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When the Light Returns

Good afternoon everyone, sorry this post is a little late. I am struggling to write it because I know what I want to say, but the words just aren’t flowing. Let me start somewhere else. Let me tell you about my sister.

Imagine a ball of light, every time you look at the light it warms you to your core. It’s like you’ve never felt so warm before—that’s my sister. She radiates warmth and love. KC is 1 year, 3 months and 18 days older than me and when we were younger, everyone thought we were twins because we look and act so similarly. We also think in a similar way about most things, although I’ll never understand her love of banana peppers. Sorry sis.

Every day we make a point of checking in with each other, whether it’s via text or snapchat or a call. To be honest, it’s my favorite part of the day. I think it’s my favorite because communication with my sister wasn’t always easy. Although we were inseparable as young kids, when she went off to college things changed. KC met new people, she attended the occasional college party, and she started studying. I remember being so excited for KC to come home during a long weekend in October. I was stoked and had all these activities planned. But when she came home, she looked exhausted.

Remember her light, well it was dimmer—it had almost disappeared entirely. She looked older and sadder and vacant. I asked her if she was ok and she brushed off my concern. That weekend passed quickly and she went back to school.

A few months later, she came home over winter break. KC still looked exhausted and worn down. One night in early January, I woke up and looked outside. I saw a figure standing on our porch smoking a cigarette. Obviously, I went downstairs to see who it was, I was all prepared with my pepper spray and everything. It was KC. She was standing there arms folded, cigarette in hand looking up at the stars.

I opened the door and stood outside with her. If there was ever a sign that my sister was struggling, it was that cigarette. I had caught her red-handed, if you will. In the 3 hours that followed, my sister broke down. She told me about her brutal assault, which had happened a few weeks before her visit in October. She told me that she didn’t want to tell me because she was afraid that I would pity her or lose respect for her, or something. She also asked me to help her tell our parents because she feared that they wouldn’t believe her.

I remember hugging her as if I could take away her pain. There was no time in my life that I had ever respected her more. After our conversation, I made a point of checking in with her every day. I sent her all of my love, and I braced my parents for what she was going to say.

Despite everything I did, I could not take away KC’s pain. I couldn’t undo what had happened to her, but what I could do was believe her. And, I could help my parents believe her.

I’m writing this story because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I’m also writing this story because KC was raped by one of her college ‘friends’ at a party. There were multiple times when someone could have helped her. I would give anything to have been at that party and stepped in.

Years have passed and KC seems happy, she radiates light again. I asked her if I could write about her for my blog, she said I could. KC, I’m so lucky to have you in my life. For all those active bystanders out there, sometimes the best thing you can do is believe and listen.

Until next time,

#Survivor #Stories #Listening #Bystander #SexualAssault

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