028: I Remember

Content Warning: This post contains information about intimate partner violence, emotional abuse, and sexual assault, which may be triggering to some survivors.

"I Remember," Anonymous

Note: All survivors who reach out to The Art of Survival are given the option to remain anonymous in sharing their story. Any specific details about the survivor are shared at their discretion, and not the creators of the page.


I remember being 17.
I remember my first day of college. I saw him in the dining hall. 
I remember my first college party.
I remember feeling like making friends was a breeze.
I remember going to his apartment for the first time.
I remember my “best friend” vouching for him.
I remember watching movies and hanging out.
I remember everyone saying he was such a good guy.
I remember December, 2011.
I remember going to his apartment for the second time.
I remember we were all pre-gaming. His teammates. My girls.
I remember that night I didn’t want to drink.
I remember watching movies and hanging out.
I remember he gave me a drink.
I remember he closed the door.
I remember thinking it was weird.
I remember having a few sips.

I don’t remember watching the movie.
I don’t remember him raping me.
I don’t remember him videotaping it.
I don’t remember him laughing.
I don’t remember leaving his apartment.

I remember January, 2012.
I remember my “best friend” calling to ask me “Why didn’t you tell me you guys had sex?!”
I remember being confused.
I remember him getting on the phone.
I remember him saying he had proof.
I remember him saying he would send it out.
I remember my friends, his teammates, hundreds of people, receiving the video of him raping my limp body.
I remember walking into the dining hall and hearing the laughter.
I remember the averted glances.
I remember the names on Twitter – hoe, slut, liar, cheat.
I remember wanting to die.

I remember everyone saying he was such a good guy.
I remember going to the police.
I remember pressing charges.
I remember them saying they seized his computer and telephone.
I remember filing a restraining order.
I remember reading the newspaper article about he was going to be the best player of the year.
I remember seeing him in the dining hall.
I remember seeing him in class.

I don’t remember seeing him in handcuffs.
I don’t remember him being charged.

I remember wishing it had happened a few months earlier – so at least there would be no question that at least it was statutory rape.
I remember waiting six months before I heard back from the campus judicial system.
I remember them saying it would likely be another few months before the case would be heard.
I remember them telling me I was unlikely to win.
I remember them saying it was he-said, she-said.
I remember deciding I didn’t want to relive the worst 6 months of my life over again.
I remember deciding to drop the charges.
I remember taking 18 credits every semester, including summer, just to graduate early.

I remember, one year after my rape, hearing he had been arrested for domestic abuse.
I remember, two years after my rape, hearing he had been expelled for violence.
I remember, four years after my rape, hearing he had been signed to the Dallas Cowboys.

I still remember, nearly five years after my rape.
I’ll never forget

i remember.jpg

About the art:

This painting was inspired by this survivor's poem titled, "I Remember."  The words, 'I remember' are written over and over again finally trickling down to 'I'll never forget,' the final line of her poem.  Pink is one of her favorite colors, so the silhouette of the person in the painting looking up to the right into the light as the pink fades behind.

The light signifies hope. This survivor's favorite quote, "Life is a balance of holding on and letting go" resonates with me as well.  It fits very well with her story and it is a quote that many people can relate to.

As someone who struggles with anxiety, it is not uncommon for me to become hung up on my thoughts (both good and bad) and they repeat over and over in my mind.  The ability to "let go" of those thoughts and memories can be difficult for any human being, but is especially difficult for someone who has anxiety and has survived through a traumatic event as this survivor did.

This survivor is such a strong person and I admire her for being able to be such a strong person by not letting her abuser break her spirit.  I am honored to be a part in her sharing her story and I hope that every time she looks at this painting, she knows that she has an army of support standing behind her.

- Emily Lopez