Survivor's Guilt

Content Warning: Sexual Assault, Victim Blaming

When I think about what happened to me, it is broken up in pieces,

Some parts remain in me, the survivor, the trauma victim

Every other piece goes to the activist in me —

The fight for all of us,

The end to rape culture,

The support survivors before anything else,

The there is no right answer for everyone.


My assault belongs to that activist and every day it makes me hate myself

I am acutely aware that I am scared.

I have told no one my perpetrator’s name.

He is allowed to exist in the world with no consequence for harming me,

While I spend every single day seeing his face.


Some people tell me that as a survivor I should do what’s best for me,

That I can make no wrong decisions for myself.

But as I looked in the eye of  a fellow survivor she asked me,

“What if he hurts someone else?”

My ultimate fear.


As an activist I know that his actions are independent of me,

I am not responsible for him,

But I can’t help but wonder, what if I could stop him?


I know that if someone else came to me in this circumstance

I would tell them to take care of themselves,

And if they wanted,

I would fight for them.


Why can’t I do this for myself?

Why is it that when I see the name of his school,

Picture that Philly street,

Remember the taste of his kiss,

Envision his face,

I feel like falling into the floor?

Where is my activist self then?