“Being a Victim Doesn’t Mean You’re Weak” – Sarena Pollock

When you find yourself typing into google was I sexually assaulted?, it means you probably were. Because unfortunately, no search engine in the world can give you a direct yes or no to a question only you can answer.

When you’re thinking to yourself maybe I’m just overreacting, it means you aren’t.
It means your body is telling you something is wrong, but you don’t want to admit it.

When you’re asking yourself he didn’t mean it, right?, it means you don’t want to think someone you trusted could have looked at you as an opportunity instead of a person.
It means it doesn’t matter what he meant or not. What matters is he did something that made you feel violated, and he didn’t stop when you said no.

But that type of thing doesn’t happen to me though, right? That’s something you hear about on the news, something they glamorize on tv, something they tell you would never happen to you. They don’t tell you it’s happened to your mother, your grandmother, your best friend. They don’t tell you it will come from someone you trust. They don’t tell you you’ll blame yourself because you were made to believe this was your fault.

So you take back control over that night in the only way you know how, by putting pen to paper in hopes your words can reclaim what was stolen from your voice. Sometimes, this will be enough. Other times, it will have to be enough.

I don’t need to read words off a page to tell you about that night—its already been singed and branded into my memory enough as it is, the image of him towering of me etched into the side of my skull. There is no escape because there is no forgetting.
The look on his face as he forced my legs open is more vivid in my brain than the first time I set eyes on my baby brother.
How dare he. How dare he take such precedence in my mind that I have to pull away when someone reaches for me, because for a split second, I think it might be him.
How dare he make me question my safety when I’m alone with someone I trust, because now that he’s opened that door, I don’t know who else will walk through it next.
How dare he take away my most basic right of comfort—because living with glances over your shoulder and sleeping with one eye open is not living, it’s surviving.

I may be a survivor, but I am not a victim. He did not take anything away from me, and I refuse to let him claim that type of ownership.

When you’re asking yourself will I ever get through this?, The answer is yes. The answer will always be yes. Just because he tried to take something from you, it doesn’t make you any less whole. The only person who’ll be wishing to god that this didn’t happen will be him. I promise you that.

Sarena Pollock is currently a junior at Susquehanna University majoring in Creative Writing with a minor in Sociology. She is the President of SU Slam Poetry Club and a Barista at Starbucks. Her hobbies include laughing at memes online and petting dogs she sees on the streets.


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