I always thought I knew what rape was until it happened to me. Rape does not always happen like you'd think in the movies. You are not always tied up and injured fighting back. At least that's not what happened to me. It was through coercion and manipulation. I had said no and he kept on going. Even though I didn't physically fight back, I still felt violated, used and then discarded.

For a long time I blamed myself and thought that it was my fault for going to his house. I thought that I could have left and I didn't. I allowed it to happen. I even told my older brother, whom I trusted with my life, and he also eluded to the fact that it was my fault. After that I didn't tell anyone how I felt and put the experience into the back of my head.

But it wasn't until nearly a year after it happened that I saw all of the repercussions it had in my daily life. I felt sick whenever another man touched me. I struggled to date again. And I couldn't figure out why until I saw him pop up on my social media newsfeed. I then experienced my first panic attack. I was then able to connect why I was struggling so much. Through some really amazing friends and other Truths on this website, I was able to identify what happened as rape.

That realization helped me to understand how I can move on and why I react to things the way I do. I still struggle every day to move on and have a normal life. I just have to have hope that I will be brave enough to allow myself to be vulnerable with another man again. Hope is really what gets me through all of this as well as other strong women in my life who have been understanding. It will be a long healing process but I continue to work through it every day. If anything I will be a stronger and more understanding person at the end of this.