I see you. I hear you.

**Trigger warning: Descriptions of rape**

I have gotten very good at compartmentalizing different parts of my life, shoving things I don’t want to remember or don’t want people to see into the far corners of my mind and hiding it from the rest of the world. So the fact that it took me two years after it happened for me to fully process what actually took place that night comes to of no surprise to me.  Memory is a fickle thing. Our memories aren’t perfect reconstructions of our past, but rather a patchwork of details and inferences filling the gaps. Combine it with the effects of alcohol…and I mean a lot of alcohol…well let’s just say remembering things can be even more difficult, if not virtually impossible.

What I do remember from that night is being at a bar in New York with some strangers I had just met for the first time. It was supposed to just be an online gaming community meetup. Grab some dinner and chat. We went bar hopping and took some shots. And more shots. And more. One of the guys was our DD and he bought me so many drinks that I lost count. One of the drinks was the Mind Eraser…the irony of it all. My mind quickly turned into a fuzzy mess soon after that.

The rest are just bits and pieces of blurriness. I vaguely remember him holding me up against the wall so that he could make out with me outside the bar. I vaguely remember him dragging me into his car because I couldn’t even walk and driving me to his house. I vaguely remember him pulling me into his room and pushing me down onto his bed. I vaguely remember him going on top of me and smashing his mouth against mine, feeling up my body and pulling off my clothes. However, there was this one single distinct feeling I can still clearly remember cutting through the fog in my mind — fear. Fear of what was about to happen because I could not speak or move. I was like a limp rag doll being pulled, bent and twisted against my own will. I was helpless. I remember being in pain as he shoved his cock in my ass and not being able to say anything coherent to make him stop. And then all went dark as I blacked out.

I remember waking up the next morning not knowing where I was or how I got there. I remember the sinking realization of what happened and the immense wave of guilt that crashed over me because I blamed myself for getting so drunk that I lost control. I blamed myself for him taking advantage of my drunken state and forcing himself on me. I blamed myself for not being strong enough to say no. I blamed myself for getting raped. I remember thinking to myself on the flight home, of course this would happen to me. Just add it to the long list of baggage already weighing me down. I shrugged it off, plastered another mask on and went on with my life, as if this terrible thing never happened.

A few months after the incident I met someone who fought hard against my own low self-esteem, insecurities and fears to help me realize that I deserved better and that I was worthy to be loved. He gave me the gift of a friendship that embraced who I was, baggage and all, and encouraged me to keep pushing forward to become the best person I can be. It took me two years of living in guilt and shame after that night in New York to finally gather my strength and put my past behind me once and for all; a past already burdened with years of clinical depression, high functioning anxiety, suicidal thoughts, self-harm and emotional abuse.

The fact that I can’t fully remember the events of that night would make it extremely difficult to press any charges. There were no witnesses, no evidence to put forward. Nobody would believe me, since it would just be my word against his. I can’t change the past, but I can change the way I see my past and shape my future to something better. To those who have a similar story to mine, to those who have been taken advantage of, to those who suffer in silence and fear…I see you. I hear your silence. I want to hold you and tell you that you are an incredible and wonderful person who deserves to live and be loved. You are worth it and so much more than what your past tells you. I see you. I hear you.

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