Arielle Frank

Brave

Arielle Frank
Brave

I once wrote a story about how I was abused.

I was 19 and drunk and drugged and raped.

 

And it was a horrible tale written with anger and resentment.

 

The story poured out of me after reading an article that blew up on the internet about an assault regarding a comedian named Aziz Ansari.

My original story was a narrative of the night that I was raped. And I wrongfully compared it to the situation this woman “Grace” was in. I did not agree with the opinion that it was assault, and I still do not - however, I do not want to ever be the kind of woman that tears another woman down. Especially after she has felt pain and loss.

 

I have lost quite a few people in my life. Friends, lovers, family members. Each loss was just as horrible and heart-breaking as the last. The thought of a memory or the color of their eyes, or sometimes the sound of their voice brings me goosebumps, chills, and the aching, choking feeling of my heart in my throat. Each kind of loss throws me into darkness. 

The worst kind of loss is when we lose of a part of ourselves. No matter what causes it, when you experience it every part of you suffers. You feel it physically from the tips of your fingers to the core of your gut. Sometimes you see it drifting away in front of you, but no matter how fast you run after it the wind carries it into the fog - and out of sight. Other times, you wake up in a cold sweat gasping for air, wondering if you’ll ever be able to breathe again.

 

When I was assaulted I felt like there was a part inside of me that had been taken away. I was not able to choose who touched me, and for a while I actively fought against the voice that told me that I was never going to be able to have control over it again.

 

There is a stigma around talking about rape and assault and it is time that we tear it down. This wall that we have built to protect us from our feelings, also blocks us off from overcoming the fears that we have become familiar with. We must come together as a community to talk about our assaults. You do not have to feel vengeful or spiteful about your assaulter, but we also cannot blame ourselves. For years I blamed myself.

 

You were too drunk.

You were flirting with him all night.

You were wearing a low cut shirt.

You trusted him to pour you a drink and you just met him.

You were alone in a room with him and two other strangers.

It’s your fault.

You did this to yourself.

 

NO.

NO.

NO.

AND NO.

 

FUCK THOSE THOUGHTS.

 

We are done with this, ladies.

We are done blaming ourselves for another’s mistakes. We are finished with listening to anyone tell us how to treat our bodies, or how we should feel about other person touching us in any way without our permission. 

 

We have the right to say no. We have the right to feel uncomfortable. We have the right to walk away from a bad situation and never look back. We have the right to look out for ourselves, and to say no to any situation or opportunity that doesn’t purely excite us.

 

We have every single god damn right to be with who we want to be with. To surround ourselves with love and care. Every one of us has the confidence inside us to look at fear in the eyes and say NO. 

 

And girl, if you have done this, if you have said no and you have been taken advantage of, if you feel like you will never get a grip again, if you feel torn down, broken, unloved, and that you will never be capable of trust or love again - I fucking feel you.

 

You are brave. 

You are strong.

You are worthy.

 

You have the strength to talk about what you have been through. No one has the privilege to make you feel wrong, or embarrassed of what happened to you.

Talking about it will be hard, it will hurt, and you’ll feel all the feels… But, it will get better. It does get better.

 

You are brave. 

You are strong.

You are worthy.