Jennifer Hemmingsen’s story in Sunday’s Gazette about young women not reporting sexual assaults resounded with me, and likely many more women who read it. I, for one, don’t blame them.

It’s not something I relish talking about, but I never made a police report about my experience with a former high school classmate. I absolutely won’t make it an issue, because he is the father of another woman’s beautiful baby and is linked to me in countless other ways. I have to live with my decision to give in to his intimidation for the rest of my life. He doesn’t. He got what he wanted and he’s out of my life.

At first I wasn’t going to say anything. But about a week afterward, I fell apart and told my boyfriend at the time about what happened. He immediately cussed me out and blamed me for letting him into my house to watch a movie. He refused to speak to me, and his friends called me when they were drunk and harrassed me. Why didn’t I call him so he could rescue me? Why didn’t I fight back? Why didn’t I kick the guy out? Honestly….I can’t tell you. I was scared. I was weak. I didn’t expect it. At all.

His conclusion was that I wanted it, and that I am no better than a *place your own epithet here*. Now I can’t even use the dirty four-letter word that describes what happened to me without choking up. So…there that is.

You might be afraid. You might be angry. You might hate yourself so much that your life turns into a downward spiral. Just remember — you are not alone.

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