By Dana Zillgitt, Regular ContributorAugust 14, 2015
It’s been just over a year now since I became another statistic of a woman who didn’t report her sexual assault for several different reasons. But mostly, it came down to the fact that I was too scared to turn him in.
I didn’t want to be a victim, and I hated that he made me into one.
So for a while, I dealt with the nightmares and the flashbacks like they were just another day. But then, come my birthday, I became putty again and not in a good way.
I was celebrating with friends for finally hitting my quarter life crisis when I looked down at my phone to a text from a number I didn’t recognize. Long story short, it was him-wanting to recreate “our great nights together.” I froze. I’m pretty sure I ran to the bathroom, called my mom, and cried. He preceded to text me for several days, not knowing I had moved 2000 miles away, until I blocked him from contacting me ever again.
But it wasn’t until a few weeks later that I realized I still needed help putting him and that night behind me. I contacted an advocate, explaining the situation and that, even with the distance, I was still scared of him finding me. I was still scared of the flashbacks and the nightmares that were getting worse. I needed to get this out of my system. I needed to deal with it, once and for all. Then she suggested I come back into group and meet fellow survivors who were going through the same exact thing. She said I wasn’t alone, and she had proof. The only thought running through my head was, “Seriously? There’s a group for this?” It was something I forgot existed. And after my screening last week, I start on Thursday.
image via beautyisinside.com
Am I terrified of dealing with this night head on again? Am I scared to finally realize that there are other people like me, determined to stay survivors instead of victims? I’d be lying if I said no. But frankly, if this whole process has taught me anything, it’s that I am not damaged. I am not anything less than a beautiful mess of broken pieces, and I’m still putting the puzzle back together. It has made me realize that while, yes, he is a monster of a coward, he will never win if I refuse to let him. He will not hold power if I don’t give him any. And I know I can’t go this alone.
To everyone who has helped me along the way so far, I know it hasn’t been easy seeing me refuse to see the beauty you’ve seen after all this time. I know it hasn’t been fun to see me still falsely blame myself after all this time, but it has been your unfaltering support that has gotten me this far.
There is still a little bit of beauty left in ourselves and in this world. This will be a never ending journey that I’m so excited to see where it leads. May the monsters never win and may we always realize we are never as alone as we feel.
Have you ever carried an event or memory with you for too long? How do you overcome the tough times? Who is your support system? Tell us below!
Dana has her BA in International Affairs & Spanish as well as a mild obsession with rescue animals and all things caffeinated. She’s mastered the art of the selfie, fort building, and even the sass battle. Plus, she can quote 95% of Anchorman and Zoolander.
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.