A SURVIVOR'S TALE : Hanna's Truth
TRIGGER WARNING :
These article contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.
I was a 14-year-old freshman at a youth group convention in Dallas when I looked into his eyes for the first time as I was playing Cards Against Humanity with some friends. He winked at me, but when I looked into his eyes, something inside me clenched up and the huge ballroom we were in suddenly went cold. As we continued the game and exchanged contacts, he kept pushing people aside to sit next to me. My friends could tell that something was off too. He kept asking me, in that same sexual voice, if I wanted to grab a bite to eat and I just kept saying “oh no thanks, maybe later.” This attention from a boy was uncharted territory.
I walked away and hung out with my friends and tried to forget about him. Long story short, he kept snap-chatting, texting, and calling me several times over the next couple of hours, always asking me if I was alone and saying that he wanted to hang out with just me - I knew what he meant, and it unnerved me. Later that day, I was sitting by a river with my friends when he found me, and as he forced himself on the bench, he pretended to yawn and put his arms around me to try and hug me. I’m tall for sure, but at that moment, I never felt so small. Then, his hand traveled farther town to squeeze my butt and then under my t-shirt and tracing my bra. My insides clenched together in survival mode because, although I hadn’t done anything with a guy before, even my knew that something wasn’t right.
Then, he kept saying how I should sit on his lap which would “be a lot more fun,” he said, and when I said no, something shifted. He first asked if I wanted to have sex with him later - I said no - and he asked if he was wasting his time with me; my friends and I all shouted yes. He then said that, since he’s a senior, he’d “go find some other random freshman girl to fuck; it shouldn’t be too hard.” I just sat there, mouth gaping wide, in shock and disbelief.
Fast-forward another few hours, and I woke up and realized that I had slept through my alarm and was late for a party. As I was running to the party ballroom, I quickly rushed to the nearest bathroom. When I was walking out, I saw him just a few feet away. He started walking towards me and said, “I’ve been looking for you” and tried to talk to me casually in an effort to play this all of into something that “should be normal for girls to expect.”
On instinct, I ran back into the bathroom - somewhere he wasn’t - and into a vacant stall.
The stall I ran into couldn’t close properly so I put my back against the door and prayed that it would stay closed. But he pulled me out from under the stall and pushed me up against the wall. I remember him saying things like “please” and “sorry” as he was hurting me and trying to undress me. I remember intense pressure on the insides of my thighs and him fingering me and something inside me. I tried kicking and screaming, but then my brain shut down and my body gave up. I felt all the strength drained out of me. After that, I don’t remember much. I woke up alone in the bathroom with my shirt five feet away, my shorts tied around my feet, a pulsing surge of pain inside me and between my thighs, and bruises on my back that I got when he pulled me out. I received the rest of the memories in flashes up to a few months later.
I didn’t tell anyone for over a year simply because I thought society and my friends wouldn’t believe me, and in fact, some of them actually claimed that I was blowing things out of proportion, just trying to get attention, and complained about “how much his life - a scholar athlete’s - would be ruined if I came forward.” Some even had the nerve to question me on what exact day it was and what I was wearing. I suffer from flashbacks, PTSD symptoms, depression, and anxiety. Every time I looked at my body, I cringed and remembered where the bruises were. Every time I rode a bike, the pressure between my legs grew increasingly uncomfortable. Whenever. I looked at any guy I saw him, heard his voice, and felt his presence next to me, saying that I’m “a worthless piece of shit” and that I “would never be good enough for any guy.” So I put up walls to protect myself.
But through therapy and a long-road to self-discovery, I’m finally regaining my faith and beginning to realize that I deserved so much better and shouldn’t expect this shit ever again. No one should expect this kind of behavior from people who simply have an extreme sense of entitlement. It’s a dress, not a yes. But we’re called survivors for a reason. We made it out of there for a greater purpose - to use our voices and fight for those who are too afraid or not ready to use theirs. How we got here is despicable, but it’s a sacred sisterhood - and even brotherhood - of survivors. We have to stick together.
Image Credit : Rominas Farias
Disclaimer : Every "Survivor's Tale" published on this site are true stories sent in by survivors .