Sexual Assault has been surfacing through mainstream and social media these past few months. It seems as if everyone in the entertainment industry is speaking up about being sexually assault by these men that possess power and whom many have looked up to in some form of fashion.
This matter is not one that should be taken lightly which is why it is critical that we start talking about it as we would anything else. By us talking about the issue, the more that it will help other victims to come out as it happens and to not be ashamed.
Taylor Adkins is a model and a sexual assault survivor herself. She has taken the high road in talking about her experience to help others who may be struggling to come forward. I recently had the chance to interview Taylor where she very open and honest to what she went through,
Can you tell myself and the reader’s about yourself and your upbringing?
I had an extremely abnormal upbringing. I am one of 15 children. I have two half siblings on my Dad’s side, but I am my Mom and Dad’s (they ended up getting married) oldest child and they have 13 children together. My house was filled with love and positivity. I was always a top performer. I went to private school until high school where I attended a college prep high school. I got a job at the age of 16. Was super involved in sports and athletics. Love my family and being the best role model I could be for the siblings under me.
What influenced you to be a model?
I have always been artist. Visual art has always been a strong force in my life. I am pretty amazing at drawing, but once I started working and then began college I let my talents sit on the back burner. I started modeling as a release in October 2016. I was horrible, I had never ever been photogenic like ever. I was so self-conscious behind a camera.. I had always been that way, but then I hit rock bottom. I was healing from a traumatic breakup, still healing over past life experiences, stressed out about where my life was headed career an academic wise, so I just need an outlet. I picked up a camera and started telling a story. For me it’s the experience of a photoshoot, choosing the location, working with makeup artists and photographers.. having a vision in my head and creating art out of nothing is therapy, and shockingly has become something I’m getting really good at.
I’ve been informed you’re a sexual assault survivor, can you describe the ordeal?
I was 19 years old and a college sophomore. It happened 5 years ago on March 30, 2012. I was raped by my bestfriend. My parents wanted me to transfer colleges, because the school I was at was not challenging me academically. I was performing exceptionally well despite the fact I was putting forth no effort. They told me over Christmas break they’d cut me off if I didn’t challenge myself so I had no choice. I told my best friend at the beginning of March I had to transfer of course he didn’t want me too. This was a friend I spent all my time with. You know how college is you’re free to do whatever whenever and we lived in the same apartment complex so me and my best girlfriend and his homeboys were inseparable we all hung out every day after class. Once I told him I had to leave he disclosed he had romantic feelings for me, I told him I didn’t see him that way and I also had a boyfriend I had been dating for 5 years at the time, so it was out of the question for me and him dating.
Then later in the month after a night out he came over. I got tired and he told me we should go to bed. Once we got in my room he started to kiss me and tell me he couldn’t let me go to a different school. I told him to stop but he was much stronger than me and he raped me. I woke up the next morning he was gone, and I went to the hospital where the police was called, a rape examination was done, and I drove to my parents’ house withdrew from school, and never looked back.
In dealing with the aftermath if the whole ordeal what was your physical and mental state?
I was emotionally unstable for years. My story got a lot worse before it got better. My boyfriend of 5 years when I was raped stayed with me and we made it to six, but I hated every second of it. After my rape I wanted to break up with him, but my parents told me I’d be letting my rapist win, so I stayed. I found out he was cheating on me in December of that year and I left him. I became an alcoholic because I wanted to feel no pain. I hated God for letting me go through what I went through so I had no spiritual release. I ended up back in school. I applied to transfer institutions before I was raped and was accepted to one of the schools. I ended up going. Going back to a college environment was terrifying I had extreme ptsd and drank even more. I met another boyfriend who took me through hell and back. We got together in January 2013 and broke up June 2015, right after I obtained my undergraduate degree in May 2015. He cheated on me more times than I can count, but I became dependent on him for safety. I did not want to be alone on a college campus I knew if someone was claiming me and I was coming home to them there is no way anyone could hurt me again, so I stayed through everything.
After graduation he left. More drinking, numb it out, numb it out. I would not say I took him leaving well. I took it extremely bad, and handled it in ways to this day I am not proud of. I had a lot of drunken nights where I sent pretty hateful text and phone calls. I wasn’t happy my grades slipped dramatically in undergrad because I had to keep myself busy. I planned on being in medical school after I graduated, but I was back at my parents’ house. It was just a lot of negatives.
