April is very important to myself and so many sexual assault survivors. It's sexual assault awareness month and we have a guest blogger who is absolutely incredible. Meet Jacqima!
Jacqima (ja-ki-ma) is 20 years old and lives in Gibraltar, a British territory next to Spain. She helps raise awareness for sexual assault in her community. This year she really challenged herself to express her voice through her art. She recreated rape scenes, herself as the model and did all of the special effects make up. These photos were then used by the local police and schools to raise awareness about physical relationships and rape. To spread the message that "no" means "no."
Below is Jacqima's story she so bravely shared with us and allowed us to share with you. This is a graphic story that is powerful and all too common.
*Trigger Warning* it is a rape story so please proceed with caution if you feel it would be a trigger.
An open letter to my Rapist
There is a deep rage within me. To know that he’s still out there, knowing
what he did. On Friday the 3rd of February, I was raped.
This was someone I knew. This was someone my fiancé (at the time) said I
could trust. I mean, they worked together. They had trust between them,
but it excluded me. How silly of me. How stupid of me to trust someone who
sees women as objects. That night, on the 3rd of February 2017, I had been
drinking. I had let my guard down. I had decided to let loose. How stupid of
me to think I had that right. I remember drinking with my friends, feeling
the happiest I could have ever felt, but that was stripped off me in a matter
You. The man who raped me. You live everyday knowing what happened.
You live everyday with no worry in the world, but I, I felt like my world was
shattered. I felt like my worth was torn into pieces. Do you remember? How
you offered to drive me home that night. More like forced. You dragged me
past the police station and put me into your car, as a police officer watched
on. Help me. I was too intoxicated to even shout, let alone run away. He had
offered me a drink before then. Silly me to have accepted it. At that time I
hadn’t thought he would spike my drink, was I wrong.
Driving around I asked him to pull over so I could use a restroom. He pulled
over on the side of the road and told me to go do my business on the beach
behind a storage room. I stumbled out of the car, swaying side to side as he
grabbed my waist forced. Once I finished my business, I began to pull my
underwear up. He appeared and took them off me, putting them in his back
pocket. He sat on the cold sand, pulling me down towards him. As I sat
opposite him, I began to cry. I knew what was happening. I knew what was
going to happen and there was no one around at 5am to help me. I began
babbling to him, my mind racing at 100mph. I spoke about my
grandmother; I found that whenever I spoke of her it calms me.
So there I was, sitting on the cold, damp sand at 5am with no underwear on,
and a thin black bodycon dress on. I had my jacket on, but he insisted I take
it off. As we walked back to the car, I sat in the back of his car as he stood
over me by the open door. I felt sick. Intoxicated. My stomach churned.
“Take me home. Take me home now.” I pleaded. On the road again, he gave
in to taking me home. On the way home he kept placing his hand on my
thigh. His fingers crept up higher, closer to my bare vagina. “Stop. I have a
fiancé.” He pulled back, only to start squeezing my thighs tightly, causing
me to squirm in my seat. “Stop. You’re hurting me!” I raised my voice as I
pushed his hand away. I felt my body slipping away. That’s when I saw the
smirk on his face. That’s when I knew he had most definitely spiked my
I felt my eyes roll back. My body became lifeless, as I sat there in his car. I
could still here him breathing. I could still feel his hand creeping up my
dress. I tried to stop him, but my body wouldn’t move. I was paralized. At
this point, I felt a tear fall down my face. He began fondling my breasts.
Caressing my cheek as he kissed me forcefully. There was nothing I could
do. I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t run. I could just pray. Pray that this will be
over soon. Pray that I wake up not knowing what would happen.
The next day I woke up in my bed, with no underwear. My body feeling sore
as bruises covered my thighs. My make up smudged and my hair a mess. As
soon as my feet hit the floor, I ran for the bathroom. I spewed my guts.
Black, All I saw was black leaving my mouth. What drink is black? I thought
to myself. That’s when everything that happened last night came flooding
back. I stripped the black dress I had on. Tossing it in the bin, along with my
bra. Anything he had touched, I wanted to burn. Including myself. I wanted
to erase him from my memory, but now he haunts it. That day, I took 7
steaming hot showers, and scrubbed myself till my skin became red and
irritated. Throughout the day I had spew my guts too many times. How do I
tell him? How do I tell my fiancé? He’s going to leave me. I told him. He got
mad. Mad at me for trusting that man. Mad at the man that stole every
ounce of my dignity.
I cried myself to sleep every night for countless months since that
happened. I would store spoons in my freezer, so I could place them on my
swollen eyes in the morning. I continued having hot showers. I continued
thinking it was my entire fault, because maybe it was. Maybe I was asking
for it, Right? That was the beginning and end of many things. Depression
came swooping in, taking over me. The end of a relationship with the man
who loved me wholeheartedly. The beginning of walking around and seeing
my rapist. My rapist. I say that as if I owe you but, no. You. You, the man
who raped me and stripped me of my soul and mind are the one who
owned me, but not anymore. Not anymore. I am no longer your victim.
Three suicide attempts later, popping pills to keep my anxiety at bay and
talking to a stranger about my problems, I have to admit, you had me in the
palm of your hand. You crushed me. You broke me. You ruined my life.
What would you do if you heard that I had tried to take my own life because
of what you did to me? Would you feel guilty? Would you feel remorseful?
Would you hate yourself like I hated myself? The day after you did that to
me, you decided to wave my underwear at work in front of all your Military
friends. My fiancé was there. My fiancé was feeling betrayed, angered. All
he wanted to do was kill you. He took the underwear back and threw it
away, as if everything would disappear. It didn’t.
From then on I was called a whore. A slut. A cheat. A liar. A bitch. All
because you told everyone a lie. You told everyone I wanted it, you told
everyone I liked it. You told everyone I wanted to cheat on my fiancé with
you. How insecure and inhuman do you have to be to want to ruin
someone’s life? You ruined a lot for me, but guess what?
I got back up.
You hear me? I got back up!
No matter what was thrown at me, no matter how hard it was to get
through (still is), I conquered. You are nobody to make me feel worthless.
You are nobody to make me feel unloved. You are nobody. You are a spec
on this planet of ours, but your consequences are much bigger. I hope you
think of this from time to time. I hope you think of what you did to me. I
hope you lie in bed at night starring at the ceiling wondering where you
went wrong like I did for countless months.
I forgive you. I forgive you for what you did to me. I forgive you for myself. I
forgive you so I can move on with my life, because it’s what I deserve. I
deserve to take control of my own life. It is no longer yours. My mind is no
longer yours. I am free. I hope you are somewhere praying. Praying for
forgiveness. Praying for some light. Praying that you never do that to
another girl ever again. I am no longer a prisoner of my past. I have learned
to love my life and love people who love me endlessly. The past can no
longer haunt me. You can no longer haunt me.
The United States does not have a rape problem—it has a rape epidemic.
woman in this country is raped every two minutes, 42 percent of victims
are raped before they are 18 years old.
One in three Native women report being raped, as do almost
Ninety-seven percent of rapists will never go to jail.
To victims of rape, you are not alone. Never. You are strong, courageous,
and beautiful, and you deserve to be here. You deserve to be loved. You are
worth so much more than you think. You were put on earth to make a
difference. You were put on this planet because you have a voice, and
together, we’re unstoppable. All my love.
A victim no more.
Jessica Ellen Cummings photography