I went back and forth for a few months as to whether I was going to speak out and tell what happened to me. I thought about my co-workers potentially reading this and what they would think of me. I thought about what people I went to high school with would think of me. I thought about what my friends and family, who had been kept in the dark for so many years, would think of me. Would they be angry that they didn't know? Would they be upset that I kept it all inside? Then I thought about the girls who have inspired me to do this. I thought about their strength and courage to speak out, press charges against their attackers, and risk everything, including their lives, for what was right. I thought about them and I realized that what anyone would think of me after I made this public simply didn't matter. I am no longer ashamed of being raped. I am simply proud that I had the strength to survive.
Being raped will not be the entirety of my story. What I do with it, what I do to help others like me, is how my story will be written. And that new chapter of my life begins now.