The Bachelor's Jade Roper made the brave decision to share her own experience with sexual assault after being inspired by Lady Gaga's moving performance of "Til It Happens to You" at the 2016 Oscars.
Taking to Instagram, Roper shared an image from Gaga's performance, along with the words, "The most powerful moment of the night. 50 survivors of sexual assault joined Lady Gaga on stage for her performance of Til It Happens to You" — the powerful song co-written by Lady Gaga and Diane Warren, which is featured in the documentary, The Hunting Ground, which focuses on sexual assaults on college campuses.
Roper bravely captioned the post with her own experience with sexual assault.
"I've been trying for hours to think of what to say here, typing and back spacing," Roper wrote. "To be honest, I'm terrified. Yet, this is something I felt was put on my heart to write and to share and after all these years allow myself to be free of something I felt I had to hide. Lady GaGa's performance was powerful and really moved me. I share my feelings and my story in the link I put in my bio. Hopefully, sharing my story can help others as much as it is helping me heal. Much love."
I've been trying for hours to think of what to say here, typing and back spacing. To be honest, I'm terrified. Yet, this is something I felt was put on my heart to write and to share and after all these years allow myself to be free of something I felt I had to hide. Lady GaGa's performance was powerful and really moved me. I share my feelings and my story in the link I put in my bio. Hopefully sharing my story can help others as much as it is helping me heal. Much love.
Roper then took to her blog, Burn, Bright Love, to pen an emotional account of what happened to her during her teenage years.
"I was raped just shy of my 17th birthday. My high school years were very hard for me, I had a lot of problems at home; and the way I tried to be normal and forget about my life was to party with my friends," Roper wrote. "Even though drinking seemed to make my problems go away temporarily, it was never the solution. One night I was at a party with some friends and they ended up leaving without me. They shouldn't have seemed worried, they left me with a group of guys we were all friends with. I remember going with them to one of the guys' parents' house, we had hung out in his basement with friends several times before, so it seemed perfectly normal."
While Roper chose not to go into too much detail, she did reveal that the incident happened with people she had trusted.
"I remember one guy holding me down while another got on top of me," she wrote. "I remember them driving me home and my parents were gone, driving around town looking for me. When my parents got home, my dad said he found me in my room on the floor in my underwear, mumbling to him I wasn’t innocent anymore. I was a virgin."
She continued, "The next morning was confusing. I found my jeans with blood spots all the way down a pant leg, and I was bruised black and sore. I called one of the guys, he denied anything happened. The other guy I couldn't even face, I was very close to him and was afraid to confront him with the truth. I never opened up to my parents about what happened, I was afraid of what they would think of me — or worse, that they wouldn’t care at all. My family was really good at sweeping issues under the rug."
Perhaps the most awful part of the entire encounter is that Roper convinced herself that she must have "deserved it."
"That this bad thing happened to me because of something I had done," she wrote. "That I wasn't worth being loved. That I wasn't worth having sex for the first time with someone who cared about me. All the hurt and the anger I had towards the boys that assaulted me, I took out on myself. I destroyed myself with harmful words and internalized all my emotions. I became depressed, anxious and self-loathing. I contemplated hurting myself several times. I learned to bury everything so I could try and move on."
Roper's words hit hard and have empowered many, as evidenced by the reaction to her Instagram post.
Comments include one from lavamomma, who wrote, "So brave, so empowering. As a survivor of abuse, and as a mother of a daughter that has survived abuse, I applaud this bravery. By breaking the silence and encouraging others to step out from the shade of shame, healing can and hopefully will and absolutely should take place. Thank you for sharing and for your bravery."
Cgrimes4ku also weighed in on the post, writing, "Thank you for sharing this Jade. As a woman, this hits home at how lucky I've been to not have experienced something like this and as a mom, I counsel my 2 sons that it has to be an emphatic Yes. I pray my daughter never has to go through something so traumatic and that she knows how valuable she is. You are strong and beautiful and I'm so glad you've found love with a nice boy from KC."
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