Content Warning: Sexual Assault / Rape.
For those who have not read Perfect Moment(s), I was raped exactly one year ago, the night of December 4, 2019 or the early morning of December 5, 2020.
It’s been a year. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days since the night of my assault.
I decided to share excerpts from the journal I kept since the night of my assault. There are fourteen (14) entries in my journal, some are 3-5 pages, and a few are simply lists. I realized early on in my journaling that I avoided writing or reflecting because I would start crying. I am not a fan of crying, yet over the last few months, I had to tell myself that it is ok to cry. It is ok to feel. It is ok to be emotional.
My tears helped me. It was in those moments of crying that I really allowed myself to grieve, and in my grief, I become more comfortable with myself.
Re-reading the entries, I noticed that there was this trajectory of growth. I am not as angry as I was, it is still there. Yet, there is a lot more grief and acceptance as I relearn to exist in this world. Some of the entries can be painful to read, yet instead of judging myself, I affirmed my previous self.
I hope sharing these excerpts from my journal helps others or, at least, provides some insight about how difficult this year has been for me.
And to all the survivors out there;
it was not our fault.
healing is not linear.
rest and sleep.
And, please, let’s be patient and kind with ourselves.
We will learn to love everything about ourselves again. I believe in us.
Ahéhee’ / Thank you to my family, friends, therapists, advisor, other survivors, and so many others.. It is because of you that I was able to get through this year.
Excerpts from Journal
December 5, 2019 | 10:49 PM – It’s Not My Fault
I called my sister, and we cried together. I felt like such a failure and embarrassed. I was supposed to set an example and be the mature careful one. She didn’t know what to do, but she made me laugh. She gave me joy and a sense of normalcy, something I really needed in the moment.
Today has been hard. Tomorrow might be harder. Then the next and the next. I don’t know what to do from here. I’m lying in bed and thinking about how I need to finish my final projects for my first quarter classes. I need to schedule meetings and respond to emails. I need to do all these things, but all I want to do is just sleep. My eyes feel so dry from all the tears, it hurts to keep them open.
December 6, 2019 | 6:45 AM – What’s Next?
I keep thinking about other survivors, survivors from my own community, trans survivors.
How did they work though this? How are they getting through this?
I know I’m not supposed to downplay what happened to me, but I continue to compare my story with that of others. I keep telling myself it wasn’t as bad. I keep minimizing the violence and I’m not sure if that is me trying to comfort myself or process what happened?
I’m trying to figure this out. I don’t know what to do next. It’s logical to get HIV tested just in case, right? Go see a therapist? But I just seem to dread it.
I want to share my story but that is because I don’t want to feel alone. Yet, I also want to be alone. This contradiction is exhausting.
December 7, 2019 | 7:56 AM – The Hospital and My Advisor
As soon as I told her, she held my hands. I was bawling at this point. In reflection, I can’t remember why, or maybe I do not want to admit it. But she gave me what I needed. She told me not to worry about the work, she told me to heal and become myself again. She acknowledged that this would change my life, but that I am in control of how it will change my life. She hugged me and thanked me for the strength and courage for sharing this with her. She said that she would support me as much as I can and said that if I ever need anything to let her know. She told me that what has helped her get through a traumatic event was accomplishing one thing a day, and it can be anything. She asked that I text her just to let her know, or to just know that I am ok. I told her that I would.
I don’t want to associate Christmas with him, but so far, I do. I can’t drink red wine anymore because of him. I can’t listen to Fleetwood Mac, Redbone, or any other soft rock songs during that era because of him. He took more than what I thought and now I’m angry. Not at myself. At him. In the words of my advisor, “that fucking asshole.”
December 10, 2019 | 12:24 PM – Accomplish One Thing a Day
On the seventh, I went to a bazaar with local Native artists. It was my one thing that I wanted to accomplish. That was something my advisor suggested. That I do one thing a day and try to accomplish it, so I did.
Being out in public is exhausting. It is a bit overwhelming. At first, it seemed that everyone could see the trauma. But I am pretty sure it was just an active imagination, or even just a sense of fear.
December 26, 2019 | 10:41 PM – Familiar Wounds
I’m trying to remember who I am and who I was. I am trying to re-create my own beauty again. I miss it. I need it. It is still there.
I look in the mirror and I see a survivor. I see a fighter. I see a healer. I see all these things I knew I was and I still am.
I know I have the fucking strength. I know that I have the fucking wisdom. I know that I have the power to change this colonized world. I did not go through all of this fucking violence and trauma to not be able to.
That is the hope I cling to.
We deserve so much more. My trans siblings, my friends, my family, my community, everyone.
We deserve to heal. We deserve to be free. We deserve to be.
That is what I want for us and I will make sure we get it.
January 21, 2020 | 8:51 PM – It’s Not My Fault, right?