Getting raped does something to your soul. The person you are before dies. I cannot remember who I was before it happened. I am a completely different person where before I saw the world with blinders now those blinders are off. I could not sleep alone for years. I could not sleep alone for years, I was very angry, distracted, and hopeless. I had no drive, I was terrified of having children because I didn’t want them to ever be exposed to this world, and I used to pray for God to end my life. It wasn’t until November 1, 2016 I decided to heal from everything and find real true happiness. From that day, I have fought every day to take in all of my emotions no matter how painful or hard they are deal with them heal and move on.
I fell back in love with God, who has become everything to me, and I am finally becoming the person I was before my life changed. It takes time some parts still suck but I am now at my dream university doing what I love, and living a dream I envisioned for myself when I was 17. It all worked out in the end.
What positives did you take from the ordeal?
I learned the art of perseverance. I am a fighter, and I will do whatever it takes to ensure my happiness. I had to learn there was nothing I could’ve done to change what happened to me and if it wasn’t me it would’ve been another woman. I learned to forgive myself. I learned to forgive others. To rely on no one to ensure I am happy. I turned to my boyfriend’s afterwards to save me, but I had to save myself. The moment I saved me and really found myself I was happier and more secure of myself than I had ever been. I learned to cherish the people who love and appreciate me because I’d be nothing without them. I learned you are capable of accomplishing anything with God by your side. I had to learn I deserved to be loved no matter had deep I’d been cut. I had to learn to love everyone and the more love I gave the more I received.
With this being a time in which people are more forthcoming and publicly revealing of past assaults what’s your feeling on that?
I feel those women are extremely brave. The thing with sexual assault someone took something from you something extremely intimate that should only be given and never taken. Going public with this is going public with you sexual history which isn’t fair because someone became a part of your sexual history without your permission. These women then have to disclose their actual sexual history that was consensual, and it’s just a lot of name calling and slut shaming they have to deal with all because one person took something. Any woman who presses charges whether it is against a famous person or a random guy off the street is incredibly courageous. These women have nothing but my support, because it gives more women the courage to stand up against their assailants.
May you be considering a career as a counselor of some sort being that you’re still in school and are so supportive of anyone in need of talking?
I am. I actually started a blog that should be up in January 2018 called Taylor’s Journey. It is essentially an open dairy of my life and my experience facing sexual assault and how I have moved passed it to live the best life I can imagine. I aim to show women real bad things can happen, but you can rise above all of it. You are the author of your life, do not allow another human to take your story it is yours and yours only to tell. My blog will be extremely interactive I will answer support emails and have be a support if someone needs it. My DMs on Instagram are always open and I get a surprising amount where I help people. The more I tell my story the good and the bad the more I have been able to help people show them there is light at the end of the tunnel. As far as school is concerned I am very interested in humanitarian work, so I still have a minute to see where I am headed.
Can you offer any personal advice to anyone who’s hiding an ordeal that’s to afraid or embarrassed to speak up?
I think it is everyone’s right to decide whether or not to be vocal or silent about their assault. Sometimes it can be much more painful to speak up than it is to remain silent. Sexual assault is tricky in that way because by revealing your assault you have to reveal your entire sexual history. You also run the risk of being slut shamed, shunned, called a liar and various other things. Being vocal does not always end in a happily ever after. My case ended up with the DA deciding not to go to court even though my rapist admitted to raping me in text messages. They decided it was too much hearsay and granted me a restraining order, so it does not always work out by being vocal. My advice is don’t disclose your assault solely for an outcome disclose it so that you and your assailant know without a doubt an assault occurred. Though my case didn’t make trial that was enough for me, also having that on a record helps in the future if he acts again. Anytime a person is accused the police keeps a record, any restraining order and etc. all of that builds a case against him in the future. No matter how insignificant you may feel it is; it matters. Life may not always go as planned I know it could be your brother, father, uncle, cousin, husband, friend, but you will get through this and you will heal. Whatever you do remove yourself from the situation when you are able and never look back. Pressing charges comes after your safety is established.