Guest Post: I Was Sexually Assaulted Aboard an Amtrak Train #itsourstory

This post is a departure from my regular posts. I have decided to use this platform to allow rape and domestic violence survivors to tell their stories. These posts are not censored or edited, but come straight from the survivor. Some survivors need to tell their story in a safe place, and many others need to know that they are not alone, nor are they to blame. It’s important to me to provide that connection. I chose #itsourstory to spread the word for two reasons: no matter how isolated you feel, you are never alone and this is part of our culture, our society, and it belongs to all of us. If you would like to contribute, you can find more information here.

Always one for adventure, I jumped at the chance to travel across the United States to see one of my dearest friends when the opportunity presented itself. Needing a chaperone for her kids soon to travel home after a visit with their father across the country, she volunteered to pay for my ticket if I was willing to accompany them. In late July we made the trip from West Virginia to Montana without incident. The lack of wi-fi and patchy cell phone service, I indulged myself in the chance to crochet and read and leisurely play cards with the kids and some new friends. Through time and distance, strangers become friends and the close proximity bred a strange sense of familiarity between people whose paths may otherwise have never crossed.

Three days after our journey began we arrived in Montana, none the worse for wear. Two weeks passed in both spectacular and ordinary ways. I fell in love with Glacier National Park, faced my fear of being eaten by a bear and braved the heights of Going-to-the-Sun Road to take in some of the most breathtakingly beautiful sights I’ve ever seen. When my friend returned to work for several days on end, I settled into the very ordinary kind of routine I have at home. The last morning in Montana, I got word that my son had a car accident that left him unharmed but totaled our family van. I had grown tired of being out of my own bed and was anxious to get home to my family.

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