying what he did to me, by denying he had almost killed me, invalidating me to the point where I felt I no longer should have lived - all I can ask is to please change your mindset. Your words, your actions - almost cost me my life.

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