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It's been almost 6 years since my life changed and I chose to move forward. I won't live my life in fear of what happened. I will do my part in educating people and helping those who have unfortunately been through it as well.

Never have I felt more unworthy or unclean. It wasn't just my rapist who made me feel this way. The nurses in the ER wouldn't even look me in the eyes and the police detective asked if I made it up so my family wouldn't find out I was "sleeping with a black guy".

I couldn't believe it.

Rape happens far too often. Every two minutes, another American is sexually assaulted. Still, somehow it has remained taboo, too difficult to talk about.

I hear people use the word "rape" in a joking way almost every single day. I've been told that I shouldn't expect people to understand because it hasn't happened to them or someone they know.

I've never asked anyone to understand.

What I'm asking is for people to educate themselves.

The problem is that the focus remains on the victims. When will society stop focusing on what victims can do, or could have done, to prevent an assault?

There is still not enough attention placed on educating males, and even females, on consent and teaching how not to rape and abuse others. The responsibility still lies in the hands of the victims. 

Were you too drunk? Were you dressed immodestly? Why didn't you fight them off? 

These questions and more are what rape victims have to answer.

Even Mary Jane Mowat, a former judge, claimed rape statistics would not improve until women “stopped getting so drunk”. This mindset is so absurd and is the main problem with society and the judicial system when it comes to rape cases. It is the same reason so many rapes go unreported. The shame you feel is indescribable and even more so when no one believes you.

To the victims, please know it's not your fault. No matter what anyone says. To everyone else, I guarantee there is someone in your life you have encountered, whether it be a close friend or someone you passed on the street, who has been raped or sexually assaulted in some way. 

Educate yourselves and do your part in helping reduce and maybe one day eliminate the violence. 

It's time to take a stand.

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