Sometimes the act of sharing is the starting point to trauma recovery. In “Release” The Lovepost invites citizens from across the globe to submit their trauma experiences. These submissions are being published anonymously across our website and social platforms as they come in. We hope that the act of sharing these experiences can subside shame, dismantle unhelpful beliefs, lessen triggering and help survivors of trauma make sense of a completely senseless event or series of events.
I’m resting in my classmate’s bunk bed in a hostel. My eyes are shut, yet I’m wide awake.
“There’s only one way to see if she’s sleeping,” I hear an acquaintance say.
He puts his hands up my shirt and gropes my breasts in the time it takes to blink. In my mind, I scream and jump. I either don't want to open my eyes or I'm unable to—I'm too scared to tell the difference. Did I eat too many cakes? Did I smoke too much? Why can’t I move?
“She's definitely sleeping,” he says, and laughs. Others laugh.
I sleep until morning.
I’ve been sexually assaulted among friends. In front of friends. Are they friends, or are they just men?
I don’t tell anyone. And those who know, don’t know that I know.
I absorb Europe. I let its beauty pull me through.
Weeks later, I’m reliving the memory over and over.
I show up at a party where he is. I nearly didn’t come, knowing he would be here. Why did I do this? I’m scared to be with him with nobody around—even though I know that, last time, people being there didn’t protect me.
I don’t tell my boyfriend what happened. I just tell him I think the guy likes me and it creeps me out, so can he please stay close.
I try to get by, avoiding eye contact. He approaches me. He asks if I’d like to go to his house to smoke weed. I turn down the offer. I want to say, “Why? So you can finish what you started and rape me?”
All I can feel are his hands around my breasts.
At university, I try to avoid him. He smiles at me whenever he sees me, almost as if he has a secret I don’t know about. He has no idea how my body disassociated and watched as he groped me, or how I can’t help but feel filthy every time I see him. How I’ve started owning the filth he put on me without my permission.
Years later, he adds me on Facebook. He messages me asking how I am. I say I’m good.
Now, he has a girlfriend and a baby. When I look at the photos of his happy family, I can’t help but feel disgusted. I can’t shake off the dirty feeling he left on me. My fear has turned to anger, and I want to go to the police and tell them what he did to me. I don’t do anything, and nothing happens. The memory shuffles behind others.
I’m older now, reading a story about a girl who got raped in Berlin. Suddenly, years ago feels like yesterday.
Why do we feel shame that doesn’t belong to us? Why do we feel shame for something that was done to us? We don’t fucking want it. Take it back, take it back, take it back.