No one really prepares you for what comes after sexual violence. The act itself brings unbearable pain, but the tragedy and emotional burden after are what hurts the most. Most days I feel like I am treading water. Kicking just fast enough to stay afloat with my head just barely reaching the surface. My face tilted towards the sun as my nose inhales deeply. It’s hard to keep my feet kicking just enough to gasp for air, but I can do it. I am exhausted. But other days I am in a deep, dark hole in the earth. Rain trickles down on me and I can smell the crisp smell of the dirt. I am alone in the cold, huddled in a fetal position, looking up into the sky. As I’m looking up, the hole tightens and the dirt from the sides of the hole loosen and come crashing onto me. I reach my arm out and try to push the earth off of me, but it is too heavy. I am buried. There are some days where I am safe. My body lays flat on the sand and I am in control - no fear of drowning or being buried. The waves reach the tips of my toes, washing the guilt, shame, and fear. I am free.