I Should Have Fought

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.


The ribbon is teal, and the goal is to raise public awareness about sexual violence. I decided to write this post. I made a questionnaire and invited anyone who had experienced sexual assault to fill it out; his or her responses were anonymous. I shared the questionnaire with my friends on FaceBook, and they shared it with their friends.

“I was sexually assaulted when I was 21 years old and a junior in college.”

“The first time I was four. The second time I was 10. The third time happened over a period of perhaps 3-4 months. I was 11-12. It was my dad.”

“My first memory in life was when I was four. The abuse happened for years.”

“I was in the age when young people are supposed to enjoy life after high school.”

It’s as if I said “Hey! If you’ve ever tried yoga, fill out this form!” Because everyone has tried yoga, and apparently almost everyone has experienced some form of sexual assault. 1 in 6 women, to be precise. I was overwhelmed with and heartbroken by responses to my questionnaire.

“I had two separate experiences as a child. The first was when I was five, the second when I was seven.”

“I was 21 and on a second date with a guy who really sold himself as a nice guy.”

“I was days away from my 16th birthday.”

I was 16 when it happened. A friend of mine invited me over to check out his new and fancy electronic; a DVD player. His parents were out of town and there was alcohol. I had never had a drink before, aside from a sip or two from my dad’s beer. And HE was there. The HE that was in the student council and the star of the soccer team. The HE who was a year older than me, and whom I was certain didn’t know I existed. HE handed me a lemony drink.

“We were sort of dating but had never been physical. He gave me a ride after school and often ran me home before work so that I could change and he always waited downstairs. This time he followed me up. I said no. I cried. But I didn’t really fight. I should have fought.”

“The adults were in the living room and us kids were in the daughter’s room playing when I had to use the toilet. I went out into the hall and about the same time the other dad came into the hall to use the toilet as well. He said I could go first. I went in and shut the door and started to do my thing when he came in and said he needed to wash his hands. I thought it was odd and quickly finished so I could leave, but he wouldn’t let me.”

After watching the new and fancy DVD and drinking our lemony drinks my friend drove me home, where we discovered that my Dad was out for the night. My friend made sure I made it in safely and then returned to the house of DVD where he reported I had passed out and was alone. The next thing I remember, Mr. Stud Soccer Player Student Council was on top of me.

I remember confusion; I had never been with a guy like that before and had no idea what he was doing. I remember pain. I remember saying “If you can tell me my name, you can stay.” I remember seeing him walk out of my bedroom door.

It never occurred to me to tell my parents what had happened. I only told a few friends, but that was because I was worried that my then boyfriend would find out and somehow become angry with me that I had let it happen, and I wanted their advice. It wasn’t until years later, after a friend of mine confided in me with a similar story, that I realized exactly what had happened that night; I was a victim of sexual assault.

“The 1st person I called was my best friend after showering and crying for over an hour. She came straight over and took me to the hospital.”

“I told no one when it was happening. I was ashamed. I thought no one would believe me. And I thought it must be my fault.”

The statistics are sobering.

Picture from the website https://www.rainn.org
Picture from the RAINN website. 


Now that I am a parent I am even more aware of how wrong that night was. How can I keep something like that from happening to my children? How can I tell them, without scaring them, that sometimes people you know and even trust might hurt you? How can I tell them that they have a voice, no matter what has happened to them, and that I will listen?

I will listen. 

I will tell my children that, sometimes, people do bad things. I will tell them this not to scare, but to empower them. I will tell them that the greatest gifts they were given are their heart, their soul, and their body. And none of these things belong to anyone else; none of these things can be controlled by anyone else. I will tell them that everyone else’s body is solely their own; respect that as you would like your own body and soul and mind to be respected. 

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. And it happens. It has happened to me, and likely to 4,000 of the 24,000 Jacksonville Moms Blog followers on FaceBook. To you 4,000– I will listen. And so will the folks at the National Sexual Assault Hotline or the local folks at the Women’s Center of Jacksonville, Rape Recovery Team.

You are not defined by the things that happen to you. You are your mind, your soul and your body. And you are not alone. 


Bryna is a stay at home mom who recently moved to Riverside in Jacksonville, Florida after living in Japan for six years. From figuring out how to make a foreign country 'home' to figuring out how the heck her six year old son can get pee BEHIND the toilet, Bryna approaches life with humor and open-mindedness. A huge advocate for Waldorf education and an overall gentle approach to parenting, Bryna enjoys exploring the world with her two children through eyes of wonder and excitement. She loves to write and writes about what she loves; family, traditions, food, wine, and how to find happy in everything.


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