Everyone loves the Oscars. Tanner and I made a night out of it, got our snacks ready and sat down on the couch as the actors were making their entrances and being interviewed on the Red Carpet. When Lady GaGa approached one of the entertainment reporters, she spoke about her performance that would be happening later in the night. She continued on about her song “Til It Happens to You” and the sobering statistic that 1 in 5 women will be sexually abused/assaulted by the time they graduate college, 1 in 20 for men. Tanner was surprised by these numbers. Sadly, I was not. I am a part of that statistic.
As I am writing this, my heart is beating fast, hard against my chest, almost irregularly. I’ve only shared my story with but a few, not even my family knows. But when I saw GaGa fill the whole room with emotion as she sang with conviction and urgency, as I saw survivors of sexual assault bravely stand up there showing the world that what happened to them does matter, tears streamed down my face. Finally the message of “Do not tell me to act strong, do not tell me it will get better, do not pacify me. Until it happens to you, do not tell me how to feel or how to cope. And most importantly, do not try to make me feel insignificant. I am not invisible.” All things I thought I had to do. I have always had a fear of being a burden to people, of being too much.