I have not worn a dress since 2014. The one I wore on the day I was assaulted still sits in my closet. It is a beautiful blue sundress with a sunflower pattern, and I remember beaming into a full-length mirror the first time I wore it. I have a lengthy history of body issues, but I felt so beautiful at that moment. I still treasure that. I will not have that memory taken from me.

I feel compelled to justify my decision to wear a short dress on that day because my attacker was making fun of me for it. It was August in Orlando, and I was hot. I am paraphrasing, but I hear Jesus once said if you look at a woman with lust, pluck your eyes out. I wish I had received that sort of justice.

I climbed the queue for a popular attraction in that dress. My attacker’s arms were constantly around my waist or my shoulders. I blossomed with her praise, her near-kisses to my cheek. After what she did, I cannot even stand my mother hugging me.

The first stop in the queue was a lobby. There was a person for every square inch of space with little room to breathe. With an ominous soundtrack, everything became dark. I felt her hand briefly on my thigh, then her fingers in my underwear. She laughed.

She laughed when I pushed her off of me. To this day, that boils my blood. She has also confessed to her crime twice via text and messenger, and I am left to kick myself for not keeping those conversations. I reported her later on to the company we worked with and the city police, only to hit a wall. As far as I know, there was no investigation conducted, and only a small complaint filed with the police. There is no concrete evidence aside from my nightmares that cannot be taken to court.

The cop laughed at me, too.

It is difficult to advocate for yourself when you are unaccustomed to others doing it for you. My patience had to be manipulated time and again before I decided that enough was enough. I was ultimately hospitalized after finding a therapist whose process worked for me. Despite being on the very edge, I was still hearing from family and friends that I should prioritize work. That was the rain that encouraged my growth.

I still have issues with touch, but I am loud about my boundaries. I still do not wear dresses, but I am on my way to loving my body, again. There are days like today when I am forced to see her face. I return to my rabbit hole of self-loathing as I compare my ideas of success to hers. I am human, I am embittered. I am not above admitting that I hope she is miserable.

But if I stay in my rabbit hole, I will wither. The weeds will win. I cannot sacrifice any more of my life for her.