I’ve told two men about my sexual assault. The first one cried when I told him. He was so upset that a person would do that to another person. Even then, in my head, I wasn’t really convinced it was all that bad. I mean, it wasn’t pinned down violent rape. So I was just exaggerating, right?

I was a freshman in college when I came home hammered to my dorm room. My roommate and her boyfriend, who was visiting from Boston, were in her bed and his friend was in mine. I told him, in my drunken state, that it was fine if he stayed there as long as he didn’t molest me. Those were the actual words I said, as long as you don’t molest me.

I woke up in the middle of the night and his hand was inside of me. I don’t remember his name, if I ever knew it. I think he had dark hair. I was half asleep. I pretended to be asleep. I don’t know if he thought he got away with it. Or what he told his friend.

I’ve never told any women either. No one has ever told me, directly, about their survival story. Maybe it’s because I know they know what it’s like being female. Maybe it’s because I’m ashamed. Maybe afraid.

I also am not sure if I’m sharing now because of the brave women who continue to come forward. Or because I’ve just had enough. Or because 14 days ago I birthed a baby girl and I’ll be damned before I let her have to deal with this shit.

So there are protagonists here. And there are lessons. I’m not going to tell you what to take from this, but I insist you take something.

If you haven’t been listening yet, listen now. Every woman has experienced some form of harassment, many have been assaulted, some have been violated beyond repair. Until we are all free to walk down the street at night without our keys artfully clenched in our fists, it’s far past time to do something. But it’s not too late.

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