Northwest Missourian Opinion

To the very brave Bearcats sharing their experiences in the Letters From project:

I hear you. I know you. I am you. I, too, am a victim of sexual assault. Four years ago, at age 51, I was drugged and raped repeatedly over the course of several hours. As horrible as that experience was, I never realized, until it happened to me, that what comes next is even worse. The subsequent assault on my self-image, my self-worth, my belief that good will always overcome evil, my trust in the world, created a tortuous path that I chose to walk alone until I came within minutes of committing suicide in September 2021.

Know this: what happened to you IS NOT YOUR FAULT. It does not define you. It happened, but it is NOT you. It was a violation of your autonomy, of your agency; however, you did not ask for it. You did not invite it. IT HAPPENED TO YOU, BUT IT IS NOT YOU.

I am sharing my story during the Human Library event at the Owens Library on April 5th so that others may hear why so many victims stay silent; why we can’t just “get over it”; why it can take months, years, decades to share the experience; how the subsequent assault on our emotional and psychological autonomy is perhaps far more damaging than the assault on our physical self. If any Bearcat is interested in hearing my story, up to 4 Readers can sign up for each session – my Book will be available every half hour from 5-7pm.

Bearcats, I hear you. I know you. I am you. I have finally emerged from my own darkness and am bathing in the joy of light. I hope by sharing my story, others will gain greater empathy and can help you find your way back to the light, too.

 

Adrienne A. Reynolds, Ph.D., SPHRi, SHRM-SCP

Assistant Professor of Management

Melvin D. & Valorie G. Booth School of Business

Northwest Missouri State University

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