In a new memoir, titled Hunger, author Roxane Gay opens up about the repercussions of an incident of sexual assault that she experienced when she was just 12 years old.
In an interview with People Magazine, Gay said that the assault happened in a cabin in the woods in 1986, where she was raped by a boy she had adored and a group of his friends.
"Everything I thought I knew was shattered," she told People.
She also said that she didn't tell anyone about what happened, instead turning inwards and trying to turn her body into a "fortress" to protect herself.
"I didn’t ever want to be over-powered again," Gay told People. "I thought if I’m fat, boys won’t come after me. I wanted to make myself bigger."
While the rate of sexual assault has fallen by half in the past 20 years, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, sexual violence unfortunately remains an epidemic. RAINN reports that a person is sexually assaulted in America every 98 seconds, with 1 in 6 American women having been the survivor of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Each year, an estimated 60,000 children are sexually abused.
“I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe." an excerpt from the book reads. "I buried the girl I was because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere. . . . I was trapped in my body, one that I barely recognized or understood, but at least I was safe.”
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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