Victoria s Story
Charleston, SC USA
“It was the spring semester of my freshman year and finals were creeping up. I have always been seen as a diligent student: spending countless hours in the library and studying weeks prior to an exam.
About a month prior to finals, I was initiated into my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. I felt like I was on cloud nine; there was nothing I wanted more than to be an AKA.
One night I got into an argument with my boyfriend, at the time, so I decided to go to a party with a few of my friends. To alleviate some of the pain from that argument, I began to drink. I thought I was drinking socially, but I was actually drinking to suppress my emotions.
A guy was flirting with me that night, but I cannot recollect our conversation. I had drank so much that I was on the verge of blacking out. One of the last memories I have was hearing my name being called as I proceeded down a flight of stairs. After that, I just remember being thrown into a truck and taken to someone’s apartment and being put in a bed.
The next morning, I woke up to my sorority sisters all sitting and chatting in the living room. They told me to sit down and that’s when they delivered the news to me: I was raped.
I was flabbergasted with the news and didn’t want to believe them. I battled to hold in the tears that were swelling in my eyes. For the next couple of nights I had nightmares about that night. I would wake up, sweaty, and get out of bed and grab a flashlight to check my room to see if he was there. I would look meticulously throughout my dorm room for him. Then, I would get back in bed and would be too scared to close my eyes.
I was observant everywhere I went- looking over my shoulder on my way to class to make sure he wasn’t there or quivering every time a guy passed who smelled like him. One night I hit rock bottom. I woke up from another nightmare of him raping me and my depression kicked in. I no longer wanted to be alive or be in a body that was ‘used’ and ‘damaged’.
I got out of bed and packed a bag with only paper and a pen and headed to a secluded area on campus. I sat there contemplating if life was worth living anymore. First, I called my best friend, who was also one of my sorority sisters. I left a voicemail of me mumbling as I fought off tears.
I told myself if the next person I called didn’t pick up, I would commit suicide. So I decided to call my best friend who attends USC. He picked up on the last ring. We talked and I told him what had happened. He offered to drive to Charleston that night, but I told him there was no need to.
Our conversation lasted for about an hour before I finally decided to return back to my dorm. After that night, I battled with my depression and PTSD silently for almost a month before I sought help.
The discussion I had with my on-campus counselor made me realize that my rapist had a hold on me and my life. He was strangling the essence of my being. Subsequently, I knew I had to gain my strength back. I had to prove to myself that he did not take away my power.
Today, I hold an international position within my sorority and have been able to accomplish so much since that dark time in my life. The drive to push myself to be something greater helps me battle my depression and PTSD. I never would have thought I would share my story on a public platform, but I realized it was time to share my story with those who battle this issue as well. I can only hope that this allows those in need to recognize they are not alone and that there are people here to help them.”