Every girl growing up believes that sometime in life when she grows older, a magical prince will come her way and sweep her off her feet just like one of those magical fairy tales. Or at least that’s what I believed, even all the way up to my freshman year of college. Yet, my dreams were crushed on January 21st, 2017 when I met him.
Every fairytale needs a princess. My name is Skyler Gin. I was born and raised in the bay area by a beautiful, loving family. And although I am not a princess, I always dreamt of being one growing up. If you ask my mother, I was the rule follower of the family who made sure to check off all the boxes on the list and would never disappoint a teacher on any project I turned in. Being accepted to Cal Poly just placed the cherry on top. I set goals for myself. These goals included, making good grades, finding a job, and finding THE PERFECT prince to fall in love with. And you know what everyone said in high school, “Wait until you go to college. That is where all the HOT boys will be”. Turns out, though, I couldn’t just wait around for my prince to come to highest tower, or also known as Yosemite Tower 7, to rescue me from all the idiotic freshman who lived on my floor. Some princesses in college join a sorority to become sisters with other princesses and some potential princes are in frat houses where all their other fraternity brothers live. So what did I do? I join a sorority.
Every princess needs her sisters, and they don’t have to be evil step sisters. Fast forward after rushing and talking to what felt like a thousand girls, I finally found my home away from home with sisters that I love. I knew they were people I could lean on and trust with anything. It was the perfect set up for me because I felt that I was safe even from any evildoers.
Every princess has her prince. Unfortunately, mine was the monster. It was cold, wet, and raining. I could feel the sprinkles of raindrops fall slowly on face blending with my tears as I looked up into the dark night sky begging God for help as my friend carried me out. Little did I know, that was the last time I was able to feel anything for a long time. This is the last thing I remember from that fraternity party. You see, I didn’t find a prince that night. Instead, I found someone who broke me deep down inside. Walking into that party that night, I did not expect to find someone who would treat me that way. I mean after all, he looked normal. And when he handed me a drink, I still could not have seen what he was about to do next: hurt me.
A princess is supposed to find her prince and live happily ever after, but I didn’t. I struggled long and hard to understand what happened to me. I never told anyone how I felt or what happen. I suddenly just became the girl who drank too much at a party. I knew something wasn’t right but I felt that no matter how hard I tried to speak up about it, the more people made assumptions about how I lived my life. I never wanted to be THAT girl, the girl who always blacks at a party or the girl who always goes home with a boy. But it was after that night that the people around me believed that’s who I was. I began to fall slowly deeper and deeper into a person who I wasn’t.
And in every fairytale, there is always an “ah ha” moment. Mine just did not feel as good. I can remember that day clearly. As I trained to be a WOW leader, I sat there looking at the presentation they had. It was a girl in the middle holding a bunch of red strings and at the end of those strings were people who did not listen to what she had to say. It was in that moment that I knew that the girl in the middle saying she was sexually assaulted was me. I could feel the burning pain on my face trying to hold back the tears as I rushed out of Chumash and into the girl’s bathroom to sit on the cold tile floor crying.
No fairy tale could be complete without a fairy godmother and little animal helpers. It took me a long time to overcome what happened. With the help of Safer, my friends, and sisters, I was able to go through the process of Title IX. Kara from safer was amazing to me and I had amazing support from everyone around me, but me overcoming what happened didn’t just happen overnight. It took me an entire year of struggling through this indescribable pain that I felt overcoming my body. There were many nights I drank and cried out of nowhere because something reminded me of the pain. To be honest, I didn’t handle it. I let the pain that HE made me feel control me. There was one day though where I sat in the bathtub crying me heart out feeling like there was nothing left to do. My case did not have enough evidence and I thought I ruined my life with the decisions I made all because I SPOKE UP.
Princesses rely on their Princes. I relied on myself. I prayed to God in that bathtub and asked him to give me another chance to feel happy again. Sure, enough my fairy godmother and little animals came running to me with full speed. I told some of my friends how I felt, but I didn’t let it define me. That’s where I went wrong before. I let the situation define me and who I was as a person. I never gave myself the opportunity to express what was really going on. I then began to concentrate on living again.
Normally a fairytale is made into a book and shared with the world, but I kept my story to myself. Why would I share something so personal that happened to me to the entire world? You’re told in the beginning or even in WOW training that it is the best thing to speak up. But how could I do that when others around me began to see me differently, to pity me, or even just straight up be too much for me to handle. When something big like this happens to you in life, you may feel that sharing is the best way. I felt; however, that the best thing for me was to grieve with close friends who support me. Society treats the media as a place for people to express themselves. It is also a place for judgement, something that no one should have upon them. If I were to have posted any part of what I went through, people would have placed judgement. “She was too drunk” or “She’s just easy” are just some of the comments I have seen when girls shared their stories. I didn’t want to feel more pain than what I had to. My social media, if I could, would have a picture of me in that bathtub. The one where I sat in, naked, praying to God with the caption “help me”. While it may seem dark, it is what I felt. It is something that I believe some girls such as me have felt once in their lives and like me, did not have the courage to share.
There is always a happy ending, even in this story. While I still may struggle at some points in my life, I HANDLE IT. It’s my life and I want to make the best of it. I tell other girls who ask me for help to only share when they are ready. I was NOT ready when I shared my story. I did it to please others. When really, I should have done it to please myself. Don’t let anyone control who you are, because no matter what, it is you who lives in your body.
My name is Skyler Gin. I am a Child Development major at Cal Poly who loves to dance, sing, eat A LOT, play tennis, go out with friends (even to line dancing), go to concerts, drive my mini cooper, cuddle with my dog, and most of all, tell my story of who I am.