The fourth of July. A day that will live infamy—my dad left. My parents divorced when I was eight years old. Which isn't a big deal, right? People's parents divorce all the time. I was just another statistic about a sad kid who thought she was the reason for her parents' divorce. Time went on and I started to see the bigger picture. My parents were never going to be happy together; they were much better apart. So I slowly started to accept my parents dating other people.

Fast forward a little bit. My mother remarried my then-stepfather. He was nice, really. I loved him, and then he hit my mom for the first time. I hated coming home. I hated being home. I hated him. It wasn't until I was around twelve until it first happened. Until he first started jokingly smacking my butt. It didn't take long from there for things to escalate. I will never forget the first time I was raped. I locked my door and slept with the lights on. As years went on, being assaulted regularly by the person who I thought loved me started to take its toll. I blocked out everything. I started staying in my room. I started to self-harm. I lost sight of what love looked like.

I moved in with my dad at fifteen. I left the home where the abuse was taking place. I was free, but it never quite felt that way. I continued to self-harm and as time went on it only got worse. I hated the rules my Dad and Stepmom had set for me. I rebelled and I eventually ended up moving out. I started to numb everything with drinking and smoking. I was willing to do anything to numb myself from the nightmares and the flashbacks.

It was only when I got to college that I started to really work through everything. I met friends who had been assaulted and we all stuck together. It's a support group I never thought I would find and it's because of those girls that I'm here.

The truth is being a rape survivor almost killed me, but I'm here. I am on most days happy and on the days that I am not I take it one baby step at a time. This is my truth, it's terrible, but it's mine and it's made me the person I am today.