It's not your fault. – Bravelets

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It's not your fault.

Posted on July 25 2014

It was late winter of 2011, on Valentine's Day. Upstairs in his room, "watching" a movie. He was my boyfriend of a year and a half by that time. He had red and black sheets and pillows on his bed and his mom and stepdad were downstairs. I was going to go along with whatever he wanted because that was our relationship until that point. I didn't have much of a voice. There wasn't abuse, per se, but there was manipulation and guilt. I think that, for some people, that's harder to stand up to than a fist or a shout. It definitely was for me.

Then, of course, right before it was about to happen, I had my moment of clarity; I wasn't ready for this. I couldn't do this. This wasn't right. And I told him to stop. He didn't.

It's amazing how something so scarring and so utterly earth-shattering can be condensed into a few sentences. Because it's not that simple. I didn't even know that I had been raped until a year later, after I finally stood up for myself and broke up with him and had some time to mull over what had happened in those past two and a half years. I'm still weeding through it, three years later. It took me nearly a year to be able to stand or sit next to a man without having an internalized anxiety attack and it's taken me every day of those three years to realize that it wasn't my fault. I'm still working on it some days.

My point is that, no, the aftermath doesn't just go away. I've only told perhaps three people in these past years because I've heard so many people brush it off, claim that there are worse things, or actually utter the words, "Get over it. It's done."

No, it's not. It's done for him. I'm still waiting for it to be done for me. Even so, I'm much more confident and stable than I used to be. I came to a point where I realized I could let it kill me, not in the physical way, but in the sensational way that would kill me in my teens while my body aged and moved as it was supposed to. A lot of people die young, but aren't buried for seventy more years to come. It also occurred to me that I could let it arm me.

So I steeled my backbone and right around the time I made that decision to keep trying was when I found Bravelets. A Facebook ad of all things brought me here and I ordered my first piece. The included quote that came with my Bravelet--"You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think"--has always been one of my favorites from childhood and seeing it again in the circumstances I had now made me realize just how much I could take and how truly brave every survivor really is.

Above all, though, it was the shame I struggled with. And I guess I'm here to say what I wish I could've heard in my more agonized times. I swear to you that it is not your fault.

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