When I was fifteen, I was sexually assaulted. I do not blame myself. I do not blame the youth group organization in which it took place.
I blame the assaulter.
He was someone in a position of power and someone I trusted as a friend. Inevitably, he turned out to be someone whose memory still sickens me.
In the nearly four years that have passed since this incident, I have recovered from the emotional grief it caused me. Although it will always remain in my past, I have moved forward. I am grateful to have had closure.
I do know the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh have not been substantiated, and I believe it is unlikely they ever will be. That is not the point.
The point is until victims see their assaulters reap the consequences of their actions, we will never have closure.
I was lucky. Once I garnered the nerve to report my assault, the investigation was swift, extensive, legal and fruitful. I was assured my assaulter would never be allowed to work for the youth group again and a police department detective would investigate further. But I know many victims are not as fortunate.
So long as our society and those in positions of power continue to arbitrarily determine allegations of sexual assault or harassment warrants, victim-shaming and mediocre investigations, those who really need closure will never get it.
So long as the future Brett Kavanaughs believe they can get away with these deplorable and illegal acts, we will never be able to move forward together. We must fight against this mindset, which is something we can only do together.
To those who have their stories to tell and to those who are fearful of speaking up, I implore you to do so. As cliché as it may be, together we have the power to enact change. As a victim, I know it is hard to come out with your truths. Take a leap of faith, and know you are helping our society – men, women and everyone else alike – move closer to a future without the next Brett Kavanaugh.