A Journey to Healing: Amanda’s Story
One afternoon, Amanda and Sarah, both college freshmen, were hanging out with a group of college students they had recently met. They were excited to embark on new adventures and were enjoying the company of these new acquaintances. When Sarah left to attend a different party, Amanda stayed behind. “I felt comfortable, safe even, staying there alone”, said Amanda.
After Sarah left two guys invited Amanda to watch a movie in another room. Instead they locked the door and assaulted her. “When they finished, they just walked out of the room. I laid there in shock. I didn’t know what to do or if they would let me leave” Amanda shared. Amanda made her way to her apartment to sleep. She tried to block the event out of her mind.
It took time, but Amanda told a close friend that she “had sex” with the two guys. Her friend listened and allowed Amanda to pour out her story. After a bit, she said, “Amanda, you never would have done that if you had a choice. They locked you in that room – they raped you.”
Reflecting on the days prior to the assault, Amanda talks of a simpler, lighthearted time. “That was my life before the rape; everything is complicated and confusing now. A shadow has been cast over the rest of my life. I’m left trying to figure out who I am, who can be trusted, and what situations are safe – or not.”
After the assault, she felt lost and alone – like no one would ever understand. It was attending a support group at Alexandra House that enabled her to start releasing her hurt and shame. “I began to heal when I started to truly believe that I’m not responsible for what happened to me.” Amanda hopes sharing her story will show other victims that they are not alone. “Victims of rape need to know that it’s not their fault and it doesn’t define who they are. This event is not my identity. I’m the person who defines who I am.”
Alexandra House responds 24/7 to Mercy and Unity Hospital Campus and local Allina Medical clinics to provide immediate support to victims during sexual assault evidentiary exams. Advocates help victim/survivors with safety planning, accessing shelter, and assistance in reporting to law enforcement. We also provide therapy and facilitate several support groups. As the only such service provider in Anoka County, we guarantee 85¢ of every dollar given will directly support the services we offer.
While unique in its own way, Amanda’s story is not uncommon. Acquaintance rape is just as serious and just as devastating to the victim as stranger rape. Sexual violence is a violation of human rights and a local, national, and international problem.
If you have given recently, thank you so much for your support! If you have not made a year-end contribution to Alexandra House, please consider becoming a Luminary Society member. The Luminary Society is a monthly giving program that allows donors to make a contribution each month through a checking account, credit, or debit card. Monthly giving helps us direct more money to helping victim/survivors and less to administrative costs.
However you choose to give, it’s deeply appreciated and will help strengthen our community so that we may, one day, see an end to sexual violence. Please take a moment to make your contribution today.
“This event is not my identity. I’m the person who defines who I am.” — Amanda
As you consider the size of your year-end gift, please think about the magnitude of the challenge our community is facing:
- 85-90% of sexual assaults reported by college women are perpetrated by someone they know.
- Nationally, 1 in 4 women will experience sexual violence.
- Only 20% of female student victims, (18-24), reported their assault to law enforcement.