During her first year in school, she returned from a party and invited a friend to stay the night with her. That wasn’t the first time he was sleeping at her place and her parents know and trust him.
Exhausted and intoxicated, Stephanie remembered she told him that she had no intentions of having sex with him, but later that night, she saw him raping her without protection.
“I cried, I asked him to stop and he told me to shh and let him finish. I cried but I laid there paralyzed.”
That experience was the beginning of her nightmare as she withdrew from friends and family members. She skipped classes and missed work.
This went on for months and she considered dropping out of school as she barely passed any of her class works.
In her second semester, it became more difficult for her when her rapist announced that he was running for a public position on campus. Watching her friends and colleagues campaign for him left her in pain. She cried so much and made up her mind to commit suicide.
On the night she planned to kill herself, her best friend saved her. Another friend walked her to the counseling center the next day and her journey to healing began.
“I still struggle with depression and I still struggle with PTSD. I still struggle with nightmares. I still go to counseling but I’m so much better. I laugh more and I love more. I’ve dedicated my existence to loving, laughing and helping others.”
In few days, Stephanie would be graduating from school and would be addressing her graduating class as the commencement speaker.
“The thought is surreal because if we’re being honest, I never thought I’d see graduation day.”
While many are asking how they can support her, Stephanie said, “the only thing I ask is that you believe survivors and eliminate the culture that makes these actions okay. Participate in difficult conversations and be willing to listen.”
Read full story on her blog