"In 2003, I was a sophomore at Clark Atlanta University. It was April Fools Day, and my biggest concern at the time was that I had dyed my hair from blonde to black, and it had turned a weird green color instead.
When my best friend Milah called me to hang out, I didn't want to go because I was frustrated about my hair, but she begged me to come because I hadn't seen her in a while. So I got dressed in my favorite hoodie, jeans, and Timberlands, and headed to the Buckhead neighborhood to meet Milah and some other friends at Coyote Ugly.
What I thought would be a chill night out with friends became a night that would change my life forever and teach me more about myself and the U.S. justice system than I ever thought I'd have to learn as a college student."
These were the exact words by a not-so-ordinary woman. She is now an international model living in Los Angeles. Let's know her story.
She came back from a party. No, she wasn't even drunk FYI. She came to the parking lot when a man grabbed her by the throat and brutally forced her into sex. She wanted to fight back but she couldn't. She wanted to shout but he shut her mouth, she was just a school girl then.
It was 4:12 a.m. and she was in the passenger seat of her car, naked, while that stranger drove her car down the highway, music loud, smoking a cigarette. She recalls telling him that she didn't remember what happened.
Even at that moment, she tried to behave boldly, she wanted to cry so badly but kept telling herself not to let him see the pain. After that, he proceeded to say, "Since I helped you, you might as well suck my dick," and he climbed on top of me and forced me to perform oral sex. Then, he drove my car to a Greyhound station, told me he was sorry about what happened to me, and got out of the car and left."
She is Brianna Michelle, an international model and founder of Voices Beyond Assault, an organization working to raise awareness about sexual assault and create a platform for healing. Brianna is also a member of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) Speakers Bureau, which is made up of more than 1,500 survivors of sexual violence who volunteer to share their stories.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, rape is the most under-reported crime, with 63 percent of sexual assaults never being brought to police. Brianna probably would have been a part of that statistic, had she not been staying with her friend Kim at nearby Spelman College that night. When Kim saw the bruises and blood, she put took Brianna to the hospital.
This is one of the pictures taken from Brianna's social media account during her graduation day.
After deliberations, the jury found her attacker not guilty of all charges against him, including attempted murder, rape, kidnap, aggravated assault, and theft by force. She and even I will never understand or have a reason as to why he was found not guilty. He was a perfect DNA match. The only reason she can think of was that she had a brand new lawyer three days before her trial.
Was that a trick by the judicial system?
She planned for her life after graduation. She started looking for jobs in Atlanta, but after realizing her attacker could be roaming the streets again soon, she didn't feel safe in her city anymore. Shortly after that, she moved to New York and started her modeling career.
While he brutally raped her, he said: "You are going to die tonight, bitch!" But to that man who said it, in fact, I don't even call such a blot on the humankind, a man. I wanna say something to you: "You reckless bastard, she is still living today and fighting. And the world is proud of her."
"While I choose to live as a survivor, and not a victim, the assault has made trusting men a challenge for me, even 10 years later. My advice to other sexual assault survivors is to report it. It's important to speak up regardless of what the outcome may be." says Brianna.
That's all folks!
She is a living legend in our society today.
What I've gained from this story is that it's important to allow yourself to be compassionate with your feelings. Don't fault yourself for someone else's actions, and be comfortable in telling your story, either publicly or to your mom, a therapist, or your best friend.
Story as told to Kristen Domonell of Women's Health.
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