Most of the time I feel like I have overcome his touch. But sometimes, I still feel the warmth of his embrace. Apparently “all boys aren’t the same” so I get close and touchy with them, tease them, and sometimes even kiss them. I think I do it on purpose. I try to convince myself that I'm over it, I'm over the fact that I've been marked by the wrong person. I'm over the fact that I can’t be alone in public. I'm scared. No, not scared, terrified. I'm afraid of loving another without knowing their intention. I’m terrified that someone is about to take another piece of my soul, I'm afraid that even if I say “please stop” it’s liable to be another 2 words that were misunderstood, I’m afraid of it happening all over again. This is like someone expecting to be burned when they touch something hot, no matter how many times they've been reassured the object is now cool. The fear is still there, even if the danger has passed. I want to be loved but my fears push everyone away. After 2 years of being in an abusive relationship, I thought I could get back out there and move on, but I moved into the wrong person. I was fifteen years old when the phrase “please stop, I'm tired” came out of my mouth. I wish I would never have to say it again. I'm sixteen. It’s almost been 5 months since it happened, but it somehow feels like it was just last week. The thought of his hands on my neck, blurry visions and the sentence “I know you want it” makes me want to curl up in a ball, cry and tear off the layers of my skin until I can no longer feel his touch. ‘PTSD’ they call it. Triggers that bring you back to your trauma. I walk right by my triggers every day; they think you're weak because you can't face them and always find other ways to avoid them. I'm not weak; I just can't bear to feel him on me every time I see that jacket. This is like the feeling of plunging into icy waters; the shock is so overwhelming that no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to swim back up to the safety of the shore. No matter how much time passes, the trauma still lingers, and triggers bring you right back to that moment. 2 months passed before I spoke up about what had happened. "Why didn't you say something sooner? Now it sounds like a lie" I wish I could, but deep down I was ashamed, scared and hurt. Every time I hear someone mention his name, my heart starts racing, my palms get sweaty, and I feel a sense of panic rising in me. Everyone says it will get easier, but when is that? As the Greek writer Vasso Charalambous once wrote: “The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow.” I’m still trying to find my strength to be able to trust another man without needing to stress if I need to tape my clothes to my skin I was a victim of rape and have been dealing with its aftermath ever since. The sense of fear, insecurity and vulnerability that I feel every time someone mentions his name is something that I struggle to shake off. While I cannot speak for all victims of rape, I can say that in my experience, the healing process has been invaluable. Through therapy and the support of my loved ones, I have been able to work through my trauma and come out the other side a stronger person. As of right now, I am still trying. I want to use my story to make sure that no other survivor feels alone in their experience. I want to be a voice for those who have been silenced, and I hope to show them that there is still hope, even after the darkness. Being strong and resilient, and having the strength to move forward, are things I'm proud of about myself. I will not let what he did to me define the rest of my life. I am more than my trauma. I am more than my pain. I am more than what he did to do to me.