Content warning: The following story contains graphic depictions of someone being raped, which may be triggering for some readers.
"Betrayed," Sarah N.
I was betrayed by two of my supposed friends in college. They knew this guy and his background and had every intention on helping him. They did everything they could to get me into the same room as him, saying nasty things they had done on the bed and floor. Once they finally had me with him, they left the apartment and locked my things in the other room where I couldn't get to them. The guy made advances, continuing to move towards me as I backed away.
Slowly as he unbelted his belt and unbuttoned his pants he said "shall we do this now or wait for them to get back?" When I didn't say anything and stared at my hands he had made the decision to do it right then, he pushed me against the couch and proceeded to insert his genitals into my mouth holding my head with his hand refusing to let me pull back. I couldn't catch a good breath for a good 15-20 minutes, thankfully sneaking in some air when he moved. If I gagged he would push in farther to keep me from doing so.
He ejaculated 5 times and once he was finished he fixed his pants and left the apartment. I wasn't allowed to leave until the next day when they knew I didn't have time to tell anyone because of classes.
Others noticed that I didn't look and act the same and insisted that I talk to an adult that I truly trusted which happened to be my Resident Hall Director, where from that point on she did everything she could to help me, by breaking the rules to bring me to the hospital herself, along with a community advisor that I trusted to have a rape test done and talk to the police.
The police didn't do anything to the guy because according to them they didn't have enough evidence, when in fact they had the entire outfit I had on that night.
I spent the rest of that semester scared. I had to walk past his dorm hall everyday with him watching me as I did. I had to have someone walk with me every time just to feel comfortable.
Today, I still struggle with PTSD and some nights have the dream of that night. I have my supporters who will sit there and listen, some can relate and some want to become advocates to help others or truly care for me. He still walks free and has yet to be punished for what he had done to me.
About the art:
After reading Sarah's story, I felt the art equivalent of speechless. I felt for her. I know how difficult dealing with PTSD can be, especially when flashbacks impede everyday life. I wondered if she had something that kept her going every day, even when things were at their hardest.
She shared with me this quote, "Overcoming abuse doesn't just happen. It takes positive steps every day. Let today be the day you start to move forward."
I thought it was beautiful, and perfect to sum up her survival. So I drew a ton of thumbnails, tried multiple concepts, but this simple version was the one I liked best. I hope she can use it as a reminder that recovery takes time and effort - but it is so worth it.