Writing by Anonymous. Illustration by Paola Valentina.
Content Warning: explicit descriptions of sexual assault, rape, the aftermath, shame.
When you wake up, with no real memory of what happened, but a deep realisation of what you have lost, vulnerable and naked, bruised in areas that you did not know could bruise, when you wake up and you are softened and hardened, when you wake up and you're already crying, when you wake up and he was supposed to be a friend, when you wake up and the condom is still inside of you, when you wake up and - Why didn't you go to the police? Blurry trees, blurry grass, blurry beer bottles, blurry faces, blurry powders and pills that you are sure you never touched, blurry mattress stains, blurry tongues, blurry laughs, blurry cries, blurry, blurry, blurry - Funny how a word loses meaning the more it is said. When you wake up and your friend lies there, he was supposed to be your friend remember, and his mates from college are on the floor and it's you and them, where are your clothes, you need the toilet but you can't move, you piss, you actually piss yourself, everybody is still asleep and you're actually ashamed of yourself because you kind of care what they think of you pissing yourself, even after - After what? Hurried dressing, hurried leaving, run home and ignore the looks, shower, shower, bath and shower, cry and bath and shower and sleep and - Fuck. Why did you shower? It shouldn't matter. When you wake up every day with the weight of a man on top of you, it shouldn't matter. When you wake up every day with a pain in your chest, it shouldn't matter. When you wake up every day scared you'll find yourself exposed, it shouldn't matter. When you wake up every day and wonder if you'll make it through the next It shouldn't matter. It does matter. It matters who you kissed that night, who you took drinks from, who you surrounded yourself by, who you flirted with and what the pictures say, it matters that you never said a thing, it matters that you're sexual, very sexual, it matters that you never fought the lies, it matters that your shame is visible, ready for interpretation, it matters that your scars are visible, ready for interpretation, it matters that - You matter. You matter. You. You are a victim. 'Victim' is not your identity. 'Victim' is not a dirty word. It is not a shameful word. 'Victim' implies you matter. You matter and you were wronged. You are more than a victim. You are a survivor. 'Survivor' implies life. 'Survivor' implies strength. 'Survivor' implies courage. You are more than a survivor. You are a victim, survivor, lover, hater, dancer, singer, writer, reader, student, teacher, speaker, listener, friend, foe, son, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother, runner, eater, breather, breather, breather, breather, breather - Breathe.