I soon began ruminating and replaying the events that transpired the night before: If I had previously wanted to have sex with him, but not in that instance, was it still rape? Are they right, and I’m just in denial?
Their doubts made me question the legitimacy of my own trauma. Was my own assault justified because it wasn’t done in an overtly violent manner? I didn’t end up reporting my rape because I was so conflicted about believing myself.
As someone who experienced trauma at a young age, I have been in and out of therapy almost my whole life. I was lucky to already have a trusted therapist — who I’m still with today — and be able to open up about this incident. By talking to her and reading other women’s stories, I realize the recurring theme is similar: Survivors tell themselves, “My sexual assault wasn’t that traumatic. I could have had X happen to me, so I’m lucky.”