On my 23rd birthday my ex boyfriend’s best friend raped me.

For those of you who don’t know me well, surprise! My “moved from South Dakota to California on a whim after seeing the ocean” story is a light, bright coverup I’ve used for quite some time now. As adventurous and spontaneous as this narrative may have seemed, it was quite literally the opposite.

I moved to California because I was desperate to escape; my past, my present, my mind, my fucking body that had been physically violated by a despicable and vile human being whom I once trusted. I moved to California because had I stayed, I would not have survived. I moved to stay alive.

So why after almost four years am I sharing my past with you?

I’m sharing it with you because it shouldn’t take an outrageous display of injustice at a college university or a shocking celebrity headline to make rape a topic of public conversation.

I’m sharing it with you because rape is one of the most common crimes in the world, yet our society continues to focuses on how to “teach” us to avoid being raped instead of enforcing punishment on those who sexually violate others.

I’m sharing it with you because after almost four years of typing and deleting I feel magnetically drawn to spew out these words and hit ‘publish’ in hopes of educating or comforting or helping just one of you.

Maybe it’s your best friend who called you the morning after and instead of taking action you reminded her of all the shots she consumed. Or it’s some stranger you read about in the news and instead of feeling compassion you wondered how they were dressed that night. Or maybe it’s you. It happened to you and you’ve spent the last days, weeks, years replaying what you could have done differently.

Fuck that. No one asked for it. No one dressed for it. No one deserved it.