Liza's Story

Boston, MA USA

Editor's Note: The following story could be potentially triggering for those who have experienced sexual assault or have suicidal ideations. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741.

 

 

"How does a nine-year-old tell their parents that they had been sexually assaulted? How does that come up in conversation and why should any child have to have that happen to them?

 

From that day on, I knew something was not right and that made me a scared child. I was constantly anxious and quiet around people that I was not usually quiet around. But still, no one had a clue what was going on. This was my defense mechanism and it was the only way my naïve brain could conceptualize what had happened to me. Burying this deep down for almost ten years of my life was impactful toward my anxiety and depression.

 

In middle school, it got the worst. For the first time. I was unable to eat and I refused to go to school. And, if I did have to go to school, I would find any way possible to get sent home. I missed almost a month-and-a-half of school, but all I got was a scolding from my parents. At the end of seventh grade, my parents started pushing me toward a new school. I decided to attend, and surprisingly, the adjustment was not as horrible as I thought it was going to be.

 

But, then came sophomore year. I was uncomfortable with the person I was. I was unable to speak in class, rarely spoke to people besides my two or three best friends, and I began to not see the point of living anymore. During the summer, I wouldn’t reach out to people because I thought they had to reach out to me first, and since they weren’t doing that, I felt as though they did not want to spend time with me.

 

So, as a result of this, I shut down. I almost never left my house, I was exhausted after doing the minimum work I could possibly do, and all I wanted to do was stay in bed. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but I knew something was not right. I saw how my siblings were out living their lives and having fun, and I was sitting at home wanting to end mine.

 

The first time I attempted suicide, it didn’t work. I don’t know if my subconscious didn’t want to let me die, or if I was scared, but whatever the case was, it did not work. That was my first attempt to complete something so permanent. After that attempt, I pretended it never happened and went on living in the sad, depressed way I had been before.

 

After graduation, I was terrified to go to college. I was terrified of the unknown. I dug my heels in about going because I thought that, if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that I had to leave, I wouldn’t actually have to leave.

 

Then, whether I wanted it to or not, I made my way off to college. I was absolutely terrified. Scared about all the statistics that had been thrown at me about women getting sexually assaulted on college campuses and scared of the secret I had built up on my shoulders. I was not capable of functioning like the person I knew I really was. I let my anxieties build up, and I busted. I finally told someone that I had been assaulted as a child. It wasn’t a family member, but a good friend. And, that friend helped give me the courage to finally tell my parents over the summer.

 

The battle with my anxiety and depression is constantly ongoing, and some days I don’t want to get out of bed. Except now, I feel as though a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and I am able to make sense of my behaviors over the past ten years."

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