Take Back the Night can be a life-changing event for those of us who regularly experience sexual harassment, misogyny, body shaming, or objectification. UMBC’s Take Back the Night, for those reasons, has the ability to be life-changing for absolutely anyone by caring enough about themselves and others to notice that these themes really matter in the overall shaping of rape culture and the extent that the “small stuff” can reach to. The speak out at this year’s event was something I have been preparing for a while now because of the mark it had on me at last year’s event when I was only one month off of a traumatic sexual assault. At last year’s speak out, a woman confessed her struggle about her rape and ended with, “I can now confidently say that the word ‘broken’ is no longer in my vocabulary” about her long recovery to better-than-before. I fell apart at that moment. Not only was I simply not “there” yet in my process (considering it had happened one month ago at the time), but I was just so inspired by the fact that she had gone through something that made her feel stronger. She was honestly broken at one point and is now unfamiliar with the word. Hearing those stories, knowing I was not the only one, it was everything to me.
I decided to combine the ten years of theatre experience I’ve acquired in my life and write a monologue. This was meant to be more of a performance, but turned out to be detailed letter to myself at the time of my assault, alongside a letter to my offender. I was inspired to write something after a year of the occurrence because I felt I had gained some knowledge about things I wish I had known when it had just happened. It feels like nobody actually understands, and like it can’t get any better. And honestly? In a few ways it doesn’t. Sometimes it even gets worse. However, there’s some things in our lives that we can think about that keep us holding on. I guess I just feel as if holding on was worth it, and I want other survivors of rape and sexual assault to know that. Continue reading