I spent the first few months after my rape numb. I reported what happened to my school. Then I reported it to the school police department. And then I reported it to the local police department’s special victim’s unit. But there’s nothing special about reporting a rape.

I hadn’t been sure about reporting. There were so many factors to consider: how would I tell my parents, would I even tell them, what would my friends say, would I still have friends, what would school be like, would I still be able to go to parties with our shared mutual friends, would it be distracting to report and deal with school. I guess it says everything about how I felt about myself that my safety wasn’t something I even worried about.

But I went ahead and reported because the fear I had of going to school knowing there was the chance I would run into him outweighed everything else. I had contemplated dropping out and disappearing. I told myself I could always go back and finish when everyone I knew was gone. I thought his education was more important than my own.

Thank God for friends who remind you of your worth, especially when you don’t see it for yourself.

And it wasn’t easy. The reporting process aside, it was exhausting. Talking about the worst night of your life with administrators who are twice your age who you met five minutes before being expected to tell them the details of your rape is exhausting. Knowing that he’s telling everyone you’ve accused him of rape, but not to worry because he’s not a rapist you’re just an attention seeker whose jealous he didn’t want you as his girlfriend is exhausting. Having to keep up with school work when you’re not even going to class because you’re too scared to be at school is exhausting. Telling your parents and having to check in on them because they’re somehow blaming themselves for letting you go to school so far away all while you’re barely holding yourself together is exhausting. It was all so fucking exhausting.

Nothing worked out in my favor in the ways you’d normally hope when you report an assault. The school didn’t find him responsible, the school police couldn’t do anything since it was out of their jurisdiction, the local police said “we believe you, but there’s just not enough evidence.”

For a while, I stayed numb. I was so full of anger, but I was incapable of actually feeling it at all. Whenever I finally felt it, it was in explosive bursts, usually in my car because it was the only place I knew I was completely alone. I hated the thought of anyone seeing how deeply that night affected me.

I convinced myself that it might be possible to erase that night.

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