What is being Brave?

I have had multiple people tell me that reaching out and telling my story is brave.  I am glad that someone thinks so.  However, my point in writing is to share my grief and pain with others so they will know they are not the only ones.  I want to show others that were trapped like me that they can get out.  The healing journey will take a life time, but it gets easier.

The first step for me was realizing what truly happened to me.  I was still in shock three months later.  I started college and was hanging out with my friends having a heart to heart.  We were all piled in my dorm room and sharing our pain.  I listen to all of their stories of the horrible things that happened to them.  I told them of how I was sleeping and he came in my room and forced me to have sex with him.  They then told me that was rape.  It was the first time I considered it rape.  When I think of what happened,  I am so shocked that I didn’t see it for what it was.  It took him 5 years of planning for the very moment that my humanity was stripped from me.  It took him five years to finally claim what he most wanted.

The depression didn’t hit me until a few years later.  There was a lot of drama with my family that caused more stress than anything.  After the depression hit, it was like a shadow I could not get out of.  It was like I was drowning in a sea of emotion and couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  It consumed me and filled me up with hate.  Hate for the person who did this to me.  Hate to the people who claimed to love me and allowed this to happen. 

As if it couldn’t get any worse, I received a message that I wasn’t the only one.  Thirteen years before me, he raped someone else. My heart sank.  It was almost three years after my rape, so that meant he was probably working on another victim.  I kept asking myself questions of why didn’t I report it.  Then I remember, I did.  I told adults, but I was forced into silence. Actually, it was more like blackmailed in to silence by using my friends against me.

Then I wondered why this girl didn’t tell.  So, I talked to her and found out that she did.  She told her mom and was blamed for going to a sleepover.  She was 13.  Of course girls that age love going to sleep overs, and she didn’t realize it was a trap.  A trap that changed her life and mine forever.

So, we continued in our lives in misery of what happened and being shunned by our families for being victims.  We continue our lives and pray it doesn’t happen to someone else.  Except, for me prayer didn’t work.  Prayer is great, but sometimes God wants you to take action.

So, if being brave is slowly taking back my life.  If being brave is standing up and saying that what he did isn’t right.  If being brave is reaching out to others that are stuck in the same situation.  If being brave is being able to finally breath through the pain and focus on getting better.  If being brave is wanting to rise from the ashes of depression like a phoenix ready to fight. Then I am brave. 

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