Victims of sexual assault are all unique. Though they are not all solely victims, it is impossible to deny the importance that the trauma has had on their lives. The Social Eyes has decided to give voice to these survivors of sexual violence. We have changed their names to protect them.
By Mélodie Nelson
“My husband doesn’t know, and neither does my family.” – Samira, 31.
Samira has only passionately kissed one man in her life: her husband. “I don’t remember ever talking about sex with my mother. I went on websites to chat with kids my age. It’s the only way I could have learned.”
Samira grew up in Saudi Arabia and the United States. She attended a girls’ boarding school. Far from her parents, with a sense of freedom she’d never had before, she partied with the other girls.
One night, a male student tried to seduce her. “I was flattered, but I wasn’t open to anything. Yes, I was curious, but I’d also decided to save myself for marriage.” She doesn’t deny that she drove him to the home of a friend’s parents, where she was staying for a few days. “I thought something was fishy, but I couldn’t say no. I didn’t want to seem impolite or disagreeable.”
The student raped her. Soon she was distancing herself from her friends, taking refuge in her books. She moved to Canada to finish her medical school studies.
When Samira had her first experiences with her husband, she thought it was normal to feel pain. She thought that all sexual experiences brought only pain. “I think that I had something that could have been wonderful stolen from me.” She was surprised that she didn’t have to be mentally absent during the act, and that she could be present and participate.
Her husband doesn’t know; neither does her family. “They wouldn’t understand,” she says.
She thinks that people who denounce their aggressors are brave, but those accounts bring her back to her own experience. “It’s hard,” she says. “I get affected, but I have to pretend that everything’s normal, that I’m not caught up in what’s being said every time a similar story ends up in the newspapers or on television.”