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Not When

If I am being completely transparent about my sexual assault experiences, there have been many. In the context of We Will, I mostly focus on telling the story of my first sexual assault, but there have sadly been multiple occasions where I have been sexually assaulted. I got to the point where I was telling myself that it wasn't a matter of "if" I would get sexually assaulted again, but rather it was a matter of "when" it would happen again.

I didn't feel like there was any help or anything that I could do to prevent this from happening to me. I certainly didn't feel like there was anything I could do to prevent this from happening to others. I felt like sexual assault, while unacceptable, was simply something that happened and that would continue to happen. I had accepted this social ill as simply a part of the world I lived in, and I moved on, often in fear, wondering when it would happen next.

It was a few months later when I hear that a young woman I knew was suffering sexual abuse at the hands of one of her close friends. When I heard this, my hands went numb and my arms suddenly felt cold. My face felt hot and before I knew it I was sobbing for her. I felt infuriated. My own emotions surprised me. I had never before felt angry about any of my own assaults. I had never even cried over them. I had simply accepted them as part of my life and part of my past, and moved on.

But for some reason this felt different, I loved this girl and she didn't deserve this in the slightest. My own words came into my mind, as if from someone else saying, "you always say that it's not a matter of if a woman will be assaulted, but when she will be, did you not expect this?" This is when I realized that I did say that, I even often thought it, but deep down I didn't believe it. I didn't truly believe that all women would be assaulted. Granted, this is what my life experience told me, and what the statistics suggested, but I simply could not believe or accept that it would happen to everyone. In fact, as someone who has experienced multiple, horrific assaults, it became my responsibility to prevent it.

This is what prompted me to write my law school paper about the effectiveness of sexual assault prevention which would later lead to me founding We Will. I know so much good has come from this organization. I know that the question is not "when will I, or someone I love, get sexually assaulted?" but rather, the question is "what can I do to make sure this never happens to anyone again?"

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