On March 20th 2015, I reported my sexual assault to the police. This was something that had been going on for 3 months. I was 12 at the time and he was 13. Our age made it a difficult case from the start. He would touch on me during math class since we sat next to each other. He made remarks on my body and judged the size of my breast, he humiliated my body while he was taking advantage of it.

I remember everything he did to me and it made me feel completely worthless and my body felt used. I no longer felt my body was my own and till this day I don’t feel like it is. 2 other students saw what he would do to me but when I reported it, they decided to remain silent and say he didn’t do anything. When the school found out, they told my mom I was lying, they even tried getting me suspended. His mom worked at the school so he was able to get this brushed under the rug and get away with it. When the police finally got involved they told me things like “he probably just likes you” or the typical phrase “boys will be boys”.

I knew he didn’t like me, he would make it very clear. He had a girlfriend. Many people asked how I let him get away with it for so long, he started off as one of my best friends, and he was like a brother for me. I trusted him and he repaid me by touching me in places I didn’t want to be touched. I told him to stop but he never did, I would yell and push him away but he’ll always come back. I was 12, I didn’t know what sexual assault was, and all I knew was that he made me feel uncomfortable. I wasn’t the only one he did this to, but I was the only one who said something about it.

For a while I felt like what happened was my fault and that somehow I asked for it. No one believed me. The police kept in contact for some time but after a while, I never heard from them again. I fell into a deep depression and developed anxiety disorder and PTSD. Every day on my way to school I’ll have an anxiety attack. I began to self-harm as a coping method or do drugs and drink. I did anything that would get me by my days without having to remember what he did to me. The sexual assault was hard enough but the victim shaming that came after was even worse. And that’s the thing about assault, the backlash can at times feel 10 times worse. Especially when I was at an age where I depended on friends, I didn’t have any after my report. I became afraid of any man, including my own dad, I couldn’t accept a hug from him because I was too scared.

Anyone who tried to hug me or reach out to me, I would flinch. I feel like I had my innocence taken from me. In May of the following year I started therapy, I continued in and out of therapy for a while, it hasn’t been an amazing help for me. I had many suicide attempts after my assault but with therapy I have grown emotionally strong. Strong enough to accept what has happen and understand that it wasn’t my fault. It took me a while to tell people and share my story but I’m glad I can do it. I don’t think I’m a victim, I believe I’m a survivor!

J. Ortiz