In 2018 my family and I went on vacation to Turkey. At first, everything was great. But that one day turned my life upside down. 

He worked at the resort as a security guard. One day he asked me to go for a walk. I didn’t want to but he kept asking me until I finally said yes. I only said yes so that he would leave me alone afterward. He took me to a remote place at the beach. I should have known better. At first, we were just talking. Then we sat down. He started touching me and I got uncomfortable. I tried to stand up and leave but he grabbed my hand and forced me down. Then he put his hands around my neck and started choking me until I stopped resisting. I couldn’t breathe. I just froze. I couldn’t move or yell for help. I was petrified. At that moment I thought he was going to kill me after he was done with me. Tears were rolling down my face. And then he raped me. Repeatedly. Afterward, he told me “I’ll be waiting for you tonight at the beach. We’ll have a great time again.” I was sick to my stomach. To this day I regret my decision to go for a walk. I regret going for that fucking walk only wearing my bikini. Believe me, I blame myself immensely. But we were at the beach. It was hot. And I was 15 and stupid. He kept following me around the holiday resort until our stay was over. I was so scared he was going to do it again. 

 But I never told anyone what happened. I was too ashamed and scared. I started seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist. I take medication for my mental disorders. It got so bad the ambulance and the police had to take me to the psych ward. I was about to end my life. It took me almost four years to report my rape to the police. The whole process took hours. It was humiliating and painful. After this, I ended up at the psych ward again. A few weeks later, they told me that if I didn’t want it, I could have fought him off. They are not going to charge him with my rape because I could have stopped it from happening. I am so fucking angry. Fuck the police. They can never fucking understand how it feels to be a woman stuck under a fucking man. 

I want justice. But I will never get it. Today he’s a free man. No consequences for his fucking actions. I have Post-traumatic stress disorder. The flashbacks, panic attacks, night terrors, and feeling dirty prevent me from living a normal life. I can still feel his fucking hands all over me and it makes me feel trapped. What he did to me still haunts me every day. But he is fucking free. 

 When I confronted him hoping he would admit what he did so I could get justice, he called me crazy. He called me a liar. He told me he’s a soldier now and he’s not afraid. 

I am afraid of him. He took away my virginity, my sense of safety and so much more. But I've realized that by speaking up I can gain a certain control back. I’ve realized that the only person benefiting from keeping it a secret was him. And I want to help other sexual assault survivors. And survivors whom no one believed or got justice, I want you to know that sending him to prison isn’t going to heal you. Healing begins when someone bears witness. I believe you. You are brave.