TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual assault, mental illness, suicide.
Nearly 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. Most female victims experience their first rape before the age of 25. More than half of female victims report being raped by an intimate partner and 40% by an acquaintance.
My name is Georgia Calloway and I was sexually assaulted. I want you to know my name and my story. I am a real person with a bright future that I almost had ripped away from me. I am more than a statistic.
I was a freshman in college in a brand new town. I didn’t know anyone but I did meet a guy that we’ll call Zack whom I became fairly good friends with. We went to the same college and had been friends for months before it happened. I was excited that I had finally found someone that I enjoyed hanging out with and that I trusted.
Boy, did that get me in trouble.
One night I picked him up so that we could drive down to the riverwalk and just hang out. We were hanging out and having a good time when Zack decided that he was going to try to make an advance on me. I wasn’t sure how to react so I just jerked back. I was startled. I wasn’t expecting it. He kept telling me to “just relax” and that “it was going to be okay”. I told him to stop multiple times. I told him that I wasn’t interested in him like that but he kept persisting.
Zack was much stronger than me and managed to force himself into my pants. I was frozen in fear and I didn’t know what to do. It finally clicked in my head that I needed to get out and get out now. I somehow managed to get him off of me and told him that I needed to leave. I took him home and went back to my dorm.
I was sick. I felt violated. I felt like my self-worth had just been ripped away from me. I felt disgusted and ashamed and alone.
I cried the whole drive back to my dorm. I cried in the shower as I scrubbed the skin off of my body determined to clean myself from his touch. I felt dirty and no amount of scrubbing made me feel better. I cried the entire night.
I didn’t tell anyone.
The next morning he tried texting me to check on me. I didn’t respond. He texted again. Still didn’t respond. He texted and texted and I finally had to block him. He knew I wasn’t interested, he knew I didn’t want it but it didn’t matter; he was going to get what he wanted.
Trying to deal with something like this all on my own was next to impossible. My depression and anxiety had skyrocketed and on top of that, I started suffering from PTSD and paranoia. I didn’t see the point in living anymore. It just didn’t seem worth it if this was going to be my life from now on.
So I attempted suicide.
Luckily I failed. I wished I could say that was the turning point for me and that I decided to take control of my life but that’s not the case. I just decided to push the feelings and the trauma as far away as I could. I went on with my life as if nothing had happened.
Eventually, I couldn’t hold it in anymore and I told one of my closest friends. She was heartbroken that I had to go through something like that and even more that I made myself go through it alone. She was angry at Zack for what he did. I don’t blame her.
As time went on, my mental state got worse to the point where it was inferring with school. I had moved back home at this point because I couldn’t stand to live by myself. I half-ass attempted suicide again but once again failed. After all of this time, I couldn’t find that light at the end of the tunnel.
I was scared to meet new people. I couldn’t date anyone. I didn’t even want to leave my house. I was so scared that someone else was going to come along and try to take what little bit of life I had left in me.
Then, the turning point came.
I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know what caused me to take hold of my life. I was going about my day doing my best just to exist when my mom called. We were talking about school and jobs and the future and I finally just broke down. I didn’t tell her what happened and I still haven’t told her. I begged her to help me find someone to talk to. I begged her to get me help. I couldn’t do it on my own anymore and I just needed help.
A week later I started therapy. I finally found that light at the end of the tunnel. I feel heard. I feel safe. I feel valid. I finally feel like what happened wasn’t my fault. I feel like a million pounds have been lifted off of my shoulders. I feel like I can finally breathe.
I’m not saying that I’m completely healed. I still struggle every single day. My PTSD and paranoia are still there. I’m just now able to kind of start dating again. I am still learning how to cope. Nonetheless, I am getting better. All I can do is take it one day at a time.
How dare you? You tried to break me. You tried to take my happiness away. You tried to take my self-worth away. You tried to take my life away. But here’s the kicker: you DIDN’T. I refuse to let you. I refuse to give you the satisfaction. This is my life and you can’t have it.
I may be that 1 in 3 but I am more than a statistic.
Sexual Assault- (800) 656-4673
Suicide- (800) 273-8255
Mental Health- (800) 950-6264