flashbacks

‘As I rinsed my car, a man from behind placed a knife at my throat. Hand over my mouth, he dragged me to the floor of his car, forcing handcuffs around my wrists.’: Kidnapping, sexual assault survivor urges ‘there is abundant life after trauma’

“19 years old, I’d found a part-time job waiting tables at a local Olive Garden for the summer. One blistering hot day in July, I dropped a coworker off at work, looking forward to her shift ending so we could go out dancing. I had no idea my life was about to be turned upside down.”

‘I’m 14, alone with a boy. ‘What if you had sex with me?’ He leers. ‘No thanks.’ ‘What if I held you down and made you?’: Survivor advocates for fellow survivors of the Me Too Movement, ‘Culture tells us not to complain. To keep quiet.’

“I’m 17, and I have a long-distance boyfriend. He begs me for phone sex and I say no. ‘I’m sorry, I’m just not comfortable.’ I hang up on him, feeling guilty. He’s lonely in the Marine barracks. I’m all he has. He needs me. He suffers from depression, self-harm. A few nights later, I pause on the phone. I hear his heavy breathing, muffled moans. ‘Are you…?’ I ask. ‘Don’t stop. Keep talking,’ he pants. Feeling sick, I hang up the phone. I feel dirty and embarrassed. ‘Men will only go as far as you let them,’ I’ve been told. Boys will be boys.”

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