On August 4, 2015, I was raped. I found myself being a victim of sexual assault by someone that I know, and feeling paralyzed immediately after the incident occurred. I confronted my perpetrator and he denied the heinous crime that he committed against me. In fact, he told me that I was, “tripping” and that he never had an issue with someone not willing to have sex with him except for me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time that I’ve experienced such sexual trauma. The first molestation occurred when I was a child.
I arrived home angry, confused, and in tears with what happened. I sat in the driveway in my car in utter shock and disbelief that he didn’t know that me yelling “no,” “stop,” and “get off me” meant that I didn’t welcome his advances.
I searched the internet on my cell phone for answers, mainly looking for someone to help him understand that he violated me. As I searched I came across the hotline number for the Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center (RTC) at Jackson Memorial Hospital. I dialed the number in hopes of getting him help, not fully accepting that I was, yet again, a victim of rape.
One of the counselors answered my call and she helped me realize that the person who raped me was fully aware of his actions. Furthermore, she urged me to come into the center to get examined and to start counseling. She was kind, patient, a great listener, and an encourager. If it were not for her I would not have had the courage to go to RTC. After 20 minutes and three phone calls, she finally convinced me to accept the help that they were offering.
When I arrived to the center, it was after midnight. The counselors were not present but the advocates were. The advocates handled me with care as I was nervous being there. I blamed myself for what occurred when I was raped and they told me that it was not my fault. I was informed about the services offered at the center and I was relieved that it was free.
Moreover, the advocates stood by my side as the nurse practitioner examined me. They also helped me face my fear of needles as the nurse drew my blood. They never judged me through the whole process. The advocates were extremely compassionate during my darkest hour. I was grateful. I left the facility feeling safe and understood.
A few days later, I began my first day of counseling. I didn’t know what to expect. Surprisingly, it was everything that I needed: a listening ear, compassion, and sound advice. My counseling sessions marked the beginning of my healing process. Every week for a year and a half, I looked forward to my sessions. It helped me find my center when I felt emotionally off balanced. I was able to fully uncover, without fear of being judged, my experiences of sexual battery.
I’m sincerely thankful for the Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center and its outstanding staff. This center is the reason why I am still zealous about life. This center held my hand as I conquered depression. This center is the reason why I regained the power that I felt was taken from me and learned how to set proper boundaries.
Now, I’ve created a docu-series, “This is…Rape! Survivors Speak on Molestation and Rape,” to share my story and the stories of other survivors. It will be shown every Wednesday this month on Facebook and YouTube. Furthermore, I co-created a photography exhibit with Leroy McDowell of Ruach Studios, showcasing the emotions and resilience of survivors at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 30th at:
Church of the Open Door
6001 N.W. 8th Avenue
Miami, Florida 33127
It is my hope to end rape culture and encourage survivors to end their silence.
Yes, I was raped; however, thanks to Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center, I am no longer a victim, but a victor!
Tranika “Shawn” Dufresne is a media personality and aspiring media mogul who uses her platform to entertain and educate the masses.