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Stage 1: Hysteria—Characterized by denying that anything is wrong, “I’m perfectly fine” and “I don’t belong here,” are common phrases during this stage.Stage 2: Numb and Ornery—You have finally realized that something is wrong with you, but you are overwhelmed and confused about how to go about fixing your problem. Stage 3: Determination—You realize that the only way you’re allowed to leave the Ward is if you “get better” and “solve your problems.” Every fiber of your being thus goes into these two tasks. My Enlightenment occurred when I least expected it.“I should just drink darkroom developer or something…” Twenty minutes later campus police was escorting me into an ambulance.

I blocked the rape from my mind and tried to convince myself that it hadn’t happened; that it couldn’t have happened. One week before I was supposed to fly back East, everything rushed over and consumed me. I spent most of my spring semester an emotional wreck. I bandaged the situation by throwing myself into more work and by resolutely refusing to acknowledge that I was anything but well adjusted.

We went around the circle: hours in rehab, drug relapses, alcoholism, abusive boyfriends, being an abusive boyfriend, and escapism from the stresses of daily life.

The stories weren’t the superficial accounts that you read in a person’s medical file; they were real life. Rape “wasn’t their top priority.” It still hurts…You’re incredibly brave to talk about it…I rarely do.” She was 42 years old. That night I realized that from then on I could not stay silent—if not for myself, then for my roommate. I decided that once I was released I would continue with my plans to study abroad that upcoming semester; I would be rejuvenated when I returned to campus in the winter, ready to take on the world and fight for survivor rights. From the moment I woke, this plan hit one pitfall after another; a domino effect of roadblocks that continued for the next three months.

In the morning we were given our drugs; if you didn’t take them you would have to be there longer.

It was in our best interest to take them, so they told us.

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