Loss of Innocence

**Please note before reading this post that it talks about rape, and other unpleasant things. Please keep in mind that this is my story, not everyone’s story. Each story is different. If you have a story to tell, I hope you find your voice.**

Sometimes I will have weeks at a time that I think about what it would have been like if I could have chosen the person that I lost my virginity to. It will start with dreams, that dreams turn to nightmares, and then the thoughts seep into my daily thoughts. Around the end of April every year, for the past four years, I start to get in a small rut of emotions that I end up hanging out in for several months.

I have been playing with this post for some time now. I know that not a lot of people read my blog. And I know that this is a fitness blog more than a personal blog. But I needed to get this out of my system. I needed to type it out for other people to see. I live with the hope that someone will take my story and find the courage in themselves to seek help, seek justice, seek all the things that I took too long to start to seek. I want people who are looking to know that they are not alone. I want the people who might be thinking that their story isn’t like the stories on the news so it must not be important to know that their stories are important. I want those people to know they are important. They deserve a voice just as much as anyone else.

The problem with my case is that it wasn’t violent. It wasn’t in a back alley or a hotel. It wasn’t because I was caught off-guard searching for my keys in a parking lot. He didn’t beat me. It was in my bedroom. I let him in my bedroom. We went to dinner before it happened. It was the natural progression of the evening according to every romantic comedy ever released. If the date goes well, the guy gets sex. Or that’s what most guys believe. And sometimes, if the girl doesn’t believe it, the guy will be persistent. The guy will keep forcing it until the girl’s will breaks and she stops fighting. A girl’s fight against rape is not always physically violent. For me, it was violent to my soul. I curse myself every day for not fighting more. People sometimes ask me why I like lifting weights and doing CrossFit so much. They want to know why I get more excited about a new PR or muscle definition rather than getting excited over how much weight I’ve lost. Too many times people tell me that my legs are getting too big…and it’s not fat… it’s muscle. But now, I know how to fight. I know how to fight with myself. I am constantly learning to push myself further than I ever believed I could push. Now, I have confidence. Every day that I make myself stronger is a day further away from being the scared girl who I was in the past. It is a step away from the girl that felt the need to seek approval from other people. It is a step away from the girl who felt that she was only worth one thing.

For the longest time, I blamed myself. It was the way I was dressed or what I said or the fact that I met him online… and everyone knows that the only people you ever meet online are horrible rapists disguised as nice guys with eloquently worded dating profiles. I tried so hard, for months, to convince myself that I was fine. It wasn’t until I was reliving the evening with one of my friends that I accepted what truly happened. But even in my first instance of acceptance, I wasn’t healed. The only sexual interaction I knew was physical fulfillment, and that was all that I thought I needed. I spent the last half of my college career searching for anyone that would fill the void that was created. And in that search, I started to believe that sexual interaction was the only reason guys wanted anything to do with me. Some lasted months, others just a day.  I collected stories that became anecdotes. I was the one with all the stories at parties. I still love my stories. As much as I do wish my life had gone differently sometimes, I still love being able to pull out some of the best stories at the drop of a hat. But by the time real relationships came into play, I was in unfamiliar territory. My first long-term relationship ended less than fabulously. It lasted longer than it should have, and we both weren’t happy for several of the final months. Once I found a guy that actually was nice, I wasn’t entirely sure how to accept it. Realizing there was more to a relationship than just the physical and that it was possible to stay together after an argument is a process that I am still learning. I am grateful to have someone who is so patient with me.

Each year gets easier. I do hope that one day I am able to make it through June without remembering the date. I am hopeful because my life is filled with so many good things. I have friends that would do anything for me. I have friends that are always there, even at 3am when they should be sleeping. My experiences are nowhere near what some people experience. I admire the strength of every story I hear.

-Jenni.

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