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Rape and sexual assault. These are the words that simplify and define the trauma I’ve experienced by the hands of different “men.” And yet, the fault is never on them, it always lands on me. 

"You shouldn't have gone in his room."

"Well you should never put yourself in that situation anyways." 

So how can I say I was raped or sexually assaulted? Shouldn't I leave those titles for the real survivors? It's so different than anything I thought. It wasn't in a back alley with a man that attacked me, it was with boys I trusted. Boys I felt safe with, who would kiss my forehead and tell me it was okay and to relax. And yet each of these boys took part of me with them. And I feel those missing parts every day.

Knowing they’re still out there, and that I could see them at any moment of the day, consumes me with crippling fear. Writing is my sanctuary. Thousands of words contain those parts of me that my mind and body are trying to purge.

PTSD became, and still is, part of my reality; I'm constantly reminded of that reality with every slash of a blade I take across my skin. Yet I found the scars I make on my legs are nothing compared to the scars left in my mind.

Taking back my body and my mind seems an impossible task at times, but I keep fighting the quiet, painful battle. Slowly I grow louder and stronger. I hold onto my resilience and vitality like a lifeline. And one day, I will prevail.

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