I guess my procrastination had a purpose...the 7-year anniversary of my assault is this Thursday, and I finally had the time to sit and write. Thanks so much for your patience, and my sincerest of apologies for taking so long.
On July 5th, 2011, I was the first of five women who were sexually assaulted by convicted serial rapist Michael Alan Frye, in Gainesville, FL. I was not a student, but we'll get to that later. He was only charged and taken to court for the 2 cases that had the strongest evidence (DNA).
The way the state of Florida has worded the law regarding rape, no evidence need be required other than the testimony of a victim to go forward with a prosecution. I will never forget the lead detective on my case telling me I was not, "a typical sexual assault victim." At the time, I was pissed off beyond reason. Show me a "typical sexual assault victim," and I'll show you a unicorn. Less than an hour after my release from the hospital, I went on the local news, and I used my real name, and did not let them blur out my face (I know now that the detective was paying me a huge compliment). I know I am the exception to the statistical rule, but doing anything but speaking out never crossed my mind.
This was not my shame, or guilt to bear, and I was trying my damndest to prevent another woman from going through what I did. To this day, it hurts my soul that I couldn't stop the other attacks.
On April 25, 2013, the head of the crimes against women and children division pulled me into his office, and proceeded to tell me that based on the length of his conviction for the other two cases (7 life sentences plus 30 years), they were not going to spend the money, or time, to let me have my day in court. They will never understand how them not allowing me this closure felt like being raped all over again.
I wonder every day how things would have been different if I were a student, and not a drunk lady who took a ride from a stranger. After being asked to speak at the University of Florida a few times, I realized, that actually, the students have it much harder than I did. I was extremely fortunate (partly due to the level of violence I endured) that I was believed by the police from the get go. Those speaking engagements, Take Back the Night rallies, and meeting other women like me, kept me alive in the beginning, and now I realize that I am not satisfied with just healing myself. I want to help. I want to give back.
I spent many years self-medicating with drugs, and alcohol, and was basically killing myself a little each day. With lots of therapy, and tons of support, I'm beyond grateful to say I'm 4 years sober this summer. I am also now married, have held a steady job for two years, and feel as though I've finally found some peace.
My best friend of 20+ years introduced me to Beautiful Disaster, and its mission. Not only is it an amazingly stylish brand, it has purpose, and I immediately identified with that. My life these past seven years is nothing short of a beautiful disaster itself, but I too, now have purpose. Stand strong in the beauty of your Disaster! There is a purpose behind the pain, and a message in the mess! ❤️