For a long time after I was assaulted all I felt was a heaviness that words will never ever describe. I had a lot of unanswered questions and nobody to direct them at - Is this my fault? Am I too drunk? Did I lead them on? Are my clothes too revealing? Why me ? - I felt lost and alone even when surrounded by friends and family. At first I threw myself into everything I could, I'd go to parties and get so fucked up I couldn't see or think straight. I'd send myself straight back to the bathroom floor where it happened and would let dark thoughts engulf me for days, weeks, months at a time. I used drugs heavily and frequently, I tried everything I could to escape the deep depression that followed me, as well as a feeling I couldn't quite put my finger on. It took me a long time to recognise this feeling as guilt. Guilt, like maybe it was my fault, maybe I was too drunk and came off as flirty, maybe I was the reason this pain I was experiencing had even cursed me in the first place. I've fielded questions like "did you say no?" "Why didn't you fight back?" "What were you wearing?" "How drunk were you?" and it makes my blood boil - I was very drunk, I was wearing a blue and white stripped dress (not even slightly revealing), no I didn't scream and I stopped saying no and "fighting back" when I realised I wasn't going to overpower two GROWN MEN - none of this takes away from the fact that what happened to me was rape. This left me drained and tbh still does. But something I've realised this year is that I am not defined by my past or what has happened to me. I have come to learn in this past year and a half that I control when my body is sexualised. I am a woman and I can and will embrace my curves, my ass, my stretch marks and thigh brows and everything in between. To all the girls and women (and boys!!) that have been sexually assaulted - things get better, it's an ongoing struggle and sometimes life doesn't feel worth living, but you are not alone. Only you are in control of your body and how it is sexualised, never forget that NOBODY can take that away from you.