I have engaged in so many destructive behaviors since I have come back to Denver, CO. Is this related to coming back to a place filled with so much pain and trauma? I like to think so. Is it my fault? No. It isn’t my fault, and I have to tell myself that every day. I might start writing it on a clip board or even a wallpaper. Let me ask my sister.
I made the wallpaper myself. It’s going on my iPad.
January 27, 2019 | 1:28 PM – Only Broken
I hate how much being raped has changed me and affected me so greatly. I do not feel like the same person. I feel like I take one step forward towards healing and take several back. I don’t feel whole, only broken.
Is that going to be my everyday reality? Is that how I cope with such trauma and violence? Am I always going to be this way?
Right now, my mind would like to say I won’t, yet my body would react different. I feel so disjointed. I don’t feel whole and connected. I feel broken and in pieces. I am all over the place and yet I pretend that I am a complete puzzle piece, yet right really, my pieces are all wrong and don’t fit.
January 27, 2020 | 1:49 PM – Avoidance
I just realized that it is a trend that I avoid writing and now I am curious why. Maybe I should reflect about that. Yet, I also realized there were so many things I wanted to share. I am just going to make a list and hopefully will someday remember to write.
February 17, 2020 | 8:14 AM – Puzzle Pieces
I feel like my life is a puzzle at the moment. A never-ending puzzle that I’m putting together.
I was telling Cassie that I think of my life and also this was mentioned in group therapy (the one with survivors is going quite well btw) that there is a before-the-rape-Charlie and an after-the-rape-Charlie.
Before-the-rape-Charlie had their puzzle piece about 75% completed. They knew what they liked, what they didn’t. They were working through their trauma. Healing, becoming better.
After the rape, I feel like I’m back to 25% complete. But there are new pieces. I don’t know what fits and what doesn’t. I don’t even know if I want some of these old pieces to fit with the new pieces.
It’s a constant building process. I’m stuck with figuring out this puzzle. But, and this is the hope coming through (which comes and goes every now and then, I appreciate it), there are people who come and help me figure out this puzzle.
February 20, 2020 | 4:03 PM – A Love Letter to Charlie from Amáyá
I wanted to tell you how much I love you. I know the pain you’re going through, the flaws you see, and hope would go away. The disassociation you go through while being intimate. I have been with you before the assault and I will continue to be with you after the assault.
I am the puzzle piece that you kept, a love so strong for yourself, that you almost forgot I was there. But you did not.
You are loved, Charlie. You are loved by so many people, and I / we love you. I am so proud and awe of where you have been able to go.
February 20, 2020 | 4: 42 PM – Feeling Free
I’m feeling free. Much freer and more hopeful that I have had in a long time. I also am gaining back my sense of worth.
There’s a kind of strength and intentions that I have in this world that collided with the Before and After Assault versions of Me.
It’s like the puzzle pieces are coming back together. That I have an idea of where and what the pieces should be, and that gives me so much hope and so much love.
I love who I am, who I was, and who I am becoming – And those words feel so much true than they did before.
March 27, 2020 | 12:32 AM – Ceremony
Tomorrow, my ceremony begins. It’s going to be a protection first, and then another on Saturday. I’m kind of afraid, afraid in the sense of I don’t know what will happen. I hope and pray that I will heal and become stronger. That’s all I want for me, I want to feel better, I want to cope. I want to just cry, scream, speak out against the anguish that I have felt and continue to feel.
I’m different. I know that. Yet, I love who I am, who I was, and who I am becoming. A continual growth and progress.
Tomorrow is always another day, make the most of today, and who knows who I will become.
September 10, 2020 | 1:42 PM – Healing is Not Linear
My rapist took more than I thought. He took an entire lifetime of joy and love that I am slowly trying to get back, yet I can’t seem to get all of it back. I feel like I am back in a space of despair and lost.
I am filled with so much hate and annoyance. At myself and at the world.
I know that I am not the same anymore, and I’ve known this for awhile, yet it still hurts and I wonder why?
Why haven’t I fully accepted this? Or maybe, it’s something new. Something unexpected and I feel like I’m back at square one?
I am trying to remember the wisdom from other survivors, and all I can recall is that healing is not linear.
December 4, 2020 | 1:34 PM – Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Literally within the last 50 pages that I started to resonate with Chanel Miller. My rapist made me a victim. He forced me to re-learn who I was, who I am, and who I am becoming, an entire year where I was forced into this process without my consent.
For a while, I allowed myself to be used hoping to feel some semblance of humanity that was taken away from me. I embraced the ugliness. I thought it made me stronger. I thought it made me aloof and different from everyone else. But, I was denying myself my own sense of beauty and was accepting other’s.
I wasn’t defining myself, I was letting others be defined. He took that away from me. He took my voice.
