Today I walked along the path where I was traumatized the other day. In the broad daylight with the sun beaming down and people cycling past, the way did not seem quite as frightening. Although alone, I felt mostly at peace. When a woman passed me, a smile unintentionally crept onto my face. Despite my normal lack of confidence, I actually realized that I have more strength than most people first guess.
The past few days have been a struggle. I have struggled to know how much to disclose on my blog. Although honesty is important to me, staying safe and calming down has been my main priority along with my school work. How much did I need to write about, I wondered. My conclusion was that I do not “need” to write about what happened Sunday. This traumatizing event happened to me and is mine to tell or keep silent.
However, I am ready to explain a bit more. Please, questions are okay but know that I am still struggling to deal with this whole situation. I would really appreciate some kindness and discretion..
On Sunday, I was walking home from church by myself and passed by a homeless man. In an attempt to be kind, I smiled briefly at him before continuing on toward the home. Several minutes later, after I had long forgotten my action, he showed up by my side. Claiming he longed to have someone like me to talk, he began following me for over 20 minutes.
Anxieties overwhelmed me right away, but my desire to be kind won over my worries. Many of the tales he told (whether or not they are true) were depressing. Meanwhile, he tried to find out more about me while I tried to turn the conversation back to him and also make him turn around before I arrived back where I am staying. This inner dilemma continued the entire trip. The closer to my dorms that I got, the more my fear heightened.
Finally, he decided to return back. I gave him money, partly out of guilt but also in hopes of our connection done. Instead, he asked for more, tried to set up a time to meet, and alluded to my looks (as he had numerous times that evening). The worst part came at our goodbye. Then he began to kiss me multiple times and such…
Everything ended up fairly fine. I was able to say “No” and get away before anything escalated even more. He did not try to follow me. Things were awful but could have been much worse.
Anyway, that is what has been happening in the past few days. I have been talking with the police, walking with people everywhere, and trying to sleep despite nightmares. However, each day is a bit easier.
My strength to get through this is even apparent to me. I am strong enough to say no, ask for help, and cope with deep pain. I will get through this.