Actress Alyssa Milano asked that women who have experienced sexual harassment or assault come forward by saying #MeToo.

At first, I didn’t want to join in. I didn’t want people to look at me and wonder what I had experienced. I didn’t want my parents reading it and worrying. I didn’t want future employers reading it and thinking differently of me.  But then, it came to me. The point of #metoo is so that people do see it. People see it and start making changes.

So, here’s my story, well, one of them.

Two years ago, I woke up after a party on my friend’s couch. I woke up to one of my good friends on top on me.  I didn’t know what to do, as I was half asleep. I got up, went to the washroom and sat in there panicking. I worked up enough courage to leave and I went and laid down in the spare room.  He followed. He started trying to cuddle me. I said this can’t happen. His response “But it feels so good.”

I made an excuse to get up and leave. I texted my friend whose house it was because she was still asleep and told her something had happened and to text me when she woke up. I went straight to my best friend’s house. He greeted me at the door, worried because I had called him at 8 in the morning in tears. I collapsed on his floor. I felt dirty, I felt like I did something wrong.

I never spoke to that man again. I emailed him and told him what he did was wrong and that he was no longer welcomed in my life.  He denied it, he said I consented. I was asleep, I did not consent. It was my word against his.  Most of my friends supported me and dropped him from their lives. I also lost a lot of friends.

Some people told me I shouldn’t of drank so much, and maybe then it wouldn’t have happened. Some people told me to get some sleep and that it would be better the next day, news flash, it wasn’t.  In fact, it has never gotten better, I have just learned to live with it.

Even writing this, I feel shame, I feel like I somehow had blame in this. My friends have been supportive. I am fine, I am stronger for it.  Red River College has a strict no-harassment policy, as a student here, knowing that is in place is powerful. It makes me feel safe and it makes me feel empowered.

Don’t let the people who victimized you have the last word. Speak up, show the world there needs to be a change.  It’s ok if you don’t want to and if you aren’t ready to speak up because this is your journey, your story. Just know, when you are ready there is a huge community of people who will support you and celebrate your bravery.