Our individual experiences shape our outlooks on different areas of life. Sexual assault and harassment has never been something that I thought was "not a big deal" or "not something to worry about", but I'll admit I didn't become as vocal about my thoughts behind it until I met someone who confided their experience with me. I wasn't as aware about the issue as I should have been and I still have a lot to learn.
This person has become a lifelong friend and someone that I look up to more than I think she realizes. She has come so far in the 2.5 years I've known her. She's helped to shake up some misconceptions I had and has made me want to do anything I can to make a difference. I've proudly stood up as a "snowflake" on some issues because I've seen what real people are going through and refuse to not fight for them to be heard. We need to take the time to listen to what people are going through and put ourselves in their shoes for a minute before jumping to conclusions about what we think they need to be doing or should have done.
There are many times that I struggle to know the right thing to say because I know she's hurting so much. Times that I wish I could just kick the crap out of the person who did this to her because of what he puts her through still. I don't ever want her to feel like she's on her own in this fight and there are a few things I hope she always knows.
What he did does not define you.
You are far stronger than you realize and a better person than most. There are moments when I know you struggle to see how far you've come and there are moments that you think you'll never get through. Every day that you keep pushing through is another day he doesn't win. It doesn't matter if you sit in bed all day. Every day you don't give up, he loses. You always seem to find a spark and that spark moves people to be better. Even on the tough days, remember that. You don't have to have the most life-changing, inspiring day every day. It's okay to not be okay sometimes.
You are making a difference.
What you went through is terrible. How you have survived and reacted since is inspiring. You have grown the strength to really put yourself out there and share your story with others. The more personal of a post you make, the more you make your readers face the reality of rape. It's incredible that you're able to put into words what you went through. I know it isn't easy for you to write about and the more personal the post, the harder it gets. Keep writing. Keep sharing. Keep fighting back. You're making a difference, I promise.
He didn't win.
There are times you argue with me on this one. I'll continue arguing back because he hasn't won and he won't. Yes, what he did will stick with you forever but it does not define you. You are not his conquest. You are a survivor. You are making a difference with your story and you inspire people to fight back against people like him. So no, he doesn't win and one day he's going to get the very big dose of karma that's waiting for him.