Sexual assault is a traumatizing experience. For a fourteen-year-old, it can be life-shattering. In her poignant essay in Teen Vogue, Neesha Arter bravely shares her heartbreaking story of sexual assault. She was only fourteen, and her experience that fateful New Year’s Eve marked the loss of her childhood innocence.
In her own words, Neesha describes her denial and intense shame, two emotions that are far too common after a sexual assault. She also describes her recovery, including her recognition that the assault wasn’t her fault. The healing process is as unique as each individual survivor, and Neesha acknowledges that her recovery didn’t come quickly or painlessly. She was one of the lucky survivors: her parents didn’t blame her for the assault and when she was ready, she was able to access the therapy she needed to find healing and self-acceptance.
Support and acceptance – from family, friends, or professionals at a local rape crisis center – is critical to the healing process after a sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault who is ready to seek help, please call The Women’s Center today: (817) 927-2737. Sexual assault can be devastating. But Neesha Arter proves that survivors can move beyond the pain and the shame to find hope, healing, and freedom.
Photo of Neesha Arter by Stephen Wilson Photography