Amplified Stories: I am More Than a Number

Amplified Stories: I am More Than a Number

AMPLIFIED STORIES is a platform created by KCSARC in order to amplify the voices of survivors of sexual violence. Shared experiences hold the power to validate, heal, and change. The post below was submitted by a survivor who gave KCSARC permission to share their story.

This post contains a story of sexual violence. If at any time, you feel unsafe, need support, or need to talk, please call our 24-Hour Resource Line: 1.888.99.VOICE (1.888.998.6423).

One in three women are sexually assaulted, raped, abused, and more. I used to repeat that number to myself when I first learned it. I was one in three. I was not proud of that number. I cried about it. I wanted to punish the people who made me a statistic.

My brother, who sexually assaulted me when I was eight.

My parents, who let him have a normal childhood while I spent years in the back of our family van so they could watch me and make sure I was safe.

My rapist, who decided consent for one thing equaled consent for everything even though I told him I was done.

To them, I became a number. 500,000 women become victims, become survivors, every year in the United States. I am one of the 500,000.

But I am not longer a victim. I am not afraid to talk about what happened to me. The agreement I made with my brother has no baring anymore because it was made from fear, made for his pleasure. Both he and my rapist got away with what they did and from the age of 8 to 23, I lived with it. I looked at myself thinking I was dirty. Some of my family members look at me and think I am dirty. But there were two people who helped me change that.

Today, I no longer have PTSD. I brush my teeth almost twice a day. Depending on allergic reactions to shampoo because I have sensitive skin, I take a shower every day. When you see yourself as dirty, you stop caring about your appearance because you believe that if you are dirty, really dirty, no one will notice you. I didn’t want to be noticed anymore.

I was looked at as if my brother’s mistake was my fault, as if I was a whore that slept around when my rapist took control.

When I first told my family, I was raped, they didn’t believe me. My sister told me, “Maybe you shouldn’t have put yourself in that situation.”

The victim blaming from my oldest brother was utterly disgusting. It made me think about the years I spent in the back of my parents van while they grew up with friends, while K walked around still telling his jokes and no one punishing him for his actions.

These are memories I will carry with me for the rest of my life. But the bitterness is gone. The feelings are remembered, because how can one forget? My boyfriend, who I have been with for two years now, had the haunting task of helping through my triggers.

My sides where my rapist put his hands and pulled me towards him. My head where K forced the back of my head towards him.

Knives which I still won’t use except inside my kitchen but my hand doesn’t shake anymore and I am not scared when I see other people cutting things with them.

We worked for weeks, together. If I felt shaky or scared, we would stop and talk about what I was feeling but we got through them. My counselor helped me remember both events: sights, smells, feelings, sounds. I remembered things that I had pushed down. The first time we talked, I could taste K for two hours after. But now, I don’t taste him.

I still can’t bring either event up with my family. My dad and I have talked about it and he has apologized countless times, not because he feels that I blame him but because he now understands the implications it had on me. My mom will only apologize because she feels that I blame her, so I don’t talk to her about it, or about other past mistakes she and my family have made. My three brothers see no wrong doing outside of me being a whore in their eyes, that I am just using myself for the pleasure of someone else and I can’t scream rape every time someone treats me wrong. And my sister apologized after I told her the entire story, both of them. She now works with Planned Parenthood and helped a fellow lawyer where she was interning on a law for sex trafficking. My stories inspired her.

I am more than a number. Yes, I am one in three. Yes, I am one of the 500,000 a year. Yes, I am one of the millions that go unreported. But I am more than that. I have fought and won.

I defeated PTSD, and if I had the opportunity I would look my rapist and my brother in the face and tell them I am a survivor. You tried to break me, you made me feel dirty and gross. You told jokes and laughed. But now all you feel is guilt because you see a young woman who fought long and hard to defeat the brokenness you made me feel and I did.

I have conquered my demons. And you are forgiven. I am more than a number.

If at any time, you feel unsafe, need support, or need to talk, please call our 24-Hour Resource Line: 1.888.99.VOICE (1.888.998.6423).


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