I thought I had it, but for four months. I felt like I couldn’t speak, but I had to learn again.
I learned to name the pain. I learned to locate it. I learned to endure. I learned to be.
Resources & Books
About a year ago, I created a blog post, Supporting Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ Survivors of Sexual Assault, with some resources and guidelines. Below are more that I have come across since then. Unfortunately, I cannot confirm if all of them are cultural relevant for Native American and/or Indigenous Peoples or are Trans-inclusive.
- Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network // RAINN: considered to be one of the largest anti-sexual organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline – 800.656.4673. Instagram: @rainn Twitter: @RAINN
- Trans Lifeline: one of the few Trans-led nonprofits that connects Trans individuals to community support and resources. Peer Support & Crises Hotline US: 877.565.8860. Instagram: @translifeline Twitter: @TransLifeline
- Clery Center for Security on Campus: a national nonprofit that is dedicated to helping officials from institutions of higher education to meet the standards of the Jeanne Clery Act through training and resources to understand compliance requirements. Instagram: @clerycenter Twitter: @CleryCenter
- End Rape on Campus: an organization that works to end campus sexual violence through direct support for survivors and their communities. Instagram: endrapeoncampus Twitter: @endrapeoncampus
- FORGE: a national trans anti-violence organization that provides direct services to trans, gender non-confirm, and non-binary survivors of sexual assault. Instagram: @forge_forward Twitter: @FORGEforward
- Joyful Heart Foundation: an organization dedicated to supporting survivor’s healing process and transforming society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. Instagram: @thejhf Twitter: @TheJHF
- Know your IX: a political advocacy group that is survivor and youth-led that aims to empower students with ending sexual and dating violence in their schools. Instagram: @knowyour9 Twitter: @knowyourIX
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center: an organization dedicated to providing leadership in preventing and responding to sexual violence through collaboration and shared and created resources. Instagram: @nsvrc Twitter: @NSVRC
- No More: is an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual violence through awareness and inspiring action. Instagram: @nomoreorg Twitter: @NOMOREorg
- Students Active for Ending Rape: an organization that works with empowering student moments to combat sexual violence on college campuses. Twitter: @SaferCampus
- SurvJustice: a legal nonprofit that is, survivor-founded and survivor-led, dedicated to providing justice in the legal system to survivors of sexual and intimate-partner violence. Twitter: @SurvJustice
- The Trevor Project: a national non-profit that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and questioning individuals under the age of 25. Instagram: @trevorproject Twitter: @TrevorProject
- Victim Rights Law Center: committed to providing legal representation for survivors of sexual violence, especially in Massachusetts and Oregon. Twitter: @VictimRightsLaw.
- The NW Network: The NW Network of Bi, Trans, Lesbian, and Gay Survivors of Abuse works to end violence and abuse by building loving and equitable relationships in our community and across the country,
- The Network / La Red: A survivor-led, social justice organization that works to end partner abuse in LGBTQ, SM (sadomasochism), and polyamorous communities.
- Anti-Violence Prevention: AVP empowers LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities and allies to end all forms of violence through organizing and education and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy in New York City.
- Centering Trans Survivors in the #MeToo Movement: A list of articles from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center that highlights the voices of Trans survivors.
- We Believe You: Survivors of Campus Sexual Assault Speak Out edited by Annie E. Clark and Andrea L. Pino
- Written on the Body: Letters from Trans and Non-Binary Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence edited by Lexie Bean
- Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller
- Sexual Citizens: A Landmark Study of Sex, Power, and Assault on Campus by Jennifer S. Hirsch & Shamus Khan
- Greenberg, K. (2012). Still Hidden in the Closet: Trans Women and Domestic Violence. Berkeley Journal of Gender, (27)2, p. 198-251.
- James, S. E., Herman, J. L., Rankin, S., Keisling, M., Mottet, L., & Anafi, M. (2016). The Report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality. https://www.transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/USTS-Full-Report-FINAL.PDF
- Linder, C. (2018). Sexual Violence on Campus: Power-conscious Approaches to Awareness, Prevention, and Response. Emerald Publishing.
- Linder, C., Grimes, N., Williams, B. M., & Lacy, M. C. (2020). What do we know about campus sexual violence? A content analysis of 10 years of research. The Review of Higher Education, 43(4), 1017-1040.
- Marine, S. B. (2017). Intersections of Identity and Sexual Violence on Campus: Centering Minoritized Students’ Experiences (Harris, J. C. & Linders, C., Ed.) Stylus.
- Ussher, J. M., Hawkey, A., Perz, J., Liamputtong, P., Sekar, J., Marjadi, B., Schmied, V., Dune, T., Brook, E. (2020). Crossing boundaries and fetishization: Experiences of sexual violence for Trans Women of Color. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi-org.du.idm.oclc.org/10.1177/0886260520949149