Thursday, May 15, 2014

Amanda Rudd’s Story of Surviving Sexual Assault and Finding Her True Self…

On campus I have often felt a sense of alienation and scrutiny for being who I am as an “unconventional” Feminist.

I am Catholic. I am Pro-life. And I am Conservative.

I am also a student in my last year at the University of Oregon. Throughout my time here I have struggled in many ways, just like many students do during their college days. I would like to say that the personal struggles I have faced as a woman have helped me to connect to resources like the Women’s Center here on campus, but unfortunately that would not be entirely true.

Every year they hold a march against sexual violence called, “Take Back the Night.” They parade around the school and into the city. I went to it a couple years ago, as a recent survivor, hoping to feel empowered and united in the bonds of sisterhood and brotherhood against the horrible atrocity of sexual violence that overwhelms our college campus. In some small part I did feel strengthened, however, in a much larger sense I felt that I had to deny myself and bash my Church and my God in order to stand true as a feminist on campus. Many of the slogans that we were given to yell said, “Not the Church, Not the State, Women must decide their fate.” As a Catholic, I knew that by shouting this slogan, I was denying almost everything I stand for as a believer in Christ. Did I want to protest sexual violence? Absolutely! But in order to do so I had to conform into what was determined politically correct and what was considered the “right kind of feminist.”

The year I was assaulted I underwent an extreme amount of inner turmoil. I began to hate myself and God for making me a woman. I despised my feminine qualities because I felt that if I was more masculine than perhaps I wouldn’t have been assaulted. I blamed myself, and sometimes I still fall into that pattern.

During that very difficult time, a male friend reached out to me. He had no idea what kind of hardship I was undergoing. He had invited me to Catholic mass a few times in the past, but I was a bit skeptical since I was a proclaimed Baptist. However, when he invited me this time, something inside urged me to say yes. So, I went. Never in my life had I felt more at peace and more loved. Suddenly, I was drawn to my faith in Christ, and as I continued on this path I became more confident in how I was created as a woman. I realized that my feminine qualities served a significant purpose in this world. My femininity was not a burden that I had to carry, but a beautiful gift. Most importantly what I realized was that my God entrusted me with the most supreme gift possible, of one day being able to carry life into this world.


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