"To Be Me"

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the Forum. The decision to print this article was made with full support of the Latin administration. A note to the writer of this article: While you have the support of Forum staff, and the support of school administration, please know there is professional help available to you as well. Talking through your experience with a supportive professional can be an important part of healing, if you are ready to do so. Within school, please remember that Ms. Lawrence and Ms. Stevens are available to you as counselors. If you are not comfortable talking to someone within the school, the following external resources are also available: RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network): https://www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline Resilience (Formerly known as Rape Victims Advocate): https://www.ourresilience.org/support-us/ways-to-support/ National Sexual Assault Hotline: Call 1-800-656-4673 _____________ The political turmoil surrounding sexual assault and rape in the past few months has taken a very large toll on several students at Latin, and one of those students happens to be me. After the end of my freshman year here at Latin, I was raped. For a long time, I said nothing to my friends and family. I was left feeling broken, with post-traumatic stress disorder, and horrid memories that I will continue to carry for the rest of my life. Over time I was able to heal myself and learn to trust boys again. However, at the start of the Kavanaugh trials, my worst nightmare came to life. Dr. Ford’s story, almost a mirror of mine, was being called a lie. A fraud. Somebody begging for attention. One of the common misconceptions about Dr. Ford is that she did it for her own benefit. I’ve heard several people say that she has some kind of incentive to bringing up the trauma she has been carrying around with her for thirty years, and I can tell you right now that there is nothing she can gain. Unless you want to say there is something beneficial about thousands of people knowing your story and calling you psychotic for having the memories you do, and I doubt you do. Yet again I felt broken. Several boys and girls at this school discredited Dr. Ford, some because she doesn’t align with Kavanaugh’s policies, because she didn’t say anything for such a long time, or even because she didn’t have enough hard evidence to prove what happened to her. However, in Doctor Ford’s eyes, I see the truth in her story, and I also see a gut-wrenching fear. I see myself in the story that she tells, the same scared and helpless 15-year-old girl she once was. Most of all, I see the pain in her eyes, and that pain simply can’t be made up. Now, being a girl at Latin means shutting up about this kind of thing. It means being told that your opinion on sexual assault is “wrong,” when in reality those who are telling you that you’re wrong have no idea what they’re talking about. It means being catcalled on your way home from school. It means looking over your shoulder every minute to make sure you’re not being followed on your way off the train. It means being raped, and not knowing how to tell anyone what happened to you. It means feeling invalid. It’s two in the morning and I am crying as I write this. I’ve struggled for such a long time to tell what happened to me, and now I struggle to put my thoughts into words. Yet with all this hardship, there are still people who say we are lying, even though the pain that we live in, the flashbacks we have, and the nightmares we wake up from should be enough proof. Dr. Ford and I don’t have enough physical evidence to prove what happened to us, but we will be silent no more. We must tell our stories. Through telling our stories, we are also proof that our brokenness can change the world for the better. In all of our brokenness, we can each fix each other.