To the girl who was sexually assaulted,

You are a warrior. Many people use different terms, such as survivor or thrivor, to express what you have been through. I personally prefer the term warrior. It shows what you’ve been through, how you’ve grown, the resilience and courage it took to get you to where you are. You don’t back down and even when faced with one of the most significant atrocities that life had to offer, you got back up and continued to fight.

Despite being told that sexual assault can happen to anyone, you never thought it could happen to you. But yet here you are, and you never gave up. You picked yourself back up and although some days are a struggle, some days you don’t even want to get out of bed, you always find a way to push forward. Some days you can’t help but think about that night, and you lie awake wondering if maybe you had done something different, perhaps things would not have happened. You imagine the way your life could have been or should have been…

Stop. There is a reason your life took the exact turn it did. Whether you had done something different, chances are this still would have happened… Maybe not to you but to someone else. It could have happened to your best friend, your sibling, or even a complete stranger. But that doesn’t matter now; it happened to you and now is your chance to help make a change.

Whether you choose to share your story or not, it is something that will always be a part of your life. It will hurt at first and some days will still be hard, but you will grow. You will blossom and flourish. Every day that you fight to move forward with your life, you win. They cannot control you forever, and that’s what makes you a warrior. Do not let them steal your life. I won’t tell you that you must forgive them, but you must forgive yourself. You did not cause this, they did. You are so different from them, and you should be proud of yourself. You are stronger than most. You have seen the dark, evil side of humanity and haven’t let it jade you to the world. You continue to strive for a better life and in turn, you improve the lives of those around you. You can take the worst situation and use it to propel you forward. You are a warrior, so keep pushing forward.

A fellow warrior

Eliza Donnelly