I Will Not Be Afraid

One of my favorite things about my #LinkYourLife community is how we all lift each other up. It keeps me coming back, even when I end up taking an accidental break from writing for a month.

Shawna over on The Honeyed Quill posted an emergency writing prompt to help out a member of our community and I am so happy to dive in!

We have all been hurt. Write the hurt.

We’ve all had a moment of regret. Write the regret. 

We have all triumphed. Write the triumph. 

How are you stronger? What have you learned about yourself? How is your life changed?

The experience I am going to be sharing may have some triggers for survivors of sexual or partner violence. Please proceed with caution.

I struggled with what to write for this prompt. Shawna is absolutely right, we’ve all been hurt and triumphed over the experience. But what experience can I share?

Then it came to me – an experience I had during the Spring 2011 semester. It was my third semester at Metropolitan State University and I was enrolled in GNDR 345: Global Perspectives on Gender.

It was a wonderful class and I learned a lot. I worked hard, did the work, but about half way through the semester I hit a wall. Not an academic wall (okay, not only an academic wall. Midterm is usually when I start experiencing extreme mental fatigue) but an emotional one. We were going to be talking about groups that use rape as a tool of war. There was a member of my class who had previously displayed a pretty misogynistic attitude and I felt extremely confident that he would be pretty vocal in saying that the women experiencing such horrific crimes were actually having the best sexual experiences of their lives.

I didn’t go to class. I couldn’t go to class. This class mate of mine had already provided some fairly triggering commentary and he didn’t seem to care.

According to the syllabus, we were going to be talking about that topic the next week, so I didn’t go again. After the third week of not attending class, and not communicating with my professor, I knew I needed some help.

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I had decided to pursue a B.A. in Gender Studies so that I could help other women like me.  How could I do that if I couldn’t face the course work required?

I went to my University counseling center and started seeing a therapist. After our first session, I went back to class. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I do remember how incredible my professor was (I never did tell her what happened). She didn’t fail me, despite the fact that I had missed more than the two allowable absences. I got a B in the class, a fact that I am very proud of.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Gender Studies in August of 2012.

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My journey isn’t over – I still need to figure out what the next step is for me. But now I know that whatever I decide to do, I will be able to help women like me who have experienced abuse from their loved ones.

 

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6 thoughts on “I Will Not Be Afraid”

  1. Rachel, I am so glad you advocated for yourself. Your dedication to supporting other women survivors is profoundly beautiful, as is your spirit. I’m happy we are continuing to know each other for #LinkYourLife. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability and strength. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you found healing. I try to remember to be kind to students because i know college is a tricky age. We are trying to heal from traumas from our past and also pursue goals that lead to success. We need people along the way to help us out. Good luck to you!

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