Further Trauma

I went into lifeline in 2015 and turned 17 my first month there. I could rant for hours about the pain and shame the place put me through. However, I want to focus on one story, because I feel like it’s important for anyone else who went through something similar to know that they aren’t alone, and what they were told was wrong.

When I was in Lifeline I went to a survivors therapy group due to being sexually abused as a child. However, in said group I relayed a story from my teen years. I had been swimming with a group of friends, all but the one I was casually dating left to go change. The one who stayed with me hugged me and then put his hands into my swimsuit and inside of me. I told him to stop. Kind of trying to laugh it off, but he didn’t stop. I tried to get away, but wasn’t super forceful because I was in shock. I had told him from day one that I didn’t want to do anything like that. I wasn’t ready for it. He knew my boundaries. I then kept saying stop while half chucking, trying to not cause a scene. I was embarrassed. Ashamed. Finally, another friend started walking towards us and he stopped. When I got home I cried alone, and never told anyone until Lifeline.

After telling said story, the therapist running the group said, “If you were half heartedly saying no, not being forceful, and not really trying to physically stop them, then it wasn’t a sexual assault. You need to stop seeking attention.” I now know she was wrong. She led me to believe what happened to me was my fault. I was devastated and felt like I was just a stupid kid who lost a huge part of myself all because I couldn’t say no. I was later raped in life but reminded myself of that therapists words. I thought, “I didn’t push him off. I might have said “no, I don’t want to” a dozen times, but I never yelled no. I didn’t shove him out of the way when I tried to leave. So this whole thing must have been my fault.” I spent years thinking I lost my virginity, something important to me, to someone I barely even knew and didn’t want to lose it to. When in reality I was a survivor once again, because I never dealt with the trauma I went through as a teen and then continued to seek out people who would harm me, thinking that behavior was normal.

Even after years of healthy therapy, I still struggle with asking myself, was I really a victim? Or do I just want attention. Lifeline ruined a part of me. I’m considered a success story because I’m healthy now. I haven’t done drugs, I don’t drink, I haven’t self harmed in 7 years, I haven’t had a suicide attempt since before lifeline, and I built a life I love. However, I want lifeline to know, I want my family to know, and I want my fellow phasers to know, I did it. I healed myself. I fought for where I am. It was all me. The only role lifeline played, was just another thing for me to heal from.

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